The Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (CREES) and the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED) at the University of Michigan will present a panel discussion on January 23 on the topic of “Russia’s Complex Relationship with the North Caucasus: Past and Present.” Panelists include University of Michigan professors Pauline Jones (political science) and Alexander Knysh (Islamic studies), as well as Tanya Lokshina, Russia program director at Human Rights Watch. CREES director Geneviève Zubrzycki (sociology) will moderate the discussion. This group of experts will provide analysis of the situation of the North Caucasus and its complex relationship with Russia, and has been organized to give some context to the University Musical Society (UMS) presentation of Us/Them, running January 24-28. The panel is presented with support from UMS, and is free and open to the public.

In 2004, a group of Islamic militants occupied a school in Beslan, in the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation, demanding recognition for an independent Chechnya. Over 300 hostages, including children, were killed in the siege. The dramatic event and its aftermath are the topics of the UMS performance Us/Them, written and directed by Carly Wijs and performed by Belgium’s Bronks theater company. Tickets for performances can be purchased at or by calling 734-764-2538.

In addition to the panel and the presentation of Us/Them, CREES will host a lecture by Tanya Lokshina on Wednesday, January 24 at 12:00 pm in 110 Weiser Hall. She will review Chechen human rights issues—including the brutal 2017 suppression of homosexuals—in her lecture, “Crackdown in Chechnya: Ramzan Kadyrov’s Brutal Rule and International Human Rights.” The Donia Center for Human Rights is the co-sponsor for this lecture.

Tuesday, January 23, 6-7:30 pm | CREES/WCED Panel | “Russia’s Complex Relationship with the North Caucasus: Past and Present” | 1010 Weiser Hall, 500 Church St.

Wednesday, January 24, 12-1 pm | CREES Noon Lecture | “Crackdown in Chechnya: Ramzan Kadyrov’s Brutal Rule and International Human Rights” | 110 Weiser Hall, 500 Church St.

Wednesday, January 24-Sunday, January 28 | Performance | Us/Them | Arthur Miller Theatre, 1226 Murfin Ave.

Contact: Mary Elizabeth Malinkin / T: 734.764.0351 / E:

The University of Michigan Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (CREES) is dedicated to advancing and disseminating interdisciplinary knowledge about the peoples, nations, and cultures of Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, and Eurasia, past and present. Through its own academic programs and its support of area-focused training and scholarship across U-M's schools and colleges, CREES helps meet the nation’s ongoing need for experts with deep contextual knowledge who are proficient in the region's languages. CREES is an affiliate of the Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia and constituent unit of the International Institute. For more information, visit