In the course of three years, Vladimir Putin rose from being jobless to president of the largest country in the world, amassing unprecedented personal fortune along the way. Coming to office as a reformer, on the promise of order and prosperity, he managed to return Russia to an authoritarian state reminiscent of the Soviet Union. Calling the disintegration of the Soviet Union “the greatest geopolitical disaster of the century,” Putin stirred war in Chechnya and Ukraine, murdered journalists and dissidents, annexed Crimea and bombed Syria, all while enjoying popular support. History is rarely made in front of our eyes, but as we’ll see in this lecture, with Trump in the White House and Putin in the Kremlin, we are witnessing one of history’s pivotal points.
Public lectures and events
The Making of a Dictator: Putin’s Rise to Power
Marina Sonkina's initiation into the world of academia happened at the age of 18, as a freshman at the Moscow State University. She was enjoying an seminar on 18th-century Russian cultural history, presented by the famous scholar Uri Lotman.
As a PhD student of this professor, Sonkina made a discovery: "All aspects of human culture are deeply interconnected," she said, "in spite of a seeming fragmentation of the disciplines of those who study culture." She went on to study philosophy, psychology, film, theatre, folklore and visual arts.
In 1987, Sonkina emigrated to Canada from the USSR, and became a producer and broadcaster at CBC Radio. Later, she returned to teach at Dawson College in Montreal, followed by UBC and SFU. When she is not teaching or studying, she teaches yoga and dance tango, and writes.
She has produced two collections of short fiction: Tractorina’s Stories and Runic Alphabet. Her most recent book is Comrade Stalin's Baby Tooth (2012). Her books are available on Amazon.com and at local bookstores.
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