Slavic Bazaar

The Department of Russian and East European Studies will host its 16th annual Slavic Bazaar, our undergraduate conference for students to present their work on any aspect of Russian or Eastern, Central, or Southern European society, history, literature, language, politics. 
This year, we are thrilled to include a panel for our students’ creative work and to welcome participants from other universities. We extend a special welcome to panelists from The Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia. 
After the conference, the REES department will host a mixer and provide food an drink to all participants and attendees of the conference, as well as all students and friends of the REES department. We hope to see you there!
This event is open to the public. Registration is required for the Student Mixer.


16th Undergraduate Research Conference of the Department of Russian and East European Studies


Friday, April 5, 2019

The Max Kade Center

 3401 Walnut Street, A Wing, Room 329A


9:50 | Breakfast


10:10 | Conference opening


10:20-11:20 | Panel 1: The Relations between Russia and the US in 20th and 21st Century


“Soldier-to-Soldier Diplomacy: Joint U.S.-Russian Peacekeeping in Bosnia, 1995-1996”

Bryce Klehm, University of Pennsylvania


The Dayton Accords of 1995 ended the Bosnian genocide and stipulated that a peacekeeping implementation force (IFOR) would occupy Bosnia for one year after the agreement. IFOR consisted of soldiers from European countries including Russian soldiers under American command, the result of an agreement negotiated months before the Dayton conference by Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and Defense Secretary William Perry.  It seems unusual that Russia would cooperate with Americans close to its border. This Honors History Thesis answers various questions about US-Russia relations while examining the narrative of Russia’s implementation into IFOR. Why did US-Russian cooperation occur when it did? Could this have been a sustainable partnership?


“Legacy of the Cold War: Back at the “New” Brink”

Ekaterina Orlyanskaya, Higher School of Economics


After the dissolution of the Soviet Union and subsequent end of the Cold War, new framework of international relations was established. Bipolarity was replaced by a unipolar world order - USA hegemony. Shift in the balance of power after the Cold War did not only strengthen US leading position, but also gave rise to emerging powers, such as China, and changed the course of development for former USSR sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. However, US dominance was seriously challenged by 9/11 terrorist attack followed by the war on terror, and global financial crisis of 2007. Rise of Russia and China coincided with these events marking the beginning of a multipolar period.

Current state of affairs seems yet unclear. This research will determine whether USA and Russia are now at the brink of the new Cold War. Methodology of the research includes brief observation of recent events, comparative analysis of scholarly articles and media sources, analysis of public comments by US and Russia officials, analysis of polls conducted in both countries, case study. Evidently, Russia and USA are one of the main actors in the world arena and perceive each other as competitors. However, rivalry between Russia and the US is devoid of the ideological dimension, which characterized it at the times of the Cold War, since capitalism has defeated socialism and is now considered a universal form of arrangement. Moreover, both powers have to act in the condition of multipolarity, challenged by other strong actors' interests. In relation to this, influence of intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, and regional blocs limit the range of possible actions for both sides. The research will analyze the essence of US-Russia rivalry in present conditions and contrast it with the Cold War. Finally, the research will conclude that, although USA and Russia are not currently at the brink of the Cold War, their relations owe a lot to the legacy of the Cold War. Their rivalry is still military-strategic in nature, less political, but not ideological.


“Is a current state of affairs between Russia and the U.S may be called a Cold War 2.0?”

Ivan Shadrin, Higher School of Economics


It is no exaggeration to claim that for about five years after the Crimean incorporation into Russian territory, relations between the United States and Russia worsened. Consequently, some scholars, journalists, and politicians with a new excitement started to argue about the beginning of the new Cold War between the East and the West, in particular, Russia and the U.S.

If current relations pretend to be called a Cold War 2.0, then it should have similarities of such kind, which could easily exceed the differences with the previous concept and thus, the questions arise: How and by which indicators it is possible to compare today’s, situation with the standoff of these two countries in the second half of the twentieth century, and after conducting the comparison will it be truly reasonable to name the present condition as a Cold War 2.0?

This research collates the state of affairs in times of the Cold War, particularly 1947-1991 and the current situation, especially from 2014. Specifically, this comparison is held by analyzing the polarity, ideological context, economic systems, methods of counteraction and carrying out campaigns against each other.

In the second half of the twentieth century the major power was distributed among two superpowers: The United States and the Soviet Union, therefore international system had a bipolar character, however nowadays the rising power of China, in a smaller sense India, the decreasing US hegemony and dissatisfied with the current order Russia - represent multipolarity. Moreover, in the current state of affairs, there is no such ideological rivalry between capitalism and socialism, which mainly expressed in terms of governance and economy. Eventually, the methods of counteraction changed from proxy wars and support of countries based on ideology to economic sanctions. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that countries still use propaganda in media and have opposing interests in Syria. Yet, the differences in the nature of the conflict outstrip the similarities.

In conclusion, this research argues that the current state of affairs cannot be named Cold War 2.0, because the modern situation differs from the Cold War. And in this sense, it would be wrong or even dangerous to call concepts, not by their proper names.


11:20-11:30 | Break


11:30-12:30 | Panel 2: Creative Writing and Translations


“The Steel Businessman”

(A modernization of a famous Russian literary work. Can you guess which one?)

Samuel Yoon, University of Pennsylvania


“The Penn Face”

(A modernization of a famous Russian literary work. Can you guess which one?)

Yasmeen Duncan, University of Pennsylvania


Selected translations from Requiem by Anna Akhmatova

Yehudit Dashevsky, University of Pennsylvania


12:30-1:00 | Lunch


1:00-1:40 | Keynote Presentation


“Scaffolds of Futures Past: Migration, Memory, and Belonging in the former USSR”

Mariana Irby, University of Pennsylvania


In the era of contemporary globalization, unprecedented levels of human mobility inform increasingly exclusionary regimes of citizenship. However, the large population of primarily undocumented migrants in the Russian Federation hail from the former Soviet Republics of Central Asia. Within the boundaries of a state where they were once citizens, these migrants cope with the hazards of legal and economic precarity, xenophobia, and securitized policing. I examine how the material and embodied afterlives of the USSR allow Tajik migrants to recollect and renegotiate their Soviet pasts—whether lived, imagined, or both. The two primary sites of this research are the kommunalka (communal apartment) in Saint Petersburg and the kolkhoz (collective farm) in Tajikistan. By analyzing life histories, materialities, infrastructure, and conducting ethnographic place-making, I aim to understand the interplay between citizenship, memory, and mobilities across spatial and temporal terrains.


1:40-1:45 | Break


1:45-2:45 | Panel 3: New Challenges in Business and Policy Making in the Eastern Europe


“The EU, Brain Circulation and the Puzzle of Polish Remittances”

Przemyslaw Macholak, University of Pennsylvania


General consensus derived from case-studies and econometric models suggests that immigration benefits productivity and output overall. This conclusion is even stronger for the highly-skilled migrants with more education, and it should not come as a surprise that the most desired countries on the potential migrants’ lists, such as USA, screen and target this specific subgroup of immigrants through legislative solutions. However, the outflow of the most educated to the more developing countries, a phenomenon known in the literature as either brain drain, brain gain or more neutrally, brain circulation, can potentially pose a serious threat to the more developing countries. Given the EU free movement of workers principle, for Central Eastern Europe economies such as Poland, sufficient human capital will be a decisive factor for convergence with the most advanced countries or falling into the middle income trap.

While holistic impact of brain circulation is difficult to assess, this paper examines the hypothesis that the EU’s free movement of labor principle creates favorable conditions for brain drain to occur in respect to remittances flow. The paper is structured as follows: first it discusses theoretical frameworks to analyze the impact of brain circulation on sending countries and arguments supporting brain drain and brain gain sides of the debate. Second, it scrutinizes the EU policy of free movement of workers and its effects on the Polish labor market and migration. Then, it presents available evidence on the impact of Polish brain circulation to other EU countries based on a framework suggested in the theoretical part: labor market and economic metrics, cost of education, remittances, return migration and diaspora and network effects specifically. After that, both the receiving and the sending country’s perspectives on management of human capital flows are discussed, and Polish management practices in the field are analyzed.


“Lights Out: Exploring the Historical Framework and Impacts of Russia's 2014 Smoking Policy”

Katherine Schroeder, University of Pennsylvania


In a 2015 speech, Russian Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev claimed, “We are taking a stand against smoking.” The Russian government, determined to restore strong public health standards, began their most recent attempt to address the ubiquitous nature of smoking in 2013. The legislation’s initial implementation stretched from 2013 to 2014, with the general goal of reducing smoking across Russia through a series of regulations including smoking bans, advertising limitations, and sales restrictions. This paper seeks to evaluate the success of the government’s recent legislation, as well as the cultural and historical implications of the policy change. I argue that Russia’s long period of inactivity followed bydrastic tobacco legislation is a consequence of pressing demographic and international pressures and is indicative of the country’s authoritarian and swift style of governance. I first provide a historical background of smoking in Russia, followed by a detailed examination of the 2014 policy. I then shift to a case study analysis with Canada, Ukraine, and France as my basis of comparison. This is followed by my findings from a series of in-person interviews I conducted with students in Ufa and Moscow. Finally, I conclude with an exploration of the cultural and historical implications of the policy, as well as the challenges that currently prevent Russia from achieving successful tobacco control.


“Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs in Russia: Structural Challenges to Venture Funding”

Emma Kollek, University of Pennsylvania


This paper is an exploration of the challenges to entrepreneurship and innovation in Russia, specifically with regards to access to capital. Through secondary research and interviews with venture capitalists, accelerators and entrepreneurs, it aims to evaluate the availability of capital for entrepreneurs in Russia and provide recommendations on how to improve this in order to foster a healthier entrepreneurship environment.

Preliminary findings conclude that although the criteria and investment process of venture capitalists is similar to that of investors in Europe and in the United States, structural differences in the country – most notably state participation and legal frameworks – cause significant differences in funding. As a result, market volatility severely depresses investment into young companies in Russia.


2:45-2:55 | Break   


2:55-3:35 | Panel 4: Literary Scholarship


“Nicholas the Miracle Worker on Lake Peipsi: the Life of St. Nicholas of Myra in an Estonian Old Believer Manuscript”

Nicholas Akst, University of Pennsylvania


Penn recently acquired a nineteenth-century manuscript that we've been calling Prichuskii Sbornik because it is a collection of quires from Prichud’e, on Lake Peipsi. The manuscript contains paraliturgical and secular texts written in multiple hands. The focus of this paper is a set of miracles of St. Nicholas of Myra —18 of them. Though the miracles are not unique—all have precedents elsewhere—they raise interesting questions about the origins of the manuscript. Why these stories of Nicholas and how do they fit into the context of the manuscript overall? How does this set of miracles compare to vitae in other manuscripts? What does the selection tell us about the person who compiled it? This paper attempts to establish the place of these miracles in the manuscript tradition of Prichud’e, as well as how they relate to the wider Old Believer tradition. Does Saint Nicholas have different places in Estonian and Russian Old Believer traditions? This manuscript offers us a look at the personal side of the Estonian Old Believer manuscript tradition.


“Reasoned Crime, Somatic Punishment: The Role of the Body in Crime and Punishment

Alyson del Pino, University of Pennsylvania


“What does reason know?”— Dostoevsky asks in Notes from Underground —“Reason only knows what it has succeeded in learning [...] and human nature acts as a whole, with everything that is in it, consciously and unconsciously.” Crime and Punishment, one of world literature’s most well-known psychological thrillers,questions both the authority and the adequacy of reason through this dichotomy of the conscious and the unconscious. It stages a hostile battle between Raskolnikov’s mind, which rationalizes murder through grandiose logic, and his body, which consistently sets him back in his criminal devices. This paper explores the nuances in Raskolnikov’s relationship with his own body: it identifies its effects on reason, maps and categorizes the increasingly insurrectant bodily actions that oppose and ultimately alter his criminality, and through these explores the place of reason in human nature as imagined by Dostoevsky.


3:35-4:00 | Break    


4:00 | Student Mixer begins