Looks like enrollment of Russia language majors is surging in the United States … perhaps the best thing for our friends in the field is that Russia remain adversarial toward the U.S. in order to keep up interest from students. From Inside Higher Ed:
Other experts, who note that American students flocked to Russian during the Cold War, say that a friendly Russia (as in the immediate post-Soviet era) is less interesting to students than an in-your-face Russia in which leaders joust (verbally) with the United States and (not verbally) in places like Georgia.
Eugene Huskey, director of Russian studies at Stetson, quoted the Russian saying chem khuzhe, tem luchshe (the worse, the better) as applying to the field. “The worse U.S.-Russian relations are, or the worse the conditions are inside Russia, the more likely students are to read about the country,” Huskey said. “The current generation of high school students is growing up with the perception of a more menacing Russia, and that has piqued their curiosity in a way that is not dissimilar to what I experienced as a boy growing up in central Florida during the Cuban missile crisis.”