Nicolai N. Petro is professor of political science at the University of Rhode Island. He has served as special assistant for policy in the U.S. State Department, and as civic affairs advisor to the mayor of the Russian city of Novgorod the Great. Mr. Petro has authored or edited eight books, including: "The Rebirth of Russian Democracy" (Harvard University Press,1995), "Russian Foreign Policy" (Longman, 1997), and "Crafting Democracy: How Novgorod Coped with Rapid Social Change" (Cornell University Press, Fall 2004). In addition to his academic publications, he writes an occasional blog devoted to news about Russia at OpEdNews.com. Learn more about Mr. Petro at his personal Web site, www.npetro.net.