The Great Britain – Russia Society
Winter – Spring Session (January – April 2005)
Nine notable dates for your diary
Wednesday 12 January 2005, at the Cardinal Inn, 23 Francis Street, SW1P 1DN, 6.30 for 7.00 p.m.
“THE WORLD OF ANDREY PLATONOV: FROM HAPPY
MOSCOW TO CENTRAL ASIAN SOUL”
MR. ROBERT CHANDLER
In the Chair: Mr Michael Pursglove M.Phil
Many Russian writers and critics now look on Andrey Platonov (1899-1951) as the greatest Russian prose-writer of the last century. Not only is he a master stylist, whose language is as original as that of any of the great 20th century Russian poets – he is also a writer of remarkable scope, whose novels and stories, set in areas as varied as Moscow, the central Russian steppe, Karelia and Central Asia, address all the main events of Soviet history. His work offers fresh and lasting insight into most areas of human thought and feeling – including politics, psychology, ecology and the religious impulse.
Robert Chandler’s translations from Russian include Pushkin’s ‘Dubrovsky’, Leskov’s ‘Lady Macbeth of Mtensk’ and Vassily Grossman’s ‘Life and Fate’. With his wife Elizabeth and other colleagues he has co-translated numerous works by Andrey Platonov; SOUL won the 2004 ATSEEL award for best translation from a Slavonic language; SOUL and HAPPY MOSCOW were both short listed for the Weidenfeld Translation Prize. His PENGUIN BOOK OF RUSSIAN SHORT STORIES will be published in 2005. He contributes poems and articles to the TLS, and he lectures part-time at Queen Mary College.
Friday 21 January,5.30 for 6.00 p.m, CHATHAM HOUSE, 10 St James Square, SW1Y 4LE
A TRIPARTITE MEETING BETWEEN THE ROYAL INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, THE RUSSO-BRITISH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND THE GREAT BRITAIN – RUSSIA SOCIETY
Complimentary wine reception 5.30-6.00 p.m. Talk begins at 6.00 p.m.
Here on a visit from Moscow
MR. GRIGORY YAVLINSKY
“THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION TODAY & MY HOPES FOR THE FUTURE”
In the Chair: Sir Rodric Braithwaite G.C.M.G.
(Britain’s Ambassador to the USSR & The Russian Federation 1988-1992)
At a time when the emasculation of Yukos and irregularities in the Presidential elections for the Ukraine are worrying signs of a renewed authoritarianism, and according to some commentators even of a new Iron Curtain, our distinguished guest speaker, a political leader of strong principle, will be listened to with tremendous interest. This talk will be in English, and will be followed by questions.
Grigory Alekseevich Yavlinsky (born 1952 in Lvov) was one of the leading economists who rose to prominence under Gorbachev, but proved too radical for the Soviet leader. Gained his PhD in 1978, supervised by Leonid Abalkin. His book in 1982 Problems in Perfecting the Economic Mechanism in the USSR concluded that the Soviet economic mechanism could not be perfected. Copies of the book were seized from the printers and destroyed & Yavlinsky was obliged to undergo treatment in a closed hospital (1984-5). In 1989 Yavlinsky became head of department, state commission on economic reform of the USSR Council of Ministers. With Academician Shatalin he drafted the 500 day programme for transition to a market economy. In 1991 he became chair of the Council of the Centre for Economic and Political Research (Epitsentr). In post Soviet Russia Yavlinsky headed his party Yabloko, regarding as its constituency the rising middle-class professionals. Came fourth in the first round of the Presidential elections in 1996. (With acknowledgement to Martin McCauley’s Who’s Who in Russia since 1900). A leading reformer, who adheres to his principles. Unlike Gaidar, Chubais & Boris Nemtsov he opposed the loans for shares deals between Yeltsin and the Oligarchs before the 1996 elections.
AN UNMISSABLE HIGHLIGHT OF 2005. EARY BOOKING ADVISED.
Thursday 27 January 2005, University of London Union, Malet St WC1E 7HY 6.30 for 7.00 (Room 3E)
“INTERNAL CHANGE & FOREIGN POLICY DEVELOPMENT
FROM YELTSIN TO PUTIN”
DR. PETER DUNCAN
In the Chair: Mr Roland H. Smith C.M.G.
(Britain’s Ambassador to the Ukraine 1999-2002)
Peter Duncan will show how changes in Russian society since the mid 1990s (such as the Chechen War, the rise and fall of the oligarchs, the development of nationalism and the transition from Yeltsin to Putin) have influenced foreign policy.
Peter Duncan graduated from Birmingham University. Took his M.A. at Carleton University Ottowa. Took his PhD at Glasgow where he taught part-time. He helped to establish the Soviet Foreign Policy Programme at Chatham House. Now Senior Lecturer in Russian Politics and Society, and Head of the Dept of Social Sciences at SSEES. Charismatic and very popular with the students. His publications, sometimes co-authored or co-edited, include The Soviet Union and India, Soviet-British Relations since the 1970s, The Road to Post Communism: Independent Political Movements in the Soviet Union(1985-91);Towards a New Community: Culture & Politics in Post Totalitarian Europe; Russian Messianism: Third Rome, Revolution, Communism and After. This talk is related to his forthcoming book Russian Foreign Policy from Yeltsin to Putin.
A FASCINATING PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF KEY CHANGES
Thursday 10 February 2005, Cardinal Inn, 23 Francis Street SW1P 1DN at 6.30 p.m. for 7.00 p.m.
“SOFT GOLD: RUSSIA’S DASH FOR FUR IN THE MIDDLE AGES”
MR. ROGER TOOK (an amazing talk illustrated with slides)
The Russian Empire owed its genesis to the expansionist ambitions of Moscow’s Grand Princes, but the wealth that powered Moscow’s ultimate rise was secured in 1478 by the annexation of Novgorod, an older city that had flourished for centuries from the enormously lucrative trade in animal fur. Unique among the Kievan Rus principalities for its government, its independence and its trading prowess, Novgorod had held sway since the eleventh century over a vast territory stretching from the Baltic to the White Sea and the northern Urals, exacting tribute in the form of pelts.
As in North America hundreds of years later, Novgorod’s wealth was generated by the grit and muscle of generations of men willing to risk the unknown for the rewards of animal fur. Rowing small boats far into strange lands, searching for principal waterways and portaging craft and cargo between headwaters, Novgorod’s ‘skin adventurers’ and tribute gatherers established an extensive network of trading routes across the taiga and forests of far north-east Europe, returning with the pelts of literally millions of sable, marten, beaver and squirrel. Initially trading with the Volga Bulgars in the east and the Byzantine merchants in the south, Novgorod also famously collaborated with the merchants of the Hanseatic League to meet the almost insatiable demand from western Europe for high-quality northern fur.
For the last three years Roger Took has been exploring the Novgorodskaya Zemlya, from Velikii Novgorod itself through Karelia, the Dvina lands and the vast, fur rich primal forests of the Komi Republic, investigating the growth and infrastructure of the old fur trade, rowing thousands of kilometres along the mediaeval river routes, and living remotely with the Komi hunters who continue to kill fur-bearing animals in the traditional way. His illustrated talk will tell of his experiences from archive to forest cabin. Roger Took has been working in north-west Russia since the early 1990s. His first years of Russia fieldwork in Murmansk oblast are described in Running with Reindeer (John Murray 2003).
TRAVELOGUE WITH HISTORY. REVELATORY AND RIVETING.
Wednesday 23 February 2005, at the Cardinal Inn, 23 Francis Street SW1P 1DN at 6.30 for 7.00 p.m.
“AN INSIDER’S VIEW OF THE BBC RUSSIAN
SERVICE AND ITS EVOLUTION”
MR SYEVA NOVGORODSEV (a talk in RUSSIAN)
In the Chair: Dr. Elisabeth Robson
This talk, IN RUSSIAN, will touch on the changing technology, human resources and relationships within the organisation, and the relationship of the BBC unit with its audience.
Syeva Novgorodsev was born in Leningrad, and came to England in the 1970s. He has been broadcasting to Russian listeners from the 1980s. Immensely popular in the Russian Federation with his weekly music programme rok posyevy and for his commentaries. He is renowned for the beauty of his spoken Russian.
SAVOUR MELLIFLUOUS ST. PETERSBURG RUSSIAN.
Wednesday 2nd March ,Swedenborg Hall 20/21 Bloomsbury Way, WC1A 2TH, 6.30p.m. for 7.00 p.m
There will be a complimentary wine reception from 6.30 p.m. until 7.00 p.m.
“STILL A RIDDLE WRAPPED IN A MYSTERY?”
The RIGHT HONOURABLE SIR MALCOLM RIFKIND K.C.M.G. Q.C.
In the Chair: Sir David Ratford K.C.M.G (Ambassador to Norway 1990-94)
In his talk Sir Malcolm will try to look at what is happening in the Russian Federation under Putin, why it matters to the United Kingdom, and what Russia’s future with its neighbours is likely to be.
Sir Malcolm Rifkind, born 1946, was Great Britain’s Foreign Secretary from 1995 until 1997. M.P. for Edinburgh Pentlands from 1974-1997. Became a QC in 1985. Was Minister of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office from 1983-1986, specialising in Eastern Europe and the USSR. In this capacity he attended the special briefing that Mrs Thatcher received at Chequers before the historic meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1984.Was Secretary of State for Scotland 1986-1990, Secretary of State for Transport 1990-92, Secretary of State for Defence 1992-1995, and Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs from 1995 –1997.
Awarded the Order of Merit (Poland) 1998.
Awarded the Order of Grand Duke Gediminas (Lithuania) 2002.
A TALK BY A FORMER FOREIGN SECRETARY.
A RARE AND VERY SPECIAL EVENT. EARLY BOOKING ADVISED.
Wednesday 23rd March 2005, University of London Union, Malet Street, WC1E 7HY. 6.30 for 7.00 p.m.
“RUSSIAN CINEMA AND ITS HEROES” (with TV and Video)
PROFESSOR JULIAN GRAFFY
In the Chair: Dr Philip Cavendish
Russian cinema will soon be celebrating its centenary and throughout that time it has been concerned with understanding the nature of heroism. The first ever Russian film, made in 1908, took as its theme an episode in the life of Cossack rebel Sten’ka Razin. The great Soviet silent films of the 1920s celebrated heroes from the masses and their contribution to the revolutionary process. In the 1920s and 1930s Soviet heroism became institutionalised with the inauguration of titles such as Hero of Labour and Hero of the Soviet Union and cinematic heroes changed in response to political and historic developments. In recent years some Russian films have celebrated the exploits of oligarchs and gangsters. But the search for the nature of the heroic has never been abandoned.
Julian took a First in Russian at University College Oxford. He is Professor of Russian Literature and Cinema at the School of Slavonic & East European Studies at UCL, where he has taught since 1976. He writes widely on Russian film and is a regular contributor to the film journal Sight and Sound. He is currently writing a study of one of the most famous of Russian cinematic heroes, Chapaev.
A SPECIAL PRE-EASTER TREAT!
Monday 4th April 2005, Swedenborg Hall, 20/21 Bloomsbury Way, WC1A 2TH, 6.30 p.m. for 7.00p.m.
There will be a complimentary wine reception from 6.30 p.m. until 7.00 p.m.
MR IAIN SPROAT
In the Chair: Professor A.D.P. Briggs
It was in 1987 that Iain Sproat first had the idea to get the whole of Pushkin’s work translated into English, and he has proceeded frenetically for 17 years thereafter. At the height of translating activity there were over 100 translators working away, around the world. Patrons of the project were Prince Michael of Kent and the late Mrs Raisa Gorbacheva. The Editorial Board consists of: Chairman Iain Sproat(UK), Prof. Leonid Arinshtein(Russia), Prof. John Bayley (UK), Prof. Tony Briggs(UK), Prof. Anthony Cross(UK), Prof.Paul Debreczeny(USA), Professor S.A.Fomichev(Russia), AcademicianD.Likhachev(Russia),Prof.J.ThomasShaw &Prof. Wm B.Todd(USA), Prof. Vadim Vatsuro(Russia), Tatiana Wolff (UK). Persuading Mrs Gorbacheva to be a patron opened almost every door in Russia; the Russian Cultural Foundation in Moscow, linking with the Pushkin House in St. Petersburg, was of immeasurable help.
Iain MacDonald Sproat, educated Winchester, University of Aix en Provence, Magdalen College Oxford. Served in the 4th Battalion Royal Green Jackets. MP for Aberdeen South (1970-1983) and for Harwich (1992-97). Special adviser to the Prime Minister in the 1987 General Election. Chairman of the Soviet & East European
Group, Conservative Foreign Affairs Committee (1975-81).
Thursday 21st April, University of London Union, Malet St WC1E 7HY. 6.30pm for 7.00 p.m.(Room 3E)
“WHY DID THE SOVIET UNION COLLAPSE?
12 REASONS IN SEARCH OF AN ANSWER”
DR. MARTIN Mc CAULEY
The suddenness of the collapse took nearly all the experts by surprise. Many explanations have been advanced. There will be an opportunity for members to advance their own ideas in a specially extended question and answer session.
Dr Martin McCauley, until his retirement in 1998, was Senior Lecturer in Russian Government and Politics, and Head of the Dept of Social Sciences at SSEES. He appears frequently on TV as an expert commentator. Has advised on investment in Russia. A prolific author, some of his books are: The Soviet Union 1917-91, The Origins of the Cold War, The Khrushchev Era, A Biography of Mikhail Gorbachev, Bandits, Gangsters & the Mafia, & Who’s Who in Russia since 1900, described by Professor Richard Sakwa as “a veritable treasure trove of priceless information”
DR. McCAULEY AGAIN ‘HITS THE BULLSEYE’ – NOT TO BE MISSED!
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 received before 5.00 p.m. on the previous afternoon (phone Ute Chatterjee on 0788 4464 461 or email her at: [removed]) so that those on the waiting list can be offered places. If you require confirmation of your reservations please send a stamped addressed envelope. You can contact the Chairman Daniel Salbstein c/o J.Salbstein, Brougham Road, Worthing, West Sussex, BN11 2NX, ‘phone & fax: 01903 210611. Please note new email address: [removed]. Members paying for a minimum of 6 of the 9 talks pay only £4 per meeting – a discount of 20%.