THE GREAT BRITAIN – RUSSIA SOCIETY
Remaining lecture of the Winter – Spring Session (January – April 2018)
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
THE GREAT BRITAIN – RUSSIA SOCIETY
Programme for the Spring – Summer Session (May-July 2018)
Priority booking period for members until May 7th 2018
3 talks will be at Pushkin House, 5a Bloomsbury Square. Nearest tube stations are Holborn or Tottenham Court Rd. 3 talks will be at The Open Russia Club, 16 Hanover Square, London W1S 1HT. Nearest tube station is Oxford Circus.
At some stage in 2018 The Open Russia Club will move to premises at 67 Wimpole Street. You will be advised on www.gb-russia.org if the move occurs during this summer session.
SIX SPECIALIST SPEAKERS!
Thursday 10th May 2018, at Pushkin House, Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2TA 6.30 for 7.00pm “THE UK’S POLITICAL RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA” WE WELCOME MR. JAMES NIXEY Head of The Russia & Eurasia Programme at CHATHAM HOUSE (The Royal Institute of International Affairs)
The UK’s political relations with the Russian Federation – never wonderful at the best of times in the post Soviet period have had their landscape scarred further following the attack on Sergei Skripal & his daughter in Salisbury on March 4th. Political relations stand in marked contrast to the broadly positive interactions between the two former empires at the educational, scientific and even commercial levels. How to explain? How does Russia see it? Is this the nadir & can things conceivably get better? Or worse?
James Nixey has been Head of the Russia & Eurasia Programme at Chatham House since January 2013. He is also an Associate Fellow with the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, and serves on the board of the Journal UA: Ukraine Analytica. His principal field of study concerns the relationships between Russia and the other post Soviet states, and with the West. Selected publications include The South Caucasus: Drama on Three Stages in A Question of Leadership: America’s Role in a Changed World (2010), The Long Goodbye: Waning Influence in the South Caucasus & Central Asia (2012), Russia’s Geopolitical Compass: Losing Direction in Putin Again: Implications for Russia & the West (2012), Russian Foreign Policy Towards the West in The Russian Challenge (2015) and most recently The Struggle for Ukraine (October 2017). He has also written articles for The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, The Independent, Newsweek, BBC.co.uk and CNN.com. James holds degrees in modern languages and international relations and has previous experience in journalism (as a reporter in Moscow in the late 1990s) and in the banking sector.
ANALYSIS FROM A TOP PROFESSIONAL. UNMISSABLE!
Tuesday 29th May 2018, Open Russia Club, 16 Hanover Square, London W1S 1HT 6.30 for 7.00pm. “THE RUSSIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION 2018 – REFLECTIONS OF AN ELECTION OBSERVER & WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR UK-RUSSIAN RELATIONS?”
MR.NICHOLAS COBB (COBB ENERGY COMMUNICATIONS LTD).
Part 1 of this talk presents the thoughts of Mirjam Zwingli -an independent observer providing her frank assessment of the running of the election. It is important to assess not only the politics of the election, the candidates and policies but also to critically assess the way in which the election is held and executed. How an election is conducted says much about the health of a democracy. (an illustrated talk).
Part 2 of the talk will be led by Nicholas Cobb, Chairman of the Westminster Russia Forum, who was also due to attend the monitoring mission, as the only person invited from the UK, but pulled out due to the ongoing diplomatic crisis between Moscow & London. Instead Nic will assess the implications for UK political and parliamentary relations in the light of a newly reinstalled Putin – what will this mean for an already fractious and increasingly dysfunctional relationship?
Nic has been involved in UK politics and public affairs for some years, & was a member of the GB-Russia Society Committee. A VIEW FROM
THE CHAIRMAN OF THE WESTMINSTER RUSSIA FORUM.
Thursday 14th June 2018, at Pushkin House, Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2TA at 6.30 for 7pm. “THROUGH TIMES OF TROUBLE – A TALK ON THE WAR IN EASTERN UKRAINE”. DR.ANNA MATVEEVA (a talk in English)
Telling the story of the insurgency in Ukraine’s Donbas region from the perspective of the rebels, and drawing extensively on first-hand research and interviews. It follows the stages of assembling conflict ingredients together and the rebellion’s zigzagging fortunes after it became apparent that Moscow was not going to repeat the Crimea scenario in Donbas. It provides a unique insight into the rebels’ thinking and motivations, which need to be understood if the conflict is to be resolved. It sheds light also on the developments in Moscow, discusses the phenomenon of the Russian Spring movement and concluded with the prospects for a peaceful solution.. Engaging with the arguments for war and the prospects for peace, this study has been described as ‘a salutary, but necessary lesson for us all’.
Dr. Matveeva, who has UK citizenship, is a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London and a member of the Board of Nonviolent Peace Force. She works as an academic and practitioner specialising in Conflict Studies, and served as UNDP Regional Advisor on Peace and Development.. She acts as a consultant to international organisations such as the UN, the EU and OSCE, international NGOs and donors. In 2010 Dr. Matveeva worked for the Kyrgyzstan Inquiry as head of Research Secretariat. Previously she was a Research Fellow at Chatham House, worked at the London School of Economics and headed programmes at International Alert and Safer World. She will offer her book for sale “No Moscow Stooges: Identity Polarisation and guerrilla movements in the Donbas”. Price £38.00 Cash only. We have no facility to take card payments.
“A FIRST HAND ACCOUNT OF DIVISIONS IN UKRAINE”
Wednesday 27 June, The Open Russia Club, 16 Hanover Square, London W1S 1HT, 6.30 for 7.00pm ***** A MAJOR FIVE STAR EVENT ***** “THE UKRAINIAN FAMINE”
VISITING PROFESSOR ANNE APPLEBAUM
Dr. Anne Applebaum, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Gulag” and “Iron Curtain”, and currently in London on a one year appointment as Visiting Professor of Practice at the LSE Global Affairs Institute, will talk about her momentous book “RED FAMINE”
“In 1932-33, nearly 4 million Ukrainians died of starvation, having been deliberately deprived of food. It is one of the most devastating episodes in the history of the 20th century. With unprecedented authority and detail, “Red Famine” investigates how this happened, who was responsible, and what the consequences were. It is the fullest account yet published of these terrible events.
The book draws on a mass of archival material and first hand testimony only available since the end of the USSR, as well as the work of Ukrainian scholars all over the world. It includes accounts of the famine by those who survived it, describing what human beings can do when driven mad by hunger. It shows how the Soviet state ruthlessly used propaganda to turn neighbours against each other to expunge supposedly ‘anti-revolutionary’ elements. It also records the actions of extraordinary individuals who did all they could to relieve the suffering.
The famine was followed by an attack on Ukraine’s cultural and political leadership – and then by a denial that it had ever happened at all. Census reports were falsified and memory suppressed. Some western journalists shamelessly followed the Soviet line, others bravely rejected it, and were undermined and harassed. The Soviet authorities were determined not only that Ukraine should abandon its national aspirations, but that the country’s true history should be buried along with its millions of victims. “Red Famine”, a triumph of scholarship and human sympathy, is a milestone in the recovery of those memories and that history. At a moment of crisis between Russia and Ukraine, it also shows how far the present is shaped by the past”.
(With acknowledgement to Penguin Allen Lane)
Anne Applebaum, in huge demand as a speaker, born in Washington DC in 1964, graduate of Yale, Marshall scholar at LSE and at St. Antony’s College, Oxford. Married to Radoslaw Sikorski, Poland’s former Foreign Minister. Has worked as a journalist since 1988 for numerous international journals and newspapers. She was, and may still be on the editorial board of The Washington Post.
“Red Famine” (retail price £10.99 OUR PRICE £8.00!) and “Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe” (RETAIL PRICE £12.99 OUR PRICE £9.00!) will be on sale to members attending”. Cash only. Exact amount if possible We have no facility to accept credit or debit cards.
90 PLACES ONLY. WE ANTICPATE A COMPLETE SELL-OUT OF SEATS.
DON’T DELAY! BOOK TODAY!
Monday 9th July 2018, at Pushkin House, Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2TA at 6.30 for 7.00pm. “THE POLITICAL AESTHETICS OF THE RUSSIAN FAR RIGHT”
PROFESSOR ANDREI ROGATCHEVSKI
The Russian Far-Right scene is both varied and little known. This introductory survey will focus on the manifestation of extreme right-wing politics through the aesthetics of such groups as the Russian National Unity (RNE), Movement against the illegal immigration (DPNI), the National Socialist Society (NSO) and others, most of which have been banned by the Russian authorities. There is also a reason to believe, however, that some of the groups’ activities have not ceased. Far-Right flags, insignia, posters, fiction and songs will be looked at. Special attention will be paid to the artwork of the National Bolshevik Party, aka the Other Russia. Not for the faint hearted! An amply illustrated talk.
Andrei Rogatchevski was born in Siberia, educated in Moscow and Glasgow, worked in Scottish and Fennoscandian academia, and is currently Professor of Russian Literature and Culture at UIT – the Arctic University of Norway. In 2018 he is spending his research leave at the Institute of Advanced Studies (UCL) Among the books he has (co-) authored / (co-) edited are “Bribery and Blat in Russia” (Macmillan 2000), “Punishment as a Crime? Perspectives on Prison Experience in Russian Culture” (Uppsala 2014) and “Russophone Periodicals in Israel” (Stanford 2016).
CRUCIAL NEW INSIGHTS. BROADENING OUR UNDERSTANDING.
Thursday 26th July 2018, Open Russia Club, 16 Hanover Square, London WC1S 1HT 6.30 for 7pm
***** 2ND SPECTACULAR FIVE STAR EVENT *****
A MAJOR COUP FOR THE SOCIETY!
THE WORLD FAMOUS AUTHOR
MR. BORIS AKUNIN
will talk on
“What kind of books I write. And Why and How”
A talk for about thirty minutes followed by a long question and answer session.
Boris Akunin is the nom de plume of Mr. Grigory Chkhartishvili, son of a Georgian soldier Father and Jewish Mother, who is probably the most popular and widely read author of detective stories in the world today. Over 18 million copies of his amazing novels have been sold in Russia alone. Worldwide (including Russia) the total is reckoned to be 30 million. His books, which specialise in fascinating depictions of 19th century characters have been translated into many foreign languages. His main hero is the detective Erast Fandorin, his main female detective Sister Pelagia. Four Fandorin novels, The Winter Queen, The Turkish Gambit, The State Counsellor and The Decorator were made into big budget Russian films.
Boris Akunin – born May 20th 1956 in Zestaponi Georgia, lived in Moscow from 1958 until 2014, but now divides much of his time between Britain, France and Spain. He is also an expert on Japan. He serves as editor-in-chief of the 20 volume Anthology of Japanese Literature. He is also an essayist and literary translator. In 2013 he announced that he would no longer write detective novels, instead he would spend time on a series of books on the history of the Russian State.
Boris Akunin has been compared to Gogol, Tolstoy and to Arthur Conan Doyle. He has his best ideas in the morning when he first wakes up – when he might think of a new predicament in which to ensnare his popular hero Erast Fandorin.
We shall be selling 4 different Boris Akunin detective novels:- “The Death of Achilles”, “Death on the Leviathan”, “Pelagia & the White Bulldog” & “The State Counsellor”. The Retail Price is generally £8.99. Special price to all present of just £6.50 per book. These books make superb presents! Please bring the exact cash. We have no facility to accept either credit or debit cards.
We anticipate a huge demand for seats.
Book immediately to avoid disappointment!
With many fans among our members this will be a memorable meeting
A PHENOMENAL FINALE TO THE SESSION!
The Royal Opera House will be reserved between seasons this summer for rehearsals of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Consequently there will be no visits this year from either he Bolshoi or Mariinsky ballet companies. Hopefully one of those companies will be here next year.