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Summer Session (May – July 2005)

1st April 2005

Registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales. Charity No. 1105296

Honorary President: The Lord Browne of Madingley (Group Chief Executive of BP plc)
Honorary Vice Presidents (in alphabetical order):
Professor Geoffrey Alan Hosking F.B.A ,F.R.Hist.S, The Rt. Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind K.C.M.G. Q.C.
The Rt. Hon Lord Robertson of Port Ellen G.C.M.G . The Rt. Hon Baroness Williams of Crosby

THE GREAT BRITAIN – RUSSIA SOCIETY

Summer Session (May – July 2005)

Nine noteworthy events, including two talks in Russian!

Tuesday 3 May 2005, Swedenborg Hall, 20/21 Bloomsbury Way ,London WC1A 2TH, 6.30 for 7.00pm.
Entrance to the Hall itself is via Barter St. Nearest tube station is Holborn (Central & Piccadilly lines)
There will be a complimentary wine reception from 6.30 p.m. until 7.00 p.m.

“UKRAINE – PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE”
MR. ROLAND H. SMITH C.M.G.
(Britain’s Ambassador to Ukraine 1999-2002)

For a few weeks in November and December, the eyes of the world were on Ukraine because of the massive demonstrations against the irregularities in the presidential elections, the re-run of those elections, and the eventual victory of Victor Yushchenko, the candidate supported by the demonstrators. But how significant was Yushchenko’s victory, and what will happen now in Ukraine? To put recent events in context, this lecture will begin by looking at Ukraine’s history, both its long story since the tenth century – a past that is interpreted differently in independent Ukraine from the way it used to be seen in the days of the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire – and its recent history since independence. It will consider whether Ukraine is an artificial creation, and whether the divisions between the Ukrainian-speaking west and the Russian-speaking east could cause it to fall apart. It will then go on to examine Ukraine’s aspirations for its future, and ask what hopes exist of their being realised.

Roland Smith was British Ambassador in Ukraine from 1999 until the summer of 2002, when he retired from the Diplomatic Service. He speaks both Ukrainian and Russian, and since leaving Kiev he has remained in close touch with events in Ukraine. He studied modern languages at Oxford, and his 35 –year long diplomatic career included two spells at the Embassy in Moscow during the Soviet period, as well as postings at the UK delegation to NATO in Brussels (also twice) and four years in Berlin while the city was divided by the wall. His various jobs at different times in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London were concerned mainly with East-West relations and with issues of arms control and disarmament. So the former Soviet Union and the various countries, which have emerged from it, were a major preoccupation throughout his career, which made Kiev a peculiarly appropriate choice for his final posting.

ORANGE, ROSE AND TULIP REVOLUTIONS. ARE WE WITNESSING IN THE F.S.U. A NEW WAVE OF CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE?

Wednesday 11 May 2005, at the Cardinal Inn, 23 Francis Street SW1P 1DN, at 6.30 p.m. for 7.00 p.m

“THE HOUSE ON THE EMBANKMENT”
Yuri Trifonov’s novel (& his life & works)
based on his childhood under Stalin
MRS. OLGA TRIFONOVA (in Russian)

In the Chair: Mrs SVETLANA McMILLIN (lecteur in Russian at SSEES)

Yuri Trifonov was born in 1925 to the family of Valentin Andreyevich Trifonov, a fairly well known figure in the times of the Revolution and the Civil War. The family lived in the House of the Government, which is what the House on the Embankment was called in the thirties. Valentin Trifonov (on the whole an independent man – a Don Cossack) was a close acquaintance of Stalin, but did not like him. He was arrested in the purges of 1937 and died in 1938. Yuri’s mother was arrested in 1938 and stayed in the Gulag in Kazakhstan until 1948. At the age of 12 Yuri was ‘orphaned’. Together with his Grandmother and sister he was removed from the House on the Embankment. During the war he worked as an unskilled labourer in a factory. He graduated from the Literary Institute in Moscow. His first novel “Students” was an enormous success. There followed years of almost complete silence, for which there were reasons.

Success followed again with the publication of “Exchange” (Obmen). And from then on every new book of his became a big social and literary event. Yuri’s books have been translated into practically every language in the world. Theatrical adaptations of “Obmen” and “Dom na naberezhnoy” have been shown in the theatre of Yuri Liubimov. They too became events in the world of theatre. In 1980 Heinrich Böll proposed Yuri for the Nobel Prize in literature. Yuri died in 1981 after a cancer operation.

Olga Trifonova, Yuri’s widow and Director of the museum of “The House on the Embankment” was born in 1938. She has written seven books and been the scriptwriter of three feature films. Among these the film about Stalin’s wife “Yedinstvennaya”, “The Only One”, had considerable repercussions and received praise from the critics.

THIS TALK IS IN RUSSIAN

Wednesday 25 May2005, University of London Union(ULU), Malet ST WC1E 7HY, 6.30 for 7.00 p.m.
Tonight’s draw will take place to find the winners of 40 seats for the Kirov ballet at Covent Garden

“PEASANT RUSSIA”
PROFESSOR ROGER BARTLETT
(a talk illustrated with slides)

For most of Russia’s history, the vast majority of its population have been peasants – a term and a category still current through the twentieth century. Only about 1960 did the Soviet urban population come to exceed that of the countryside. Moreover from circa 1600 to 1861 much of the peasantry lived under a particularly severe form of serfdom, which had a marked effect upon social relations and the country’s subsequent development. The peasantry had its own institutions, culture and world view, and its relations with élites and rulers have decisively shaped Russian and Soviet history.

Roger Bartlett read Modern Languages at Cambridge, where he also took up Russian language and Russian history, and spent altogether two and a half postgraduate years studying them further at Moscow State University in the 1960s. He wrote a DPhil at St. Antony’s College Oxford on Catherine 11’s foreign peasant colonies and immigration programme, and his research interests have remained in the Imperial period, centred on issues related to peasant society and to Russia’s international and internal cultural relations. After Oxford he spent 15 years at Keele University, then twenty years at the School of Slavonic & East European Studies, from which he retired as Professor of Russian History in 2003. He has also been Research Associate at Harvard, and Visiting Professor at the Universities of Cornell, Marburg and Riga and at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris. Publications (as author and/or editor) include Human Capital. The Settlement of Foreigners in Russia 1762-1804 (1979), Land Commune and Peasant Community in Russia (1990), J.G.Eisen (1717-79): Ausgewählte Schrifte, Deutsche Volksaufklärung und Leibeigenschaft im Russischen Reich (1998).
If Professor Bartlett’s new book A History of Russia is available it will be on sale to members.

LEARN ABOUT THE COMMUNAL STRUCTURE IN HISTORIC RUSSIA

Thursday 2 June 2005, Swedenborg Hall 20/21 Bloomsbury Way London WC1A 2TH 6.30 for 7.00 p.m

“THE RISE AND FALL OF RUSSIA’S EMPIRES:
FROM PREHISTORY TO PUTIN”
PROFESSOR PHILIP LONGWORTH

There will be a complimentary wine reception from 6.30 until 7.00 p.m.

Professor Longworth’s talk will focus first on Russia’s empires: Kievan, Muscovite, Romanov and Soviet. All four collapsed in ruins, leaving the Russians in chaos. Yet on three occasions they recovered and proceeded to expand again. This raises the question of Russia’s current chances of repeating that performance under Putin and his immediate successors. In addressing this question Philip Longworth will argue that analysis of past crashes and recoveries, as well as the study of international politics and economics, is needed in order to make any sound assessment of the prospects.

Philip Longworth studied Russian during National Service, then at Balliol College, Oxford. He was researcher at the Central Asian Research Centre and historian at the War Graves Commission while establishing himself as a translator and writer. His first academic post was as Lecturer in Russian History at Birmingham University, and he subsequently served for 20 years as Professor of History at McGill University, Montreal. He has been a Visiting Fellow at the Russian and Hungarian Academies of Science, the Rockefeller Centre Bellagio and Trinity College Dublin.

Professor Longworth’s books include a history of The Cossacks, a biography of one of Russia’s greatest generals, Alexander Suvorov, and another of Peter the Great’s father Alexis. His most popular books are The three Empresses and The Making of Eastern Europe (2nd edition London and New York 1997).

We hope to have Professor Longworth’s latest book The Rise and Fall of Russia’s Empires: From Prehistory to Putin on sale, with a special discount to members

Monday 13 June 2005, University of London Union (ULU), Malet St WC1E 7HY at 6.15 for 6.45 p.m.

This is a tripartite meeting in association with the Ballet Association and the Ballet Circle. Note the earlier start time. A repeat talk – by public demand!

“GALINA ULANOVA – RUSSIAN BALLET LEGEND”
MRS. NATASHA DISSANAYAKE

A 90 minute presentation IN ENGLISH, illustrated with both TV film and slides

Russia is renowned for her unrivalled pre eminence in ballet. In the mid twentieth century the Bolshoi was the pinnacle of perfection, and Galina Ulanova was the Bolshoi’s principal ballerina, an instantaneous sensation on her appearance in London in 1956: in the USSR – a legend in her lifetime.

Natasha Dissanayake, born Moscow, graduated as a teacher of Russian Language and Literature from the Moscow Pedagogical Institute, named after N. Krupskaya. Taught at a Moscow school for 11 years, then worked as an Editor at the Progress Publishing House for 7 years. Came to England in 1972 and taught Russian in schools and colleges. Then completed the Blue Badge Guide course and works also as an Interpreter. This evening’s talk will be in English.

Worked with the Bolshoi, Mariinsky and other ballet companies on their tours of Britain. Ballet has always been the love of Natasha’s life. Studied ballet as a child, and as a student did a lot of ballroom dancing. Always an avid ballet goer. Does research on ballet and writes about ballet for the Bolshoi Theatre Magazine, the London Courier and other publications. Talk starts at 6.45 p.m.

CONSUMMATE ARTISTRY – AN ETHEREAL DELIGHT.
Tickets are already selling “like hot cakes”. IMMEDIATE booking essential.

Thursday 30 June 2005, University of London Union, Malet St WC1E 7HY, at 6.30 p.m. for 7.00 p.m.

“RUSSIA, RUSSIANS AND RUSSIANNESS: DISCOURSES OF NATIONAL IDENTITY IN RUSSIAN CULTURE”
PROFESSOR SIMON FRANKLIN (a talk illustrated with slides)

In the Chair: IRINA KIRILLOVA M.B.E.

What is Russia and who are Russians? Such questions of national identity have been central to Russian cultural expression and public and private debate from the earliest times to the present. Among writers, artists, critics, musicians, film-makers, politicians and ideologists, theologians and philosophers, intellectuals and demagogues, the preoccupation with defining or evoking Russianness crosses all boundaries of genre and age, of outlook and opinion. And the same questions have likewise permeated a great deal of writing about Russia by foreigners. This paper takes a fresh look at ways of understanding this crucial theme in Russian culture.

Simon Franklin is Professor of Slavonic Studies at the University of Cambridge. His principal research interests lie in the Middle Ages, but he has written on Russian history and culture of all periods. His major books include: The Emergence of Rus, 750-1200 (with Jonathan Shepard; Longman 1996); Writing, Society and Culture in Early Rus c.950-1300 (Cambridge 2002); and (with Emma Widdis) National Identity in Russian Culture: an Introduction (Cambridge 2004).

Professor Franklin is also the Chairman of Forum Houses Trust, which is selling Pushkin House, and is looking to purchase appropriate premises in Central London for a Russian Cultural Centre.

Wednesday 6 July 2005, University of London Union (ULU) Malet St. WC1E 7HY at 6.30 for 7.00 p.m.

“INSIDE PUTIN’S RUSSIA”
MR. ANDREW JACK

Putin emerged from the shadows of the Soviet secret police and minor government jobs to become the most powerful man in Russia. After he had been propelled into the Kremlin in 2000, Vladimir Putin was to defy domestic and foreign expectations by presiding over a period of strong economic growth, significant restructuring and rising international prestige. In his first term he re-established order and national pride after the chaos of the post-Soviet Yeltsin years. There were elements of pro-Western foreign policy and liberal economic reforms, whilst continuing a hard line war in Chechnya, and introducing tighter controls over Parliament, the regions and the media – controls reminiscent not only of the Soviet era but also of a centuries long Russian historical tradition of autocracy and centralisation.

However the errors of his second term suggest that much of Putin’s initial success was the result of external factors, whilst the limited political experience of his entourage is now rebounding against him. To many observers Putin remains a man of mystery. Will the contradictions of economic liberalism and political authoritarianism eventually clash? Or is Putin leaning towards the Chinese model?

Since 1990 Andrew Jack has worked for Financial Times, Britain’s most highly regarded newspaper. From 1998-2004 Andrew Jack was based in Moscow as the FT’s Bureau Chief in Russia. Was previously Paris correspondent. His books include The French Exception and Inside Putin’s Russia (Granta/OUP). Andrew Jack draws on interviews with President Putin himself and a number of the country’s leading figures, as well as many ordinary Russians. Inside Putin’s Russia was the first analysis of contemporary Russia under her current President to be written by a western journalist.

FROM THE FRONT LINE – EXPERT ANALYSIS FOR ALL OF US INTERESTED IN THE RECENT PAST AND FUTURE OF RUSSIA.

The newly released paperback of Inside Putin’s Russia should be on sale with a discount for members.

Monday 18 July 2005,at the Cardinal Inn 23 Francis St London SW1P 1DN at 6.30 p.m. for 7.00 p.m.
Here on a visit from Moscow

MR. ROY ALEXANDROVICH MEDVEDEV
“REPORT FROM THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION AND A COMPARISON WITH FORMER REPUBLICS OF THE USSR”

This talk will be IN RUSSIAN
In the Chair: Dr. Zhores Medvedev

Mr Roy Medvedev, distinguished historian and twin brother of Dr Zhores Medvedev, became a trenchant critic of Stalinism with the publication in 1969 of K Sudu Istorii (Let History Judge). For this he was expelled from the Communist Party. Despite having no official position Roy Medvedev continued research, and published many books abroad, among which are On Socialist Democracy (1975) and Khrushchev (1982). Roy Medvedev, formerly regarded as a Leninist, has remained a lifelong supporter of Socialism. He was born in Tbilisi, the son of a Red Commissar who died in the Gulag. He came into his own under Gorbachev. He was elected to the USSR Congress of People’s Deputies and the USSR Supreme Soviet in 1989, and proved a good parliamentarian, defending Gorbachev, human rights and minorities (With acknowledgements to Martin McCauley’s Who’s Who in Russia since 1900). When the Communist Party was outlawed in the early 1990s Roy Medvedev became co-Chairman of the Socialist Party of Workers.

Mr Roy Medvedev makes a welcome return after his hugely acclaimed talk to the Society last year. Even if you do not share all Roy Medvedev’s political view points it is a sheer delight to listen to some of the most beautifully enunciated Russian you are ever likely to hear.

Limited seating. Early booking strongly recommended

Thursday 28 July 2005. Performance begins at 1,30 p.m. Please be seated by 1.15 p.m.
Date and time of the dress rehearsal may be subject to alteration

AT THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE, COVENT GARDEN
THE KIROV OPERA AND BALLET 2005
Artistic and General Director: Valery Gergiev
THE DRESS REHEARSAL OF
“LA BAYADÈRE”

Will YOU be one of the fortunate forty? Be ‘in it to win it’.
Music by Ludwig Minkus, based on a story by Khudekov. Choreography by Marius Petipa.

We are extremely grateful to Victor and Lilian Hochhauser, who generously have promised to donate 40 seats FREE OF CHARGE (and hopefully in the stalls) to The Great Britain-Russia Society. Mr Victor Hochhauser C.B.E. has been a very longstanding member of this Society and its predecessors, almost since the inception of the GB-USSR Association in 1959, and recalls attending meetings in the days when Major General Spencer Churchill was the Director, prior to 1973!

For decades Victor and Lilian Hochhauser, Britain’s most renowned impresarios, have been presenting some of the most outstanding Soviet, Russian and other international orchestras, opera/ballet companies and individual musical virtuosi to ecstatically appreciative audiences in the United Kingdom. The Kirov ballet is arguably the foremost ballet company in the world today.

These forty seats are complimentary, names will be drawn from a hat, and will be limited to one per membership, whether individual, joint or corporate. If you are free to attend the performance at 1.30 p.m. on Thursday July 28th and if you wish to be entered for the draw

YOU WILL NEED TO INDICATE YOUR WISH ON THE BOOKING FORM.

Conditions for entry into the draw
Members booking for a minimum of 3 meetings will have one entry in the draw, members booking for a minimum of 5 meetings will enjoy 2 entries in the draw, and members booking for all 8 talks will enjoy 3 entries in the draw. Only one committee member will obtain a ticket, and solely in order to organise the group. A list of the 40 successful names will be emailed to the membership, and each of the fortunate forty members will be notified by post. If desired, a lunch party may be arranged.
The draw will take place at the meeting on May 25th.

TO QUALIFY FOR THE DRAW BOOKINGS FOR TALKS WILL NEED TO HAVE BEEN RECEIVED BY NO LATER THAN MAY 15TH 2005.

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 most definitely 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 5 talks (or 5 members of a Corporate for the same meeting) pay only £4 per person, A DISCOUNT OF 20%.
To avoid disappointment
BOOK EARLY & BOOK OFTEN!

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