Russia and Eurasia Events

Henry Hale at The Wilson Center

Russians May be Tiring of Putin Dominance, as Presidential Elections Approach

January 30, 2012 // 12:00pm1:00pm
Kennan Institute
United Russia is weaker today partly because of changes the party made in its appointment of provincial governors during the Putin and Medvedev administrations, said Henry Hale, Director of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University. And although Putin is strongly favored, the outcome is still uncertain for Russia’s upcoming presidential vote, as support ebbs for the former president as voters tire of more than a decade of Putin’s dominance of national politics.

Monument Wars across the Post-Soviet Space as a Conflict of Memories and Cultures

January 23, 2012 // 12:00pm1:00pm
Kennan Institute
The destruction of the monuments of the Soviet past and a buildup of new monuments was supposed to be an indication of the new values that came to the post-Soviet societies after the collapse of the Soviet system. However, not everywhere and not always did it happen to be true. While in Poland the new monuments were accepted by the society in appreciative manner, in Ukraine, Estonia, and Georgia we watched the so-called phenomenon of “The War of the Monuments” when the removal of the old monuments and creation of the new ones was followed by protests and sometimes even riots. Around Russia many old monuments to Lenin remained at place while new monuments to the Russian tsars were erected. All of this basically resulted with a chaos of the views and attitudes and led to the devaluation of the monument as a symbol in the post-Soviet space.

Civil Society and Election Campaigns: Negative and Positive Influences on the Vector of Russian Political Development

January 10, 2012 // 3:30pm5:30pm
Kennan Institute
After the parliamentary elections on December 4th and public reactions to their outcome, the sociopolitical situation in Russia is changing rapidly. Are these processes irreversible, and what are their tendencies? What are the changes in correlation between civil society resources and political party resources, based on the election's results? The speaker will discuss the state’s “forms of public control,” how they influenced the last election campaign, and what new forms of control might emerge during the next presidential election in March 2012. She will also discuss the possible reputational risks for public and other organizations from attempted manipulation by the ruling powers during the election campaign.

Georgia: A Political History since Independence

January 09, 2012 // 12:00pm1:00pm
Kennan Institute
Spotlight on Central Eurasia Series // The revival of geopolitics after the collapse of the USSR, combined with a renewed interest in nationalism, contributed to a wave of Western studies of Georgia as a source of ethnic conflict, Great Power politics, and energy competition. These themes, though important, are one-sided, according to the speaker. Georgian political culture, social relations, local government, employment - the daily bread of political life - have been overshadowed by the sensational antics of Georgia’s elites.

Truth Stumbles in the Street: Christian Democratic Activism in Belarus

December 12, 2011 // 12:00pm1:00pm
Kennan Institute
Few are aware that prominent figures in the Belarusian opposition movement are motivated by Christian conviction. Journalist Geraldine Fagan will trace how Lukashenka’s restriction of religious freedom prompted Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants to turn to democratic activism, as well as their rediscovery of religious freedom as a long-standing core value of Belarusian identity. Her findings draw on interviews conducted in Minsk in the aftermath of the December 2010 presidential election, including with Christian opposition activists subsequently jailed.

Preface to a Russian Jazz Archive

December 05, 2011 // 12:00pm1:00pm
Kennan Institute
Russia has a long, complicated history with jazz, reaching back to the 1920s. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian jazz has been undergoing a fertile period of revitalization, both in the classroom and on the bandstand. In 2011, Larry Appelbaum traveled to Russia to meet with academics, critics, broadcasters and musicians in order to consult on the vision and planning for a Russian Jazz Archive and Research Center. He will discuss the challenges, prospects and progress toward the opening of the archive, scheduled for 2012 in Yaroslavl.

Book Discussion: Showcasing the Great Experiment: Cultural Diplomacy and Western Visitors to the Soviet Union, 1921-1941

December 01, 2011 // 3:30pm5:30pm
Kennan Institute
During the 1920s and 1930s thousands of European and American writers, professionals, scientists, and artists came to record their impressions of the "Soviet experiment." The interwar pilgrimage of these Western intellectuals and fellow-travelers remains one of the most notorious episodes in the political and intellectual history of the twentieth century. This talk presents findings from Michael David-Fox’s latest book, based on extensive research in formerly secret Soviet archives.

Tolstoy and Russian Politics

November 28, 2011 // 12:00pm1:00pm
Kennan Institute
This illustrated talk will explore why Tolstoy continues to be such a politically explosive figure in Russia today. As well as providing an overview of the writer’s often fraught relationship with the Tsarist regime, it will show how the Soviet government systematically sought to suppress his religious and philosophical legacy after 1917, and how the Kennan Institute played a crucial role in preserving it.

British Plans and Attempts at Subversion in Romania, 1939-44

November 22, 2011 // 12:00pm1:00pm
Global Europe Program
Dennis Deletant, Visiting Ion Ratiu Professor of Romanian Studies at Georgetown University and formerly professor of Romanian studies at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College in London charts the operations in Romania between 1939 and 23 August 1944, the date of King Michael’s coup against Antonescu.

Book Discussion: Marooned in Moscow: The Story of an American Woman Imprisoned in Soviet Russia

November 21, 2011 // 12:00pm1:00pm
Kennan Institute
Historian William Benton Whisenhunt will discuss the story and events behind the recently reissued memoir Marooned in Moscow, first published just months after Marguerite Harrison’s release from a Bolshevik prison in 1921. The book provides a fascinating account of Harrison’s entry into war-torn Russia in early 1920, first-person impressions of many in the top Soviet leadership, and her increasingly dangerous work as a journalist and spy, to say nothing of her work on behalf of prisoners, her two arrests, and her eventual ten-month-long imprisonment, including in the infamous Lubyanka prison. Whisenhunt will explain who Harrison was, how she got into this kind of work, and give examples of her extraordinary work at this critical time in Russian history.

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