The Great Britain – Russia Society
Summer Session (May – July 2004)
Seven select, memorable meetings
Monday 10 May 2004. University of London Union, Malet Street, WC1E 7HY 6.30 for 7.00 p.m. (Room 3E)
“IVAN THE TERRIBLE RE-VISITED”
PROFESSOR ISABEL DE MADARIAGA FRHistS FBA
In the Chair: Dr Sergei Bogatyrev
“The long reign of Ivan the Terrible (1533-84) constitutes one of the most puzzling and disputed pages of Russian
History” (Professor Michael T. Florinsky in “Russia – a History and an Interpretation”).
Ivan the Terrible was the first ruler in Russia openly to espouse the doctrine of political absolutism, and his baleful
influence over subsequent Russian History has been profound.
In her recently completed book on Ivan the Terrible, 451 years after England first established commercial relations
with Russia, Professor Isabel de Madariaga focuses her formidable intellect on presenting the man as a human being
as well as a ruler, and avails herself of recent publications in Russia and in the USA to assess the aims and the extent
of his achievements, and aspects of his reign that need to be actively researched to establish a truer picture.
Professor Isabel de Madariaga is the doyenne of all SSEES graduates, having studied there before World War 2
when the School was being run by its founders, Professor Robert William Seton-Watson and Professor Sir Bernard
Pares. Worked for the BBC Monitoring Service (1940-43), Ministry of Information (1943-47), Economic Information
Unit of the Treasury (47-48). Editorial Assistant of the Slavonic & East European Review (1951-64). Lecturer in
Modern History at the University of Sussex (1966-68), and at the University of Lancaster (1968-71). Joined the
academic staff at SSEES in 1971 becoming Reader and then Professor of Russian Studies, University of London.
She retired in 1985. Now hopefully back to deliver her eagerly awaited talk, previously scheduled for December 3rd
Author of divers books her magnum opus, the product of over 9 years of research is “Russia in the Age of Catherine
the Great”, the definitive work on this era, which has been translated into many languages.
Dr Sergei Bogatyrev, a distinguished mediaevalist who has written on Ivan the Terrible, joined the academic staff of
the School of Slavonic & East European Studies in September 2003.
REVISIONIST HISTORY AT ITS MOST REVEALING – RIVETING!
CHANGE OF SPEAKER AND TOPIC – SATURDAY MAY 29TH
The subject of Russo-Chinese relations has been postponed until the autumn because Rosemary Quested is temporarily incapacitated. We wish her a speedy recovery.
Dr Beryl Williams has generously agreed to bring her talk forward from the autumn to Saturday May 29th
Saturday 29 May 2004, Cardinal Inn 23 Francis St SW1P 1DN 11.30 am for 12 Noon
RUSSIA, HER NEIGHBOURS AND OTHER GREAT POWERS
This is the third in a series of Lectures on International Relations
“RUSSO – BRITISH RELATIONS” – DR. BERYL WILLIAMS
Relations, initially commercial, have existed between Muscovy and England since 1553, when one of the three ships equipped by the Fellowship of English Merchants for Discovery of New Trade reached the White Sea. Richard Chancellor’s expedition meant that Russia unexpectedly ‘discovered’ a new maritime route to Western Europe, since the ports of the Baltic Sea continued to remain inaccessible to Russia. Ivan the Terrible subsequently proposed marriage to Elizabeth I! What if?
During 451 years Britain and Russia often have been at odds with one another, notably during the nineteenth century, although during the final stages of the Napoleonic Wars and during both World Wars Britain and Russia were military allies.
Dr. Beryl Williams, a long standing member of the GB-USSR Association, who took a degree in history at Royal Holloway College in the Federal University of London, did research for her PhD on “Anglo-Russian relations before the First World War” at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) under the supervision of the legendary Professor N.Medlicott, a world authority on the Eastern Question.
In 1963 Beryl Williams was appointed Lecturer in General and Modern European History at the new University of Sussex where she continued to lecture for forty years until she retired as Emeritus Reader in History in 2003.
Dr. Beryl Williams will range over the course of Anglo – Russian relations with emphasis on the nineteenth century, the Great Game and the early twentieth century.
Dr. Williams is the author of numerous articles in addition to her two major works of scholarship “The Russian Revolution 1917-1921” (Blackwell 1987) and “Lenin” (the Longman’s Profiles in Power series 2000).
Russo-British Relations, for our members the most compelling of all the relationships being covered in this series. A talk being given by one of Britain’s foremost authorities on this subject.
DO NOT MISS THIS FASCINATING SATURDAY MID-DAY TALK.
Thursday 10 June 2004 Swedenborg Hall 20/21 Bloomsbury Way WC1A 2TH 6.30p.m. for 7.00 p.m.
Nearest tube is Holborn ( Central and Piccadilly lines) Entrance to the Hall itself is in Barter Street.
There will be a complimentary wine reception from 6.30 p.m. until 7.00 p.m.
“THE BLACK SEA IN RUSSIAN HISTORY & POLITICS”
DR. CHARLES KING (from the USA)
Chernoe More – Gateway to the Mediterranean
Dark, Deep, Turbulent and Treacherous
“The real centre of the Ottoman Empire’s strength lay in its command of the Black Sea – the kara deniz. By the 16th
century Istanbul’s population had grown to perhaps 700,000 making Istanbul (formerly Constantinople, centre of the
Eastern Orthodox Church until its capture by the Turks in 1453) the largest city in all of Europe at the time…. In the
19th century the Black Sea lay at the heart of the Eastern Question, the complex rivalries associated with the
weakening of the Ottoman Empire and the interests of Europe’s Great Powers in how it eventually would be carved
up. Between the two world wars, the area stood at the intersection of the turbulent Balkans, the Bolsheviks &
European protectorates in the Levant. Later the countries of the region were on the front line in the global struggle
between capitalism and communism, either as mavericks within the communist world such as Albania, Yugoslavia
and Romania, or in the case of Greece and Turkey, as the vanguard of the West against the Soviet Union. (from
“The Black Sea” by Charles King).
Charles King, one of the most brilliant and fast rising stars in the academic firmament, is an associate
professor in the School of Foreign Service and the Department of Government at Georgetown University, where he
also holds the university’s Ion Ratiu Chair in Romanian Studies.
Dr. Charles King’s new book “The Black Sea – a History” published by the Oxford University Press should be on sale
at the meeting with a substantial discount for members.
Thursday 24 June 2004 at the Price Waterhouse Training Centre 2/3 Bloomsbury Square WC1A2RL
(just three doors east of the Swedenborg Bookshop on the same side of the road)
BY KIND PERMISSION OF PRICE WATERHOUSE COOPERS
WHO ARE GENEROUSLY SPONSORING OUR FIRST EVER CHARITABLE
FUND RAISING EVENT BY PAYING FOR THE HIRE OF
THIS DISTINGUISHED VENUE.
There will be a complimentary reception with coffee and biscuits between 6.30 p.m and 7.00 p.m. in the elegant
Ascham Room on the first floor with its classic décor, high ceilings and chandeliers.
“THE ORANIENBAUM PALACE AND ITS RESTORATION”
MR. COLIN AMERY (a talk illustrated with slides)
In the Chair: Professor Lindsey Hughes
A PALACE IN PERIL
Time, neglect and the fall of the Soviet Union threaten
the Palace’s survival.
Catherine the Great’s exquisite Chinese Palace, an incomparable gem designed by her architect Antonio Rinaldi
between 1762-1774, followed the architectural vogue in England for Chinoiserie. There are 28 rooms on the ground
floor with a second floor added in the 19th century.
Colin Amery is the Director of the World Monuments Fund in Britain. Was the architectural critic for the Financial
Times for 20 years and is the author of many architectural books. A very engaging speaker, and knowledgeable
about St. Petersburg and its buildings.
Lindsey Hughes who is Professor of Russian History at SSEES, specialising in the age of Peter the Great, also
lectures on Russian Art and Architecture.
A £2 million appeal by the World Monuments Fund to save the Oranienbaum Palace is one of the most important
restoration projects today. Members are invited to add a voluntary donation to the normal price of tickets. May
we respectfully suggest an additional donation of £5 per ticket if you can manage that? Those willing to
donate more (or less) are free to do so. This will be added to any surplus we achieve from this meeting – the
Society’s sole expense being the cost of coffee and biscuits. Please indicate on the booking form whether you will
be at the reception. Remember we pay for the number of cups of coffee pre- ordered, not for the number consumed.
Please note. This beautiful Renaissance style Grade 11 listed building, the first purpose built teacher training
centre, opened by the Prince of Wales in 1887, has no lift. The Reception is on the first floor and the talk is in the
‘state of the art’ Milton Theatre on the second floor. Therefore members and their guests will have to walk up
the stairs, albeit in two easy stages.
Your attendance is vital for our fund raising effort for the Palace!
Books by Will Black “The Chinese Palace at Oranienbaum. Catherine the Great’s Private Passion” and by
Catherine Giangrande on the Museums & Palaces of St Petersburg should be on sale at the meeting. Both authors are executive members of the World Monuments Fund in Britain.
Tuesday 6 July 2004. At the Cardinal Inn, 23 St Francis Street SW1P 1DN 6.30p.m. for 7.00 p.m.
“PUTIN’S NEW PROGRAMME”
MR ROY MEDVEDEV (from Moscow)
In the Chair: Mr Mel Dadswell (Editor of the Journal)
THIS TALK WILL BE IN RUSSIAN
The Gorbachev era (1985-1991) notable for real Glasnost, for a hint at perestroika, and for an eventual loosening of
the stranglehold of the Communist Party on the political life of the USSR, all against a background of a plummeting
oil price, hyperinflation, shortages, economic meltdown and separatist movements. The Yeltsin era (1991-1999)
notable for the dissolution of the USSR into separate Republics, the privatisation and price liberalisation of much of
the economy with the rise of the oligarchs and of bandit capitalism, a failed effort to outlaw the Communist Party, an
attempt at genuine multi-party democracy, but against a background of more hyperinflation, corruption, gangsterism,
chronic budget deficits, economic hardship and a collapse of the currency.
The Putin era (2000 – ) against a background of high oil prices, on the credit side has succeeded in restoring a
balanced budget, in paying public service workers on time, and in achieving strong economic growth. The power of
the oligarchs has been curbed. On the debit side, independent television channels have been closed down, and
opposition parties denied fair and proper access to publicity. Democracy has been described as “a Potemkin village”
(Yavlinsky). Power is increasingly in the hands of Putin’s erstwhile colleagues from St. Petersburg and former siloviki
from the FSB.
Order, stability, the provision of basic facilities, an improving economy and a strong leader are of more concern to
the voters than multi- party democracy with free communication channels. Democracy, associated with inequalities,
lawlessness, chaos and a failing economy, currently is discredited.
Putin, young, sober, fit, disciplined, very popular, dour, uncommunicative, enigmatic, uncharismatic, has given few
clues about his programme. The omens for democracy are mixed. His rule looks increasingly arbitrary, and
authoritarian, brooking no opposition, a rule without adequate checks and balances or transparency. Is Russia
reverting to autarchy, Putin’s assurances notwithstanding?
HEAR THE VIEWS OF A VERY EXPERIENCED EXPERT AT THE SHARP END
Roy Alexandrovich Medvedev, born 1925, a Leninist, yet a penetrating critic of Stalinism, has published many
influential historical works. Born Tbilisi, son of a Red Commissar who later perished in the Gulag. Graduated in
Philosophy from Leningrad State University. Worked in various research institutes of the USSR Academy of
Sciences, but was expelled from the Communist Party in 1969 after publishing k sudu istorii “Let History Judge”.
Stayed in Moscow whilst his twin brother Zhores emigrated to England. Elected in 1989 to the USSR Congress of
People’s Deputies and to the USSR Supreme Soviet, and proved a good Parliamentarian defending Gorbachev,
human rights and minorities. (From Dr Martin McCauley’s “Who’s Who in Russia since 1900”)
Monday 19 July 2004, University of London Union, Malet Street WC1E 7HY 6.30 p.m. for 7.00 p.m. (Room 3D)
“CHEKHOV: ONE HUNDRED YEARS ON”
DR. ROSAMUND BARTLETT (a talk illustrated with slides)
In the Chair: Mr Brook Horowitz
This talk comes just four days after the centenary of the death of Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860-1904). Grandson
of a serf, born Taganrog, obtained a medical degree in 1884 in the Faculty of Medicine, Moscow University where
he had started to write humorous sketches to support himself.
Regarded himself as a “scientific” observer of Society, a warm humanitarian pointing to a brighter future, which he
believed science would give man. Championed “green” issues. An optimist (“Uncle Vanya” was highly regarded by
Lenin) whilst sensitive and sympathetic. If the early short stories are satirical, his plays are masterpieces, unique as
lyrical dramas of inaction, often concerning boredom, futility and apathy – the decay of the land owning aristocracy,
something which found resonance in Britain in the inter war period, a time of foreboding. But there is also comedy.
Chekhov – a man for all reasons.
Dr Rosamund Bartlett is the enthusiastic and energetic Head of the Russian Department in the University of Durham,
and is also an associate lecturer in Music. Formerly Leverhulme Research Fellow in Russian Cultural History.
Assistant Professor of Russian Literature University of Michigan, Lecturer in Russian Language and Literature
University of Manchester.
Dr Bartlett, one of Britain’s foremost experts on Chekhov, has just completed three new books on her specialisation,
a Biography, a Life in Letters, and new translations of Short Stories.
These three books should be on sale at the meeting with a discount to members.
Thursday 29 July 2004, University of London Union, Malet Street WC1E 7HY 6.30 p.m. for 7.00 p.m. (Room 3E)
THE MAJOR ECONOMIC LECTURE OF THE YEAR, DEDICATED TO
THE MEMORY OF THE LATE PROFESSOR ALEC NOVE
“RUSSIAN ECONOMIC PROSPECTS: UP, DOWN OR SIDEWAYS?”
PROFESSOR PHILIP HANSON
Russia has lagged economically behind the West for centuries. Attempts to catch up, from Peter the Great through
Witte to Stalin, have failed. For many Russian intellectuals and for most ‘old Russia hands’ outside Russia, the
country’s last four years of rapid growth are therefore treated sceptically: this is Russia, so it can’t possibly last. This
talk, by one ‘old Russia hand’, offers an assessment of the robustness of Russia’s recent growth, and a cautiously
Philip Hanson is an Emeritus Professor of The University of Birmingham and a former Director of that University’s
Centre for Russian and East European Studies (CREES). He learnt Russian during National Service, then studied
economics at Cambridge. He has taught economics at Exeter and Michigan universities, been a visiting professor
at Kyoto University’s Institute of Economic Research and a Mellon Senior Fellow at Harvard’s Russian Research
Center. He has also worked in the Treasury, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (serving as First Secretary in
the Moscow Embassy in 1971 until he was expelled in the Anglo-Soviet tit-for-tat expulsions of that year), the United
Nations Economic Commission for Europe and Radio Liberty’s Research Department. From 1992-1997 he served
on the Council of SSEES. His books include Trade and Technology in Soviet-Western Relations (1981), From
Stagnation to Catastroika(1992), Regional Economic Change in Russia (with Michael Bradshaw 2000), The Rise
and Fall of the Soviet Economy (2003). He is the current author of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s quarterly Country
Report on Russia.
A TALK OF KEY IMPORTANCE – UNMISSABLE!
Tickets are not issued for meetings, but names will be put on the relevant attendance lists on a first come first served
basis. Members are encouraged to book places for their guests. Cancellations for credit are accepted only if before
5 p.m. on the previous afternoon (phone Ute Chatterjee on 07866 849599 or email her at:
[removed]) so that those on the waiting list can be offered places. If you require confirmation of your
booking please send a stamped addressed envelope. You can contact the Chairman Daniel Salbstein c/o
J.Salbstein, Brougham Road, Worthing, West Sussex BN11 2NX, 01903 210611 (phone & fax).
Members paying for at least 6 meetings pay only £4 per meeting, a discount of 20%!