Yanni Kotsonis is an expert on Russian economic history and political economy. He is an associate professor of History, Russian and Slavic studies and the director of the Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia at New York University. He is the co-editor of Russian Modernity: Politics, Knowledge, Practices (2000), and the author of Making Peasants Backward: Agricultural Cooperatives and the Agrarian Question in Russia, 1861-1914 (1999).

Vladimir Golstein is an associate professor of Slavic studies at Brown University where he teaches Russian literature and film. He is the author of Lermontov's Narratives of Heroism (1999) and numerous articles on major Russian authors. He was born in Moscow, went to the US in 1979, and studied at Columbia and Yale Universities.

Amy Knight is a historian of the Soviet Union and Russia and an expert on the KGB. She has taught at LSE, Johns Hopkins University, George Washington University and at Carleton University. She has worked at the US Library of Congress as a specialist in Russian and Soviet affairs. She is the author of Who Killed Kirov: The Kremlin's Greatest Mystery (2000), Spies Without Cloaks: The KGB's Successors (1998), and How the Cold War Began: The Igor Gouzenko Affair and the Hunt for Soviet Spies (2006).

Ray McGovern is a former CIA officer who was responsible for the analysis of Soviet policy in Vietnam and China. In 2003, McGovern co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) to, as stated on his website, "expose the way intelligence was being falsified to 'justify' war on Iraq". He works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington DC.

Miodrag Soric is the bureau chief of Deutsche Welle, Germany's international broadcaster, in Washington DC. From 1995 to 2002, he served as the head of the Russian Service, the head of the Eastern European Service and the head of the Central and Eastern European Service. Soric was on the board of directors for Reporters without Borders from 2003 to 2009.

Stephen F Szabo is the executive director of the Transatlantic Academy at the German Marshall Fund of the US in Washington DC. His areas of expertise are transatlantic relations, NATO, the European Union, German politics, and US foreign policy. He was previously the academic and anterim dean and the professor of European studies at the Paul H Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Padma Desai is the Gladys and Roland Harriman Professor of Comparative Economic Systems, and director of the Center for Transition Economies at Columbia University. She is a leading scholar of the Soviet Union and Russia. Desai is an elected member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She edited Marxism, Central Planning and the Soviet Economy (1983) and authored Work Without Wages: Russia's Nonpayment Crisis (2000) and Financial Crisis, Contagion, and Containment: From Asia to Argentina (2003).

John J. Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and the co-director of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago, where he has taught since 1982. He is the author of five books including, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (2001), The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (with Stephen M. Walt, 2007), and Why Leaders Lie: The Truth about Lying in International Politics (2011), which has been translated into 10 languages.

Jack Matlock was the US ambassador to the Soviet Union when the Cold War ended. He has held academic posts since 1991, and has taught diplomacy at Princeton University, Hamilton College and Columbia University. He is the author of Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended (2004) and Autopsy on an Empire: The American Ambassador's Account of the Collapse of the Soviet Union (1995).

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Source: Al Jazeera