HIV/AIDS, Russia and Security Part I

Whether it was a shared burger between Presidents Medvedev and Obama, the uncovering of a Cold War era spy ring, or the release of an Angelina Jolie action movie this summer certainly saw Russia take center stage in media and pop culture.

But what does this have to do with my Monroe Project you ask? Well, my main intention was to get your attention. And to get you Russian state-of-mind.

Originally intended for earlier in the summer, I’ve experienced some delays and had some difficulty obtaining access to my sources and research, as I’ve been in the process of moving from Japan to Italy (Navy family, keeps things interesting) and traveling for the past month and a half. However, I have managed to make some good project the past week, and would like to provide a relatively brief update on my project (seeing as how summer is rapidly drawing to a close, it’s about time). To review, the driving questions behind my research were: To what extent does HIV/AIDS threaten security in Russia?

There are three parts so far to my research. At the moment I will just list them; in look for more detailed posts about each aspect soon. The first has been to familiarize myself with some basic epidemiology knowledge and the current state of the HIV/AIDs epidemic in Russia. My primary source for much of this data has been The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, or UNAIDS. I was also curious while reading through these data sheets and reports as to how these numbers were obtained. Consequently, I have tried to familiarize myself with the methodology.

Finally, in exploring HIV/AIDS and security in Russia I came upon what is currently a much broader debate amongst in the field of international relations and public health. Essentially, scholars are asking, should public health issues such as infection diseases be “securitized?” That is, should these issues be added to the traditional analyses of states, power and the international system? How do they factor into the theories of realism, liberalism and constructivism? The articles I’ve read pertaining to this topic have ranged from the pragmatic and policy-based to highly theoretical. So far it’s been quite fascinating.

Hope everyone has an excellent last week or so before school. I moved in yesterday for orientation training; the ‘burg is lovely, the humidity is digusting.

Much more to come.