Churchill famously described Russia as a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. But perhaps there is a simpler way of understanding the world’s largest country. As Europe knows only too well from its own history, nations respond to stress and challenge with more emotion than reason, just as individuals facing crisis in their personal lives need clear, unambiguous boundaries and a sense of identity. Over the centuries Russia has had more than its fair share of trauma. So when we stop for a moment to understand, might it be that Stalin, and Putin, and Crimea, and the Skripals, and indeed Tolstoy and Dostoevsky and Ivan the Terrible and the rest in all their contradictions, make more sense than an Enlightened Westerner might immediately find comfortable? Join us for an evening with psychotherapist, Russian speaker and former BBC foreign Correspondent Mark Brayne for an illustrated journey into the heart of Russia.
Mark Brayne studied Russian at Leeds from 1968 to 1973, spending a year as a student in Moscow and going on to report from Russia and East Berlin for the Reuters news agency. With postings in Germany, Central Europe and China, and as Diplomatic Correspondent for the World Service until 1992, he covered the final years of the Cold War for BBC radio. Retraining in his spare time as a transpersonal psychotherapist through the late 1990s, Mark left the BBC in 2003 to set up the Dart Centre Europe for Journalism and Trauma, and specialises now in the treatment of PTSD, not just among journalists. Married since 1975 (with a short 14-year break for divorce) to his German wife Jutta, whom he met in Moscow, Mark is a keen photographer and long-distance cyclist, and will be setting off just a few days after this London talk to pedal from Moscow to Teheran via Volgograd and Tbilisi – including, he hopes, a dogleg to Chechnya which he last visited in 1972.
This event is organised by the GB-Russia Society and tickets are only available from the GB-Russia Society website: www.gbrussia.org