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Putin’s Russia
22nd Jul 19 1900 (Open Russia, Wimpole St)

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THE GREAT BRITAIN-RUSSIA SOCIETY

Programme of events for the Spring-Summer Session , May-August 2019. Priority booking period for members until Thursday 25th April 2019. 4 talks will be at 67 Wimpole Street, London W1G  8AP.  2 talks will be at Pushkin House, 5a Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2TA

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Wednesday 8th May 2019, at 67 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8AP, at 6.30 pm for 7.00pm

GERMANY’S RUSSIA CHALLENGE”    MR. JOHN LOUGH

Of all European countries, Germany cares the most about Russia. Common historical and cultural experience is central to Germany’s view of Russia and its instinctive desire to include Russia in European affairs. After the collapse of the USSR, Germany invested considerable effort in building political, economic, cultural and human links with Russia in the hope that they would bind Russia to Europe and support its modernisation process. However, Russia’s abrupt turn away from Europe that climaxed in 2014 left Germans aghast. Remarkably, in the absence of the US, Germany led the EU’s response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine that backed diplomacy with sanctions. Five years later, Germany is struggling to develop a broader concept for managing relations with Russia and its limited ability to lead a long-term European response to the challenge posed by Russia.

John Lough is an Associate Fellow of the Russia & Eurasia Programme at Chatham House and a regular commentator  on Russian and Eastern European affairs.  He has a deep personal interest in Germany’s relations with Russia that began with the study of German and Russian literature at Cambridge University. This continued in his early career at the Soviet Studies Research Centre at Sandhurst where he was responsible for covering the USSR’s relations with a divided Germany. In the mid 1990s, he was NATO’s first representative to be based in Moscow. His office was at the German Embassy from 1996 to 1998.  After leaving NATO , he worked as an international affairs manager at TNK-BP (2003-2008) Russia’s third largest oil company where he was responsible for the company’s outreach activities in Germany. He authored a monograph on Germany’s relations with Russia that was published by NATO Defence College in 2018. He is a fluent speaker of German and Russian.

A SUPERB START TO THE SESSION.

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Thursday 30th May 2019 Pushkin House, 5a Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2TA 6.30 for 7 pm

“STUDENT IN LENINGRAD,THE PRAGUE SPRING & THE BBC”.  DR. ELISABETH ROBSON

This talk draws on Elisabeth’s experiences as a post graduate student in Leningrad (1967-69), in particular around the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact in  August 1968 when she was in Leningrad, cut off from communication with the outside world. In 2015 she was part of a team looking at archive holdings from BBC Monitoring, to assess their value for future historians. These were the first rough translations of broadcasts from Czechoslovakia during the invasion, which were the basis of the published reports prepared by BBC Monitoring. They turned out to be extraordinarily fresh and expressive, and this talk explains their significance. (AN ILLUSTRATED TALK).

Dr. Elisabeth Robson worked for may years in the BBC World Service. Her early roles included production and editorship of features in the Russian Service, followed by founding and heading the Ukrainian Service in 1992, the headship of the Central Asia and Caucasus Service and Regional Editor of the Eurasian Region. Her last post in the BBC was  Head of the Russian Service. For nearly a decade she was also on the Editorial Committee in charge of  “The Slavonic and East European Review” – the highly regarded Research Journal of The School of Slavonic & East European Studies. From 2002 until 2018 Elisabeth was Vice Chair of The Great Britain-Russia Society, and she is married to Dr. Iain Elliot OBE, Director in the 1990s of The Britain-Russia, British East-West Centres. Elisabeth now writes freelance and currently edits the Keston newsletter. Her long career gave her many memorable encounters  and experiences, from meeting and subsequently  working with Soviet dissidents to high level negotiations with officials from State broadcasting in different parts of the former USSR.

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Monday 10th June 2019, at Open Russia, 67 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8AP at 6.30 for 7.00pm   ***** A FIVE STAR MAJOR EVENT *****

IN SEARCH OF ISAIAH BERLIN:  A LITERARY ADVENTURE”                          DR. HENRY HARDY in conversation with DR. PETER OPPENHEIMER (his Oxford Interlocutor)

Isaiah Berlin (1909-19970 was one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century – a man who set ideas on fire. His defence of freedom and variety was passionate and persuasive and has been an inspiration to many. The prescience and vitality of his ideas- especially his reasoned rejection of excessive certainty and political despotism are increasingly evident in today’s world. But who was the man behind such influential views? Henry Hardy, Berlin’s decades-long editor and collaborator, has written an intimate, revealing and a moving portrait of the self-deprecating philosopher, and will be elaborating on it at this event. Sir Isaiah Berlin, born in Riga Latvia in  Tsarist Russia, became a long time Council Member of The GB-USSR Association, a forerunner of our Society.

A conversation with illustrations and video clips– then questions & answers

Henry Hardy met Berlin in 1972 as a graduate student at Wolfson College, Oxford, of which Berlinwas the founding President. Dr. Hardy’s publishing career has included thirteen years as an editor at Oxford University Press. He has worked as Berlin’s editor for the last 45 years, publishing 18 volumes of Berlin’s work, and a four- volume edition of his letters. He is now an Honorary Fellow of Wolfson College, and a trustee of the Isaiah Berlin Literary Trust.  

Peter Oppenheimer is a retired Oxford University Economics Don, a Russianist and former President  (2000-2008) of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. He and a number of his in-laws were long-standing friends of Sir Isaiah Berlin.

A unique portrait of a man who gave us a new way of  thinking

about the human predicament, yet most of whose work for the whole of his life remained largely unsorted, out of circulation and unprinted.

Copies of the hardback “In Search of Isaiah Berlin: A Literary Adventure” list price £20 will be on sale at just £13.50. Please bring the exact cash. We have no facility to accept credit or debit cards.

AN ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS TALKBOOK EARLY TO SECURE YOUR PLACES.

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Wednesday 19th June 2019, at Pushkin House, 5a Bloomsbury Way London WC1A 2TA 6.30 for 7pm

BURNING MANUSCRIPTS: MIKHAIL BULGAKOV’S. “THE MASTER AND MARGARITA”    DR. OLGA VORONINA

Mikhail Bulgakov’s cult novel The Master and Margarita is a unique phenomenon in Russian literature of the 20th century. It is a satirical masterpiece that tells the story of the devil’s visit to Soviet Moscow at the height of Stalinist purges. Bulgakov’s devil rewards the good, punishers the wrongdoers and leads the secret police on a wild goose chase around the streets of Moscow.

In the 1920s Bulgakov’s phenomenally successful play The Days of the Turbins  was running at the Moscow Arts Theatre  and was famously seen by Stalin several times. However, by the end of that decade Bulgakov’s refusal to compromise his vision and to adapt to the ideological demands of the time led to a widespread ban on his works. He was placed under police surveillance and his ‘sunset’ novel was written in secret. This talk explores Bulgakov’s life (1891-1940) and The Master and Margarita as a story of surviving in Stalinist Russia. Bulgakov – one of the great 20th century writers. 

Dr.Olga Voronina has taught at the Universities of Leeds, Nottingham, St. Andrews \and University College Oxford before returning to The School of Slavonic & East European Studies at UCL in 2017. She completed her PhD in Comparative literature at UCL SSEES in 2011 and is the author of  Depicting the Divine: Mikhail Bulgakov and Thomas Mann. She regularly speaks on Russian literature and culture, and was recently an expert panellist on the BBC World Service programme The Forum on The Master and Margarita.

At long last, a superb lecture on Russian Literature, delivered in English.

This lecture is dedicated to the memory of the late Professor Richard Freeborn D.Litt. Professor of Russian Literature at SSEES from 1967 to 1988,  a long time and mostdistinguished member of this Society and its predecessor Societies, who deliveredseveral lectures to us, who regularly contributed exquisitely written articles to this Society’s Journal, and who sadly passed away on January 1st 2019 at the age of 92.

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Wednesday 3rd July, at Open Russia Foundation, 67 Wimpole St. LondonW1G 8AP 6.30 for7.00pm ***  A  UNIQUE FIVE STAR EVENT! ***

WE ARE HUGELY HONOURED AND DELIGHTED TO WELCOME WORLD FAMOUS PROFESSOR MARK GALEOTTI WHO WILL SPEAK ON “GETTING PUTIN (AND RUSSIA) WRONG!”

Despite a wealth of serious expertise in scholarly and even – just about – government circles, at the level of public discourse and policy making, the West keeps seeming to get both Putin and Russia wrong. Hopes of being able to encourage democratisation and transparency, of curbing Kremlin adventurism, all seem simply not to have been dashed but actively to have worsened the situation. Why? To a considerable extent, this is because of some fundamental misunderstandings, not least about Vladimir Putin himself. A series of myths and caricatures have driven too much policy, from the notion that Putin is some shadowy geopolitical mastermind through to a belief that politics, civil society and free media have been totally stamped out in his Russia. It is time to challenge many of these lazy and dangerous assumptions.

Mark Galeotti is recognised as one of the most authoritative and also sometimes subversive voices on Russia today. After more than ten years abroad – including a stint as Professor of Global Affairs at New York University, researching in Moscow, heading the Centre for European Security of the Institute of International Relations Prague, and being a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute inFlorence – he is now again based in London. He is an Honorary Professor at UCL SSEES, a Senior Associate Fellow at RUSI, Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Institute of International Relations Prague and a Visiting Professor at MGIMO in Moscow. Educated at Cambridge and at the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE), he is a prolific author, with his most recent works including “We Need to Talk About Putin” (Ebury 2019) and “The Vory” (Yale 2018).

Copies of “We need to talk about Putin: How the West gets him Wrong List price £9.99 will be on sale to people present at just £7.50. Copies of “The Vory” will also be on sale to those present at £ 7.50. members purchasing both books will pay £14. Please bring the exact money. CASH ONLY. We have no facility to accept credit or debit cards.

PROFESSOR MARK GALEOTTI IS AN INTERNATIONALLY RESPECTEDEXPERT ON CURRENT RUSSIAN AFFAIRS FROM CRIME AND THE RUSSIAN MAFIA TO MILITARY POLICY AND SECURITY. HE FREQUENTLY ACTS AS CONSULTANT TO VARIOUS GOVERNMENT, COMMERCIAL AND LAW-ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES.

WE ANTICIPATE AN EARLY SCRAMBLE FOR SEATS. BOOK IMMEDIATELY TO SECURE YOUR PLACES!

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Monday 22nd July 2019, at Open Russia, 67 Wimpole Street London W1G 8AP at 6.30 for7.00pm   *** ANOTHER FIVE STAR EVENT ***

“PUTIN’S RUSSIA: WORLDVIEW, GRAND STRATEGY  ANDCYBERSPACE”   MR. PETER DEBBINS (from the USA) Intelligence and Russian Affairs Instructor.

Russia confounds the West by its disregard for norms and standards. We are good at observing their actions, but has anyone asked why? What are their motivations? What is their desired end state? This presentation will delve into the Russian self-image and worldview. It will show how it shapes their strategic thinking which they articulate in their national strategy. This national strategy has placed Russia in an advantageous  position in our digitized societies. We shall look at the cyber environment and how Russia is able to take advantage of it.. This presentation will draw on the breadth and courseof Russian history and Russia’s mentality and apply it to their current actions. The speaker may well comment on the so-called Gerasimov doctrine, first articulated in 2013. (An illustrated talk with video clips).

Peter Debbins is the Russian Affairs Instructor at the European Command (EUCOM) Regional Joint Intelligence Training Facility (RJITF) based in the UK. His previous position was as a cyber instructor in Washington DC. He has worked as a Russian analyst, as well as having worked in commercial business.  He served as a commissioned officer in the US Army. Mr. Debbins has extensive knowledge of Russia from studying and from living there. He earned his B.A. in International Relations from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and M.A. in Statecraft and International Affairs from the Institute of World Politics in Washington DC.

NATO STILL REMAINS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL FOR THE SECURITY OF THE WEST, FOR THE USA, FOR THE UK, AND FOR EUROPE, BUT NOT ALL COUNTRIES ARE PULLING THEIR WEIGHT. THERE IS NOW A MAJOR PROBLEM WITH TURKEY. 

We are immensely privileged to hear this briefing from an expert from the UK’s most important,powerful and indispensable ally, the USA.  A VITAL BRIEFING – DEFINITELY NOT TO BE MISSED!

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Provisional date: Thursday 15th August 2019

The venue:  THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE, COVENT GARDEN

Please be inside the Main Entrance  by 1.30 pm at the latest. The date and exact time of the Dress Rehearsal may be subject to alteration. Watch out for subsequent announcements and updates.

The eagerly awaited return of the world famous   BOLSHOI BALLET COMPANY & ORCHESTRA  in the Dress Rehearsal of  “DON QUIXOTE”

First performed in 1869 by the Ballet of the Imperial Bolshoi Theatre of Moscow with choreography by Maruis Petipa to music by Ludwig Minkus

Once again, we are extremely grateful to Mr.Victor Hochhauser CBE and Mrs. Lilian Hochhauser CBE whose generosity should hopefully  result in 40 complimentary seats for members of The Great Britain-Russia Society.

Maximum of two tickets per member, but in the event of strong demand we reserve the right to limit the allocation to one seat per member.

AN OPTIONAL PRE-PERFORMANCE LUNCH PARTY WILL BE ARRANGED, NORMALLY AT LA BALLERINA RESTAURANT.

A strong demand may result in a draw for tickets. Will YOU be one of the fortunate forty?  Be in it to win it! Tickets are still subject to confirmation.

If you wish to be entered into the draw, you will need to notify Mrs. Ute Lynch, our Hon. Membership Secretary well before May 31st 2019. You will need to indicateyour wish on the booking form (even if You normally book for the talks on line) and You will need to post it to Ute with your contact details, or email her at: membership@nullgbrussia.org. YOU CANNOT BOOK FOR THIS VIA WORLD PAY.

AN AURAL AND VISUAL DELIGHT.

A FANTASTIC FINALE TO THE SESSION!

================================================================Dear Members and friends

Thank You for your support and attendance over the years,

This is my valedictory programme of talks and events, as I am retiring and the new Talks Organizer will be Mr. Lincoln Pigman from St. Antony’s College, Oxford. He is bilingual, and has excellent contacts for speakers. Please give him your full and active support.

We have been privileged to hear from some outstanding specialists over the years, but I would like to think that this my final programme overall is as good as or possibly maybe even better than anything previously. So with the pleasant summer weather, let us see You in record numbers. Nothing pleases a Talks Organizer or the Speaker more than a full auditorium.

With Best Wishes to You all.

Daniel Salbstein.

 

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