Thursday, 12 April 2012
TONIGHT: Inside Russia: A Correspondent's Personal Notes at Pushkin House, London
Thu 12 April 2012 – 7.00pm
Inside Russia: A Correspondent’s Personal Notes
by Bridget Kendall
GB RUSSIA SOCIETY PROGRAMME
The BBC’s Bridget Kendall is probably best known for her reporting from Moscow at the end of the perestroika era, when as BBC Moscow correspondent as she charted the Soviet Union’s collapse, the failed coup of 1991 and the emergence of a new Russia under Boris Yeltsin.
In fact her acquaintance with the country goes back to the mid 1970s when she studied for a year in a provincial university in what was still the height of the Brezhnev era. Thirty years on, her
experience of ordinary life in a stagnating and strictly controlled Soviet Union is a useful reminder of just what living in Soviet Union meant on a day to day basis.
At that time, many experts still considered the Soviet system might remain entrenched for decades to come. But in fact, when she returned for a second year of study in the early 80s, she was witness to a rather different mood: the Soviet Communist empire was beginning to crumble, under the strain of a failing economic system that could no longer compete with its cold-war rival, compounded by an unpopular war in Afghanistan and the incompetence of an aging and ailing leadership.
In this talk Bridget will share her personal reminiscences from the Soviet era, chart her experiences of reporting on Gorbachev’s perestroika reforms and the extraordinary collapse which twenty
years ago led to the end of the USSR, and offer some thoughts on the turbulent path Russia has travelled since then.
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