MSSU Russia Semester

Lectures and Presentations

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  The Letter, 1989 ©Christian Keesee Collection
The Letter, 1989
©Christian Keesee Collection

New Russian Art: Paintings From the Christian Keesee Collection
8:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m., Monday - Friday
Aug. 30 through Sept. 24, 2004
Spiva Art Gallery on campus
Admission: free

Oklahoma businessman Christian Keesee began collecting contemporary Russian art after visiting the country for the first time in 1988. In a series of trips between 1991 and 1993, he and free-lance curator Jon Burris visited artists, curators, critics, and gallery owners. The paintings in this exhibit are the result. They reflect the blossoming art scene in a post-Soviet Union Russia unfettered by Communist Socialist Realism. Although there is a figurative tendency in many of the works, there is also present the influence of Constructivism, neo-Expressionism, Primitive Expressionism, Hyperrealism, Pop, Conceptual, and various Abstract art movements. Many images can be best described either as lyrical, fantastic, or ironic, often reflecting a subtle, subversive humor. Copies of New Russian Art will be for sale for $25.00 in the Spiva Art Gallery.

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Dr. Yvonne Howell Presentation
9:00 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 1
Webster Hall 207
Permission of instructor required
Speaker: Dr. Yvonne Howell

Dr. Yvonne Howell, an associate professor of Russian and International Studies at the University of Richmond, spoke to Dr. Conrad Gubera’s Introduction to International Studies class.

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Overview of Russia: Land, Language, People
11:00 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 1
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Yvonne Howell

Dr. Howell gave a crash course in reading the Russian alphabet, an overview of Russian history, and an overview of the Soviet period, including the Bolshevik Revolution, Stalinism, and the fall of the Soviet Union. Other topics included how the vastness of this land and its extreme climate have shaped “the Russian character,” Russian civilization under the Tsars, and basic cultural/historical features that help “define” Russia.

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How Do Good Scientists Work With Bad Regimes?
11:00 a.m., Thursday., Sept. 2
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Yvonne Howell

Dr. Howell explored the totalitarian model of Soviet history, which provides evidence that Soviet scientists were persecuted and controlled by the powerful political mandates of an authoritarian ruler. She looked at the “islands of intellectual freedom” model of accommodation between the regime and its (much-needed!) scientists and discussed the degree to which politics and science were intertwined in ways that supercede the control or power of any one group.

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Visiting Reflections: From Leningrad 1980 to St. Petersburg 2004
12:00 p.m., Friday, Sept. 3
Billingsly Student Center Room 310
Admission: faculty and staff only
Speaker: Dr. Joy Dworkin

Dr. Joy Dworkin, professor of English at Missouri Southern, studied in Leningrad, USSR, in the summer of 1980; twenty-four years later, she returned to the same city, now St. Petersburg, Russia. In what ways is it the same city? Professor Dworkin shared personal impressions of her visits to one of the world’s great cultural capitals, certainly one of the most literary cities in the world. Yes, McDonald’s and Subway are there now, and the propaganda “Long Live Leninism” that once glared down from atop skyscrapers has become the kitsch of the trendy “Call of Lenin” restaurant. Will aesthetic values survive in the new capitalist climate?

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Learn the Russian Alphabet
7:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 5, 2004
7:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 6, 2004
Speaker: Dr. Tatiana Karmanova

KGCS-TV featured a special television program, "Learn the Russian Alpahbet." The program featured Southern Russian Professor Dr. Tatiana Karmanova, as she teaches the basics of the Russian alphabet and language to students.

The program was seen on UHF channel 57, cable channel 7 on the Cable One system, and cable channel 77 on the Mediacom system. The station operates as a service of the Department of Communication at Missouri Southern State University.

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All Work and No Play: Education the Russian Way
9:00 a.m, Friday, Sept. 10, 2004
Taylor Hall 113
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Tatiana Sildus

Dr. Tatiana Sildus, an assistant professor of curriculum and instruction at Pittsburg State University, gave an overview of the Russian educational system from kindergarten to college while focusing on similarities and differences between the educational systems of Russia and the United States.

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When in Russia, Do as the Russians Do: A Closer Look at Traditions, Customs, and Holidays
11:00 a.m., Friday, Sept. 10, 2004
Taylor Hall 113
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Tatiana Sildus

Dr. Sildus introduced some of the cultural traditions and customs that are uniquely Russian and discusses everyday life in Russia.

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Russian Sock Hop
7:00 p.m., Friday, Sept. 10, 2004
Connor Ballroom, Billingsly Student Center
Admission: free

The International Club presented an evening of popular Russian music and dancing with deejay Serguei Bedine. Refreshments provided.

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An Acting Workshop Based on the Teachings of the Gret Russian Actor/Director Michael Chekhov
7:00 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 14
Bud Walton Theatre
Admission: free
Speaker: Stanley Harrison

New York acting teacher Stanley Harrison showed performers how to awaken their inner powers of will, feeling, and desire by use of the psychological gesture and using the gesture to create the archetype. The workshop is based on the innovative acting techniques of Michael Chekhov, who was born in St. Petersburg in 1891 and later emigrated to the United States where he taught many of Hollywood’s most famous actors in the 1940s and 1950s. Chekhov's influence is evident in such actors as Ingrid Bergman, Lloyd Bridges, Yul Brynner, Gary Cooper, Clint Eastwood, Anthony Hopkins, Marilyn Monroe, Jack Nicholson, Jack Palance, and Anthony Quinn.

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The Teachings of the Great Russian Acting Teacher Konstantin Stanislavsky
10:00 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 15
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Stanley Harrison

Stanley Harrison described how Stanislavsky inspired others to live their lives with love, joy, and beauty through a better understanding of self. Stanislavsky (1863-1938) co-founded the Moscow Art Theatre and earned international acclaim as an actor, director, and coach. His process of character development, the “Stanislavsky Method,” was the catalyst for method acting — arguably the most influential acting system on the modern stage and screen.

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Catherine the Great: Life and Legend
6:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 16
Spiva Library 413A
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. John T. Alexander

Dr. John T. Alexander, a professor of history at the University of Kansas, led a discussion with the Literary Lions book club.

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Body and Soul: Peter the Great and Catherine the Great
9:00 a.m., Friday, Sept. 17
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. John T. Alexander

Dr. Alexander described the personalities and reigns of Peter the Great (1672-1725) and Catherine the Great (1729-1796) of Russia, “world-historical” figures famous in their lifetimes. Both rulers had bodies, obviously, and led their lives with “soul,” i.e. a many-sided interest in life and society in Russia and Europe. Both also pursued policies of Europeanization that brought the Russian Empire into closer relationships with progressive European nations.

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A Russian Celebrity: Aleksander Pushkin
11:00 a.m., Friday, Sept. 17
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. John T. Alexander

Aleksandr Pushkin became a huge celebrity in his lifetime, 1799-1837. After his death in a dramatic duel, his fame mushroomed to near-deity status. It remains worldwide to the present, as indicated by widespread bicentenary celebrations in 1999, the film Onegin, and a statue in Washington, D.C. presented by the city of Moscow.

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Russian Reality, American Perceptions: A Culture of Misunderstanding
9:30 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 23, 2004
Taylor Performing Arts Center
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Nina L. Khrushcheva

Over the last post-Cold-War decade, intellectual discourse between the Russian locals and the Western observers has been an exchange between “the blind and the deaf.” The difference between the Russian reality and the American perception lies in cultural misunderstanding of Russia’s domestic condition, i.e. the nature of its transition from communism to a form of “managed” democracy — Putinism. America, it seems, lacks the language to effectively talk about or to Russia, a country that retains a contrasting system of values from the West: Russian trust vs. Western responsibility, truth vs. rules, communalism vs. individualism, spirituality vs. interests, charity vs. justice, etc. While America unequivocally believes in “homo economicus” with its cultural motto of "keeping up with the Joneses," Russia, a sprawling cultural puzzle with 11 time zones, finds more satisfaction from "keeping the Ivanovs down.” Unfathomable and ineffable, a place with 99 percent literacy and 99 percent corruption, with the best physicists, mathematicians, and computer scientists, but no computers or washing machines; a place where women are highly emancipated but highly subjugated; where nuclear/industrial society marches to a peasant mentality, Russia belies easy characterization.

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Putin's Russia: Democracy Postponed or Democracy Defeated?
7:00 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 23, 2004
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Nina L. Khrushcheva

Last spring Russia chose her president for the next four years. The unsurprising results of the March presidential elections — 72 % support for Vladimir Putin — have given way to much speculation over the current state of political affairs in Russia. Since first taking office in 2000, Putin has introduced extensive reform in such areas as pensions, taxation, agriculture, and others. Moreover, he has taken the oligarchs to task. Is Putin’s decisive victory in 2004 a sign that his agenda and promise for a “stable Russia” resonate with the average voter, or is it a result of a state-monopolized media, voting irregularities and the lack of viable opposition? As of 1991, Russia has been undergoing two kinds of transition: from communism to capitalism and from autocracy to democracy. While there is no reason to believe that the first movement will be reversed, the second is far less certain. The enthusiasm for democratic participation palpable in the early 1990s has abated, leaving behind a sense of apathy and disillusionment. The standard defense of Russia’s current semi-autocratic condition is that democracy needs order to develop over time. But what if democracy postponed becomes democracy defeated?

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Democracy or Autocracy: Where is Putin taking Russia and Why Shouold We Care?
7:00 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 23, 3004
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Robert H. Donaldson

Dr. Donaldson sumed up the Putin record through the first four and a half years of his presidency, noting that there are still many signs of ambivalence and even contradiction in Putin’s policies in the economic, political, and diplomatic spheres. He believes 2004 is a year of decision for this famously indecisive president. Dr. Donaldson also tackles the notion that Russia is too weak to matter anymore and that the United States doesn’t need to be terribly concerned about which direction it takes.

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Dr. Ronald H. Donaldson Presentation
9:00 a.m., Friday, Sept. 24, 2004
Webster Hall 207
Permission of instructor required
Speaker: Dr. Robert H. Donaldson

Dr. Robert H. Donaldson spoke to Dr. Conrad Gubera's Introduction to International Studies class.

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Between the City of Yes and the City of No
11:00 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 30, 2004
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Yevgeny Yevtushenko, born in 1933 in Zima Junction, Siberia, is a poet, novelist, filmmaker, and professor of literature and cinema. His first poem was published in 1949, and his first book in 1952. His early poems were praised by Boris Pasternak, Carl Sandburg, and Robert Frost. Yevtushenko’s poetry became the first lonely voice against Stalinism. In 1960 he was the first Russian to break the Iron Curtain and to recite his poetry in the West. In 1961 he published “Babi Yar,” a poem against anti-Semitism, which inspired the great Russian composer Dmitry Shostakovich to write his Symphony No. 13. He raised his voice against dissidents’ trails, Soviet tanks in Czechoslovakia, and, together with the nuclear physicist Andrei Sakharov, he became a co-founder of the first Russian anti-Stalinist association “Memorial.”

From 1988 to 1991 Mr. Yevtushenko served in the first freely elected Russian Parliament, where he fought against censorship and other restrictions. During the 1991 attempt of hard-liners to overthrow the fragile Russian democracy, Yevtushenko recited his poetry from the balcony of the Russian White House to two hundred thousand defenders of freedom.

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Question & Answer Session
1:00 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 30, 2004
Spiva Libray Room 413
Admission: free
Speaker: Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Yevgeny Yevtushenko hosts a question and answer session for anyone who has questions about Russia or about himself and his experiences.

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Modest Mussorgsky: Nationalist, Realist, 'Barbaric' Genius
8:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 7, 2004
Phinney Recital Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. David Kushner

A group of 19th century Russian composers known to the world as “The Mighty Handful” changed the character of Russian music forever. One of the five composers was Modest Mussorgsky, who marched to his own beat and joined a commune influenced by the theories of Nikolay Chernyshevsky, who proposed that art must be subordinated to life. Dr. David Kushner, professor and head of musicology/music history at the University of Florida, explored how Mussorgsky dealt with his personal demons in the context of his creative life. Attention also was focused on the “barbaric” genius’s efforts at producing a musical representation of human speech, his treatment of Russian folksong, and his gift for satire.

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Aleksander Borodin: Chemist and Composer
8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., Friday, Oct. 8, 2004
Phinney Recital Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. David Kushner

One of the most versatile and enigmatic figures among the Russian Nationalist School of composers, Aleksandr Borodin achieved excellence in both science and music. The scientific side of Borodin’s life emphasized lecturing on chemistry, supervising student work, and advocating medical courses for women, activities that were impediments to uninterrupted musical achievement. Nevertheless, both inside Russia and beyond (Liszt was a strong supporter of his musical efforts), however, Borodin became known as a significant artistic personality. Dr. David Kushner explained how the worldwide success of the musical Kismet, which opened at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York in 1953, has led to a revival of interest in Borodin’s works, which have been increasingly performed and recorded.

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Pysanky: The Art of the Ukranian Easter Egg
12:00 p.m., Friday, Oct. 8, 2004
Billingsly Student Center Room 310
Brown bag presentation, faculty and staff only
Speaker: Carolyn Trout

Carolyn Trout, director of the Joplin Public Library, has been creating Ukrainian Easter eggs (pysanky) for 25 years. This ancient art form uses egg shells, beeswax, and water-soluble dyes to create masterpieces in miniature. The wax-resist process is a complicated version of the method used by children to dye eggs for Easter egg hunts. Pysanky have both social and spiritual significance in Ukrainian culture, where both the creation and giving of the completed eggs is an integral part of the traditions of Easter. Pysanky have been discovered in Ukrainian graves that date back thousands of years. Prior to the Christianization of the Ukraine near the end of the first millennium A.D., the designs and colors had different symbolic meaning. For example, the triangle — a standard design element on many pysanky — now represents the Holy Trinity, but in pre-Christian Ukraine it stood for either the elements (fire, earth, water) or for the family (father, mother, child.) The most common design element is the eight-pointed star, or rose, which symbolizes life. Designs from the Ukrainian steppes tend to use more floral and animal imagery, while designs from the Carpathian mountains tend to be more geometric.

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The Iconic Tendency in Russian Culture and Politics
9:30 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2004
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Sidney Monas

Dr. Sidney Monas, emeritus professor at the University of Texas, described how Russian culture has a powerful tendency to turn its outstanding figures into icons, which in turn encourages the formation of cults. Under the old regime, all Russian rulers were depicted symbolically as saints, though not necessarily officially recognized as such. Outstanding cultural figures from Pushkin to Sakharov also were depicted iconically. This is a dangerous, though sometimes quite touching phenomenon.

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Dr. Sidney Monas Presentation
1:00 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2004
Hearnes Hall 322B
Permission of instructor required
Speaker: Dr. Sidney Monas

Dr. Monas spoke to Dr. Joy Dworkin’s World Humanities class.

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Stalin's Gold, Industrialization and Soviet Everyday Life
9:30 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2004
Webster Hall 207
Permission of instructor required
Speaker: Dr. Elena Osokina

Dr. Elena Osokina, assistant professor of history at Southwest Missouri State University, spoke to Dr. Ree Wells’ International Semester Perspectives class.

Dr. Osokina explored a historically new form of everyday life that can be called “Soviet socialism.” She argued that two things worked together to shape Soviet everyday life, the state’s claim for total control and the population’s responses to it. The Soviet Union was the first state in the modern world to attempt to completely control not only production but also the distribution of goods within a country over an extended period of time. Dr. Osokina also focused on the creation of special stores to drain the Soviet people of their wealth, showing how the state’s economic interventions led the people to create a new set of strategies for survival and enrichment. These two things — state interventions and grassroots responses — worked together to create a new form of everyday life.

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Women in a Totaliarian Society: Soviet Union, Late 1920's - Early 1940s
11:00 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2004
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Elena Osokina

Dr. Osokina explored the changes that “Stalin’s revolution from above” brought into women’s life. She looked at the central political decisions and actions that changed women’s positions in the society and then focused on women’s everyday duties to provide food and goods for their families under the conditions of permanent shortages and famine caused by Stalin’s destruction of the peasant markets. Dr. Osokina also described women’s resistance to the regime and the impact that Stalin’s Great Terror had on them.

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The Last Love Song
10:00 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2004
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Charles Brough

Joplin author/journalist Charles Brough presented the story of the dramatic love affair between Rachmaninoff and Diva Nina Koshetz, an affair which began in Imperial Russia during its Golden Age of the Arts. Brough describes the dramatic moment when Rachmaninoff first took Koshetz in his arms, the difficulties and separation that ultimately ensued, and her harrowing escape from Russia at the time of the Revolution. She hid all her jewels in her baby daughter’s diapers, and eventually reached exile in the U.S. Once here, she went on to build a new singing career in opera, performing at Carnegie Hall eight times, at the White House for President Harding, and in several Hollywood movies. Brough also painted a riveting word picture of Rachmaninoff and Koshetz’s final meeting, called “the encounter on the bridge.” Her daughter, Marina, also became an opera singer, appearing at the Hollywood Bowl with Stowkowski and in numerous Hollywood MGM musicals with Mario Lanza. The presentation included photographs, short musical clips, and movie and video segments.

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Religion after Communism: The Status of the Russian Orthodox Church in Post-Communist Russia
9:00 a.m., Monday, Oct. 25, 2004
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Jennifer Wynot

Dr. Jennifer Wynot, assistant professor of history at Metropolitan State College of Denver, discussed the current status of the Orthodox Church in Russia as well as its relations with other religions and its attempts to have its status protected in Russia by the government.

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Dr. Jennifer Wynot Presentation
11:00 a.m., Monday, Oct. 25, 2004
Hearnes Hall 311
Permission of instructor required
Speaker: Dr. Jennifer Wynot

Dr. Wynot spoke to Dr. Barry Brown’s Introduction to Philosophy class.

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Having Guts to Disagree: Political and Cultural Dissent in the Soviet Union
10:00 a.m, Monday, Nov. 1, 2004
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Maxim Matusevich

Dr. Maxim Matusevich, assistant professor of history at Drury University, outlined the history of the dissent movement in the Soviet Union after Stalin’s death. Close attention was paid to the strategies and structures of political and cultural resistance in the general context of a totalitarian society. Even though the Soviet regime always sought to project the image of uniformity and general consensus, not everybody “went with the flow.” People resisted the ideological impositions in a variety of fashions — through dissident political activities, nationalist and religious movements, countercultural expressions, alternative lifestyles, or subtle violation of social dogmas and taboos. In the final analysis, the Soviet Union perished in large part because so many of its citizens refused or failed to function within the parameters established by the Communist regime.

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Rituals of Everyday Life in the Soviet Union
11:00 a.m, Monday, Nov. 1, 2004
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Maxim Matusevich

Dr. Matusevich went beyond the purely political aspect of Soviet life and looked at the everyday reality of a Soviet citizen. The experience of living in the totalitarian Soviet Union was a sum total of little and mundane occurrences: how people shopped, how they studied and worked, what kind of living conditions they could hope for, how they dated and married each other, how they resolved interpersonal conflicts, and how they negotiated their relationships with state authorities. It is useful to remember that even the “evil empires” are inhabited by ordinary people. The citizens of the Soviet Union were probably far more concerned with their personal problems than with the momentous struggle their increasingly senile leaders were waging against the West.

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Transition from Command to Market Economy
11:00 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 3
Cornell Auditorium in Matthews Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Rostyslav Lukach

Rostyslav Lukach, chairman of the board of directors of the Odessa Stock Market Group in the Ukraine, discusses the economic and political reforms that were required in the Ukraine’s transition as well as the pros and cons of a market economy.

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Rostylav Lukach Presentation
9:30 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 4, 2004
9:00 and 11:00 a.m., Friday, Nov. 5, 2004
11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., Monday, Nov. 8, 2004
Matthews Hall
Permission of Instructor Required
Speaker: Rostyslav Lukach

Mr. Lukach spoke to various classes throughout the MSSU campus.

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The Prospects for Russia's Evolution into a Western-Style Democracy
10:00 a.m., Monday, Nov. 8, 2004
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Charles Timberlake

Dr. Charles Timberlake, professor emeritus of Russia history at the University of Missouri, began with an analysis of the Constitution of 1993 that created the current governmental structure (the “prize” for the winner of elections) and the results of parliamentary and presidential elections from 1993 to 2004. He described the antidemocratic acts of the Putin presidency: revision of the constitution to consolidate 89 regions into 7, whose “Presidential representatives” he has appointed from his former KGB buddies; recentralization of power in the hands of the executive by administrative reforms; use of the compliant legal institutions to punish severely all people outside the “family circle” that he inherited from Yeltsin; and widespread attacks on all media that have been critical of him. Professor Timberlake ended with the question of a third four-year term for Putin, beginning in 2008.

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Doing Business in Russia and Eastern Europe
11:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 10
Billingsly Student Center, Room 310
Admission: $10

Russian and Eastern Europe experts and local professionals discussed the demographic, political, religious, and economic outlooks of Eastern Europe; important differences in business language usage in various Eastern European countries; the “do’s and don’ts” related to cultural and professional aspects; if terrorism is preventing U.S. companies from doing business in Eastern Europe; the success factors in differentiating, pricing, distributing, promoting and labeling your product or service; E-commerce — Eastern Europe’s ability to support electronic commerce; and much more. Sponsored by the Missouri Southern International Trade and Quality Center, the seminar included a networking luncheon.

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New Moscow, Old Heartland -- Contrasts of Russia Today
9:00 a.m.,Wednesday, Nov. 10
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Michael Makin

According to Dr. Michael Makin, an associate professor of Slavic languages and literature at the University of Michigan, Moscow has more billionaires than any other city in the world apart from New York, boasts some of the most lavish and expensive restaurants and night clubs anywhere, and is building urban highways that will be the envy of every other city in Europe. Provincial Russia, outside of the major centers of oil production, is, by many standards, less prosperous than almost any other part of the continent. To understand Russia today, it is essential to grasp the nature and meaning of the striking contrasts between the country’s center of power and wealth and its vast, largely impoverished, but remarkably robust (and, it should be recalled, relatively well-educated) hinterland.

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Culture of the Russian Table
11:00 a.m.,Wednesday, Nov. 10
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Alina Makin

Alina Makin, head of the Intensive Russian Program at the University of Michigan’s Residential College, says “We are what we eat” — food is fundamental and instrumental in our lives. For the traveler and ethnographer the table is one of the principal arenas for encounters with other cultures. But we are also how we eat, and the rituals, habits, economies, folklore, and cultural images of the table, the practices of food selection and preparation, the depiction of table in high (and popular) culture are all significant elements in the creation of personal, regional, and national identity. This lecture examined the foodways of Russia, from the development of the Russian table to the practices and rituals of food preparation and consumption in Russia today, and looked at contemporary attitudes to food and eating. Students learned what to expect when they eat and drink in Russia (and why) and developed basic understanding of semiotics of the table in Russian literature, folklore, film, and journalism.

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Poet and Power: The Story of Nikolai Klyuev
1:00 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 10
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Michael Makin

Dr. Michael Makin introduced Nikolai Klyuev (1884-1937), one of the most intriguing figures in the pantheon of Russian modernism. Klyuev was born and grew up in villages near Lake Onega in the Russian north, and wrote extensively about the life and culture of the Russian peasantry; but he became a major figure in the elite urban culture of St. Petersburg and Moscow. At the beginning of the Soviet period he sympathized with Bolshevism, but soon became its enemy, and was arrested, exiled, and finally executed in the 1930s. The story of his life, his work, and his “return” to Russian culture in the late 20th century is both exemplary and extraordinary.

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Russian Women Today
9:30 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 11
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Alina Makin

Alina Makin told how the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 brought sweeping changes to Russian society, its economy, politics, and way of life. Naturally, the lives of Russian women, who traditionally stand at the core of everyday life and family, have also changed. How drastic were these changes? What is life like today for Russian women of various backgrounds, education, and income brackets? Are women better or worse off than they were in the Soviet era? Has the move toward democratization and Westernization of society also changed the way women live? In this lecture Makin examined these and other issues through tracing the lives of several Russian women in contemporary society.

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The Literature of St. Petersburg
11:00 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 11
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Michael Makin

St. Petersburg, which celebrated its tercentenary in 2003, is one of the world’s most remarkable cities, and one of the most literary — as Dostoevsky put it, the most abstract and “invented” city in the world. Rational and fantastic, beautiful and oppressive, it has been portrayed in all of its contradictions by generations of Russian writers (among them Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Blok, Belyi, and Brodsky, to name but a few). Dr. Michael Makin explored the story of the literary mythologization of St. Petersburg and the transformation of the city’s myth in Russia today revealing many of the paradoxes of modern Russian culture.

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The Ballet Russe
2:00 p.m., Friday, Nov. 19, 2004
Bud Walton Theatre
Admission: free
Speaker: Carla Stalling Huntington

Carla Stalling Huntington, an assistant professor of marketing and management at Missouri Southern, discusses the advent of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes formed in the early 1900s and its ultimate demise by the late 1920s. Diaghilev’s company, which originated in Russia although it never performed there, has been called “the progenitor of modern ballet.” Many ballet companies of the first half of the 20th century — in England, France, Argentina, and elsewhere — were either founded by veterans of the Ballets Russes or were rejuvenated by Ballets Russes alumni. In the United States, the Ballets Russes was instrumental in helping to form the New York City Ballet (and therefore later companies in the U.S. that recruited dancers from the New York City Ballet). Professor Huntington will also discuss the founder of the New York City Ballet, George Balanchine, who had been a dancer in Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes and a choreographer for the Ballet Russe and for the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo. The presentation will include information about the economics of the dance companies as well as a demonstration of the dance methodology.

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Euler and the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences
4:00 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2004
Reynolds Hall 232
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Gary McGrath

Dr. Gary McGrath, a professor of mathematics at Pittsburg State University, speaks on "Euler and the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences" as part of MSSU's Math and Science Seminar Series. The Academy of Sciences was established in St. Petersburg in 1724 following an order of Peter the Great. Leonard Euler (1707-1783), who started working at the Academy when he was 20 years old, made substantial contributions in modern analytic geometry and trigonometry.

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