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MA Political Science, Former Soviet Republics

February 29, 2012

I was born and raised in Chisinau, the capital city of Moldova, one of the 15 former republics of the USSR. Now 29 years old, I locate the beginnings of my interest in politics at the age of 13 when the USSR dissolved and we found ourselves set half free; Russian troops remain in the country until today. My relatives had to flee the Eastern part of the country during the Transnistrian conflict, just because they are Romanians. Almost victims of ethnic cleansing, my family is highly politically conscious and concerned with social injustice. The limited freedom that we were able to attain made a great impression on an idealistic young man and an aspiring social reformer, writhing to national newspapers about his views of changing the country. I sought to write about the many difficulties associated with nominal independence and democracy, not the least of which was corruption, and this landed me in some trouble since in this part of the world denouncing the illegal activities of powerful people can be quite dangerous.

I had never dreamed that I would immigrate to America. I did so for political asylum. I have been an adventurous soul motivated by high ideals and the glamorous struggle of the journalist denouncing the abuse of power, weapons and influence trafficking, for example, in and around the violent conflicts of my native Moldova. A journalist in both Romania and Moldova from 2002 forward, I was also actively involved in the creation of the non-profit organization ACCEP in 1998, which has the goal of promoting democratic values and human rights. I ran into trouble thinking that the truth must be told; thus, I repeatedly lambasted the Communist government of Moldova, its lack of democracy, its subordination to Russia's interests, its corruption and demagogy. As a result, I encountered many problems, bureaucratic difficulties with simple things like getting a passport, allowing me access public information, threats, even physical assaults from so called criminal elements paid by politicians. I owe my life to the fact that I was able to convince the U.S. Immigration officials of the validity of my claims. Soon, what became most important to me was security for my family, especially with my wife's pregnancy. So we came to America, learned English, and are now raising our daughter comfortably and securely. After we arrived, I got a job with the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program and my wife studied for the medical licensure examination. Working with refugees from Russia, I became even more aware of the deep tragedy of the region, the lack of democracy, xenophobia and intolerance ruins peoples lives and retards economic development. Now, since my wife is practicing medicine, I have the time and resources to devote myself to my dream of a first-class graduate education in Political Science.

I am now comfortable outside of the fray of journalism and find myself much more attracted to the analytical side of progressive social change and the protection of human rights. I seek an education that will prepare me well to continue my work in political organization through European and Asian based NGOs. I would like very much in the future to work for a think tank concerned with the fate of the former Soviet Republics, especially in terms of economic development and human rights. I am especially interested in studying the emergence and solidification of democracy in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Republics of Central Asia, especially with respect to Russian influence and questions of energy and natural resources. I am interested in doing all that I can to provide scholarly support to these societies as they struggle to achieve freedom from Russian economic and political domination. I have long been intrigued by the way in which some former-Soviet block countries, such as the Baltic republics, have been successful at creating vibrant democracies in the wake of the Soviet Union, while others, unfortunately, my country being an excellent example, have been dismal failures.

I received an honorary scholarship for my undergraduate studies in Political Science at the National School for Political Science and Public Administration in Romania, graduating in 2000. I also earned a Masters in Communication and Public Relations from the same School in 2004, as I was hoping it would strengthen my journalistic skills, and help fulfill my dream of contributing to peaceful social change. Now, I feel that I am at the ideal point in life to undertake further graduate studies in my area of greatest intellectual intrigue, Comparative Politics. I am especially attracted to the program at XXXX College because I like the fact that there are a small number of students and, therefore, a very high level of contact with faculty. I also appreciate the fact that the master's and doctoral programs are flexible as to fields and courses, allowing students to study in other departments and universities as well. I hope to have the opportunity to contribute to the celebration of diversity at Boston College and I feel that I have much to contribute as a cosmopolitan man who is widely read and traveled. My mother tongue is Romanian and I am also a native speaker of Russian. English is my third language and I am also able to read and understand basic French and Spanish. I feel that my experience as a founder of a non-profit organization in Moldova, in particular, adds to my potential as a graduate student. I want to thank you for your consideration of my application.

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