The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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While much media attention has been paid to the question of what will happen to the opposition movement in Russia after the arrest and imprisonment of Alexei Navalny, there has been less focus on his ordinary supporters—the tens of thousands across the country who have gone out on the street to protest his detention. In an extensive crackdown that was unprecedented during the Putin regime, over 11,000 were arrested and charged during a series of nationwide protests in January/February 2021, with another 1,700 arrested in April. Most were charged with violating the prohibition on participating in unauthorized gatherings though some were also prosecuted criminally. (PONARS Eurasia, 6/1/2021)

Jamie Rowen draws from her NSF CAREER funded research on veterans in the criminal justice system to explain how veterans have fared in the pandemic and shutdown. She says: “Veterans have been among the most hard-hit, with heightened health and economic threats from the pandemic. These veterans face homelessness, lack of health care, delays in receiving financial support and even death.” (The Conversation, Lock Haven Express)

Alexander Theodoridis, Associate Professor of Political Science, is quoted in an article about an open letter that he and over 100 other academics signed, in reaction to Republican efforts to pass new voting laws in the wake of the 2020 election.  The letter warns that American democracy is at risk because of the restrictive nature of the new laws, which are being supported by Republican-controlled state legislatures around the country. Theodoridis says “We’ve just witnessed, through [former president Donald] Trump’s big lie, an effort to overturn a free and fair election. And it seems like there are a lot of efforts going on out there in various states to, instead of making it more difficult to overturn the will of the voters, [make] it easier, and that’s very concerning.” (Globe, 6/1/21)

This year, persistent UMass Amherst undergraduates adapted to COVID-19 restrictions as they engaged in research, exercised their creativity, and elevated their campus and community. They found ways to thrive, working on campus when permitted and capitalizing on remote research, learning, volunteer, and experiential opportunities. Nine students were named spring 2021 UMass Amherst Rising Researchers, including Political Science Major Claire Healy '21, Commonwealth Honors College. In her first year at UMass, Claire Healy had a grand vision. What if there was an international, multilingual magazine that could create community among young people across borders? The magazine would publish poets, writers, artists, and journalists and its audience would experience a diverse collective of perspectives, artwork, and languages. The first issue of Claire’s dream magazine, The Open, will be published before she graduates from UMass in May. She produced it on a focused foundation of four years of coursework, internships, study abroad, and extracurricular work. (SBS News, 5/25/2021)

Charli Carpenter, Professor of Political Science at UMass Amherst, has written a column exploring the “precision” of explosives used during urban warfare – a description that she says is a fallacy – following the recent increased fighting between Israel and Hamas. (World Politics Review, 5/28/21)

UMass Poll results are cited in a column countering the continuing attempts by Republicans to blame the political left for the January 6, 2021 violence at the U.S. Capitol. As part of the poll, respondents were asked their thoughts on who bore responsibility for the attack, and a plurality pointed at former President Trump. (The Washington Post, 5/28/21; News Office release)

Siddhant Issar will be joining the Department of Politics at the University of Virginia in the Fall for a two-year appointment as a Rising Scholar Post-Doctoral Fellow and Research Associate. Congratulations Siddhant!

Jamie Rowen, Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science at UMass Amherst, writes about the effects of the pandemic on veterans. Rowen explains eight ways in which the pandemic continues to threaten veterans: age and other vulnerabilities; benefits unfairly denied or delayed; diminished access to health care; the potential for worsening mental health; complications for homeless veterans and those in the justice system; disability benefits delayed; dangerous residential facilities; and economic catastrophe. (The Conversation, 5/27/21)

Paul Collins contributed to an article in Newsweek about the Supreme Court's latest abortion case. Collins said that Trump's appointees "seem comfortable with overruling precedents they feel were wrongly decided" and this could include Roe v. Wade. However, he believes the Court could limit itself when it comes to a ruling. "Look for Chief Justice Roberts to push the Court's conservative members to rule narrowly on the case to avoid controversy," Collins told Newsweek. (Newsweek, 5/20/2021)

Alexander Theodoridis, Associate Professor of Political Science at UMass Amherst, is quoted in an opinion piece about the changing views of Republicans in Congress about the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.  He says, “The half-life of January 6 memory has proven remarkably short given the objectively shocking nature of what took place at the Capitol that day …  There is now seemingly no limit to the ability of partisans to see the world through thick, nearly opaque red and blue colored lenses.” The article also cites a national UMass Poll conducted April 21-23, on which 45% of respondents said that former President Trump was most responsible for the January 6 attack. (The New York Times, 5/19/21)