Events

Georgia: A Political History since Independence

January 09, 2012 // 12:00pm1:00pm
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.

Promoting Links between the Russian Judiciary and Civil Society

December 15, 2011 // 4:00pm5:30pm
In present-day Russia, the judicial system is a “tool of the authorities,” according to Leonid V. Nikitinsky, independent journalist, Novaya Gazeta, and founder, Leonid Nikitinsky Center for Legal Initiatives. At a 15 December 2011 Kennan Institute seminar, Nikitinsky introduced the discussion of the relationship between civil society and the judiciary in Russia among panelists Tatiana Andreyeva, Deputy Chief Justice, Supreme Commercial (Arbitrazh) Court of the Russian Federation; Mikhail Fedotov, Chairman, President’s Council on Human Rights; and Anna Kovaleva, Head of the Public Relations Department, Supreme Commercial (Arbitrazh) Court of the Russian Federation.

Truth Stumbles in the Street: Christian Democratic Activism in Belarus

December 12, 2011 // 12:00pm1:00pm
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
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
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
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.

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

November 21, 2011 // 12:00pm1:00pm
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.

Book Discussion: "Chaos, Violence, Dynasty: Politics and Islam in Central Asia"

November 17, 2011 // 8:30am10:30am
Spotlight on Central Eurasia Series // The speaker will discuss his book, a compelling study of the divergent political courses taken by Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan in the wake of Soviet rule. McGlinchey examines economics, religion, political legacies, foreign investment, and the ethnicity of these countries to evaluate the relative success of political structures in each nation.
Webcast

The Road Taken: Twenty Years after the Fall of the Soviet Union

November 16, 2011 // 10:00am4:00pm
The fall of the Soviet Union ushered in an era of dramatic change that saw a world power transform into a diverse region composed of 15 independent states. After 20 years of transition, how have the states of the former Soviet Union redefined their political, foreign policy, and social agendas?

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