TALKS PROGRAMME JANUARY TO APRIL 2020
All talks this session are at 6.30pm for 7.00pm, except where noted otherwise.
Wednesday 11th March at Open Russia Club, 67 Wimpole Street, W1G 8AP
‘Traditional Values’ and the Law in Putin’s Russia
Vladimir Putin came to power promising a ‘dictatorship of the law’. Since 2012 he has consciously built a more socially conservative regime, emphasising opposition to ‘non-traditional sexual relations’ and promoting ‘traditional values’. How has Russia’s ‘conservative turn’ interacted with the Kremlin’s formal legal and constitutional obligations?
Jane Henderson, a King’s College London affiliate educated at the University of London, is a retired academic lawyer. She has written widely on Russia’s legal system and constitution, the subject of her 2011 book The Constitution of the Russian Federation: a contextual analysis, of which a second edition is in the works.
Thursday 26th March at Pushkin House, 5a Bloomsbury Square, WC1A 2TA
Vera and Vlast’: Religion’s Role in Russian Politics
While the Kremlin has made Orthodoxy central to its concept of the Russian nation, it is by no means the universal faith of the Russian people, who have seen new groups emerge within and across Russian religious traditions as well as from outside Russia. The Kremlin has generally found these new groups threatening and struggled to integrate them into its vision for society, resulting in phenomena such as the targeting of Jehovah’s Witnesses under ‘anti-extremism’ legislation. By examining how the regime treats ‘new’ religious groups, we can learn much about how Russia’s power and political structures work.
Marat Shterin, reader in sociology of religion, heads King’s College London’s Department of Theology and Religious Studies. Trained at the London School of Economics, from which he received a PhD in sociology, he is originally from Moscow, where he studied at Moscow State University. Since 2016, he has served as co-editor of the Religion, State and Society journal.
This talk will be preceded by the Great-Britain Russia Society’s Annual Members’ Meeting, 5.45pm for 6.00pm
Monday 6th April at Open Russia Club, 67 Wimpole Street, W1G 8AP
War with Moscow? The Risk of an Unintended Conflict, 1983 & 2020
Taylor Downing and Marion Messmer
Prior to the Gorbachev thaw, relations between the Soviets and the West reached a nadir during Reagan’s first term, culminating in the near-miss nuclear scare of 1983. As relations between Russia and the West continue to deteriorate and the Cold War-era arms control architecture unravels, are we approaching a new impasse?
Taylor Downing is a Cambridge-educated historian and the author, most recently, of 1983: The world at the brink(2018), one of six shortlisted titles for the 2019 Pushkin House Book Prize. He has also written a number of books on the world wars, among them Spies in the Sky: The secret battle for aerial intelligence during World War II (2012) and Breakdown: The crisis of shell shock on the Somme, 1916 (2016), and is author, with Sir Jeremy Isaacs, of Cold War(1998 and 2008).
Marion Messmer is co-director of BASIC, the British-American Security Information Council, a London-based think tank that creates and implements credible proposals to build international trust, reduce the risks of nuclear conflict, and advance nuclear disarmament. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College and Cambridge University and a doctoral candidate at King’s College London, she specialises in nuclear issues and NATO–Russia relations and leads several BASIC programmes, including the Risk Reduction Programme and the Gender and Nuclear Weapons Programme.
Please note that this represents a change from one of the originally-advertised speakers, as advised earlier and on the Booking Form.
Thursday 23rd April at Pushkin House, 5a Bloomsbury Square, WC1A 2TA
Memory after Maidan: The Politics of Memory in Post-Revolutionary Ukraine
As nations are all what Benedict Anderson once called ‘imagined communities’, the collective memories and shared experiences of their members are vital to binding them together and forging their identity. Events combining both trauma and upheaval, such as the ‘Revolution of Dignity’ form powerful focal points in determining these identities. Dr Uilleam Blacker will discuss how this process has unfolded in the five years after the Revolution of Dignity.
Uilleam Blacker is lecturer in the comparative culture of Russia and Eastern Europe at UCL SSEES, from which he received both his MA and his PhD. He is the author, most recently, of Memory, the City, and the Legacy of World War II in East Central Europe: The ghosts of others (2019), co-author of Remembering Katyn (2012), and co-editor of Memory and Theory in Eastern Europe (2013).