In Memoriam: Oleg Kulakov (1958-2019)

News | February 12, 2019

The EastWest Institute respectfully acknowledges the death of Colonel (Ret.) Oleg Kulakov, who passed away unexpectedly at the age of 60 and was buried with military honors in Moscow on January 26, 2019.

“We lost a unique colleague and friend, who was also one of our most dedicated partners in Russia,” commented Vladimir Ivanov, Director of EWI’s Russia and United States Program. “We will miss Professor Kulakov as an individual who exhibited an exceptional combination of integrity, professionalism, courage, compassion and humor throughout his long career.” 

A veteran of the Soviet Afghan war from 1979-1989, and fluent in Persian, Dari and English, he later became an internationally renowned scholar in Middle East and South Asia studies, serving as professor of area studies and English at the Military University of the Russian Ministry of Defence.

Beyond academia Professor Kulakov took part in Track 2 diplomatic efforts, serving as a trusted adviser not only to Russian policy makers but also foreign policy leaders in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and India, as well as the United States, Europe and NATO. He also worked as a research fellow with the NATO Defense College in Rome. In recent years, he contributed to EWI’s U.S.-Russia working groups on Afghan narcotrafficking and counterterrorism in Afghanistan, as co-author of several reports and speaker at conferences and meetings. His field knowledge and ability to clearly and frankly articulate Russia’s foreign policy views were particularly valued by his peers. Among numerous achievements, teaching was his primary passion.

We express our condolences to his family, close colleagues and friends.