Monday, January 31, 2011

Study abroad deadline

The study abroad application deadline is March 1. Students who wish to study in Spain, France, Germany, Russia, Hong Kong, Scotland or Oxford during fall semester 2011 should request an application by February 15th. For further information, students can email me at or come by the Center for International Education, behind Student Health Services.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Unit 6 Post: Russian Boy Band

On of the most famous boy bands in Russia is Korni. Korni won Russia's first Star Factory series in 2002 and since then, there fame has not faded. This group has sold more albums than NSync and 98 degrees.

Russian NGOs: Fighting Inequality

While researching NGOs (Non-governmental organizations) in Russia, I came across some very interesting information. The basic gist of an NGO is that it is dedicated to a certain issue area and is typically funded in equal parts by foreign donations and communities within Russia. There are currently over 240,000 NGOs in Russia that support issues in culture (museums and author rights), education (student international exchanges), environment (World Wildlife Foundation and various conservation groups), gay rights, health, women (targeted towards domestic violence issues), the media (rights for journalists and radio broadcasters), and other organizations that aid an array of issues: financial and economic problems, global affairs, and most centered on research.
However, the most controversial category for NGOs is the Human Rights section. In the North-Caucasus region of Russia, there is much unrest over human rights affairs. In January 2009, a well-known human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova were murdered. In the summer of 2009, 3 local civic activists were abducted and killed. And finally in July, a human rights defender, Natalya Estemirova was abducted and killed; she worked mainly with Chechen cases. This is only a small fraction of those who have lost their lives due to the fight for equality and justice. While there continues to be unrest among these areas, other NGOs function as normal (mainly in the northwest of Russia). They serve thousands of people across the nation and provide support for many searching for justice.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Yaroslav the Wise

My Russian History class briefly touched upon this figure, so I decided to learn a bit more about him through this blog post.

Born to the Grand Prince Vladimir of Kievan Rus, Yaroslav the Wise was originally sent to rule a northern province near Rostov. In 1010, at the age of thirty-two, he was transferred to Novgorod, despite the fact that his relationship with his father was steadily declining. Four years later, he refused to pay tribute to Vladimir at Kiev, but, before events escalated any further, the Grand Prince died.
Soon afterwards, the oldest of Vladimir's twelve sons, Svyatopolk, claimed the throne and subsequently ordered the deaths of his two youngest brothers, Boris and Gleb. Yaroslav took it upon himself to avenge the deaths of his brothers and, with the help of Novgorod, defeated Svyatopolk and forced him to flee to Poland.
However, in 1018, Svyatopolk returned with Polish troops and conquered Kiev. Yaroslav led troops against his brother and, once more, he fled to the West.
Despite his defense of the realm, though, Yaroslav was attacked by another sibling, Mstislav, and the two ruled the divided lands of Rus for some twelve years. After Mstislav died, Yaroslav recovered these lands and ruled them for the remainder of his life.
During his reign, Yaroslav created a predecessor to the oldest Russian code of laws (titled Yaroslav's Justice), in addition to serving as a patron of the arts and attempting to expanding the borders of Kievan Rus. He promoted the spread of Christianity, partially by supporting translations of religious books from the Byzantine Empire into Old Russian, and also by establishing schools for the children of priests in Novgorod. At the same time, Kiev became a major center of commerce and an administrative center of the surrounding region.

As a quick side note: Some historians believe that Yaroslav was the brother who called for the deaths of Boris and Gleb. A Norse saga mentions Varangian warriors who were hired by Yaroslav the Wise to kill Burizleif, his brother; others, however, consider Burizleif a misinterpretation of Boleslaw (who was a Polish ruler allied to Svyatopolk).

Recording (with Collin Dougher):

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tutoring at the Russian Studies Center

Tutoring Schedule for Spring 2012

Megan Duffy is available for help with Russian assignments and general tutoring at the Russian Studies Center
Mondays 2-5
Wednesdays 2-4:30
Fridays 11-1:30

Additional hours available by request. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One man who's been beaten is worth two who have not...

Putin is making headlines for a Russian proverb he quoted after closing a deal with BP to allow them access to 48000 square miles of Arctic waters. (That's larger than the state of Tennessee, by the way): One man who's been beaten is worth two who have not. За одного битого двух небитых дают. The proverb means that an experienced person is worth two novices. 

Telling remark, isn't it?