TALKS PROGRAMME JANUARY TO APRIL 2020
All talks this session are at 6.30pm for 7.00pm, except where noted otherwise
Thursday 30th January – 6.00pm for 6.15pm at Kings College London, Bush House (Room 2.09 in the southeast wing), 300 The Strand, London, WC2R IAE. The entrance to use for The south east wing is on the Strand opposite the main Kings College building. Once inside, please go to reception for directions to Room 2.09 which is on the 2nd floor (a lift is available).
The Future of Protest in Russia
Despite a ferocious response from the authorities, protest has continued to intensify in Russia. Ordinary Russians appear increasingly willing to take to the streets to venpt their frustrations with the ruling elite, over everything from electoral fraud to ecological problems. We discuss what this means for Russian politics and civil society with one of the country’s most eminent political scientists and social observers.
Ekaterina Schulmann is a Russian political scientist. Described by King’s Russia Institute director Sam Greene as an ‘indefatigable’ observer of Russian politics ‘whom every serious Russia-watcher should follow’, she is a senior lecturer at RANEPA, a university in Moscow. From December 2018 to October 2019, she served as a member of President Vladimir Putin’s Human Rights Council.
Wednesday 26th February at Open Russia Club, 67 Wimpole Street, W1G 8AP
We Are Building Capitalism! Moscow in Transition 1992–1997
Few cities have undergone transitions as enormous as that endured by Moscow in the wake of the Soviet collapse. Robert Stephenson takes us on an illustrated tour of the Russian capital’s transformation with his photographs of a remarkable city in an extraordinary historical moment.
Robert Stephenson is a photographer and the author of We Are Building Capitalism! Moscow in transition 1992–1997 (2019). A former UK senior civil servant educated at the University of Warwick, he served in Moscow for five years in the 1990s and retired in 2012 after heading the National School of Government International, which supports civil service reform around the world.
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 Sebastian Brixey-Williams
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).
Sebastian Brixey-Williams is co-director of the British-American Security Information Council (BASIC), 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 University of York and SOAS alumnus, he has headed BASIC’s Programme on Nuclear Responsibilities since 2016.
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).