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Lecture Programme (Session 3)

1st May 2003

“The Great Britain – Russia Society”

3rd Session (May – July 2003)

State Visit of President Putin to the UK (first by a Russian Leader since 1844)
450th Anniversary of Commercial Relations between England & Russia
Tercentenary of the Founding of Saint Petersburg
60th Anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad
50th Anniversary of the death of Joseph Stalin


Wednesday 7th May 2003, in the University of London Union, Malet Street 6.15 for 6.45 p.m. (room 3E)
“SAINT PETERSBURG – The City, Buildings, History, Society and Intrigues”

Kyril Zinovieff with Jenny Hughes. A talk illustrated with slides.
(with Professor Lindsey Hughes in the Chair)

Kyril Zinovieff’s memory predates the Revolution, when he saw Rasputin in a sledge, roaring with laughter as he crossed the Moika River in St. Petersburg. When his nurse pointed out Rasputin, the six year old Kyril’s comment was: “And who’s that?” On his most recent visit to St. Petersburg last summer, the traffic ground to a halt during a visit by President Putin. “It’s been a long life” he reflected wryly “from Putin to Rasputin!” Kyril Zinovieff’s knowledge of Saint Petersburg is encyclopaedic.

After the revolution the Zinovieffs emigrated to England. After school and university Kyril worked in Denmark and Czechoslovakia. Served in the British Army in the 2nd World War. After 1946 became a civil servant. For the last twenty years until he lost his sight has been translating and reviewing, from French and Russian. His reviews, mostly on Russian subjects, and written under the name Kyril Fitzlyon have been widely published in Berlin and in the USA.

The Zinovieff family’s association with St. Petersburg dates from the early 18th century. The mother of the Orlov brothers, who instigated the coup d’etat which installed Catherine on the throne in place of Peter III was a Zinovieff.

The Zinovieffs were a constant in the administration of the Russian capital, sometimes as “marshals of the nobility”, sometimes as Governors of the city, or Commandants of the Fortress, or from 1906 as members of the Upper House (Council of State) or of the Lower House (Duma). Kyril’s eldest son now lives in St. Petersburg where he is, amongst other things, the Australian Consul.

Jenny Hughes, formerly a diplomat, became a journalist on the Economist, the Spectator and the Guardian. Was a member of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body and Chairman of the Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster Health Authority.

Kyril Zinovieff, assisted by Jenny Hughes, is the author of “A Companion Guide to St. Petersburg” 478 pages, price £14.99, just published to coincide with this May’s Tercentenary Celebrations.

On sale to members tonight at a 20% discount.

You are not just guided round the physical city but you are provided with the city’s historical setting- from the foundation to the present day. The Guide tells the story of the streets and buildings, the people who built them, who lived and died and were sometimes murdered there, who danced, wrote and painted there, and the story of the coups d’etat, revolutions, floods, epidemics and war.

Lindsey Hughes is Professor of Russian History at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES), the UK’s foremost authority, and author of many highly acclaimed books, on Russia in the Age of Peter the Great.



Wednesday 21st May2003 at The Cardinal Inn, 23 Francis Street SWIP IDN at 6.15 p.m. for 6.45 pm.
“CHECHNYA, To catch a Tatar: Russian imperial engagement in the Caucasus region following the Soviet collapse”

Chris Bird

Russian expansion into Muslim lands began in the valley of the Volga with the capture of Astrakhan by Ivan the Terrible in 1555. In the early 19th century in the Caucasus Russian Imperialists “faced a great variety of peoples speaking languages widely differing from each other. Some were Christian and welcomed the Russians as protectors against the Turks or Persians, others were fanatical Muslims, and fought the Russians bravely and successfully” (Professor Hugh Seton-Watson “Nations & States”).

For the Chechens, Islam was to become an ideology of heroic resistance under the leadership of Imam Shamil who held out against the Russians from 1836 until 1859. Soviet authorities later were to stigmatise this as a reactionary effort led by British and Ottoman imperialism!

Following the German invasion in 1941, in an excess of Russian nationalism, the Chechen people were deported from their homes to distant parts of Siberia or Central Asia on the grounds that some of their number had collaborated with the enemy, and that the majority had not prevented them from doing so. Many perished. Only in the time of Khrushchev were the Chechens permitted to return to Chechnya.

In 1991, with the dissolution of the USSR. Chechnya declared independence. Two terrible wars ensued, Will the referendum of 23 March help to bring peace?

Злой чечен ползет на берег, Точет свой кинжал
“the wicked Chechen creeps up the river bank, and sharpens his dagger”
Mikhail Lermontov “Cossack Cradle Song” (1840)

Is this centuries old and seemingly intractable conflict capable of resolution? Would secession by Chechnya from the Russian Federation be followed by others? Will this Russian struggle with a resurgent Islam hasten Russian realignment with the West? Is Russia too ruthless, or do we fail to appreciate Russia’s predicament in the front line? Chris Bird disregarded a KGB Colonels advice in 1993 not to go to the region, the Colonel warning him that be would be shot or kidnapped down the first side Street. Chris Bird took his young family to the Georgian capital Tbilisi, where he worked for Agence France-Presse and then for The Associated Press as the Caucasus correspondent. He witnessed the first Chechen War. Chris Bird’s book “To Catch a Tatar: Notes from the Caucasus” (John Murray hardback published 2002, will appear in paperback in September 2003).

Chris Bird lived and worked in Russia, the Ukraine, the Caucasus and Soviet Central Asia for much of the 1990s, He was expelled three times from Belgrade for his coverage of the Kosovo conflict for The Guardian, He worked also for the Office of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the organisation charged with implementing the Dayton Peace Accords.



Tuesday 3rd June 2003. University of London Union, Malet Street, 6.15 p.m. for 5.45 p.m. (Room 3D)

Anne Applebaum

“Gulag” stands for – Главное управление исправительное-трудовых лагерей
“Main Administration of Corrective Labour Camps”

We know more about the concentration and extermination camps of Hitlers Third Reich than we do about Stalin’s Gulag. Yet seven million people are alleged to have died in the Soviet Gulags!

Anne Applebaum’s first book “Between East-West. Across the Borderlands of Europe” described a journey through Lithuania, then on the verge of independence. Her new book “Gulag: A History” narrates the history of the Soviet concentration camp system, and describes daily life in the camps. It makes extensive use of recently opened Russian archives.

Anne Applebaum was born in Washington DC in 1964. Graduate of Yale, Marshall scholar at LSE and at St. Antony’s College, Oxford. In 1992 she won the Charles Douglas — Home Memorial Trust award for journalism in the ex Soviet Union. Married to Radek Sikorski, a Polish politician and writer. Has worked as a journalist since 1988 when she became the Warsaw correspondent for the Economist. Covered the collapse of Communism across Central & Eastern Europe. Her writing has appeared in the Spectator (foreign Editor and then Deputy Editor), the Daily &
Sunday Telegraph & The Evening Standard. She is now on the editorial board of the Washington Post.

She has written also for the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the International Herald Tribune, Foreign Affairs, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the Independent, Commentaire, Suddeutsche Zeitung & the Times Literary Supplement among others. Has appeared as a guest and presenter on many radio and television
programmes with the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, CBS & Sky News.

Anne Applebaum has flown to the UK from Washington DC specifically for the launch of “Gulag: A History” (on sale to members at a discount) and to address our meeting.

“Those who do not learn the lessons of History are destined to relive them!”


Monday 23rd June 2003, University of London Union, Malet Street at 6.15 p.m. for 6.45 p.m.(Room 3E)

Albert Axell.

For nearly fifty years the politics of the Cold War made it unacceptable for the real story of the Eastern Front in World War II to be told!

Three quarters of Nazi Germany’s armed forces were engaged on the Eastern Front. “The Soviet war effort was the most important factor, though not the only one, in the defeat of Germany” (Professor Richard Overy “Russia’s War”).

Marshal Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov (1896-1974) was a brilliant Soviet military commander. Responsible for the defence of Leningrad, then of Stalingrad, he broke through the German lines and eventually encircled Paulus’s 6th Army. In July 1943 he participated in the Battle of Kursk, the greatest tank battle the world had witnessed. Zhukov’s troops also launched the final assault on Berlin.

60 years after the Bathe of Stalingrad Albert Axell with his new book “Marshal Zhukov, The man who beat Hitler” pays tribute to the Soviet Union’s greatest and most popular military hero.

Albert Axell taught local history in the state of Wisconsin. Seeking broader horizons he did historical research in Japan, China, Mongolia & Russia, writing books about these countries. Was a journalist during the Vietnam War. He has met many world leaders. In Russia he met thirty of Stalin’s surviving generals.



Tuesday 1st July 2003 at The Cardinal Inn, 23 Francis Street, SWIP IDN at 6.15 p.m. for 6.45 p.m.
Russian leaders from Ivan the Terrible to Boris Yeltsin

Sol Shulman. (This talk, with slides, will be in Russian)
(with Brook Horowitz in the Chair)

A vivid but thorough descriptive coverage of eleven leaders, and others involved with the power and destiny of the country.
From history -Ivan the Terrible, the age of Boris Godunov, Peter the Great, and Napoleon.
From the 20th century – Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Andropov, Chernenko, Gorbachev and Yeltsin.
Behind the scenes dramas, revolts, crimes and misdemeanors.
Many first hand accounts of the leaders and their cohorts. A history book written in Russian, now translated into English that is a thrilling and absorbing read. It is a mystery book – for mystery is an ancient Kremlin tradition! It is an analysis of personality, power and corruption, but most of all it is a chilling insight into one of the most closed nations of the world.

Sol Shulman is an experienced observer of Russian people and politics who has seen many ancient Kremlin habits perpetuated into the 21st century. His book Russia Dies Laughing was published by Andre Deutsch and in six European languages. A fund of anecdotes, and hitherto unreleased slides.


Thursday 31st July 2003, University of London Union, Malet Street at 6.15 p.m. for 6.45 p.m.

Dr Zhores Alexandrovich Medvedev (in English)

Zhores Medvedev is, with his twin brother the historian Roy Medvedev, the joint author of “The Unknown Stalin” written in Russian and translated into English by Ellen Dahrendorf.

“The Unknown Stalin” is the first detailed study of the torrent of new material unleashed with the opening of the secret Soviet archives when the USSR collapsed. The truths extracted from these long secret archives provides a radically fresh insight into the life and career of one of the major figures of the twentieth century. “The Unknown Stalin” by two of Russia’s most distinguished historians represents possibly the most significant contribution to the study of Stalin in decades, and will be of vital interest to scholars and general readers alike.

Zhores Medvedev was born in 1925. His father died in a Labour Camp in 1941. Zhores joined the Red Army in 1943 and served at the front. An eminent gerontologist, Zhores wrote “The rise and fall of T.D. Lysenko” (1969) published in New York and translated into 10 languages. As one of the earliest practitioners of Samizdat (self publishing) he was arrested without charge in May 1970 and put into a mental hospital in Kaluga. World wide negative publicity compelled the Soviet authorities to release him three weeks later. Arrived in Britain in 1973 where he was informed by the Soviet Embassy that he had been stripped of Soviet citizenship. This was restored in 1990 by a decree of President Gorbachev. Zhores became a senior scientist at the National Institute for Medical Research in London until his retirement in 1991. He is the author of many books and over 400 papers and articles.

50 years after the death of Stalin come and hear from a man who has suffered yet survived some of the horrors of the twentieth century.


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