Russian Week returned to UT this week with a series of anticipated events.
For the first time in 10 years, UT's Russian program is hosting a fall semester Russian Week comprised of presentations, cooking demonstrations, a movie viewing and a Russian Culture Night. The week's anticipated climax came Thursday night with a cultural emersion of costumes, dance and indigenous food.
Thursday's Culture Night was poised to sell out. Although Wednesday night's Coffee House viewing of the Russian documentary "My Perestroika" consisted of a quiet crowd, it seems that most of those interested in Russian Week were not only eagerly awaiting Thursday night's dancing and refreshments, but were also looking forward to Wednesday's Coffee House event.
The lights dimmed in the International House ballroom around 6:15 p.m. over a loose huddle of viewers joined in a prevalent air of tension. For 88 minutes the award-winning documentary dissected Russia's transition from the Soviet era to modern day by telling the stories of five classmates who grew up behind the Iron Curtain. After hitting on themes of patriotism, western imperialism, progress, regress and disillusionment, the film tuckered to a close with an eye of optimism on the future.
After the viewing, Drew Hargis, sophomore in communications who is enrolled in Russian 101, said he primarily came for the extra credit offered for attending. But there was another motivation.
"I came because I thought it would be interesting to see the aspects of the Russian culture from that time, to see what Russia was like in past decades," Hargis said.
Despite the loose organization of the event, Hargis said that the film was, "very interesting and informative."
Maria Kamyshkova, Russian lecturer and Russian Week organizer, was excited about the week as a whole.
"Monday was a lecture by Josh Barnett, a political science student about 'Pussy Riot', which went very well, and yesterday was the cooking demonstration which went well also," Kamyshkova said.
She said the film was chosen to appeal to students who may not know a lot about Russian history.
"Usually we don't show documentaries, but since we couldn't find a more popular Russian movie like we showed last time, we chose this," she said. "It's interesting because it's about transition, for some people who know about the Soviet Union it might be interesting."