THE GREAT BRITAIN – RUSSIA SOCIETY
Programme for the Winter – Spring Session (January – April 2018)
Priority booking period for members until January 10th. 2018
3 talks will be at Pushkin House, 5a Bloomsbury Square. Nearest tube stations are Holborn & Tottenham Court Rd. 3 talks will be at The Open Russia Club, 16 Hanover Square, London W1S 1HT. Nearest tube station is Oxford Circus. 1 talk will be at UCL SSEES 16 Taviton Street. Nearest tube station is Euston.
YOU WANT THE BEST SPEAKERS? WE HAVE THEM!
Saturday 13th January 2018, The Civil Service Club, 13-15 Gt. Scotland Yard, SW1A 2HJ at 6.30pm
THE GREAT BRITAIN – RUSSIA SOCIETY’S TRADITIONAL
ATMOSPHERIC RUSSIAN OLD YEAR – NEW YEAR PARTY
Welcome drink, 3 course a la carte dinner, musical entertainment with Russian songs from
The 5 strong group “Russian Souvenir” in national costume.
We welcome members, group parties, & the guests of members.
NOW JUST £25 per person including half a bottle of house wine or mineral water/soft drinks
THE SOCIETY’S MAJOR SOCIAL EVENT OF THE YEAR
WITH AN UNFORGETTABLE RUSSIAN ATMOSHERE.
LIMITED SEATING. SO BOOK NOW TO SECURE YOUR PLACES!
PAYMENT FOR THIS EVENT BY CHEQUE PLEASE
TO THE GREAT BRITAIN-RUSSIA SOCIETY
Post your cheques NOW to: The Hon Membership Secretary Mrs. Ute Lynch
43 Kenilworth Court, Lower Richmond Road, London SW15 1EN
Monday 22nd January 2018, at Pushkin House, Bloomsbury Way. Complimentary Wine at 5.15pm.
THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE GREAT BRITAIN – RUSSIA SOCIETY at 5.30 pm.
Important! We need a quorum of at least 10% of the membership.
Then Wine Reception at 6.45 p.m. Talk begins at 7.00 pm.
“THE PARADOXES OF TRUST: THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION AND SOVIET SOCIETY”
PROFESSOR GEOFFREY HOSKING FBA. F.R.Hist.S. OBE.
Generalised social trust is essential for the peace and prosperity of any society. Under serious strain as the 1905 revolution revealed. In 1917-21 the new Soviet Government deliberately destroyed or fatally weakened most of the symbolic systems & institutions which earlier had sustained at least a limited measure of social trust: the Orthodox Church, the universities and the academy; the public media; property, the rule of law, the family, banking, money and most of internal trade. The result was a society of virulent generalised distrust, which reached its climax in the Stalinist terror of 1936-8. In this atmosphere, the security police had unlimited licence to act on any suspicion to arrest, imprison, enslave and/or murder any citizen. In the long run such a society proved intolerable even to its rulers, and both Stalin and subsequent Soviet leaders had to devise a way of keeping control without relying on undiscriminating terror. Few societies have experienced such a total breakdown of social trust, but we should not assume that any society is totally immune to it.
Geoffrey Alan Hosking M.A. and PhD (University of Cambridge). Lecturer and Reader at Essex University (1966-84). In 1984 he succeeded Hugh Seton-Watson as Senior Professor of Russian History at the School of Slavonic & East European Studies (now part of University College London). – a Chair that he occupied with immense distinction for 23 years. Professor Hosking is one of the English-speaking world’s most outstanding historians of Russia. Exceptionally gifted, an elegant writer with a vast hinterland of Russian culture, Geoffrey Hosking is the author or editor of some dozen major works, several of which have won international awards. They include The History of the Soviet Union (3rd edition 1992), Russia: People & Empire 1552-1917 (1997), and “Russia & the Russians: from Rus to the Russian Federation” (2001). He delivered the Reith Lectures in 1988, and was appointed Leverhulme Personal Research Professor from 1999 until 2004. He enjoys the unique distinction of being the only British Historian to have been made an Honorary Doctor of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
***** A FIVE STAR EVENT HIGHLIGHT OF THE SESSION !*****
Tuesday 6th February 2018, Pushkin House. Bloomsbury Way ,London WC1A 2TA 6.3O for 7pm
“AN EXPEDITION TRIP TO FRANZ JOSEF LAND”
MRS. BARBARA FORRAI
An expedition trip with the services of experts on history, geology, ecology, flora and fauna. No guarantee to adhere to the planned itinerary for weather can make this impossible. Landings at remote places are made by Zodiac (a stout rubber raft with an outboard motor) where you may sit on the edge with rope hand-holds for safety. Wet weather clothes & knee high boots are compulsory as you land by swinging your legs over the edge and wading ashore. This trip started at Murmansk & sailed north to the Russian archipelago of Franz Josef Land, the most northerly land in Eurasia, which we explored in depth and then sailed further north into the pack-ice, reaching a point about 450 miles from the North Pole. There were further landings on the return journey, but then it was back to Murmansk. Photos of stunning scenery, polar bears and historical sites associated with Nansen’s epic journey.(Illustrated. 121 slides!)
Barbara Forrai, a mathematician who took up Russian as a retirement hobby. After
Perestroika she attended numerous courses for foreigners in St. Petersburg & Yaroslavl, subsequently gaining a degree at the University of Westminster, after which she taught beginners. In 2002 she went to work for a month with a Russian charity “Helping Hands” in Chita, East Siberia, which cares for Street Children. She intended to return and teach English when they opened a school, but this never materialised due to a big fire at the building. She now supports them by giving travel lectures, chiefly on the Russian Arctic, and donating the fees to the charity. For this work and for 27 years’ service to the British Heart Foundation , Barbara was awarded a BEM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
DRAMATIC & AWE INSPIRING SCENERY. FASCINATING!
Monday 26 February 2018. Open Russia Club, 16 Hanover Square, London W1S 1HT 6.30 for 7pm
“LABOUR & THE GULAG: RUSSIA AND THE SEDUCTION OF THE BRITISH LEFT”
The Labour Party welcomed the Russian Revolution of October 1917 & for the following decades it enthusiastically supported the Soviet ‘great experiment’ and prepared to bring about its own Socialist revolution in Britain. While the British Left’s preferred version of its history in the years before the Second World War is a noble one, Giles Udy argues that there is a darker narrative which runs parallel to this: how Labour’s infatuation with Soviet Communism led it to defend the Soviet Gulag, excuse or deny mass shootings and refuse to halt British imports of tons of timber cut by the political prisoners. In 1920 Lenin instructed British Communists to join and subvert the Labour Party. A century later, something close to that seems to be happening. Once more, Socialism has become the utopian ideal; once more, its economic and human rights failures (in Venezuela and elsewhere) are denied or dismissed. Giles Udy’s lecture examines the last time Labour flirted with Socialist totalitarianism and the moral compromises that followed.
Giles Udy has spent the past 15 years studying Soviet Communism, with a particular focus on the repression of its citizens and the sponsorship of revolution and subversion abroad. His lecture will be based on the material in his recent book “Labour & the Gulag: Russia and the Seduction of the British Left”. The book has been widely acclaimed. It has been described as ‘the best book of political history for years’ (Edward Lucas) ‘compelling’ (Michael Gove), ‘magisterial’ (Evening Standard) ‘scholarly, passionate, important’ (Lord Maurice Glasman, Blue Labour), and a ‘masterpiece’ (Tim Montgomerie). It has been ‘Editor’s Choice’ in The Spectator. Giles’s original work is on the Gulag camps of the Arctic far North of Siberia, and in pursuit of that research he has travelled thousands of miles across Russia, visiting some of the most isolated parts of the country. Labour and the Gulag began as a chapter in that book. He is a members of the Keston Institute , Oxford, and holds an MBA from the Cass Business School in London. Copies of Giles Udy’s book (retail price £30) will be on sale to members for just £17.00. Payment by Cash Only.
A BRILLIANT SPEAKER. ABSOLUTELY UNMISSABLE!
Wednesday 21st March at UCL SSEES, 16 Taviton St. London WC1H 0BW at 6.30 for 7.00pm
This talk is co-sponsored by UCL SSEES
Wine reception at 6.30 pm in Room 437. Lecture at 7.00pm in Room 347
“THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS – INSIDE THE KREMLIN’S PROPAGANDA MACHINE”
A talk about the speaker’s experiences over the last year as a regular guest on Russian State TV – appearing live nightly, on Rossiya 1’s 60 Minute, Russia’s top rated slick political talk show and seeking to rebut the tide of propaganda, obfuscation and lies that he alleges the Kremlin feeds to its viewers. The vector of the propaganda is predictable – that the world led by the US. is ganging up against Russia because the West supposedly fears Russia’s new might. That the West fomented a revolution in Ukraine and are aggressively surrounding Russia not only territorially but through such supposed conspiracies as the Olympic doping scandal. Russia is surrounded by enemies and fascists, while Putin bravely stands with those who resist Washington’s global hegemony. Yet Russia’s elite also believes the propaganda that is served to the masses. Which is in many ways the most unnerving part of the whole show.
Owen Matthews (born 1971) is a British writer, historian and journalist. Educated at Westminster School and at Christ Church, Oxford (MA in History).. His first book Stalin’s Children was shortlisted for the Orwell prize for political writing, and for other prizes. From 2006-2012 he was Newsweek’s Moscow Bureau Chief. Has worked as a foreign correspondent in Budapest, Sarajevo and Belgrade. Covered the second Chechen War. Has reported from Turkey, the Caucasus, Syria and Iran, also covering the invasions of Afghanistan and then Iraq. Has lectured on Russian history and politics at Columbia University’s Harriman Centre, St. Antony’s College, Oxford, and the Journalism Faculty of Moscow State University.
COUNTERING THE PROPAGANDA OF A RESURGENT RUSSIA.
BOOK EARLY TO SECURE YOUR SEATS – RIVETING!
Thursday 29th March, The Open Russia Club, 16 Hanover Square London W1S 1HT 6.30 for 7pm.
“EXPLAINING RUSSIAN POLICY IN SYRIA AND IN THE WIDER MIDDLE EAST”
PROFESSOR ROY ALLISON
This lecture explains Russia’s unyielding commitment to the Syrian regime in recent years including its high profile military intervention. It also explores reasons for Russia’s expanding diplomatic and strategic visibility in the wider Middle East. It argues that identity or former solidarity between the Soviet Union/Russia and Syria has exerted little real influence, despite some strategic nostalgia. Russian material interests in Syria itself are also overstated, although Russia is entrenching itself in the regional politics of the Middle East. In contrast the Russian domestic political context is important. First there is the risk of regional ‘blowback’ from Syria, via Islamic networks and insurgency in the North Caucasus. Secondly, Russia equates calls for the replacement of Assad as another case of Western inspired regime change., with future implications for Russia or other authoritarian CIS states. Russia is currently seeking a settlement in Syria to preserve its new strategic imprint in the country and it to prioritise a broader diplomatic offensive from Iran to Libya. However, Russia has positioned itself on one side of a Sunni-Shi’a sectarian division, which poses serious risks for future domestic stability and international credibility.
Roy Allison is Professor of Russian and Eurasian International Relations at the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, University of Oxford. He is also Director of the Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies at St. Antony’s College Oxford. He first studied Russian at Oxford, where he taught Russian history and politics. In 1985 he had an attachment to Moscow State University. He was Senior Lecturer in Russian Security Policy at CREES, University of Birmingham (1987-1999); Head of the Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House (1993-2005); and Reader in International Relations, London School of Economics (2005-2011). He has written ten books (sole author, co-authored or edited) including Russia, the West and Military Intervention (OUP, 2013); Putin’s Russia and the Enlarged Europe (co-author) (Blackwell 2006); Internal Factors in Russian Foreign Policy co-author) (OUP 1996); The Soviet Union and the Strategy of Non-Alignment in the Third World (OUP, 1998); and Finland’s Relations with the Soviet Union (Macmillan, 1995). He has broad interests in the international relations and foreign and security policies of |Russia and neighbouring CIS states.
WORLD CLASS EXPERTISE! PROMPT BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL.
Monday 9th April, at The Open Russia Club, 16 Hanover Square, London W1S 1HT at 6.30 for 7pm.
“THE RUSSIAN ECONOMY: GROWTH versus SECURITY”
EMERITUS PROFESSOR PHILIP HANSON OBE
Russia’s economy is recovering from recession. So far, the recovery is sluggish and somewhat fragile. The expansion of Russian output is limited by a declining workforce, weak investment and problems with productivity growth. These problems, when described in broad terms, are common to much of the developed West. However, Russia is still not a developed country and should have scope for faster, ‘catch up’ growth. Something is holding Russia back. The causes of sluggish investment and productivity growth in Russia are different from those that apply to the Western world. In the talk I shall consider what those distinctive causes are, and will argue that the leadership’s concern with ‘security’ is part of the problem. This is not merely the high priority given to defence and security in public spending. It is more to do with the large role of the state in general in the economy and the impediments to private enterprise and competition. Particular attention will be given to the 2017 Strategy on Economic Security.
Philip Hanson is Emeritus Professor of the Political Economy of Russia and Eastern Europe at CREES, the University of Birmingham, and an Associate Fellow of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House. He has worked in the Treasury, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, as well as at a number of universities: Exeter, Michigan, Harvard, Kyoto, Soderton and Uppsala. He acts as an analyst or consultant for Oxford Analytica and several banks and companies. His books include The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Economy 1945-1992.
THE UK’S PRE-EMINENT EXPERT ON RUSSIA’S ECONOMY.
AN ESSENTIAL, “MUST ATTEND” LECTURE!
Thursday 26th April 2018, Pushkin House, 5a Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2TA 6.30 for 7pm
“AGRICULTURE IN THE USSR, AND IN PRESENT DAY RUSSIA”
Socialism to Stalin meant anti-capitalism, so when he launched his industrialisation drive in 1928 it was inevitable that he would eliminate capitalist agriculture. This was a political decision, and not an economic one. It involved forcing 120 million peasants into collective farms (kolkhozes). This led to famine and destruction of property and livestock. Gradually kolkhozniks accepted the reality of the new system, but labour productivity dropped. The result was that agriculture was never capable of feeding the Soviet population adequately and this led to imports of food and fodder even under Stalin, but in much larger quantities later. This talk will include a discussion of the speaker’s experiences of visiting kolkhozes and research institutes in various republics during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1978 China’s Deng Xaioping saw through the fallacy of collectivisation and reverted to capitalism. The rest is history.
Russia today is the world’s leading grain exporter and has greatly increased output in other sectors as a result of Western sanctions. Capitalist agriculture has thus enjoyed a renaissance.
Martin McCauley, brought up on a family farm in Northern Ireland, had a commercial background both in Agriculture and as a Quantity Surveyor in the Building Industry before, as a mature student, gaining first class honours in Russian Regional Studies at SSEES. His Doctorate (PhD) was on Soviet Agriculture, and as a member of staff at SSEES he progressed to Senior Lecturer in Russian Government and Politics, and Head of the Department of Social Sciences. He acted as a business consultant in the Gorbachev era, and has regularly visited China, promoting educational exchanges and trade. As a long term student of Soviet and Russian agriculture, Martin McCauley has written extensively on the subject. His latest publication is “The Cold War 1949-2016” (Routledge 2017). At present Christopher Lee and he are writing a trilogy of thrillers on contemporary international relations.
ANOTHER HUGELY INFORMATIVE INSIGHT. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
A FITTING FINALE, WITH MORE WORLD CLASS EXPERTS THAN WE HAVE EVER WELCOMED BEFORE IN A SINGLE STUPENDOUS SESSION.
DO NOT DELAY. BUY YOUR “SEASON TICKET” TODAY.
MINIMUM OF SIX CHARGED TALKS AT JUST £5 PER TALK
Annual Old Year-New Year Dinner & Entertainment
POST A SEPARATE CHEQUE (payable to The Great Britain-Russia Society)
TO THE HON. MEMBERSHIP SECRRETARY, 43 KENILWORTH COURT, LOWER RICHMOND ROAD, LONDON SW15 1EN
HELD TO LAST YEAR’S PRICE OF £25 PER PERSON
The Khodorkovsky Foundation hopes to set up 11 research groups, each with its own team of international experts – to analyse cultural, social and economic structures which will influence Russia in the long term.
(1) Demography, territory & self government. Decentralism, federalism and
guarantees of sovereignty.
(2) Russia and climate change.
(3) The dynamics of the technological revolution in Russia.
(4) Resources as help or hindrance. The “energy economy” in the context of the
(5) Social inequality as a civilisational threat.
(6) The role of the Church on Russia.
(7) Nation and National Interest in Russia.
(8) The choice of an effective “constitutional” model for Russia.
(9) Legal consciousness and legal nihilism in Russia.
(10) Can Russia form “institutional guarantees” for democracy in the next 30 years?
(11) What role will Russia play on the global stage?
(12) Presentation of summaries from each panel of experts
GB-RUSSIA Society members are invited to attend the summaries free of charge. Details will be circulated on www.gbrussia.org in due course.
*****A 5 STAR EVENT. A HIGHLIGHT OF THE SESSION *****