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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


The Slavonic Studies Section and Cambridge Ukrainian Studies present: A lecture by Elizabeth A. Wood: Crimea in my heart: Vladimir Putin and Russia’s Resurgent Empire


The Slavonic Studies Section and Cambridge Ukrainian Studies (CUS) present: A lecture by Elizabeth A. Wood (MIT): Crimea in my Heart: Vladimir Putin and Russia’s Resurgent Empire

18th November 202117:15(GMT)Yusuf Hamied Theatre, Christ’s College, CambridgeRegister in advance at by 17th November 2021.

On March 18, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared at a victory concert celebrating the annexation of Crimea. Standing under a heart in the national colours of white, blue, and red, he proclaimed, ‘Crimea has always been an integral part of Russia in the people’s hearts and minds’. Why would this usually macho leader choose a heart-centered rhetoric and visual imagery to mark the Crimean annexation?

In his 21 years in office, Putin has appeared in many guises. Yet when he first came into the limelight in 1999, he had absolutely no charisma, no public persona. In this talk, Professor Elizabeth A. Wood will explore the many faces of Putin, asking how different images have functioned at different times, how they have been constructed, and what they may be hiding.

Using the Crimea case, she will show how Putin’s appearances were scripted in 2014 and afterwards to contribute to an imperial image that appeared to date back to Grand Prince Vladimir and Empress Catherine the Great, promoting notions of the unity of ruler and people while avoiding questions of international legitimacy.

About the speaker:

Elizabeth A. Wood is an Academic Visitor at Balliol College, Oxford, for the Michaelmas Term 2021 while on sabbatical from MIT, where she is Professor of Russian History and Women’s and Gender Studies. Her books include The Baba and the Comrade: Gender and Politics in Revolutionary Russia (1997); Performing Justice: Agitation Trials in Early Soviet Russia (2005); and Roots of Russia’s War in Ukraine (co-authored, 2016). Most recently she has published articles on Russian President Vladimir Putin, political masculinity, WWII, and the performance of power as part of her broader book project, ‘Performing Putin: The Spectacle of Politics in Russia, 1999-2020’.