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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.

Please note: dogs are not permitted on SCRSS premises, with the exception of guide dogs.

Venue and Tickets

Most events take place at the SCRSS. Evening events normally start at 19.00, with tea and coffee served from 18.30.

Lecture and film tickets cost £3.00 (SCRSS members) and £5.00 (non-members), unless otherwise stated. For all other events, please see individual listings below. Please note: tickets are payable by cash only on the door (unfortunately, we are unable to accept debit or credit cards).

2020 Events Diary

January 2020 July 2020
February 2020 August 2020
March 2020 September 2020
April 2020 October 2020
May 2020 November 2020
June 2020 December 2020
  February 2021

January 2020

Thursday 23 January to Thursday 20 February, and Thursday 12 March to Thursday 26 March 2020, 17.45 - 19.45
Evening Class: Russian Language for Good Intermediate Level (Spring Term 2)

This term's 8-week course is led by Christine Barnard, former lecturer in Russian at the University of Westminster, and uses Ruslan 3 as the textbook. Maximum 10 students.

Fees: £40.00 per term (SCRSS members), £60.00 per term (non-members). Full fee payable at start of term by cash or cheque only.

Friday 24 January 2020, 19.00
Talk: Ed Pulford on Mirrorlands - the Russia-China Border


The Russia-China borderlands offer a unique vantage point from which to understand the myriad peoples, places and political cataclysms that have united and divided the world's largest countries by territory and population respectively. With a unique past and present as home to frontier-traversing tradespeople, cross-border indigenous groups, local populations wrestling with ideas of 'Europe' and 'Asia', migrants, exiles, and twenty-first century backpackers, this juncture of worlds reveals a side to Russia-China relations little known even to Muscovites or Beijingers.

Ed Pulford discusses his recent book Mirrorlands and offers insight into these entangled pasts and presents. Mirrorlands is based on a single journey through Siberia, Inner Mongolia, the Russian Far East and Manchuria, but Ed also draws on his wider experiences in the region. Through encounters with borderland residents from diverse ethnic and linguistic backgrounds, we learn much about how each old Eurasian empire has ruled its domain before, during and since socialism, and how ordinary lives have reflected each other across the borderline. This in turn aids us in better understanding two countries that are as misrepresented as they are important in today's world. Visit Hurst Publishers' website for more information about the book.

Ed Pulford is a Cambridge-trained linguist and social anthropologist who has spent over eight years living in the Russian Far East, China, Korea and Japan. He now works as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam.

The talk is open to both SCRSS members and non-members. Normal entrance fees apply: SCRSS members £3.00 / non-members £5.00. Pay cash on entry.

Monday 27 January 2020, 11.00
Event: Holocaust Memorial Day Ceremony at the Soviet War Memorial, London


A wreath-laying ceremony takes place at 11.00 at the Soviet War Memorial, organised by the Soviet War Memorial Trust (SWMT). This is followed by a commemoration inside the Imperial War Museum, organised by Southwark Council's Civic Office. Holocaust Memorial Day marks the date of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camps by the Soviet Red Army on 27 January 1945.

The Soviet War Memorial was unveiled in 1999 on the initiative of the SCRSS and the Society has been supporting the work of the SWMT since its foundation. The SWMT organises three main ceremonies at the Memorial each year to mark Holocaust Memorial Day (January); Victory Day (9 May) and Remembrance Sunday (November).

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February 2020

Saturday 1 February 2020, 11.00 - 16.00
Event: SCRSS Saturday Library Opening for Members


The Loan Library and General Reference Library will be open for use by members without prior appointment. SCRSS Russian mugs, de-acquired books and a selection of donated Soviet / Russian souvenirs will be on sale. You can deal with your membership renewal or even join the SCRSS on the spot to take advantage of access to the SCRSS Loan Library.

SCRSS members only.

Saturday 1 February 2020, 14.00
Talk: Andrew Jameson on Why Russian is the Best Language for Poetry


What is so special about Russian poetry? Surely the basic elements of language are the same in all literary cultures? In this talk Andrew Jameson discusses the various special features of Russian: its sound system, its multiplicity of word endings, the wealth and variety of word-building elements, and finally its freedom of word order which make Russian a uniquely flexible medium for the creation of poetry. The talk will be richly illustrated with bizarre and fascinating examples, and a handout provided. A knowledge of Russian and / or linguistics is helpful if attending this talk.

Andrew Jameson taught Russian language and culture at Portsmouth and Lancaster universities, and organised many popular residential courses for adults at Knuston Hall, Alston Hall, Essex, UEA and Lancaster. His particular interests are the Russian avant-garde in its various manifestations and the cultural history of the Russian language. Since retirement he has often lectured in St Petersburg, Moscow and Khabarovsk. He now works as a professional translator.

The talk is open to both SCRSS members and non-members. Normal entrance fees apply: SCRSS members £3.00 / non-members £5.00. Pay cash on entry.

Friday 21 February 2020, 19.00
Talk: Jessica Sutcliffe on Helen Muspratt: Photographing the Soviet Union in 1937


Born in 1907 in India where she spent the first seven years of her life before her family returned to England, Helen Muspratt was a lifelong communist, a member of the Cambridge intellectual milieu of the 1930s, and a working mother. She was also a pioneering photographer who worked in partnership with Lettice Ramsey to make portraits of eminent scientists, writers and members of the Bloomsbury group, many of whom were active in left-wing politics. Both women were captivated by recent developments in photography, in particular Man Ray's technique of solarisation, and rayograph and multiple exposure techniques. Helen Muspratt was also a talented documentary photographer. In 1937, in a visit organised by the Society for Cultural Relations with the USSR (today's SCRSS), she went to the Soviet Union with a group of architects, visiting Leningrad and Moscow and then travelling down the Volga in a steamer to Stalingrad. Her photographs of this trip are mainly of ordinary Russians in markets, women working on collective farms and children in creches. She later made the photographs into a filmstrip to present at Workers Education Association classes and women’s institutes.

Jessica Sutcliffe is Helen Muspratt's daughter and the author of Face: Shape and Angle: Helen Muspratt, Photographer (2016, Manchester University Press). The book reproduces Helen's most important photographic images, including documentary records of the Soviet Union, and includes an accompanying memoir of her mother by Jessica.

The talk is open to both SCRSS members and non-members. Normal entrance fees apply: SCRSS members £3.00 / non-members £5.00. Pay cash on entry.

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March 2020

Saturday 7 March 2020, 11.00 - 16.00
Event: SCRSS Saturday Library Opening for Members


The Loan Library and General Reference Library will be open for use by members without prior appointment. SCRSS mugs, de-acquired books and a selection of donated Soviet / Russian souvenirs will be on sale. You can deal with your membership renewal or even join the SCRSS on the spot to take advantage of access to the SCRSS Loan Library.

SCRSS members only.

Saturday 7 March 2020, 14.00
Talk: John Allan on Allied Aid to Russia in the Second World War via the Persian Gulf - The Southern Artery

CANCELLED.

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April 2020

Saturday 4 - Sunday 5 April 2020, 10.00 - 16.30 daily
Event: SCRSS Advanced Russian Language Seminar

CANCELLED

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May 2020

Saturday 2 May 2020, 11.00 - 16.00
Event: SCRSS Saturday Library Opening for Members
CANCELLED

Saturday 9 May 2020
Event: Victory Day - SWMT Act of Remembrance at the Soviet War Memorial, London

CANCELLED

Saturday 16 May 2020, 11.00 - 13.00
Event: SCRSS Annual General Meeting

RESCHEDULED TO 24 OCTOBER 2020

Friday 29 May 2020, 19.00
Talk: Christine Lindey on Soviet and Western Representations of Workers c 1930 to c 1970
CANCELLED

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June 2020

Saturday 6 June 2020, 11.00 - 16.00
Event: SCRSS Saturday Library Opening for Members
CANCELLED

Monday 22 June 2020, 19.00 - 20.30
Zoom Online Panel Discussion: Historical Memory and the Fight Against Fascism, Part I


Joint SCRSS / Marx Memorial Library (MML) event. The panel will explore the role of the Soviet Union / Communism in the fight against Fascism in the 1930s and its defeat in the Second World War. Seventy-five years since victory over Nazi Germany in 1945, it will reflect on how and why this history is now under attack, with particular reference to the resolution passed by the European Parliament On the Importance of European Remembrance for the Future of Europe in September 2019. Speakers: Dr Michael Jones, historian and author of After Hitler: The Last Days of the Second World War in Europe, Total War, Stalingrad and other titles; Phil Katz, author of Freedom from Tyranny: The Fight Against Fascism and the Falsification of History; Jonathan White, MML tutor, Trade Union Official and Associate Editor of Theory and Struggle. Meeting Chair: Meirian Jump, MML Archivist and Library Manager. The event is free, but please register in advance at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/online-panel-historical-memory-the-fight-against-fascism-tickets-104940337374 (and consider making a donation). Once registered, a link to join the meeting will be sent to participants 24 hours in advance of the event.

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July 2020

Saturday 4 July 2020, 11.00 - 16.00
Event: SCRSS Saturday Library Opening for Members
CANCELLED

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August 2020

Saturday 1 August 2020, 11.00 - 16.00
Event: SCRSS Saturday Library Opening for Members
CANCELLED

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September 2020

Saturday 5 September 2020, 11.00 - 16.00
Event: SCRSS Saturday Library Opening for Members

CANCELLED

Wednesday 30 September 2020, 19.00
Zoom Online Lecture: Bill Bowring on Russia and the European Convention (or Court) of Human Rights (online only with advance booking)


This year is the 70th anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Russia has been a member of the Council of Europe for 25 years, and of the ECHR for 22 years. Professor Bowring discusses how this has been possible, and whether the close and mostly positive relationship between Russia and the CoE and ECHR is about to end.

The lecture will be held using the Zoom online conferencing tool. Attendance will be via prior booking on Eventbrite - with a suggested donation to the SCRSS. Those who book will receive login details for the Zoom event 24 hours before the lecture start.

Professor Bill Bowring is SCRSS President. He has been travelling to Russia since 1983, and is a fluent Russian speaker. He has taught international law, human rights, and Soviet and Russian law at Birkbeck College, University of London, since 2006. He is a Barrister, taking cases to the Strasbourg Court. In addition to his book Law, Rights and Ideology in Russia, he has 130 publications in English and Russian.

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October 2020

Saturday 3 October 2020, 11.00 - 16.00
Event: SCRSS Saturday Library Opening for Members

CANCELLED

Saturday 24 October 2020, 11.00 - 12.30
Zoom Online Event: SCRSS Annual General Meeting (online only with advance registration)

This year's AGM will be online only, using the Zoom online conferencing tool. NOTE: Members must register in advance before 17.00 on Wednesday 21 October in order to receive the relevant link to allow them to join the meeting online. To register, simply send an email to ruslibrary@scrss.org.uk with "AGM registration" in the subject line and your name in the body of the message.

The AGM will discuss the Annual Report and Accounts for 2019, as well as elect members of the SCRSS Council. The meeting provides an excellent opportunity for members to question the Honorary Secretary, Honorary Treasurer and other members of the SCRSS Council on the contents of the Report and Accounts, as well as discuss the future development of the Society. The Annual Report and Accounts will be sent out by email in advance of the AGM to give members an opportunity to review them beforehand.

Please contact the Honorary Secretary, preferably by email, if you have any questions.

The AGM is open to SCRSS members only.

Wednesday 28 October 2020, 19.00
Zoom Online Lecture: Robert Stephenson on We Are Building Capitalism! Moscow in Transition 1992-1997 (online only with advance booking)


Next year (2021) sees the 30th anniversary of the sudden and unexpected collapse of the Soviet Union. Few cities have undergone changes as intense and fundamental as those experienced by Moscow in the wake of this historical event. In his talk Robert Stephenson gives a visual tour of life in Russia's capital during the first years of transformation. The talk is based on his experience of living and working in the city at the time. It is illustrated by images from his recent book We Are Building Capitalism! Moscow in Transition 1992-1997 (Glagoslav Publications, 2019), which provides a unique pictorial and narrative description of daily life in Moscow during the turbulent early years of transition from state socialism to market capitalism. If you register for the lecture, you'll get a discount code to receive 15% off the normal price of the book (code valid until 10 November 2020).

Booking: The lecture will be held using the Zoom online conferencing tool. Please book in advance on Eventbrite - and consider making a donation to the SCRSS. To view the talk online, you'll also need to have set up a free account with Eventbrite, using the same email address you use to book the event. If you don't have an Eventbrite account yet, you can set it up before or after booking this event. Once booked, you'll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite about the event, and reminders with the link at two days, two hours and 10 minutes before the event starts.

Robert Stephenson is a former UK senior civil servant who spent over thirty-five years working in public administration, including twenty years in international development. He began his international career in Moscow in March 1992 and for the next five years lived and worked in the city, initially as a consultant to the new Federal Employment Service and then leading a major UK-Russia joint funded programme of capacity building for Russian trainers in business and commercial skills. During this period he met and married his wife, Svetlana Stephenson, now a senior professor in Sociology at London Metropolitan University and the award-winning author of Gangs of Russia: From the Streets to the Corridors of Power (Cornell, 2015). On his return to the UK, Stephenson went on to lead a UK government team dedicated to supporting civil service development and reform around the world and for the next fifteen years he continued to work with Russian counterparts and led partnerships with civil service institutions in Central and Eastern Europe, and former Yugoslavia. Since leaving the service he has concentrated on developing his lifelong passion for travel and photography. We Are Building Capitalism! Moscow in Transition 1992-1997 is his first book.

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November 2020

Tuesday 3 November 2020, 19.00 - 20.30
Zoom Online Lecture: David Lane on Lenin's Ideas on Revolution: Are they Relevant Today? (online only with advance booking)


This is a special online lecture organised jointly by the SCRSS and Marx Memorial Library to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Lenin.

David Lane considers the strategy that led to the overthrow of the Provisional Government in October 1917. He shows how Lenin combined political economy, geo-politics, political organisation and a sociology of class structure to form an innovative revolutionary praxis. Consequently, his approach to revolution has been adopted by many parties after his death and has led to success in many countries, notably China. But it has failed in the core capitalist states and the Leninist order has been reversed in his homeland, the Soviet Union. The lecture will consider Lenin's theoretical and practical strategy, its criticisms and its relevance to current conditions. A 'return to Lenin' is not to adopt his policies but a prompt to reinvent a vision of socialism derived from Marx's analysis of capitalism. See David Lane's related feature article 'The Heritage of Vladimir Lenin' in the SCRSS Digest, Autumn 2020 issue on pages 1-4.

Booking: The lecture will be held using the Zoom online conferencing tool. Please book in advance on Eventbrite - and consider making a donation. Attendees will be emailed details to login to the Zoom event in advance of the date.

David Lane is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and currently Emeritus Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge University; he was previously Professor of Sociology at the University of Birmingham. He has written extensively on the USSR and state socialism, Marxism and socialism. Recent publications include: Changing Regional Alliances for China and the West (with G. Zhu) (2018); Elites and Identity in the Transformation of State Socialism (2014); The Capitalist Transformation of State Socialism (2014). Dr Lane is a Vice-President of the SCRSS.

Saturday 7 November 2020, 11.00 - 16.00
Event: SCRSS Saturday Library Opening for Members

CANCELLED

Saturday 8 November 2020
Event: Remembrance Sunday - SWMT Act of Remembrance at the Soviet War Memorial, London

CANCELLED

Thursday 19 November 2020, 19.00
Zoom Online Panel Discussion: Historical Memory and the Fight Against Fascism, Part II
(online only with advance booking)

This is a joint SCRSS-Marx Memorial Library (MML) event. Part I took place on 22 June 2020 and a recording can be viewed online on the MML website.

Speakers from the SCRSS, Soviet War Memorial Trust, MML and the International Brigade Memorial Trust will examine the challenges faced in light of recent revisionism towards the Soviet Union's role in the fight against Fascism in the 1930s and its defeat in the Second World War, and ways forward through collaborative educational work. Chair: Jonathan White. Speakers: Ralph Gibson - SCRSS; Phil Matthews - Soviet War Memorial Trust; Jonathan White - MML; Jim Jump - International Brigade Memorial Trust.

Booking: The lecture will be held using the Zoom online conferencing tool. Please book in advance on Eventbrite - and consider making a donation. Attendees will be emailed details to login to the Zoom event in advance of the date.

Wednesday 25 November 2020, 19.00
Zoom Online Lecture: Philip Wilkinson on Red Star and Roundel - A Shared Century
(online only with advance booking)

Philip Wilkinson takes us on a rapid run-through of his recently published book Red Star and Roundel - A Shared Century (published by Fonthill Media, 2019). This examines the ways in which the Royal Air Force and Russia have been linked (or separated) over their shared century: the hundred years since the November 1917 Revolution and the April 1918 formation of the Royal Air Force.

See our review of 'Red Star and Roundel' in the SCRSS Digest, Summer 2020 issue on page 13. Our reviewer praised it as "a comprehensive and astoundingly well-researched history of the Royal Air Force's involvement in Russia from the October Revolution to the present day... This book should be read by all those interested in the Second World War".

Booking: The lecture will be held using the Zoom online conferencing tool. Please book in advance on Eventbrite- and consider making a donation to the SCRSS. To view the talk online, you'll also need to have set up a free account with Eventbrite, using the same email address you use to book the event. If you don't have an Eventbrite account yet, you can set it up before or after booking this event. Once booked, you'll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite about the event, and reminders with the link at two days, two hours and 10 minutes before the event starts.

Philip Wilkinson served for forty years in the Royal Air Force. His flying duties took him across most of the world, while his duties on the ground included spells in Vienna, Alabama, Paris, Belgium, Berlin, and finally Moscow, where he was Defence and Air Attache at the British Embassy, Moscow, from 1993 to 1997. He is a Trustee of the Soviet War Memorial Trust, which is responsible for the Soviet War Memorial in London.

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December 2020

Saturday 5 December 2020, 11.00 - 16.00
Event: SCRSS Saturday Library Opening for Members

CANCELLED

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February 2021

Tuesday 23 February 2021, 19.00
Zoom Online Lecture: Professor Jeremy Hicks on The Victory Banner Over the Reichstag - Film, Document and Ritual in Russia's Contested Memory of World War Two


In one of the most iconic images from World War II, a Russian soldier raises a red flag atop the ruins of the German Reichstag on 30 April 1945. Known as the Victory Banner, this piece of fabric has come to symbolise Russian triumph, glory, and patriotism. Facsimiles are used in public celebrations all over the country, and an exact replica is the centrepiece in the annual Victory Parade in Moscow's Red Square. In this lecture, Professor Jeremy Hicks discusses his book The Victory Banner Over the Reichstag, examining how and why this symbol was created, the changing media of its expression, and the contested evolution of its message. From association with Stalinism and Communism to its acquisition of Russian nationalist meaning, the book demonstrates how this symbol has been used to construct a collective Russian memory of the war.

Booking: The lecture will be held using the Zoom online conferencing tool. The Eventbrite booking link will be available here in due course.

Jeremy Hicks is Professor of Russian Culture and Film at Queen Mary University, London. He is the author of First Films of the Holocaust, Dziga Vertov: Defining Documentary Film, and Mikhail Zoshchenko and the Poetics of Skaz.

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

 

Related Links

Soviet War Memorial

 

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