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The Slavic Connexion

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The Slavic Connexion

The University of Texas at Austin

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A fresh international chat show from The University of Texas at Austin meant to share research, ideas, and culture from the Slavic world and beyond in digestible episodes. Each week we feature faculty, students (both undergraduate and graduate), and speakers of note from other institutions and countries. The Slavic Connexion is a production of the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies within the College of Liberal Arts at UT Austin... It's not typical Texas, y'all. TPN 2021 ...
 
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On this episode, UT CREEES's new cohort of MA graduate students, under the direction of Dr. Mary Neuburger, presents their findings of a Fall 2021 project in which they analyzed North Macedonia’s mired quest for EU accession, which was blocked for over 25 years by Greece and since 2019 has been held up by a Bulgarian ultimatum. Since both Greece an…
 
Happy Holidays, y'all! On this episode, Lera gets to sit down and chat with Dr. Juliane Fürst who unpacks 10 years worth of research and personal explorations in the Soviet Hippie movement as published in her latest book from Oxford University Press. Her stories will thrill, so gather 'round and take a listen. We hope you enjoy! ABOUT THE GUEST Jul…
 
On this, the 30th anniversary of the institution of martial law in Poland (which took place on December 13th, 1981), we talked with Eastern Europe historian Tomek Jankowski to commemorate this momentous point in modern history which roughly coincides with the release of the 2nd edition of his comprehensive and entertaining history of Eastern Europe…
 
Lera and Zach talk with Atlantic Council fellow and prolific American journalist Vladislav Davidzon. Davidzon has extensively covered the Belarussian protests from within Minsk, Ukrainian political and cultural developments since 2014, and Russian elections and Navalny's impact on Moscow politics and policies. His new book From Russia With Love is …
 
Mark Temnycky, a Ukrainian-American journalist, breaks down the Nord Stream 2 issue, its timeline, and its relation to the energy situation in Europe. He expounds on the Biden administration's reversal on its position concerning the pipeline, and explains the security concerns that a working Nord Stream 2 that bypasses Belarus and Ukraine creates f…
 
Dr. Johanna Mellis, a former D1 swimmer and current history professor at Ursinus College, joins Lera for a lively conversation on the history of sports in Hungary during the Cold War. They also touch on the Olympics (past and present), sport diplomacy, and the development of competitive sports on an international plane. For a great visual timeline …
 
Author Jordan Steven Sher, a social worker and former teacher based in California, joins Lera and Cullan to talk about his new historical fiction novel which authentically and carefully explores the grossly overlooked Bosnian Genocide of Muslims and Catholic Croats during the Bosnian War of 1992-95, as carried out by Slobodan Milošević. You can fin…
 
In this episode, Patrice Dabrowski takes us on a historical journey through the highly understudied Carpathian Mountains of Poland, Slovakia, and Ukraine. Her brand new book details the many forces at play in the mountainous region over the years from 1860 to 1980 and shows how this area gradually went from terra incongita to tourist attraction. We…
 
On this episode, Marko Dumančić joins Lera and Cullan to talk about his recently published monograph entitled Men Out of Focus: The Soviet Masculinity Crisis in the Long Sixties wherein he unpacks the changing conceptions of men in post-Stalinist society by taking a deeper look at Soviet films made at the time. This is a fun conversation, riddled w…
 
In this episode, Dr. Nunan explores the nuances of the Soviet Union’s relationship with Islam throughout its lifetime, both inside and outside of its borders, before diving into the varied strategies of Soviet nation building efforts within Afghanistan as well as this ever important Central Asian country’s experience in the Cold War overall. With A…
 
Dr. Siobhán Hearne joins Katya to talk about her new book, Policing Prostitution: Regulating the Lower Classes in Late Imperial Russia, a social history of prostitution in last decades of the Russian Empire. Dr. Hearne uses archival research conducted in Moscow, St Petersburg, Arkhangelsk, Riga, Vilnius, Minsk, Kyiv and Tartu to examine how prostit…
 
Dr. Robert Hamilton of the U.S. Army War College returns to the show to speak with hosts Lera and Zach about the future of Afghanistan and the fate of the region's security architecture. Currently on leave to serve as advisor to the Georgian Ministry of Defense, Dr. Hamilton discusses the role of the Georgian military in the Afghanistan War and wha…
 
Zoltán Ginelli from Budapest joins Zach and Cullan to talk about his field of critical geography and the framing of colonial history of Central Europe following both World War II and the Cold War. We hope you enjoy this conversation! ABOUT THE GUEST Zoltán Ginelli is an independent researcher and a critical geographer, historian of science and glob…
 
On this episode, Professor Dina Fainberg joins Zach and Lera to talk about her latest book, the highly readable "Cold War Correspondents" in which she highlights stories of Soviet and American journalists and draws fascinating parallels to the US-Russia media landscape today. We hope you enjoy! ABOUT THE GUEST Dr. Dina Fainberg is a Lecturer in Mod…
 
On this special (musical) episode, guest host Sophia Kontos helps us understand Eurovision and break down the politics and ploys behind the song entries themselves, focusing on three major countries: Greece, Turkey, and Ukraine. Eurovision is an annual televised European Song Contest started in 1956 to boost morale and European integration after WW…
 
On this episode, Professor David Moon from the UK joins Tom and Lera to talk about the fascinating personal journey which led to the release of his latest book, The American Steppes: Unexpected Russian Roots of Great Plains Agriculture. He clearly delineates how the kernels of his transnational research all began during his tenure at The University…
 
Our wonderful guest is Dr. Sarah Phillips, director of the Russian and East European Institute at Indiana University Bloomington. Dr. Phillips walks us through her remarkable anthropological career in the Slavic world from her beginnings in the 90s with studying the effects of Chernobyl to her many social activism projects in Ukraine, taking us to …
 
On this episode, Professor Nana Osei-Opare from Fordham University joins Lera and Cullan to talk about the history of Ghana's independence from Great Britain and the way in which this country in West Africa looked to the Soviet Union to build itself as an "industrialized, socialist" post-colonialist state. Many black thinkers across the world saw t…
 
In this episode, Matt speaks with Dr. Oksana Lutshyshyna, acclaimed fiction author and beloved professor at UT Austin, about her most recent book Ivan and Feba (Іван і Феба), as well as about her earlier work Love Life (Любовне життя), humor in her writing, her inspirations, and the state of American and Ukrainian politics and literature. A few wee…
 
In honor of Women's History Month, we have a special episode featuring American Studies professor Dr. Julia Mickenberg who joins us to talk about her spectacular book "American Girls in Red Russia" which explores the intimate lives of American women who traveled to the USSR chasing the "Soviet Dream." We hope you enjoy! ABOUT THE GUEST Julia L. Mic…
 
On this special episode, we have renowned expert on far right youth movements, Dr. Cynthia Miller-Idriss who joins us courtesy of UT's ISPRII (the Initiative for the Study of Politico-Religious Ideation and Influence). ISPRII guest host Eliza talks with Dr. Miller-Idriss about her research and latest book, Hate in the Homeland: The New Global Far R…
 
In this episode, Matt is joined by Dr. Kathryn Stoner of Stanford University to talk about her new book, Russia Resurrected: Its Power and Purpose in a New Global Order. The book pushes back at some misconceptions about Russia’s place in the international system while offering a new perspective on how the West should approach Russia. Matt and Dr. S…
 
Once again, Dr. Mark Galeotti joins Matt to discuss yesterday's sentencing of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and what it means for Russia's short and long term future. Is this the end of the first installment of Navalny’s battle with the Kremlin, which peaked with his poisoning at the hands of the FSB in August 2020? Mark lays out Navaln…
 
From St. Petersburg, Angelina Davydova, Environmental journalist and head of the German Russian Office of Environmental Information, graciously joins us to give us the surprising facts on environmental activism, protests, and reforms in Russia. She talks about the very real effects of climate change in that part of the world, including the fires in…
 
Samantha chats with Dr. Dimitar Bechev on the geopolitics of the Balkans and the stratagems of Russia in the region. Dr. Bechev also discusses Russia's relationship with Turkey and Turkey's ties with the US and how these affect the countries nested in the Balkans which have fallen out of US foreign policy priority since the George W. Bush administr…
 
Амар мэндээ or hello and Happy New Year! Dr. Kathryn Graber of Indiana University Bloomington joins the show to talk about her research on the Buryat language and minority-language media in Russia’s Buryat territories, a multilingual region of eastern Siberia on the Mongolian border. Her fifteen years of research in this area is the foundation of h…
 
In this episode, Matt and Tom talked to Nina Jankowicz of the Wilson Center about her new book, How to Lose the Information War, and how it serves as a useful primer for understanding the disinformation challenges facing the US today, particularly in the aftermath of the 2020 election. To read some of Nina's work, click the links below and do be su…
 
On this special episode, Zack speaks with English journalist Matthew Luxmoore. Matthew is the Moscow Correspondent for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and his work has appeared in The New York Times, Foreign Policy, Politico, and elsewhere. Zach and Matthew discuss a wide-range of issues, from the Russian Far East to the current state of the Russi…
 
In this episode, Matt talks with Dr. Sarah Young of University College London about her upcoming book "Writing Resistance: Revolutionary Memoirs of Shlissel’burg Prison, 1884-1906" and the genre of carceral literature. Where do Russian literary titans like Dostoevsky and Shalamov fit in and how are they perceived in the Russian imagination? Dr. You…
 
On this fun episode, Dr. Eliot Borenstein from NYU joins us to talk about his research on memes and meme culture in Russia as well as his freshly-released book on Pussy Riot (available from Bloomsbury). This was a great time all around, and even if you don't consume memes or like them very much, this is still an enjoyable discussion. Thanks for joi…
 
From the Foreign Policy Research Institute comes a fantastic, dispassionate resource on Russia's intervention into Syria. Here to speak with us about the book and the process of compiling this insightful tome written by both American and Russian experts is Associate professor of Eurasian Studies at the US Army War College Robert E. Hamilton. Enjoy!…
 
On this whirlwind episode, Tom visits with London-based journalist and risk research analyst Alex Kokcharov on an impressive array of events and current conflicts across the CIS region. This is hardly a boring episode and we don't sit on one topic for too long, so if you're looking for a quick, but in-depth Eurasia fix (while we in the US patiently…
 
Dr. Jasmin Mujanović, a political scientist focused on democratization and social movements in the Western Balkans and a host of the podcast "Sarajevo Calling", joins Samantha and Cullan for an in-depth discussion on the state of democracy in the region in 2020. This is a great walkthrough of the elite maneuvering and politics in the Western Balkan…
 
The New Yorker's Moscow correspondent, Joshua Yaffa, joins us from Moscow in fact to talk about the conditions in Russia during the pandemic, his latest book Between Two Fires, and the oft-debated Russian interference in US elections. Additionally, Yuri Levada's work and coining of the term "Wily Man" figures prominently into this discussion having…
 
On this episode, we discuss the ongoing political crisis in Kyrgyzstan, resulting from the disputed October 4th elections, with Nazgul Kulova, a resident of Bishkek (the capital of Kyrgyzstan) and a policy analyst in the mining sector. As a former government official at the State Agency for Mineral Resources, she has worked with various internation…
 
We're back to Belarus with this episode, but this time we take an in-depth look at the still-thrumming situation from the dictator's perspective with one of the foremost experts on the region, Dr. David Marples. Dr. Marples talks about the potential end of the dictator while rounding out the context for the current revolution, allowing us to see ju…
 
Dr. Susan Crate returns to the show to share her 1990 journey to Tuva, the geographic center of Asia. At this time, Tuva had only recently opened up to foreign travelers and the oblast (region) experienced heavy upheaval across the domains of the former Soviet Union. This moment also proved to be a turning point for the revitalization of lost or hi…
 
Admittedly, this is not a very Slavic episode, but we would like to balance the scales a little bit and discuss the existential crisis America is facing as well as we approach the 2020 presidential election. A New York Times article a few days ago said that though the United States makes up only 4% of the world's population, our Covid deaths accoun…
 
On this episode, former BBC journalist Leonid Ragozin joins Tom from Latvia to discuss the perception of Russia in the West, the origins of Western xenophobia towards Russia, his view of Vladimir Putin in 2000, and his experience working as an independent journalist on the investigations of high profile figures murdered in Ukraine. We hope you enjo…
 
In this episode, Matt discussed with Dr. Maria Snegovaya the leading issues of the day in the Slavic region. Namely, the aftermath of Russia's recent regional elections, the Kremlin's response to Alexei Navalny's poisoning, and the ongoing spectre of Russian intervention in Belarus's post-election crisis. Connect with Dr. Snegovaya on Twitter: @MSn…
 
Bulgaria, Belarus, books—oh my! In this exciting episode hosted by Matt and newbie host Katherine, Assistant Professor Kiril Avramov the University of Texas at Austin sits down to discuss his new book, “Russia’s Hidden Armies,” the recent detainment of Russian mercenaries in Belarus, and the anti-corruption protests currently raging within Bulgaria…
 
Tom and Matt have the great opportunity to speak with Libyan national Mohamed Abufalgha and expert on the conflict that has been going on for several years now in this oil-rich, war-torn country. Mohamed helps us unpack the Russian-Libyan connection and exactly how many countries have their fingers--and fighters--in Libya. We hope you enjoy! For so…
 
The Balkan Circle is a weekly seminar (during the academic year) which features lectures, presentations, exhibits, or open interactive dialogues that focus on any (and all) aspects of historical, political, economic, social and cultural phenomena in the (so-called) Balkans. The seminar is free and open to the public and will be held every Friday fr…
 
Our guest today is Dr. Tomasz Samojlik, an environmental historian and researcher at the Mammal Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Białowieża. His research focuses on Poland's Białowieża Primeval Forest, one of the last remaining primeval forests in Europe. In addition to his research, Dr. Samojlik spoke with us about his work …
 
On this episode, Tom speaks with UT's own Professor Sparrow about his 2015 book on legendary multi-administration US National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft who sadly passed away recently on August 6th, 2020. This is a great conversation, remembering the unassuming but brilliant strategist who was so integral during the late Cold War period. Hope…
 
In this episode, Matt spoke with Dr. Mark Galeotti about the pressing issues of the day in Eurasia: the suspected poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the ongoing protests in the far-eastern city of Khabarovsk, and the Kremlin's view on the post-election crisis in Belarus. Using his keen understanding of the Kremlin's decision-mak…
 
On this episode recorded August 21, 2020, Matt and Lera speak with Alexei Navalny's close co-collaborator on anti-corruption in Russia, Maxim Mironov. They discuss the current situation with Alexei Navalny's alleged poisoning and also Russian state corruption in a broader, global context. NOTE: We apologize for audio difficulties with our guest due…
 
Is this the end of Europe's Last Dictator? In this episode, Matt spoke with Aliaksandr aka Ales Herasimenka, a researcher at the University of Westminster and previous guest on the show about the ongoing presidential elections in Belarus, where embattled president Alexander Lukashenko faces the most organized opposition in the history of his 26 yea…
 
BBC's Seva Novgorodsev joins us once more just in time for his 80th birthday! This time, we gather around Zoom, but the conversation is, as always, entertaining and unexpected--one never knows where Seva will lead us and what he will teach us. We hope you enjoy! If you wish to check out any of Seva's books and his latest audiobook "Настоящий джентл…
 
Former CIA officer Stephen Slick joins us to talk about his nearly three decades in intelligence, spent largely overseas in Ukraine, the Balkans, and East Germany. Professor Slick also discusses his return Stateside to a position in Langley just one week before 9-11 occurred and his present role as an educator at the University of Texas at Austin i…
 
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