By EMMALEE C. TORISK
Keary Iarussi says he was a little surprised, and very excited, after learning that an opinion piece of his had been selected for publication in one of Russia’s primary English-language newspapers.
Titled “Moscow’s Mendacious Move,” the op-ed penned by the 21-year-old Iarussi, a 2011 graduate of Struthers High School and a senior at Miami University in Ohio, appeared in the March 5 edition of The Moscow Times — a newspaper that publishes “points of view from across the political spectrum,” Iarussi said.
“My views aren’t so divorced from the mainstream that this was a revolutionary kind of piece that changed the game,” Iarussi said. “My piece, what it did, was take a lot of different parts people had been talking about and combine them into one narrative, or into one idea of the situation.”
The piece explores Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “elaborate show” and “provocative actions in Ukraine,” as well as the uncertainty that surrounds any further Russian aggression. As Iarussi writes in the piece’s conclusion, “no one truly knows where all of this will end,” though he notes that “Russia has not come this far to back down — and certainly not in the face of Western pressure.”
Iarussi said he has been closely following the crisis in Ukraine since November, or when then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych backed down from a decision to sign a trade deal with the European Union and instead moved closer to Russia.
Over the past few months, Iarussi — who is double-majoring in diplomacy and global politics, and Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies, and plans to graduate in May — has written several pieces on the unrest for his college newspaper, The Miami Student.
So, when he found out that The Moscow Times was looking to publish op-eds on the matter, he tidied up a piece originally written for and posted on the Miami University Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies’ blog. Iarussi is a junior fellow at the center.
He submitted the piece shortly afterward, and heard back “maybe just a day or two later” that it would be published.
Iarussi said he’s long been interested in politics and history, and that he knew he wanted to pursue something related to international relations when it came time to pick a major. He’s not quite sure what will happen post-graduation — he’s a finalist for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s junior fellows program, and for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to serve in Moldova — but plans to eventually attend graduate school to study energy politics in the former Soviet Union.
His father — Ron Iarussi, who serves as superintendent of the Mahoning County Educational Service Center — said he likes to think that having two social studies teachers for parents “might’ve had some influence” on his chosen profession.
He added that while he and his wife, Pam Iarussi, are proud of their eldest son’s accomplishments — they also have an eighth-grader at Struthers, AJ Iarussi — they’re not terribly surprised by his successes.
“He works really hard at what he wants to do,” he said, “and he puts a lot of time and effort into pursuing that career.”