Withdrawal of Russian from Undergraduate Programmes at the University of Bath - Representations by BASEES President, Prof Judith Pallot

Letter by BASEES President, Prof Judith Pallot, to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Dame Glynis Breakwell, University of Bath

8 April 2017

I am writing to you, as President of the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies, to express my Association's grave disquiet at the decision communicated to staff in the modern languages department on 20th March to withdraw Russian from the 2018/2019 undergraduate prospectus.

BASEES is extremely concerned about the loss of teaching posts in Russian at a time when the UK government has acknowledged that the national interest requires high levels of expertise in Russian language and Russian studies. The importance of the Russian Federation in contemporary global geopolitics has been re-emphasised over the past two years and the UK's ability to deal effectively with the Russian Federation needs continuing investment in the teaching of Russian language and Russian studies more generally at UK universities. Whilst we acknowledge that the decline in student numbers in the 2016/2017 is worrying, we strongly believe that the good reputation that Bath has for Russian language and literature teaching, the diversity of joint degree programmes its offers and its geographical location in an important hub for Russian and East European studies centred on the University of Bristol is, in fact, an excellent basis for expanding the in-take of students. The experience of other universities has shown that a well-targeted admission strategy that stresses the employment opportunities that flow from a degree in Slavonic and East European languages and society can yield very positive results. As we understand it, the replacement of the past few years has put the burden of maintain recruitment on mainly part-time and junior staff which no doubt has contributed to the drop off in recruitment.

The University of Bath has a good reputation in the national Russian and East European Studies community for producing high calibre students, some of whom proceed onto higher degrees. Ending language teaching at the undergraduate level inevitably will damage the prospect of recruiting at the post-graduate level. In short, by withdrawing Russian from the undergraduate prospectus the University is effectively withdrawing its support for higher learning in the area of Russian and East European Studies, in which it has an established and strong reputation.

The British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies believes that the action on the part of the University of Bath proposals is misguided and fails to recognise the contribution that its scholars have made to the field of Russian and East European Studies over many years. We urge you to put reconsider the decision to eliminate Russian language teaching and instead embark on discussions, in which the Association would be pleased to participate, about how to restore the numbers applying for Russian and to strengthen further the broad field of Russian studies in the University.

Yours sincerely,
Professor Judith Pallot
(President of BASEES)


Dear Colleagues,

I was deeply moved by the level of support that the European University at St. Petersburg received from our colleagues at the BASEES conference last weekend and I am grateful for being able to make a presentation about EUSP. I am writing this because our foreign colleagues keep asking us how they can help. We think that collective letters addressed to the government institutions will have no, or little, effect.  Instead, we believe that colleagues who are concerned about the future of EUSP would help most by doing one of several things listed below:

1.      Those who hold Russian passports and have official registration in Russia write official letters to one or all of the following: The Ministry of Education, the office of the Prime Minister, and the Governor’s office in St. Petersburg.  So long as every such letter contains the name and passport/registration data of the author has, by law, to be answered within 30 days. If you know colleagues and have friends who can do this for us we would appreciate it greatly.

2.      Write op-eds or social media articles/blogs highlighting the positive value of the EUSP in terms of its scientific and scholarly/educational achievement.  Please refrain from a critique of the central government, particularly the administration of the president which has been on our side.

3.      Western colleagues can lobby important official such as vice-chancellors, provosts, or very well internationally known professors (even Nobel prize winners) to give lectures and help us position the EUSP as a leading institution in Russia. The Russian press and government take note of such prestigious visitors and this can help us greatly.

4.       Your professors can apply to take part in our conferences, for example the one on the concept of dignity in June: https://eu.spb.ru/en/announcements/17364-dostoinstvo-kak-istoricheskoe-ponyatie-i-tsentralnaya-kategoriya-nashego-vremeni

5.        You can donate books to our university, writing “we support the EUSP” on them;

With best wishes,

Veljko Vujacic

Provost EUSP


The British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies has been following with deep concern the situation that has been developing with respect to the Central European University in Budapest.   The Association stands firmly with all our academic colleagues, the University’s past and present students and people of Budapest who have taken to the streets and airwaves protesting the proposed legislative changes to the University’s status.

Since its foundation in 1991, the CEU has been committed to the defence of academic freedom, non-partisan intellectual enquiry and the highest standards of teaching.  The University has taken its place alongside the leading higher educational institutions in Europe producing scholars who have had a pivotal role in setting the research agenda across disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.  Its academic leadership in Hungary and the wider European community is evidenced by its success in securing highly competitive European Research Council grants and in the prestigious awards made to its researchers in fields as various as medieval studies, network and cognitive science.   A particular strength of the CEU is its internationalism; it has brought together scholars at all levels from countries across the globe, including professors and lecturers and students from up to 117 different countries.  

The CEU programmes are both internationally accredited and certified by appropriate Hungarian authorities and we are convinced by the evidence the University has presented   that it has complied in full with all Hungarian laws. It is frankly inconceivable that the parliament would knowingly set out on a path to destroy this precious achievement of the past twenty-five years.  The proposed amendments to Act CCIV on National Higher Education by damaging the CEU will have negative repercussions on Hungary’s international academic reputation and its relationships with European and North American partners.

Below there are links that describe in detail the proposed legislation and the ways that BASEES members can led their support to the University:  



You can also sign the petition in support of CEU and help spread the word among your colleagues and all those concerned with educational freedom 


Judith Pallot

President of BASEES


It is with deep regret and incredulity that we have learned of the decision of Rosobrnadzor in the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation to withdraw the license to teach from the European University of St Petersburg (EUSP).  The consequence of this decision is that the University will henceforth have to cease instruction and other educational activities.  By this action, the Ministry of Education is extinguishing one of the shining beacons of higher education and research excellence in the Russian Federation. 

Since its foundation in 1994, the European University of St Petersburg has developed Masters and Doctoral programmes designed for the very best of the students from universities across the Russian Federation and abroad. The reputation of EUSP has grown precisely because of its record for producing the next generation of scholars across the humanities and social sciences.  The University’s students have benefited from the high quality research-driven instruction by Professors and teaching staff, among whom are many whose scholarship is internationally-recognised.  The result has been that the European University of St Petersburg has rightfully claimed a place alongside the world’s leading universities.

The decision to revoke the European University’s teaching license inflicts a blow on the cause of quality higher education in the Russian Federation, from which the whole sector will suffer. It also harms the reputation of academic scholarship in the Russian Federation more broadly by landing a fatal blow on the numerous varied and innovative programmes of international cooperation and collaboration in research, teaching and learning that have been painstakingly built over the past two decades. International scholarship has been enriched at all levels by these programmes, which have acted as rare forums for genuine and disinterested exchange of views, particularly important given the troubled geopolitical times in which we live.    

Scholars working at the EUSP have been frequent visitors to BASEES conferences and workshops, participating in panels and roundtable discussions, and we have benefited from their exceptional record of publishing in the areas of the Association’s interest.  This year, among others, we welcome Boris Kolonitsky, author of a definitive work on Kerensky and Veljko Vujacic, on nationalism and ethnicity in Yugoslavia and Russia.

At the present time all BASEES can do is express our solidarity with the staff and students of the European University in St Petersburg who are working to overturn the death sentence that the decision of Rosobrnadzor has pronounced on this unique seat of learning. I am sure that there are many BASEES members who are keen to contribute to the international protests surrounding the fate of the European University of St Petersburg. Because of the sensitivities associated with taking action at the present time, any letters should in the first instance be addressed to Dr Oleg Kharkhordin, the University’s Rector.    

Judith Pallot

BASEES President

Vera Sheridan receives the Order of Merit - Knight's Cross by the President of Hungary

BASEES is pleased to announce that Dr Vera Sheridan, the School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies, Dublin City University has been awarded the Order of Merit - Knight's Cross by the President of Hungary.  This is in recognition of Vera’s contribution, as a 1956 refugee, to Hungarian scholarship in Ireland and as well as actively supporting students with their studies.  Vera was one f the delegates to the BASEES regional conference that took place in Budapest in December of last year where she delivered a paper on the reception of refugees form the 1956 Revolution in the Republic of Ireland.

Dr Vera Sheridan at the BASEES Regional Conference in Budapest in December 2016

Dr Vera Sheridan at the BASEES Regional Conference in Budapest in December 2016

Laurien Crump wins George Blazyca Prize for 'The Warsaw Pact Reconsidered'

BASEES is delighted to announce that the George Blazyca Prize, 2015 (to be awarded at the 2017 Annual Conference) will go to Laurien Crump (Utrecht University) for her book The Warsaw Pact Reconsidered: International Relations in Eastern Europe, 1955 – 1969 (Routledge, 2015). The jury's citation:


The Warsaw Pact Reconsidered offers us an original and nuanced insight into what had been previously understood to be a mere instrument of Soviet domination. This book demonstrates the fallacy of this supposition, using a detailed and very impressive body of multi-archival data. The author reveals the extent to which the Pact was disrupted by internal turmoil, disagreements, tensions and the downright incompatibility of preferences, all of which rendered the organisation, at times, barely coherent. Indeed, so revealing are some of the details the book provides, that it may not be far-fetched to say that it will transform our understanding of the functioning of the Soviet bloc, certainly from the security perspective. Moreover, The Warsaw Pact Reconsidered is a thoroughly pleasurable read.  At times, it resembles a political thriller, enticing the reader to work through it at a cracking pace. The book certainly deserves a wide audience insofar as it offers insights that go well beyond those which might typically be expected from a book on the defunct security alliance. While all the books submitted for the 2015 Blazyca Prize were strong contenders for one reason or another, the judges readily agreed that Laurien Crump’s fine monograph was a worthy winner.


Prof Kataryna Wolczuk (University of Birmingham)

Prof Stephen Hutchings (University of Manchester)

The George Blazyca Prize for scholarly work of high quality in East European studies was established by decision of the annual general meeting of the Association in April 2006 in recognition of the outstanding contribution to its field of study made by the late George Blazyca.

Svetlana Stephenson wins Alexander Nove Prize for 'Gangs of Russia'

BASEES is delighted to announce that the Alexander Nove Prize, 2015 (to be awarded at the 2017 Annual Conference) will go to Svetlana Stephenson (London Metropolitan University) for her book Gangs of Russia: from the Streets to the Corridors of Power (Cornell University Press, 2015). The jury's citation:

Svetlana Stephenson’s new book, Gangs of Russia: from the Streets to the Corridors of Power, charts the rise and partial decline of gangs from the Soviet period to the present. It continues her long-term project on Russian society ‘from below’. As before, Stephenson recommends that ‘we move our sociological gaze from exclusion to incorporation’. Previously, she showed that homeless people are not a separate category, but ordinary people who have become homeless. Now she argues that ‘Russian gangs are not alien to society; they are firmly embedded in it’.  This meticulously researched and vivid book is based largely on interviews with gang members in Kazan, but covers the whole of Russia, within an international context. Like all Stephenson’s work, it demonstrates a very special degree of insight and imagination, based on deep erudition.

Jury: Prof Anne White (SSEES, University College London) and Prof Peter Waldron (University of East Anglia)

The Alexander Nove Prize for scholarly work of high quality in Russian, Soviet and post-Soviet studies was established by decision of the annual general meeting of the Association in March 1995 in recognition of the outstanding contribution to its field of study made by the late Alexander Nove.







For some years the BASEES committee has been discussing the possibility of holding a regional conference outside the UK in addition to the annual in Cambridge.  The reasoning behind such a geographical extension of our activities is that it would help to cement the role the annual conference plays in bringing together scholars from across Europe.  Rising travel costs, visa difficulties and timing constraints have meant that young scholars, in particular, have found it difficult to participate in international conferences and to present their work to scholars outside their immediate community.  The conference that BASEES ran in Budapest hosted by the Institute of Foreign Affairs and Trade was the first, modest, step towards a BASEES regional conference becoming an annual or biannual event. We would welcome any expression of interest from colleagues in Europe, West of the Ural.

Dr Janos Rainer

Dr Janos Rainer

The conference in Budapest was themed on the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Revolution and it consisted of two days of panels and round tables put together by BASEES and IFAT. Participants from higher education institutions in six countries took part.  IFAT showcased the research of its graduate students working on different aspects of 1956 and invited participants in the events of 1956 to talk about their experiences. BASEES was able to draw on members working on different aspects of Hungarian and Soviet politics, history and sociology to discuss the context and impacts of 1956 and was responsible for inviting the two keynote speakers.  The first was Dr Janos Rainer, leading commentator on the the 1956 Revolution in Hungary. The focus of his presentation was on remembering the Revolution and he drew attention to the dangers of post-1989 re-writing of Hungarian history.

Dr John Schwarzmantel

Dr John Schwarzmantel

Round Table.  The social impacts of 1956

Round Table.  The social impacts of 1956


The second keynote was by political theorist Dr John Schwarzmantel, who reminded the audience of impact on the Hungarian Revolution on the thinking of West European communist parties. These two keynote lectures are available on the following links:

Dr Janos Rainer

Dr John Schwarzmantel




Details of all panels and round tables are included in IFAT’s report of the conference on its website at:


Brexit - Applying for EU Research Funding

Dear BASEES member,

The referendum vote was, to say the least, disappointing. In the last newsletter, written before the referendum, I drew attention to the potential negative impact of withdrawal from the EU of BASEES members' access to EU funding for research. There has been recent press comment about the impact of Brexit  on research funding and BASEES will be participating in lobbying parliament to ensure that funding gaps that emerge are filled.   In the meantime, it is important that we continue to submit applications for EU funding in order both to send a message to the UK government about our continuing engagement with colleagues and HE institutions in the Europe and to send a message to our EU partners that we remain fully engaged with EU research programmes. 

The link below to League of European Research Universities press release on cooperation with the UK in light of Brexit - please read and send on to other colleagues who might not be members of BASEES

It provides the following reassurances:  

 (i) the UK's status as a full, participating member of the Horizon 2020 programme has not changed as a result of the referendum vote – existing project grants and contracts will be honoured unless or until advised otherwise. UK institutions also remain fully eligible to apply to all funding schemes of Horizon 2020, for which UK funding is committed until 2020;

(ii) high-level links have made it clear, from top levels in Brussels, that there should be no discrimination against UK applicants for EU funding.


Professor Judith Pallot

President BASEES
Christ Church


Fieldwork and Visas

Make sure you have the appropriate visa

Two recent incidents are a reminder to BASEES members planning to visit the Russian Federation of the importance of being in possession of the appropriate visa. We have been informed of two cases, both in Nizhnyi Novgorod, of foreign nationals giving lectures and seminars being apprehended by the migration service. The most recent incident was last week when Arthur House – the editor of the on-line journal The Calvert Journal and the Junket – was arrested and found guilty of violating the visa regime. Arthur was on a multiple-entry business visa that he had used on previous occasions to give lectures but the court found that this visa did not give him the right 'to deliver a lecture' or to take part in ‘other educationalactivities’. He was fined 4000 rubles, asked to leave the country within five days and faces a visa ban for five years. This follows an incident earlier in the month in Nizhnyi Novgorod when two Norwegian nationals were fined and asked to leave the country for participating in a five-day workshop in Lobachevsky State University where they gave presentations to students of journalism on human rights. They were also on business visas.

BASEES President's Statement on the Referendum on Membership of the Union

BASEES and the Referendum on Membership of the European Union

The British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies is a professional association of scholars from Universities and other places of higher learning dedicated to furthering knowledge of the countries and regions of Eastern Europe, the Russian Federation and other states of the former Soviet Union.  The Association is deeply worried about the prospect of United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union and unreservedly concurs with the view of the majority of University Vice-Chancellors that withdrawal from the European Union would do irrevocable harm to academic research.  A vote to leave Europe would restrict the access of British scholars to European funding opportunities, make cross-border collaborations within Europe more difficult, endanger the recruitment and the retention of top academic talent in our field, and discourage applications for post graduate degrees from European students with knowledge of Slavonic and East European languages.  

Throughout the period of the Cold War BASEES took an active part in debate about economic, political and geopolitical developments in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.  It has continued to contribute to East-West debate in the years since 1989-1991 and the input individual members has been influential in policy-making.  The United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union has enhanced BASEES’s ability to fulfil its mission of fostering and strengthening a community of scholars with a unique combination of linguistic and analytical skills needed to give a full account, including to government, of the history, culture and social, economic and political development of the countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.  In recent years, BASEES has become the European hub for Slavonic and East European studies with its annual conference attracting participants from across the European Union, the countries of the former Soviet Union and beyond.  Were the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, the Association would have difficulty maintaining this leadership position, which would have serious knock-on effects on its standing among the wider global community of scholars with an interest Russian, East European and Eurasian studies.  

It is in the interests of all BASEES members who are eligible to vote in the up-coming referendum to cast a vote in favour of remaining in the European Union. Please take the time to do so. 

Professor Judith Pallot

BASEES President

George Blazyca Prize 2014, Awarded at the 2016 Annual Conference

George Blazyca Prize, 2014


Awarded at the 2016 Annual Conference


James Dawson

(University College London)


Cultures of Democracy in Serbia and Bulgaria: How Ideas Shape Publics

(Ashgate, 2014)



 This is a very original book which presents a vivid account of the political culture in two cities of South-East Europe. By conducting focus groups, interviews and participant observation in Niš and Plovdiv, Dr Dawson was able to identify and analyse common discourses about politics which underpin the ‘public sphere’. These help explain the persistence of a liberal strand of public opinion in Serbia which Dawson claims to be nearly absent in Bulgaria. The book skilfully shows how political cultures originating in the communist period are constantly reproduced in discussions among ordinary citizens, and how they both support but also contradict messages coming from the media and politicians. The book makes a great contribution to reinvigorating debates on democracy and democratisation in post-communist countries by the focus away from institutions and by bringing ‘the people’ in. The book sets new standards for political ethnography and illuminates the pivotal role of the cultural dimension.



Prof Anne White (SSEES, University College London)

Dr Kataryna Wolczuk (University of Birmingham)


The George Blazyca Prize was established by BASEES in recognition of the outstanding contribution to its field of study made by the late George Blazyca. 

Alexander Nove Prize, 2014 Awarded at the 2016 Annual Conference

Alexander Nove Prize, 2014

Awarded at the 2016 Annual Conference


Madeleine Reeves

(University of Manchester)


Border Work: Spatial Lives of the State in Rural Central Asia

(Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London, 2014)



Drawing on extensive and carefully designed ethnographic fieldwork in the Ferghana Valley region, where the state borders of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikizstan and Uzbekistan intersect, Madeleine Reeves develops new ways of conceiving the state as a complex of relationships, and of state borders as socially constructed and in a constant state of flux. She explores the processes and relationships through which state borders are made, remade, interpreted and contested by a range of actors including politicians, state officials, border guards, farmers and people whose lives involve the crossing of the borders. In territory where international borders are not always clearly demarcated or consistently enforced, Reeves traces the ways in which states’ attempts to establish their rule create new sources of conflict or insecurity for people pursuing their livelihoods in the area on the basis of older and less formal understandings of norms of access. As a result the book makes a major new and original contribution to scholarly work on Central Asia and more generally on the anthropology of border regions and the state as a social process.  Moreover, the work as a whole is presented in a lively and accessible style. The individual lives whose tribulations and small triumphs Reeves so vividly documents, and the relationships she establishes with her subjects, are as revealing as they are engaging. Border Work is a well-deserved winner of this year’s Alexander Nove Prize.


Prof Terry Cox (University of Glasgow)

Prof Stephen Hutchings (University of Manchester)

The Alexander Nove Prize for scholarly work of high quality in Russian, Soviet and post-Soviet studies was established by decision of the annual general meeting of the Association in March 1995 in recognition of the outstanding contribution to its field of study made by the late Alexander Nove.

BASEES Postgraduate Prize 2014

We are delighted to announce this year's winners of the BASEES Prize for the Best Scholarly Article by a Postgraduate Student. The prize has been divided between Gleb J. Albert for his article “‘To help the Republicans not just by donations and rallies, but with the rifle’: militant solidarity with the Spanish Republic in the Soviet Union, 1936-37” in European Review of History 21(4): 501-518. and Ilya Yablokov for his contribution to the article: Elisabeth Schimpfossl and Ilya Yablokov, ‘Coercion or Conformism? Censorship and Self-Censorship among Russian Media Personalities and Reporters in the 2010s’, Demokratizatsiya, 22 (2014): 295-312. The prize was awarded at the 2015 Annual Conference at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge.


Gleb J. Albert (Co-Winner)

 (University of Zurich, Swizerland)


Albert, Gleb J. (2014) “‘To help the Republicans not just by donations and rallies, but with the rifle’: militant solidarity with the Spanish Republic in the Soviet Union, 1936-37” in European Review of History 21(4): 501-518.

Gleb Albert’s study of the involvement of Soviet volunteers – and Soviet public opinion more broadly – in the Spanish Civil War is an important, timely and intriguing contribution, well worthy of special mention. Mobilising newly available archival materials and a rich historiographical context, Albert embarks on a complex and careful historical sociology, delving into the motivations and objectives of Soviet citizens and Stalin’s emergent regime, and the often convoluted interactions between the two. He finds that “the responses ‘from below’ to the solidarity campaign with republican Spain present a paradoxical picture of internationalist engagement that was both in line and at odds with the official discourse of internationalism.” The result is a deeper understanding of the ways in which a regime’s development of an ideologically structured frame for both domestic and international affairs simultaneously empowers and constrains the state, by creating powerful, self-reinforcing incentives for citizens and elites. Indeed, in ways that the author may not have been able to anticipate at the outset, the article resonates in the present day and has significant implications for those seeking to understand the factors both causing and limiting current events in Russia and Ukraine.



Ilya Yablokov (Co-Winner)

(University of Manchester)

for his contribution to

Elisabeth Schimpfossl and Ilya Yablokov, ‘Coercion or Conformism? Censorship and Self-Censorship among Russian Media Personalities and Reporters in the 2010s’, Demokratizatsiya, 22 (2014): 295-312

This article’s main angle is a series of elite interviews with members of Russia’s state media stratum. This includes such notorious figureheads as Dmitrii Kiselev and Maxim Shevchenko, but also several rank-and-file reporters. While managing to unearth some choice quotes, it makes a very weighty contribution to contemporary understandings of the Russian media realm, dominant political discourses, national identity and Russian governance. The central claim is to challenge the (prevalent) idea that the state either actively forces reporters on federal television to promote pro-Kremlin views, or that pro-Kremlin views are the result of substantial self-censorship by journalists themselves. Quite the contrary: the article argues that reporters are active agents in shaping their own agendas; this is important in providing diverse and compelling TV which gains high ratings (even though such agendas broadly fit within limits set by the Kremlin). Therefore those that promote the dominant Kremlin discourses do so because they have chosen to do so, often with Messianic zeal and considerable cunning. They promote the notion of “adek­vatnost’” – best translated as the right (pro-state) instinct combined with adroit appropriateness and a portion of wiliness.  All in all this is a highly topical and relevant, as well as factually rich, article. It is engagingly written and compellingly argued and so, all in all is a thoroughly deserving winner.


Dr Sam Greene (Kings Russia Institute)

Dr Luke March (University of Edinburgh)

BASEES Conference 2015 - Presentation Feedback for Postgraduates

Conference Presentation Feedback for Postgraduates

The annual BASEES conference provides postgraduates with some of their first experiences to present work to an academic audience.  While this is an excellent opportunity, it can also be nerve-racking!  A common cause of anxiety amongst postgraduates giving presentations is the lack of feedback – how do you answer the question “how did it go” without anyone telling you what they thought?

For its 2015 conference in March, BASEES intends to run a scheme to allow postgraduates to exchange friendly, constructive feedback on each other’s presentations.  Under the scheme, postgraduates presenting a paper or poster can request someone attend their panel and discuss how it went afterwards.  Anyone interested in taking part in the scheme should also be willing to attend someone else’s presentation, to ensure everyone involved has an opportunity to receive feedback.

For all expressions of interest, please contact BASEES postgraduate representative, Alistair Dickins (alistair.dickins@postgrad.manchester.ac.uk).  Please state your name, the title of your panel and paper/poster, and all the days you plan to attend the conference.

BASEES Past President, Prof Stephen Hutchings, becomes Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences

Professor Stephen Hutchings (University of Manchester) BASEES President 2010-13

Professor Stephen Hutchings (University of Manchester) BASEES President 2010-13

The Academy of Social Sciences has conferred the award of Fellow on Professor Stephen Hutchings, immediate BASEES past president. The Academy's Fellows are social scientists whose work has been judged to be of great distinction and significance. Stephen Hutchings joins a select group of BASEES members who have been recognised as worthy of recognition by the Academy in this way.

The XLI Conference of the Study Group on the Russian Revolution Saturday 3 January - Monday 5 January 2015

The XLI Conference of the Study Group on the Russian Revolution will take place from Saturday 3 - Monday 5 January 2015 at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. For queries related to the programme, contact Professor Peter Waldron (p.waldron@uea.ac.uk).


The current programme is available to view here. Please note that the programme is subject to change.

The conference programme includes:

Panel sessions on: Revolution and society, Crime and punishment, Politics and society before 1917, War and Revolution, Civil War, Politics in the 1920s and Siberia

Annual General Meeting of the Study Group on the Russian Revolution


Statement Concerning the Detention of Academic Researcher Alexander Sodiqov

Friday, June 27, 2014

On behalf of the 16,900 constituent members of some of the largest and most significant academic societies in the world—the American Anthropological Association; the Association for Slavic, East European, and  Eurasian Studies; the Association for the Study of Nationalities;  the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies; the Central Eurasian Studies Society; and the European Society for Central Asian Studies—whose members conduct research in Eurasia and share interest in the situation  in Tajikistan, we write to express our strong concern over the June 16 detention of our fellow academic researcher Alexander Sodiqov. 

Sodiqov is a doctoral student in political science at the University of Toronto. He was in Tajikistan working on an Economic and Social Research Council  (UK) funded project—“Rising Powers and Conflict Management in Central Asia”—and as a researcher in this project, he was employed by the University of Exeter. The research project was approved by the ethics committee of the University of Exeter in June 2013. The focus of the project is to study the management and resolution of conflicts in Central Asia and the research in Tajikistan involved collecting public statements by government and civil society organizations as well as conducting interviews with public officials and civil society leaders. The research is expected to bring benefit to Tajikistan by showing in international scholarship how Tajikistan developed practices of conflict resolution that extend back to the successful resolution of the civil war in 1997.

Sodiqov arrived in Dushanbe to begin research on Sunday, June 8, 2014. On Sunday, June 15, he traveled to Khorog and after conducting his first interview on Monday, June 16, he was arrested. As of Friday, June 27, we do not know what has prompted his arrest, but it would appear that his arrest is due to his research activities and possibly to research analysis that he has  published previously.  The arrest and detention of academic researchers is of great concern to all of our constituent members.  Like Sodiqov, many of us conduct interview-based research in  the region. His arrest and detention constitutes an infringement of intellectual freedom and sets a worrisome precedent for Tajikistan’s openness to the world. It has been reported that presidential advisor Mr. Khairulloev accepted that Sodiqov is an academic researcher and that he would be released. We thus join others in petitioning Mr. Yatimov, Chairperson of Tajikistan’s National Security Committee, to release Sodiqov posthaste. 

Board of Directors, American Anthropological Association
Board of Directors, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Board of Directors, Association for the Study of Nationalities
Board of Directors, British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies
Board of Directors, Central Eurasian Studies Society
Board of Directors, European Society for Central Asian Studies


Alexander Sodiqov's family released a photo of him with his wife Musharraf and young daughter. 

Alexander Sodiqov's family released a photo of him with his wife Musharraf and young daughter. 

Call For Papers: BASEES 2015 Annual Conference

The BASEES 2015 Annual Conference will take place 28-30 March and will be based at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Proposals are invited for panels, roundtables and papers for the 2015 Annual Conference of the British Association of Slavonic and East European Studies (BASEES). The conference will take place 28-30 March and will be based at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Panels, roundtables and papers are welcome in the areas of Politics; History; Sociology and Geography; Film and Media, Languages and Linguistics; Literatures and Cultures; Economics. The conference especially welcomes participation by postgraduate research students and by young scholars.

To propose a panel or a paper you will need to fill in a proposal form. There are separate forms for panels/roundtables and papers. The forms can be downloaded from the conference website www.basees2015.org. You should download the appropriate form and fill it in electronically, and send it electronically to the appropriate subject stream email AND to the conference email address.

The deadline for panel/roundtable proposals is 3 October 2014, and 19 September 2014 for individual paper proposals.

Proposals should be submitted to the appropriate subject group:


Postgraduate members of BASEES who present papers are eligible to apply for financial support towards their conference costs. They should download the application form from the website and fill it in, and send to the appropriate subject stream email by 3 October 2014.

The congress also welcomes proposals for postgraduate posters. The poster will be displayed throughout the conference. Please fill in the proposal form (available from the website) and email it as an attachment to the conference email address info@basees2015.org AND the conference organiser, Dr Matthias Neumann m.neumann@uea.ac.uk by 1 December 2013.

General enquiries about the conference are welcome at info@basees2015.org

Fully Funded PhD Studentship in Russian History and Culture, Queen Mary, University of London

Placed on:29th May 2014 

Closes:1st July 2014

Queen Mary University of London and the British Library invite applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to start 1 October 2014 (full-time study) on: ‘The Russian Revolutions and Civil Wars: Journalism and the Media, 1905-1924’. Research may be on any dimension of this theme from but must make substantial use of sources available in the British Library. The successful candidate will be supervised by Dr Jeremy Hicks (QMUL School of Languages, Linguistics and Film, Russian) and Dr Jonathan Smele (QMUL School of History), with additional supervison from Dr Ekaterina Rogatchevskaia (British Library, European Studies). The recipient of the award will also help prepare a major exhibition on the Russian Revolution to be held at the British Library in 2017, receiving training and experience in collection and exhibition curatorship at the UK’s principal research library, as part of an original research project.

Applicants must have:

  • A First Class or 2:1 BA Honours degree in a relevant discipline.
  • An MA, or equivalent, in a relevant discipline by 1 October 2014
  • Reading knowledge of Russian, or willingness to learn Russian quickly (many BL source materials will be in this language, and additional fieldwork in Russian archives will also to be necessary). 
  • Knowledge of at least one of the following research areas: modern Russian history, twentieth-century Russian visual or literary culture, history of the media, propaganda, film and journalism

Due to funding applicants must be classed as resident in the UK. Non-UK citizens need to have been resident in the UK for three years prior to the award, for purposes other than full-time education. (EU students who do not hold residency in the UK are eligible for a fees only award: see AHRC criteria).

The awards will cover university tuition fees and provide the standard AHRC maintenance award for three years. In addition, the student will receive research support from the British Library of up to £1000 for approved research-related expenses, as well as Associate Staff status, a workspace, computer and special borrowing and other staff privileges in the British library.

Candidates should complete a QMUL postgraduate research application form applying to the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film, including a CV, two references, academic transcript and a 1000-word statement of purpose explaining the proposed research and the kinds of items in the British Library Russian collections you hope to use. The completed application must be e-mailed to Dr Jeremy Hicks (j.g.hicks@qmul.ac.uk). For guidance in identifying materials most relevant to your envisaged project, please contact Dr Ekaterina Rogatchevskaia (katya.rogatchevskaia@bl.uk).

Applications must be received no later than 5pm 1 July. All short-listed applicants will be interviewed and must be available for interview on Friday 11 July. Any particular requirements for the interview will be communicated when shortlisted candidates are contacted after 1 July.

If you are interested in applying, please contact Dr Jeremy Hicks (j.g.hicks@qmul.ac.uk) or Dr Jon Smele (j.d.smele@qmul.ac.uk) to discuss your research topic.