Aron Ouzilevski

aronouzil@gmail.com
Articles by Aron Ouzilevski

Boris Groys – “The Cold War Between the Medium and the Message: Western Abstract Art vs. Socialist Realism.”

The powers of the post-WWII period began to politicize the struggle between realism and avant-garde modernism. The West, Groys argued, believed that socialist realism was just another version of fascist propaganda art, while the Soviet state saw the West’s continuation of modern avant-garde art as a form of its own fascism, in its rejection of the European humanist tradition.

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The Many Names for Mother: Bearing Lyric Witness to the Holocaust in the East

In anticipation of the birth of her son in 2015, Dasbach became convinced that her poetic focus would shift into the future. But the opposite happened, as “motherhood entrenched [her] writing deeper into history, and the intergenerational trauma” into which her children “are now inscribed.”

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Post-Soviet, Post-Industrial, Post-Future: Rethinking Space After the End of Communism

Images of decay across the territory of the former USSR – starkly physical symbols of the broken promises of communism – are  one result of this economic collapse. While in the center of Moscow former factories such as Vinzavod, Artplay, and Red October have been turned into hip gallery spaces, helping to transform run-down neighborhoods into cosmopolitan hotspots, throughout the rest of Russia many factories remain derelict spaces–as is dramatically evident in the Hammer and Sickle metallurgical plant.

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Starvation and Survival on the Soviet Home Front during World War II

To combat starvation and the shortages, the Soviet state undertook a massive campaign to develop culinary experimentation through foraging and research. Although state sponsored, the effort was largely pioneered from below – scientists, nutrition experts, canteen cooks, and bakers were among the many ordinary participants.

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War with Russia? From Putin and Ukraine to Trump and Russiagate

In recent years, Professor Cohen has been labelled “the most controversial Russia expert in America”, and this is in due part to his recent book warns of the existential dangers a hardline foreign policy on Russia could pose.

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Medicine and Mortality in the Gulag

A prevailing argument in Gulag academia posits that the cruelty and inhumanity in Stalinist camps was never deliberate or “centrally coordinated”, but rather a product of incompetence, shortages, depletion of resources, and other “external factors” such as the harsh Siberian climates. But in her book Illness and Inhumanity in Stalin’s Gulag, Dr. Golfo Alexopoulos argues, contrary to popular Gulag literature, that Stalinist camps were actually more akin to death camps: a “highly coordinated system of violent human exploitation” to a “degree not previously documented.”

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Monumental Politics: The Power of Public Memory in Putin’s Russia

The contemporary revival and politicization of Russia’s history begins with references to the glories of Kievan Rus, and progresses onwards through Soviet history. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Johnson argued, Russia was left with an identity crisis caused by the vacancy of Soviet ideology. The Russian state therefore looked towards public space, as “control of symbolic public spaces was always very important.”

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School of Europeanness: Tolerance and Other Lessons in Political Liberalism in Latvia

As Latvia has moved towards Europeanization in the post-Soviet period, the country has faced a set of somewhat contradictory demands from European institutions: it has been expected to “draw a variety of boundaries around liberal democratic states and policies, while at the same time emphasizing the virtues of inclusion openness and tolerance.”

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Thugocracy: A Way to Think About Trump and Putin

Professor Ries and her team developed an overarching lens through which the two world leaders could be viewed: by tracing similarities in their respective careers, Ries has concluded that both Trump and Putin exhibit “thugocratic tendencies.”

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Russian Elites and Western Sanctions: A Political Economy Under Strain?

The talk primarily explored the degree to which the latest rounds of sanctions imposed by the West on the Russian oligarchs have been effective, and explored the possible ways the oligarchs can react to the financial constraints. The question mark at the end of the title signifies the lack of a definitive answer to the question.

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“Socialist Orientalism: Aleksandr Rodchenko’s and Varvara Stepanova’s Ten Years of Uzbekistan”, a talk with Nariman Skakov

Rodchenko and Stepanova’s album “Ten Years of Uzbekistan” was commissioned and produced in 1933, with the intent of producing a luxurious folio to commemorate the tenth-year anniversary of the Uzbek Socialist Soviet Republic. At the time, the Central Asian republic was considered “an exemplary space” for manifesting the Socialist goal.

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A World of Empires: The Russian Voyage of the Frigate Pallada

Bojanowska’s book examines a travelogue by Ivan Goncharov, better known as the author of the novel Oblomov, using his eyewitness account as a window onto imperial history of the 19th century and Russia’s perceptions of and relations with its own colonial subjects.

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The Vory: understanding Russia’s gangsters in their historical and political context, a book talk with Mark Galeotti

With the collapse of the Soviet state, many of the criminals began entering elite positions. The infectivity of the authorities allowed for criminality to roam freely on the streets: terrified and outgunned, police would often patrol for no more than fifteen minutes.

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Film Editing as Women’s Work: Esfir Shub, Elizaveta Svilova, and the Culture of Soviet Montage

Professor Kaganovsky’s study focuses on the contributions of the two early Soviet female directors: Esfir Shub and Elizaveta Svilova, “in order to make visible what has largely remained invisible – film editing as women’s work”

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On Avant-Garde Post: Radical Poetics After the Soviet Union

The new Russian avant-garde poetic cohort’s blend of a socialist past with global egalitarian ideas challenges both the discourses of the Russian authorities and the major opposition .

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Khlebnikov, Tatlin, and the Utopian Geopoetics of the Russian Avant-garde (Event Recap)

Professor Harsha Ram’s paper primarily focuses on the poetics, the literary theory, and the politics surrounding the Russian Revolution, and how the particular “convergence of literature and politics can help rethink the problem of world literature.” Focal to Ram’s research are poet Velimir Khlebnikov and artist Vladimir Tatlin, whose unconventional work presented a utopia imbued with a new vision of geopolitics.

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The Story of Aleksei Balabanov’s Unfinished Film The American and Its Potential Afterlife

Two tragedies coupled with a failed attempt at completing the film “The American”, broke the “rhythms and networks of meanings” that flowed through the Aleksei Balabanov’s earlier films.

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Geography of Anti-Corruption Protests in Russia

How does protest activity in Russia vary by geography?

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Meet the Empire: The Epic Journey of Grand Prince Alexander Nikolaevich in 1837: A Colloquium Discussion With Paul Werth

A colloquium talk on how the Russian Empire subtly stepped into the modern age in the year 1837.

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Jordan Center Sept 7 Book Talk “From Triumph to Crisis: Neoliberal Economic Reform in Postcommunist Countries” – Hilary Appel and Mitchell A. Orenstein

Professors Hilary Appel and Mitchell A. Orenstein discuss a new approach to examining post-communist Eastern European economic policies offered in their book “From Triumph to Crisis: Neoliberal Economic Reform in Postcommunist Countries”.

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