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Events

The SCRSS organises a regular programme of lectures, film shows, exhibitions, seminars and other events at its premises in London. The Society is also involved in educational and commemorative events associated with the Soviet War Memorial in London. Events are open to both SCRSS members and non-members, unless otherwise stated. The opinions expressed in lectures are those of the individual speakers and not necessarily those of the SCRSS.

Venue and Tickets

Standard ticket prices for talks are £3.00 (SCRSS members) and £5.00 (non-members). All other events or classes are priced as indicated. Our library openings are normally every first Saturday of the month.

2024 Events Diary

January 2024 July 2024
February 2024 August 2024
March 2024 September 2024
April 2024 October 2024
May 2024 November 2024
June 2024 December 2024

January 2024

Please note: there is no Saturday library opening in January 2024.

From Thursday 25 January 2024 - 29 February 2024, 18.00 - 20.00
Zoom Online Evening Class: Russian Language for Good Intermediate Level


Rolling 10-week Zoom evening class, taught by Christine Barnard, former lecturer in Russian at Westminster University. Note: this is the remaining 6 weeks of the term that started on 30 November 2023, following the Christmas / New Year break. The group is friendly, informal and strictly non-competitive. One hour free conversation, one hour reading, with a short break in-between. The group will read a variety of short stories or short extracts from longer books, with suggestions welcome. The current text is Tyotya dyadi Fyodora. There is availability for new members to join the class - for more information or to request a free one-session trial, email Christine Barnard direct on rtstrans1@gmail.com. Fee for 10 weeks: £40.00 (SCRSS members only). Why not become an SCRSS member to join this enjoyable class - rates are competitive.

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February 2024

Saturday 3 February 2024, 11.00 - 16.00
Event: SCRSS Library Opening


Library opening for SCRSS members - other visitors by appointment only. Access the library collections and borrow books from the Literature and Quick Loan sections. Surplus book stock is also usually available for a small donation. Tea and coffee available. Members - please bring your membership card.

Tuesday 6 February 2024, 19.00 - 20.00
Zoom Online Lecture: Professor Bill Bowring on Lenin, Self-Determination of Nations and the 1924 Constitution of the USSR


First talk in our '1920s USSR' series for spring 2024, reflecting the decade in which the Society was founded.

Lenin had campaigned from before the outbreak of the First World War for the destruction of the Tsarist Empire and for the principle of the right of nations to self-determination. This principle was the central core of the first constitutions of Soviet Russia and of the USSR. Lenin was uncompromising on the issue of a federation of Soviet national republics and the right to secession. This culminated in the Constitution of the USSR, approved on 31 January 1924, which stated in the opening Declaration: "... this Union is a free federation of peoples equal in rights... the right to freely withdraw from the Union is assured to each Republic."

Lenin's principled insistence on the right of nations to self-determination remains highly controversial in Russia and has had a continuing impact on the motivation of President Vladimir Putin. For many years Putin has raged against Lenin - as a German agent who destroyed the Russian Empire for money, and as an enemy of Russia who maliciously planted an 'atomic bomb' under the USSR with the federative Constitution of 1924 and created a fictitious state, Ukraine, to be an enemy of Russia. This appears to have been one of his prime considerations in his decision to invade Ukraine, as he explained in detail in his speech of 21 February 2022.

Booking: via Eventbrite (booking closes on 6 February 2024 at 16.00). Normal ticket prices apply. Shortly after the event, a link to the online recording of this talk will be sent to all those who book (available for up to 30 days).

Bill Bowring has taught at Birkbeck College, University of London, since 2006; he is a Barrister, taking cases to the Strasbourg Court; and is a fluent Russian speaker, with many publications in Russian and about Russia, including 'Law, Rights and Ideology in Russia: Landmarks in the Destiny of a Great Power' (2013).He was a regular visitor to Russia up until the start of the Covid pandemic in February 2020. He was Chair of the SCRSS from 1989 to 1997, and has been President since 19 May 2007. In 1991, after the collapse of the USSR, he proposed the re-naming of the SCR (Society for Cultural Relations with the USSR) to the SCRSS (Society for Co-operation in Russian & Soviet Studies).

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March 2024

Saturday 2 March 2024, 09.30 - 10.45
Zoom Online Lecture in Russian: Associate Professor Nataliya Semenova on The Nostalgia Trend in Contemporary Russian Literature / Nostal'gicheskaya tendentsiya v sovremennoi russkoi literature

Free talk in Russian for SCRSS members only. Associate Professor Nataliya Semenova discusses the nostalgia trend in contemporary Russian literature, live from St Petersburg. Full details available on Eventbrite (see link below)

Booking: now open on Eventbrite (booking closes on Friday 1 March 2024 at 17.00). Within 48 hours after the event, a link to the online recording of this talk will be sent to all members who book (available for up to 30 days).

Saturday 2 March 2024, 11.00 - 16.00
Event: SCRSS Library Opening


Library opening for SCRSS members - other visitors by appointment only. Access the library collections and borrow books from the Literature and Quick Loan sections. Surplus book stock is also usually available for a small donation. Tea and coffee available. Members may attend without prior notification - please bring your membership card.

From Thursday 7 March 2024 for 10 weeks, 18.00 - 20.00
Zoom Online Evening Class: Russian Language for Good Intermediate Level


Rolling 10-week Zoom evening class, taught by Christine Barnard, former lecturer in Russian at Westminster University. The group is friendly, informal and strictly non-competitive. One hour free conversation, one hour reading, with a short break in between. The group reads a variety of short stories or short extracts from longer books, with suggestions welcome. The current text is Chekhov's Dama s sobachkoi (Lady with a Lapdog). There is currently availability for new members to join the class. For more information or to request a free one-session trial, email Christine Barnard direct on rtstrans1@gmail.com. Fee for 10 weeks: £40.00 (SCRSS members only). Why not become an SCRSS member to join this enjoyable class?

Wednesday 20 March 2024, 19.00 - 20.00
Zoom Online Lecture: Andrew George on Andrei Platonov's 'Chevengur' as a Marxist Novel


Second talk in our '1920s USSR' series for spring 2024, reflecting the decade in which the Society was founded.

Andrei Platonov (1899-1951) was a Soviet Russian writer who is now becoming widely recognised in the West. His 1928 novel Chevengur has recently been re-published in a new English translation by Robert and Elizabeth Chandler. Chevengur is variously considered to be a dystopian satire or a revolutionary novel on the idea of communism, while its author has been portrayed as both an ardent opponent of Soviet socialism and a loyal Soviet revolutionary.

In this talk Andrew George discusses how Platonov, his life, and his work, in particular Chevengur, relate to Marxism in their historical, cultural and political contexts. He contends that Platonov was a complex Bolshevik thinker living through complex times (including the Civil War, New Economic Policy and Five Year Plans). Platonov was involved in the Russian Revolution not only as a writer, but also as an engineer working on electrification, irrigation and land reclamation projects in Russia and Central Asia. The talk will include the publication and translation history of Chevengur in Russian and English, in the USSR and abroad.

Booking: via Eventbrite (booking closes on 20 March 2024 at 16.00). Normal ticket prices apply. Shortly after the event, a link to the online recording of this talk will be sent to all those who book (available for up to 30 days).

Andrew George took his first degree in Russian at Queen Mary University of London. He completed his MA in Russian and East European Literature and Culture at University College London on 'The Revolutionary Marxist Subject of Platonov's Chevengur'. His research interests include socialist and communist culture, history, philosophy, politics and society.

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April 2024

Saturday 6 April 2024, 11.00 - 16.00
Event: SCRSS Library Opening


Library opening for SCRSS members - other visitors by appointment only. Access the library collections and borrow books from the Literature and Quick Loan sections. Surplus book stock is also usually available for a small donation. Tea and coffee available. Members may attend without prior notification - please bring your membership card.

Tuesday 16 April 2024, 18.30 - 19.30
Zoom Online Lecture in Russian for Members Only: Associate Professor Nataliya Semenova on 'Moscow Literature' in Contemporary Russian Culture / 'Moskovsky tekst' v sovremennoi russkoi kul'ture


Free talk in Russian for SCRSS members only. Following her successful Zoom talk for the SCRSS in March 2024, Associate Professor Nataliya Semenova returns to discuss the phenomenon of 'Moscow literature' - part of the wider trend for mapping space already seen in 'St Petersburg literature' and others. She will focus on a number of aspects of 21st-century works - from memoir literature by V. Aksenov and A. Nilin, to documentary reconstructions and utopian manifestations of the contemporary city in the novels of S. Belyakov and D. Danilov. Full details in Russian on Eventbrite, including Nataliya Semenova's academic credentials. Live from St Petersburg.

Booking: via Eventbrite (booking closes at 15.30 on Tuesday 16 April 2024). Within 48 hours after the event, a link to the online recording of this talk will be sent to all members who book (available for up to 30 days).

Wednesday 24 April 2024, 19.00 - 20.00
Zoom Online Lecture: Professor Jeremy Hicks on Oedipal and Incendiary: Revisiting Pudovkin's Film Adaptation of Gorky's Mother (1926)


Third talk in our '1920s USSR' series for spring 2024, reflecting the decade in which the Society was founded.

Vsevolod Pudovkin's The Mother (1926) boldly reworked Gorky's 1908 novel in the spirit of the creative reflection on the relation between Freudianism and Marxism in the 1920s, an intellectual current repressed in the USSR from the 1930s. It was perhaps the provocative mix that led the film to be more widely censored on its international release even than Battleship Potemkin. This talk explores the adaptation and the film's reception, especially in the UK.

Booking:
via Eventbrite (booking closes on 24 April 2024 at 16.00). Normal ticket prices apply. Shortly after the event, a link to the online recording of this talk will be sent to all those who book (available for up to 30 days).

Jeremy Hicks is Professor of Russian Culture and Film at Queen Mary University of London where he teaches courses on Russian film history and literature. He is the author of four books and many articles on Russian and Soviet history, film, especially documentary, literature and journalism. His publications include: 'Dziga Vertov: Defining Documentary Film' (London and New York, 2007) and 'First Films of the Holocaust: Soviet Cinema and the Genocide of the Jews, 1938-46' (Pittsburgh, 2012), which won the 2013 ASEEES Wayne Vucinich Prize "for the most important contribution to Russian, Eurasian, and East European studies in any discipline of the humanities or social sciences". His most recent book is: 'The Victory Banner over the Reichstag: Film, Document and Ritual in Russia's Contested Memory of World War Two' (Pittsburgh 2020). He is currently researching the relationship between film and the international famine relief campaign to Soviet Russia and Ukraine in 1921, and he frequently reviews and writes about contemporary documentary in the former Soviet countries.

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May 2024

Saturday 4 May 2024, 11.00 - 16.00
Event: SCRSS Library Opening


Library opening for SCRSS members - other visitors by appointment only. Access the library collections and borrow books from the Literature and Quick Loan sections. Surplus book stock is also usually available for a small donation. Tea and coffee available. Members may attend without prior notification - please bring your membership card.

From Thursday 16 May 2024 until Thursday 25 July 2024, 18.00 - 20.00
Zoom Online Evening Class: Russian Language for Good Intermediate Level


Rolling 10-week Zoom evening class, taught by Christine Barnard, former lecturer in Russian at Westminster University. One week break on 10 July. The group is friendly, informal and strictly non-competitive. One hour free conversation, one hour reading, with a short break in between. The group reads a variety of short stories or short extracts from longer books, with suggestions welcome. The class is just finishing Pushkin's Pikovaya dama (Queen of Spades), before returning to Dyadya Fedor (Uncle Fyodor). There is currently availability for new members to join the class. For more information or to request a free one-session trial, email Christine Barnard direct on rtstrans1@gmail.com. Fee for 10 weeks: £40.00 (SCRSS members only). Why not become an SCRSS member to join this enjoyable class?

Saturday 18 May 2024, 11.00 - 13.00
In-person Event: SCRSS Annual General Meeting


Held at the SCRSS office. SCRSS members only. Note: the talk by SCRSS Trustee and art historian Christine Lindey at 14.00 (see below) is free to members who attend the AGM.

Saturday 18 May 2024, 14.00 - 15.00
In-person Lecture: Christine Lindey on Alexander Deineka (1899-1969), People’s Artist of the USSR


Fourth talk in our '1920s USSR' series for spring 2024, reflecting the decade in which the Society was founded. In-person illustrated talk held at the SCRSS office.

Alexander Alexandrovich Deineka (1899-1969) was just eighteen and studying in his native Kursk when the Bolshevik Revolution began in 1917. Soon after he was at Moscow's now celebrated VKhUTEMAS (Higher Art and Technical Workshops) where he honed his Marxist aspiration to create a new Soviet art.

In 1922 he co-founded the Association of Artists for Revolutionary Russia (AARA). Intending to create a new heritage for the new worker state, these artists imparted clear meanings in accessible realist styles without being narrowly academic.

Deineka's Defence of Petrograd (1928) sought a compromise. It celebrates the workers' foundation of the Soviet state in a style that moderately absorbs Cubism and Expressionism while retaining clear legibility to express the new Soviet reality. Most of his subjects celebrated factory workers, miners, modernity, youth and aspiration as expressed by flight and sport - with football, the quintessential male working-class sport, claiming a special place.

Deineka ruffled many an academician's feathers yet he was eventually honoured as a Hero of Socialist Labour, People's Artist of the USSR, a full member of the USSR Academy of Arts and a Lenin Prize winner.

Booking: Tickets available on the door. Free to SCRSS members who attend the preceding Annual General Meeting at 11.00. Otherwise normal ticket prices apply.

Christine Lindey is an art historian with a special interest in Soviet and Socialist art. She was formerly an Associate Lecturer in art history at Birkbeck College, University of London, and at the University of the Arts, London. She is the author of five books, including her latest 'Art for All: British Socially Committed Art from the 1930s to the Cold War' (2018) and her influential 'Art in the Cold War: From Vladivostock to Kalamazoo' (1990), which pioneered the comparative study of Soviet and Western Art. Now retired from teaching, she continues to write regular art reviews for the Morning Star newspaper, as well as articles and book reviews on Russian and Soviet art for the SCRSS Digest.

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June 2024

Saturday 1 June 2024, 11.00 - 16.00
Event: SCRSS Library Opening


Library opening for SCRSS members - other visitors by appointment only. Access the library collections and borrow books from the Literature and Quick Loan sections. Surplus book stock is also usually available for a small donation. Tea and coffee available. Members may attend without prior notification - please bring your membership card.

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July 2024

Saturday 6 July 2024, 14.30 - 18.00
In-person Event: SCRSS Centenary Celebration 1924-2024 for Members


Our Centenary Celebration for SCRSS members. The event programme includes the opening of a new exhibition A History of the SCRSS in 100+ Objects with exhibits (photos, publications, rare artefacts) from the Society's archives displayed on three floors of our building and covering themes such as music, space / science, theatre, the Soviet War Memorial, the 1920s, etc. There will be formal speeches, the book launch and author signing of our new history An Unpopular Cause by Jane Rosen, a formal toast to the Society and the cutting of a centenary cake. Doors open at 14.00 with the buffet and drinks available from 14.30. SCRSS members only. Members, if attending, please RSVP to your invitation by 28 June.

Note: the exhibition A History of the SCRSS in 100+ Objects will be open to the public from the early autumn at dates to be confirmed in due course.

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August 2024

Saturday 3 August 2024, 11.00 - 16.00
Event: SCRSS Library Opening


Library opening for SCRSS members - other visitors by appointment only. Access the library collections and borrow books from the Literature and Quick Loan sections. Surplus book stock is also usually available for a small donation. Tea and coffee available. Members may attend without prior notification - please bring your membership card.

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September 2024

Saturday 7 September 2024, 11.00 - 16.00
Event: SCRSS Library Opening


Library opening for SCRSS members - other visitors by appointment only. Access the library collections and borrow books from the Literature and Quick Loan sections. Surplus book stock is also usually available for a small donation. Tea and coffee available. Members may attend without prior notification - please bring your membership card.

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October 2024

Saturday 5 October 2024, 11.00 - 16.00
Event: SCRSS Library Opening


Library opening for SCRSS members - other visitors by appointment only. Access the library collections and borrow books from the Literature and Quick Loan sections. Surplus book stock is also usually available for a small donation. Tea and coffee available. Members may attend without prior notification - please bring your membership card.

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November 2024

Saturday 2 November 2024, 11.00 - 16.00
Event: SCRSS Library Opening


Library opening for SCRSS members - other visitors by appointment only. Access the library collections and borrow books from the Literature and Quick Loan sections. Surplus book stock is also usually available for a small donation. Tea and coffee available. Members may attend without prior notification - please bring your membership card.

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December 2024

Saturday 7 December 2024, 11.00 - 16.00
Event: SCRSS Library Opening


Library opening for SCRSS members - other visitors by appointment only. Access the library collections and borrow books from the Literature and Quick Loan sections. Surplus book stock is also usually available for a small donation. Tea and coffee available. Members may attend without prior notification - please bring your membership card.

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SCRSS centenary logo - copyright SCRSS

 

Related Links

Soviet War Memorial

 

SCRSS exhibition poster - Soviet Modernist Art and Design 1917 - 1991(copyright SCRSS)
© SCRSS