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Centre for Russian Studies 

Centre for Russian Studies Logo

We provide a forum for profiling cultural, historical, linguistic, literary and social sciences research into Russia, past and present. Through our activities we promote knowledge and discussion of Russia in the broader academic community and with the public at large. 

SSEES is the largest centre for Russian studies in the UK, with over 20 full-time Russian specialists covering language, literature, culture, history, economics and political science. The SSEES Library collection on Russia and the former Soviet Union is one of the major resources in the UK. The Post-Soviet Press Group and Russian Cinema Research Group further contribute to our unrivaled expertise in Russian Studies.

Day/Time: Mondays, 17.15 - 19.00

Venue: Room 431, UCL SSEES Building, 16 Taviton Street, London, WC1H 0BW

Convenor: Professor Simon Dixon


2014-15 Programme TBC shortly


Past Events

View past events including titles, summaries, speakers and podcasts.

Spring Term 2014

Playing the ‘Great Game’ in the 1920s: Soviet-Indian Cultural Interactions

Professor Katerina Clark (Yale)

14 May 2014

Revisiting Ivan Fedorov's Legacy in Early Modern Europe - An International Conference

The 450th Anniversary of Ivan Fedorov's Acts and Epistles (Apostol) and the 440th Anniversary of His Primer (Azbuka)

On 9 May 2014, the CRS commemorated the sixteenth-century origins of printing in Russia and Ukraine with a conference at the British Library organized by Sergei Bogatyrev (UCL SSEES) and Katia Rogatchevskaia (British Library). 

Focusing on the activities of Ivan Fedorov in their international context, 'Revisiting Ivan Fedorov's legacy in early-modern Europe' was supported by SSEES, CEELBAS, UCL European Institute and UCL Centre for Early Modern Exchange. 

> Watch highlights from the conference on the SSEES YouTube channel

> Download the conference programme

> Download the conference flyer

9 May 2014

Clemency in the boudoir: Theatre and the making of imperial myths in eighteenth-century Russia

Alexei Evstratov (Oxford)

24 March 2014

The Limitations of Autocratic Power: Nicholas I and the Old Believers

Tom Marsden (UCL SSEES)

3 February 2014

Living the Revolution: the urban communes of early Soviet Russia

Andy Willimott (UCL SSEES)

27 January 2014

Spring Term 2013

Spring Term 2013

The Cinematic Spaces of the Soviet Thaw: From Panoramic Vistas to Gendered Screens

Russian Cinema Research Group

Lida Oukaderova (Rice University, Houston)

11 March 2013

The Orthodox Church in the New Russia: A Force for Political Democratization?

Joint seminar with Centre for European Politics, Security and Integration (CEPSI)

Professor John Burgess (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary)

4 March 2013

The Role of Intertitles in Soviet Silent Film: the case of Aleksandr Granovskii's Evreiskoe schast´e (1925)

Russian Cinema Research Group

Rosie Bainbridge (Cambridge University)

4 March 2013

Moving House: Representing Interior Spaces in Early Russian Cinema (Bauer, Barnet, Room)

Russian Cinema Research Group

Maria Pasholok (Oxford University)

18 February 2013

Gogol and the Gauchos

Film screening of 'Cossacks in Argentina' (2010) and conversation with director,
Federico Windhausen.

(A collaboration of the UCL Centre for Transnational History and the Russian Cinema Research Group)

4 February 2013

First Films of the Holocaust: Soviet Cinema and the Genocide of the Jews, 1938-1946, Pittsburgh University Press

Followed by discussion

Russian Cinema Research Group

Dr Jeremy Hicks (Queen Mary, University of London) 

28 January 2013

The Resurrected Tsar: New research on Ivan the Terrible's son Dmitrii

Professor Chester Dunning (Texas A&M University)

14 January 2013



Autumn Term 2012

 Autumn Term 2012

The Fabrication of the Zerentui Conspiracy of 1828 and the Half-Life of the Decembrist Movement

Dr Daniel Beer (Royal Holloway, University of London)

10 December 2012

Robert Flaherty and Soviet Documentary

Russian Cinema Research Group

Raisa Sidenova (Yale University)

3 December 2012

An Inexpiable Debt: Stalinist Cinema and the Discourse of Happiness

Russian Cinema Research Group

Dr Anna Toropova (UCL SSEES)

26 November 2012

The Kolyma Notebooks: Shalamov's Response, in Verse, to the Russian Poetic Tradition

Robert Chandler (London)

Monday 19 November 2012

Launch of Dr Richters' new book, The Post-Soviet Russian Orthodox Church: Politics, Culture and Greater Russia (Routledge, 2012)

12 November 2012

"Everybody Dies But Me": Female authorship, youth culture and marginality in the New Russian Cinema

Russian Cinema Research Group

Dr Julia Vassilieva (Monash University, Melbourne)

12 November 2012

The Search for Early Russian and Old Believer manuscripts in Modern Russia

Professor Alexander Bobrov (Institute of Russian Literature, St. Petersburg)

Monday 29 October 2012

Working on Target - A foreigner's take on Zel´dovich and Sorokin

The renowned British actress talks about her starring role in Aleksandr Zel´dovich's film Mishen´ (2011)

Russian Cinema Research Group

Justine Waddell

22 October 2012

The Tarkovskii scholar José Manuel Mouriño presents his film The Bright Days.

Notes about the Filming of Nostalghia, by Andrei Tarkovsky (60 minutes)

Followed by discussion.

Russian Cinema Research Group

8 October 2012

Spring Term 2012

Spring Term 2012

Where Russia Was "Ahead" of Europe: Russian Empire in Comparative Perspective

Dr Michael Khodorkovsky (Loyola University Chicago)

15 May 2012

Between a Rugged Bear and a Polished Gentleman: The Life and Opinions of Alexis Eustaphieve, the Russian Consul and a "British Agent"

Dr Ilya Vinitsky (University of Pennsylvania)

14 May 2012

Serebrianyj vek kak subkul´tura [The Silver Age as Subculture]

Professor Nikolai Bogomolov (Head of Department of Literary and Artistic Criticism, Moscow State University)

30 April 2012

Young Women's Writing from Russia

Natasha Perova (Publisher, Glas) and Winner of the Debut Prize for Russian Fiction

19 April 2012

Mitingi and Putingi: 21st-Century Russian

Michele Berdy (Author of 'The Russian Word's Worth: A Humorous and Informative Guide to Russian Language, Culture and Translation')

18 April 2012

Bloomsbury's Little-Known Russian Jew and His Not-So-Little Influence on the Woolfs, D.H. Lawrence, and Katherine Mansfield

Centre for Russian Studies

Professor Galya Diment (University of Washington, Seattle)

21 March 2012

New Women's Writing in Russia, Central and Eastern Europe

Centre for Russian Studies

Professor Rosalind Marsh (University of Bath)

19 March 2012

Attack of the Soviet Bs: Corman, Cosmos, and the American Mainstream

Russian Cinema Research Group

Dr Alastair Renfrew (University of Durham)

12 March 2012

Soviet Science Fiction and Russian film, 2: The Strugatskii Brothers' 'Khromaia sud´ba' and Arkadii Sirenko's 'Iskushenie B' 

Russian Cinema Research Group

Dr Andrei Rogatchevski (University of Glasgow)

5 March 2012

A History of the Soviet: The Lingua Franca of Soviet Modernity

Centre for Russian Studies

Dr Anna Krylova (Duke University)

27 February 2012

Francophonie in Pre-Revolutionary Russia

Centre for Russian Studies

Professor Derek Offord (University of Bristol)

20 February 2012

Soviet Science Fiction and Russian film, 1: Konstantin Lopushanskii directs the Strugatskiis: 'The Ugly Swans and Letters of a Dead Man'

Centre for Russian Studies

Dr Muireann Maguire (Wadham College Oxford)

6 February 2012

Breaking the Iron Curtain: Theological and Economic Discourse in the St Petersburg Religious-Philosophical Meetings

Centre for Russian Studies

Dr Adam Ure (London)

23 January 2012

Genres in the Russian Blogosphere: from Futuristic Fiction to Fairy Tales

Centre for Russian Studies

Dr Natalia Rulyova (University of Birmingham)

16 January 2012

Autumn Term 2011

Electric Speech: Dziga Vertov, Esfir´ Shub and the Technologies of Sound

Russian Cinema Research Group

Professor Lilya Kaganovsky (University of Illinois)

12 December 2011

Leninburg: Remembering a City's Past

Centre for Russian Studies

Professor Catriona Kelly (New College, Oxford)

5 December 2011

Symposium: The Cinema of Aleksandr Sokurov

Presented in association with the BFI and I.B. Tauris

Russian Cinema Research Group

3 December 2011

On the Usefulness of Beloved Tyrants: History, Social Discipline and Trauma in Russia

Dr Kevin M.F. Platt (University of Pennsylvania)

2 November 2011

A Flame with Protruding Fibres: Eisenstein on Synaesthesia

Russian Cinema Research Group

Dr Robert Robertson (independent researcher, the author of Eisenstein on the Audiovisual: The Montage of Music, Image and Sound in Cinema, 2010)

31 October 2011

Landscape and Lyric in the Songs of Rimsky-Korsakov

Centre for Russian Studies

Dr Philip Bullock (Wadham College, Oxford)

17 October 2011

History of Today: Esfir´ Shub's Segodnia (1929-1930)

Russian Cinema Research Group

Dr Anke Hennig (Free University of Berlin)

10 October 2011
















Autumn Term 2011

Autumn Term 2011

Electric Speech: Dziga Vertov, Esfir´ Shub and the Technologies of Sound

Russian Cinema Research Group

Professor Lilya Kaganovsky (University of Illinois)

12 December 2011

Leninburg: Remembering a City's Past

Centre for Russian Studies

Professor Catriona Kelly (New College, Oxford)

5 December 2011

Symposium: The Cinema of Aleksandr Sokurov

Presented in association with the BFI and I.B. Tauris

Russian Cinema Research Group

3 December 2011

On the Usefulness of Beloved Tyrants: History, Social Discipline and Trauma in Russia

Dr Kevin M.F. Platt (University of Pennsylvania)

2 November 2011

A Flame with Protruding Fibres: Eisenstein on Synaesthesia

Russian Cinema Research Group

Dr Robert Robertson (independent researcher, the author of Eisenstein on the Audiovisual: The Montage of Music, Image and Sound in Cinema, 2010)

31 October 2011

Landscape and Lyric in the Songs of Rimsky-Korsakov

Centre for Russian Studies

Dr Philip Bullock (Wadham College, Oxford)

17 October 2011

History of Today: Esfir´ Shub's Segodnia (1929-1930)

Russian Cinema Research Group

Dr Anke Hennig (Free University of Berlin)

10 October 2011

Spring Term 2011

Spring Term 2011

Centre for Russian Studies

Convenor: Maria Rubins

In the 2010-2011 academic year, we will feature presentations from international experts on a range of topics dealing with Russian culture, history, thought and politics.

Russian Cinema Research Group: "Cinema of the Soviet Period"

Convenors: Philip Cavendish and Julian Graffy (UCL SSEES)

The Russian Cinema Research Group was founded at SSEES in 2002. This term its seminars will all take a comparative approach to the study of the cinema of the Soviet period. The first will compare the representation of visual space in the films about World War Two of the Stalinist and Thaw periods. The second will look at the career of Mikhail Kalatozov, most famous for his Thaw masterpiece The Cranes are Flying, from the vantage point of his beginnings in the 1920s. The third will examine a Thaw period film by Iuliia Solntseva in the context of the imagery and attitudes of the 1930s.

The Warped Woof: The Guard Dog Archetype in Soviet Cinema

Russian Cinema Research Group

Muireann Maguire (Wadham College Oxford)

May 9 2011

The Unpublished Scripts and the Unfinished Projects of Kira Muratova: Reconstructing the Coherence of an Oeuvre

Russian Cinema Research Group

Eugenie Zvonkine (Université de Paris, 8)

March 14 2011

Tourism, Vacations, and Socialist Consumption in the Post-Stalin USSR

Centre for Russian Studies

Diane Koenker (University of Illinois)
February 28  2011

Propaganda State in Crisis: Stalinism during the 1930s

Centre for Russian Studies

David Brandenberger (Richmond University, USA)

15 February 2011

Darwin and Solov´ev

Centre for Russian Studies

David Bethea (Oxford University/University of Wisconsin)

January 31 2011

Remembering (in) the Dovzhenko Studio Films of the 1960s: The Case of 'Bilyi khmary' ('Belye tuchi'), Rolan Serhiienko, 1968

Russian Cinema Research Group

JJ Gurga (UCL SSEES)

January 24 2011

Celebrity Monks in Late Imperial Russia

Centre for Russian Studies

Simon Dixon (UCL SSEES) 

January 17 2011

UCL SSEES Guest Lecture: Ideas against Ideocracy: The Platonic Drama of Russian Thought

Mikhail Epstein (Emory University)

January 10 2011

Autumn Term 2010

Autumn Term 2010

Russian Volterianism in the 18th Century

Centre for Russian Studies

Victoria Frede (University of California, Berkeley)

December 13 2010

More Than Merely Molecules of Enthusiasm: Iuliia Solntseva's 'Poema o more' (Poem of the Sea, 1958) in the Context of 1930s Construction Films

Russian Cinema Research Group

Milena Michalski (King's College, London)

December 6 2010

Rebels, Rumours, and Role Models: Mikhail Artsybashev's 'Sanin' (1907) and the Search for New Sincerity in Late Imperial Russia

Centre for Russian Studies

Otto Boele (Leiden University)

November 29 2010

Kalatozov. The Beginnings

Russian Cinema Research Group

Sergei Kapterev (Nauchno-issledovatel´skii institut kinoiskusstva, Moscow)

November 8 2010

Family Despotism and the Rights of the Person: The Politics of the Personal in Late Imperial Russia

Centre for Russian Studies

Barbara Engel (University of Colorado)

October 27 2010

Twenty-First Century History and Politics in Russia in the Context of Eastern and Central Europe

Centre for Russian Studies

Alexei Miller (Leverhulme Visiting Professor at Manchester University; Central European University; Russian Academy of Sciences)

October 25 2010

Suturing Zoya's Wounds: Visual Space in Stalinist and Thaw WWII Cinema

Russian Cinema Research Group

Andrei Shcherbenok (Royal Society Newton International Fellow, Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies, University of Sheffield)

October 18 2010

Spring Term 2010

Spring Term 2010

UCL SSEES Guest Lecture: Dynasty and Law in the Representation of Russian Monarchy

Professor Richard Wortman (Columbia University)

5 May 2010

The Ruins as Authentic Alterity: Joseph and Alexander Brodsky's Meditations on the Necessity of Decay

Professor Andreas Schönle (QMUL)

Monday 8 March 2010

The Moscow Kremlin, or How Do Buildings Remember?

Catherine Merridale (QMUL)

Monday 22 February 2010

How Football Explains Soviet Life: The Case of Spartak, Moscow

Robert Edelman (University of California, San Diego)

Monday 25 January 2010




Spring Term 2009

Spring Term 2009

Centre for Russian Studies: Russian Perceptions of the World

Convenor: Sergei Bogatyrev

This series seeks to examine how Russia views the surrounding world. We will explore the ambiguity of the perception of the world by Russians who see it a source of danger and as a source of new knowledge and practices. To what extent have Russian culture and politics affected the Russian perception of the world in a historical perspective? How do the Russian views of East and West contribute to Russian identity? Specialists in Russian history, literature and culture will address these issues in this series. Their talks will cover the whole period of Russian history from Old Rus' to post-Soviet Russia.

Russian Cinema Research Group: 100 Years of Russian Film

Convenors: Philip Cavendish (UCL SSEES), Julian Graffy (UCL SSEES), Vlad Strukov (University of Leeds), Emma Widdis (Cambridge University).

The centenary of feature film production in Russia is celebrated on 15 October 2008, which marks one hundred years since the release of Vladimir Romashkov's film Sten'ka Razin (Free Men of the Lower Volga). The Russian Cinema Research Group, which was founded at SSEES in 2002, is marking the centenary with a series of 10 seminars by Group members, one devoted to each decade. The seminars will run during all three terms of the academic year 2008-2009. They will all be based around films held in the UCL SSEES film collection

A Full-Frontal History of the Romanov Dynasty

Ernest Zitser (Duke University)

24 March 2009

Physical Comfort vs Eternal Salvation: Foreign Physicians and the Conflict over the Utility of Nature in Muscovy

Russian Cinema Research Group

Clare Griffin (UCL SSEES)

23 March 2009

The Eighth Decade: Films about Young People. Sergei Solov´ev - ASSA, 1987

Russian Cinema Research Group

Birgit Beumers (University of Bristol)

16 March 2009

Perceptions of the West in Post-Soviet Culture

Russian Perceptions of the World

Rosalind Marsh (University of Bath)

9 March 2009

The Seventh Decade: Soviet Cinema in the TV Age: Tat´iana Lioznova - Semnadtsat´ mgnovenii vesny (Seventeen Moments of Spring), 1973

Russian Cinema Research Group

Stephen Lovell (King's College London)

2 March 2009

UCL SSEES Guest Lecture: Metaphor and Metonymy (in Relation to the Reforms of Peter the Great)

Professor Boris Uspenskii (Università degli Studi di Napoli 'L'Orientale')

9 February 2009

Europe as Metaphor and Metonymy (in Relation to the Reforms of Peter the Great)

Boris Uspenskii (Università degli Studi di Napoli 'L'Orientale')

9 February 2009

The Subversion of Stereotypes: Perceptions of East and West among Russian Orientalists at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

Russian Perceptions of the World

Vera Tolz (University of Manchester)

2 February 2009

The Sixth Decade: New Waves and New Realisms in Soviet Film. Marlen Khutsiev - Iul´skii dozhd´ (July Rain), 1966

Russian Cinema Research Group

Susan Larsen (University of Chicago)

26 January 2009

The Fifth Decade: Metatextuality, Ekranizatsiia and Post-Stalinism. Aleksandr Alov and Vladimir Naumov - Pavel Korchagin, 1956

Russian Cinema Research Group

Stephen Hutchings (University of Manchester)

12 January 2009


Autumn Term 2008

Autumn Term 2008

Russian Cinema, the Fourth Decade: Soviet Representations of Nazi Atrocity. Mark Donskoi - Raduga (The Rainbow), 1944

Russian Cinema Research Group

Jeremy Hicks (Queen Mary, University of London)

24 November 2008

Perceptions: Western Divinatory and Occult Literature and Practices in Russia after Perestroika

Faith Wigzell (UCL SSEES)

17 November 2008

Russian Cinema, the Third Decade: Borderline Obsessive. A Soviet Cinematic Preoccupation of the 1930s. Vasilii Zhuravlev - Granitsa na zamke (The Border is Locked), 1937

Russian Cinema Research Group

Julian Graffy (UCL SSEES)

10 November 2008

Perceptions: Old Russian Views of the World

William Ryan (Warburg Institute)

27 October 2008

Russian Cinema, the Second Decade: From 'Lost' to 'Found': the 'Rediscovery' of Sergei Eizenshtein's Dnevnik Glumova (Glumov's Diary), 1923

Russian Cinema Research Group

Philip Cavendish (UCL SSEES)

20 October 2008

Russian Film at 100: Art-House Identity and the State's Autobiography

Joint seminar of the Centre for Russian Studies and Russian Cinema Research Group

Nancy Condee (University of Pittsburgh)

13 October 2008

Russian Cinema, the First Decade: The First Steps towards the Creation of a New Art. Vladimir Romashkov - Sten'ka Razin, 1908

Russian Cinema Research Group

Rachel Morley (UCL SSEES)

29 September 2008

Spring Term 2008

 Spring Term 2008

After the Thaw, Before Glasnost': artists and the Soviet state during late socialism

Convenor: Dr Polly Jones

This series explores the cultural politics of the Brezhnev era, a period that has recently attracted renewed scholarly interest from social and cultural historians, who have started to challenge the conventional image of the period as one of stagnation, repression and disillusionment. Instead, they suggest that the era was characterised by complex and constantly changing relationships between the Soviet state and its people, between the individual citizen and Soviet ideology, and between 'official' and 'unofficial' culture. These new perspectives on the period between the 'thaw' and glasnost' suggest the need for a new periodisation of late socialism, and a new understanding of its contribution both to the endurance of Soviet power, and also its eventual collapse. The papers in this series present new research on these questions as they developed in literature, art, film, music and everyday life of the period.

Andrei Tarkovskii: Seer or Director - The Making of 'Stalker'

Evgenii Tsymbal

28 April 2008 

The Peoples of Russia as Seen in Popular Imagery

Professor Jeffrey Brooks (The Johns Hopkins University) 

4 March 2008

Movies, Masters, and Markets: Defining Cinematic Success in the Brezhnev Era

Kristin Roth-Ey (UCL SSEES)

3 March 2008

Textile walls: Film and the Dressing of the Soviet Home

Emma Widdis (Cambridge University)

25 February 2008

The Satirical Author-Performer in the Soviet 1970s

Seth Graham (UCL SSEES)

 18 February 2008

Soviet Non-Conformist Art in Paris

Ann Komaromi (University of Toronto)

4 February 2008

Rock music in the 1970s

Polly McMichael (Nottingham University)

28 January 2008

If Lenin was alive he would know what to do: bare life of the leader

Alexei Yurchak (Berkeley)

21 January 2008

Mark Donskoi's 'Nepokorennye' (1945): How we forgot the first film reconstruction of the Holocaust

Jeremy Hicks (Queen Mary and Westfield)

14 January 2008

Poetry, Politics and Publishing in the Late Soviet Period

 Emily Lygo (Exeter University)

7 January 2008