How Russia Lost Harvard

A somewhat stretching article in today’s N.Y. Times argues that an 18,500-word article (“How Harvard lost Russia”) in the January issue of Institutional Investor contributed to Harvard President Larry Summer’s downfall. The piece, about Harvard’s efforts to help the U.S. government privatize Russian back in the 199s, concluded that Harvard’s best & brightest were more of a problem than a solution, and that financial improprieties in Harvard’s team tarnished the university’s image.


  1. Why do you say “stretching”? That reason was mentioned far more in the discussion by academics than by mass media, which made his resignation into a culture-war issue so they could write the standard rants on The Horrors Of Political Correctness.
    Looking sexist is one thing, looking bad to institutional investors is quite another.
    See thread at:

  2. I take your point, but I’m not convinced. From the article, and from other pieces on the subject, as well as via colleagues there, it seems fairly clear that most people had never read the piece and knew little about the issue. While this may not have been all about the culture wars, putting it so squarely on something so rational feels uncomfortably like ex post revisionism.