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Archive for the 'VOL 29.1' Category

Flora Murphy: Bolotnaia Five Years On

Borimir STotev4 August 2017


Flora Murphy, author of ‘Bolotnaia Five Years On: Can Online Activism Effect Large Scale Political Change in Russia?’.


Flora has just completed her undergraduate degree in Russian with German at University College London. Studying the Russian language from scratch has had a very strong influence on her interests, starting with the language itself initially, and later moving far beyond into politics, culture and everything in between. From learning Russian, Flora got into making documentaries and during her time at UCL, she made two films about the ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine and one documentary about the LGBT community in Moscow. When she was on a year abroad in Moscow, Flora learned more about internal Russian politics by interning at TV Rain, arguably Russia’s only non pro-government television channel. Her interest in the ideas of modern propaganda in Russia and restrictions on freedom of speech was the starting point for the SLOVO published article about the opposition’s use of the internet as a tool for resistance in Russia. In the near future, Flora plans to travel more extensively in the post-Soviet region, especially in Moldova, Georgia and the Central Asian countries, perhaps making some more films along the way. Her further interests include organised crime, conflict management, and security issues. Flora is set to be in St Petersburg from late September until Christmas, trying to keep up her language skills and to complete a short translation internship.

Flora’s article explores the role of new media in Russian politics and ultimately argues that their potential to bring about significant political change in the current Russian political landscape is limited. The 2011-2012 winter protests, in Bolotnaia Square in Moscow and across Russia, led to a boom in both Russian and English-language protest scholarship, especially regarding the role that new media and online communication networks play in the organisation and execution of political movements. But the significance of her case study is not limited to Russia: this question must be understood in a global context. In a post-Arab Spring world, this topic is one of active discussion and current global relevance. Her paper aims to consider the Russian case study in that broader context, bridging gaps in existing scholarship in this field.


The article ‘Bolotnaia Five Years On: Can Online Activism Effect Large-Scale Political Change in Russia?’ by Flora Murphy (School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London) was published in SLOVO Journal, VOL 29.1, and can be read in full here.


Posted by Borimir Totev, Executive Editor of SLOVO Journal

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Elliott Chandler: You Carry Me

Borimir STotev28 July 2017


Elliott Chandler, author of the film review for ‘You Carry Me’.


You Carry Me (Ti Mene Nosiš, 2015) is a film produced in Croatia, which originally aired as a television series, Da sam ja netko (If I Were Someone). Ti Mene Nosiš is available on Netflix as You Carry Me (2016) with subtitles in five languages. The purchase of the rights to You Carry Me by Netflix is among the film’s many successes. Other successes include the naming of Ivona Juka as ‘the laureate in the film section […] writing and directing her feature debut.’ The dialogue is a colourful Zagrebtonian language with traditional Balkan passion. Dora, Ives and Nataša face deteriorating relationships with their fathers: Neglected Dora is reunited with her father in the text; Ives is struggling to care for her father, Ivan, who has Alzheimer’s; and Nataša, who is pregnant, comes face-to-face with the father who abandoned her. The director identifies father-daughter relationships as the most significant aspect of the film. The plot centres on changing relationships between men and women, between fathers and daughters, and also between husbands and brothers. These are complex stories, and they are wrapped in some wonderful cinematography that showcases admirable storytelling and affective symbolism.

To read more reviews, visit Elliott’s blog here. Elliott is an English Literature graduate, and is interested in history, romanticism, and Serbo-Croat culture.


The film review for ‘Ti Mene Nosiš/You Carry Me’ by Elliott Chandler (The School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London) was published in SLOVO Journal, VOL 29.1, and can be read in full here


Posted by Borimir Totev, Executive Editor of SLOVO Journal

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Aron Kerpel-Fronius: Pole and Hungarian Cousins Be?

Borimir STotev26 July 2017

Aron Kerpel-Fronius, author of ‘Pole and Hungarian Cousins Be? A Comparison of State Media Capture, Ideological Narratives and Political Truth Monopolization in Hungary and Poland’.


Aron is a Hungarian post-graduate student at the flagship IMESS programme at University College London, studying Economics and Politics. He is set to spend the next academic year at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Aron’s main research interests include illiberal parties and civil societies of EEA, particularly within the Visegrad group. Aron is also planning to pursue a PhD programme in the same field next year. Currently, he is an intern at Transparency International Hungary, and from next month, will be starting another internship in Krakow’s Kosciuszko Institute, a Polish think tank specialising in cyber security, using this opportunity do deepen his knowledge on Polish language and culture.

Public discourse is shaped through various factors; in his article, Aron focuses explicitly on the two governments’ treatment of the media landscape, as it is the biggest and most effective platform for this purpose. The paper argues that both Fidesz and PiS are attempting to capture the state and private media, using these to propagate their political ideology. Thus by monopolising media discourse and portraying themselves as the representatives of the people on all three symbolic levels, the two governments attempt to discredit any civil or parliamentary opposition group, and emerge as the sole central political force domestically. The aim of the paper is to compare the extent to which the Fidesz and PiS government managed to succeed in this attempt to the present day.


The article Pole and Hungarian Cousins Be? A Comparison of State Media Capture, Ideological Narratives and Political Truth Monopolization in Hungary and Poland’ by Aron Kerpel-Fronius (The School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London) was published in SLOVO Journal, VOL 29.1, and can be read in full here.


Posted by Borimir Totev, Executive Editor of SLOVO Journal

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Ruxandra Petrinca: Halfway Between Memory and History

Borimir STotev24 July 2017


Ruxandra Petrinca, author of ‘Halfway Between Memory and History: Romanian Gulag Memoirs as a Genre’.


Ruxandra is a historian working on the Communist and Post-Socialist periods. She holds a LL.B and an M.A. in Canadian Studies from the University of Bucharest. After her arrival in Montreal in 2006, she pursued a double specialisation B.A. in English and History, and an M.A. in History at Concordia University. Currently, Ruxandra is a PhD candidate, ABD, with the Department of History and Classical Studies at McGill University, working under the joint supervision of Prof. Catherine LeGrand and Prof. Lavinia Stan (St. Francis Xavier University). Ruxandra’s main research interests include manifestations of dissent and resistance in Communist states. Her thesis examines the evolution and social transformation of the Romanian communities of 2 Mai and Vama Veche as alternative cultural spaces inside an authoritarian regime. Ruxandra is also interested in public memory, propaganda, the role of intellectuals in shaping the transition to democracy in former Communist states, youth sub-culture, socialist film discourse, and radio propaganda. Previous publications by Ruxandra Petrinca include, “Smoke Screens and Liminal Spaces in Socialist Romania: Legacy, Diversity, and Cultural Dissent on the Shores of the Black Sea”, “When Postmodernism Met Authoritarian Socialist Discourse”, review of Sahia Vintage I, Documentary, Ideology, Life, “Choosing to Forget: Politics, Family, and Everyday Life in Stalinist Romania”, and “Recuperating the Communist Past, Romanian Literature and Authoritative Discourse”. For more by Ruxandra, you can view her Academia.edu profile here.


Ruxandra’s article in SLOVO Journal analyses a sample of seven Gulag memoirs that recount experiences of imprisonment at the height of the Stalinist repression in Romania, between 1947 and 1964. The paper looks at the literary conventions employed by the authors in the recounting of their stories. The memoirs were chosen for the broad range of perspectives they represent, with particular attention being paid to the gendered experiences of imprisonment. The texts are approached through the lenses of literary criticism, as the article analyses common tropes, motifs, characters, and techniques of narration – elements that make Gulag memoirs a ‘genre’ in its own right. A close reading of the text will uncover not only the gruesome realities of Communist persecution, imprisonment, and torture, but also the prevailing mentalities of that era. The literary components of the texts provide clues that help in decoding the authors’ self and their understanding of history.


The article ‘Halfway between Memory and History: Romanian Gulag Memoirs as a Genre’ by Ruxandra Petrinca (McGill University, Montreal) was published in SLOVO Journal, VOL 29.1, and can be read in full here.


Posted by Borimir Totev, Executive Editor of SLOVO Journal

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Iglika Grebenarova: Revolution

Borimir STotev17 July 2017


Iglika Grebenarova, author of the film review for ‘Revolution: New Art for a New World’.


Iglika is a student at the New York University, majoring in International Relations and minoring in Cinema Studies, set to graduate in May of 2018. She is passionate about European affairs, and the intersection between cinema and politics, as well as art’s ability to both reflect and form ideological discourse. As well as being an intern at the Ayn Rand Institute in June 2015, Iglika has interned for the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Center for the Study of Democracy. Other parts of Iglika Grebenarova’s research has previously focused on 60’s European cinema, Romanian New Wave, and Film Festival Politics.

In her film review for SLOVO Journal, Iglika focuses on Director Margy Kinmonth’s latest film as the pinnacle of her exploration of the secrets of Russian art spanning over more than three decades. Revolution: New Art for a New World is a spectacular documentary made to commemorate the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and to demonstrate the crucial importance of art for the creation of the new regime. With the remarkable breadth and depth of its scope, the film creates an exhilarating depiction of one of modern history’s most tumultuous periods and immerses its viewers into the inseparable mixture of art and politics that shaped humanity’s future for decades to come.


The film review for ‘Revolution: New Art for a New World by Iglika Grebenarova (New York University, NYC) was published in SLOVO Journal, VOL 29.1, and can be read in full here.


Posted by Borimir Totev, Executive Editor of SLOVO Journal

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Ksenia Pavlenko: A Pause in Peripheral Perspectives

Borimir STotev15 July 2017


Ksenia Pavlenko, author of ‘A Pause in Peripheral Perspectives: Sergei Diaghilev’s 1898 Exhibition of Russian and Finnish Art’.


Ksenia is the Website and Social Media Manager and a member of the Advisory Board for the Cambridge Courtauld Russian Art Centre. She is an MPhil candidate in History of Art at the University of Cambridge, supervised by Dr. Rosalind Polly Blakesley, researching the visual culture of Finland as a Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire. Her studies extend from the establishment of Helsinki as a capital city in the early nineteenth century, to Finnish participation in early twentieth century artistic developments on an international scale. Ksenia completed her BA in History of Art and English Literature at the City University of New York in 2013, after which she worked for institutions such at the International Center of Photography and American Federation of Arts.

Ksenia’s SLOVO Journal article examines three years of monumental change in Finnish-Russian cultural relations at the fin de siècle. The territory of Finland had enjoyed autonomy and economic development for the greater part of the nineteenth century as a Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire. Sergei Diaghilev’s 1898 Exhibition of Russian and Finnish Art exemplifies how this positive dynamic began to manifest itself in transcultural exchange. Diaghilev sought for Russia’s creative circles to follow the Finnish example of engaging with Western European artistic developments while refining a distinct national vision. Such a dynamic would have appeased imperial interests in promoting its Russian heritage while allowing Finns to continue to express their distinct culture. The Russification Programme, initiated in 1899, changed an amicable relationship between the Russian Empire and its Finnish territory to one of oppression. The rich cultural heritage Finnish intellectuals had developed throughout the nineteenth century was quickly mobilised to resist imperial oppression, exemplified in the Finnish Pavilion at the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle. The collaborative potential of Diaghilev’s 1898 exhibition was replaced by a resounding call for Finnish autonomy at the 1900 Finish Pavilion. The period of 1898-1900 demonstrates how quickly Finland’s embrace of nineteenth-century nationalism transformed from a cultural blossoming to a politicised quest for autonomy.


The article ‘A Pause in Peripheral Perspectives: Sergei Diaghilev’s 1898 Exhibition of Russian and Finnish Art’ by Ksenia Pavlenko (University of Cambridge) was published in SLOVO Journal, VOL 29.1, and can be read in full here.


Posted by Borimir Totev, Executive Editor of SLOVO Journal

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