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Thirty Years of Change: Russian Culture Since Perestroika: (1) Education

The period of Perestroika, starting with Mikhail Gorbachev’s speech to the CPSU Congress in 1986 and ending with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, had a defining impact on global politics and cultural life. In this series of events over the coming season we aim to remember and reflect on the legacy of Perestroika and its relevance today, in Russia and internationally.    

This evening, scholars of late-Soviet and contemporary Russian culture and society and educational practitioners will look at the role played by education in forming the political and cultural agenda of the perestroika period, and discuss how Russian education policies and values developed thirty years ago (freedom of education, flexibility of curriculum, and de-ideologisation) are holding up today.  They will also trace the careers of Soviet and early-post-Soviet educators in Russia and the UK: what has their cultural impact been in both countries?   

Vlad Strukov (chairing the evening) is Associate Professor in Film and Digital Cultures (School of Languages, Cultures and Societies) at the University of Leeds. He has published widely on film, animation, social media, art, online gaming, transnational television, celebrity culture, focusing on Russia in the twenty first century. He is particularly interested in the role of technologies such as computers in the late-Soviet and Russian contexts. He appears regularly on the BBC, Al Jazeera, American Public Radio, Calvert Journal, The Conversation, and elsewhere.

Elena Trubina, Doctor of Philosophy (Доктор Философских Наук) is Professor in the Faculty of Social Philosophy in the Ural Federal University.    Tonight she will speak from the point of view of a university professor in Russia who, in 2002, wrote a book on Russian secondary school teachers coping with the consequences of Perestroika; she recently conducted follow-up interviews with the same teachers about the intervening period. How can philosophy, including theories of personal identities, inform our understanding of their allegedly 'broken' lives and careers?   

Peter Reznikov a teacher of Russian as a foreign language with 25 years of experience in British state and private schools to date, will share his views in relation to similarities and differences in teaching and learning between Russia and the UK.  Before 1989 he worked in Moscow City Council and in government ministries, including the Ministry of Education, in the Soviet Union.  

Maria Gavrilova is chair and founder of the Azbuka Foundation, the first Russian-English bilingual school in London, and a specialist in bilingual and early years education.



This event is organised in collaboration with the University of Leeds.  A small number of places are available free to full time students on presentation of a student card.  Please email to reserve your place.