Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon is a PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania in the history department. Her research focuses on Black experiences in the Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic, and how race functions and is understood in socialist states. She has become a regular contributor and commentator on American and international media on Russian-Ukrainian relations and the Brittney Griner case in Russia. She earned her MA in regional studies: Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in history from Swarthmore College. In her previous professional life, she was a secondary history teacher and community college history instructor.