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Click the image to the left or follow the link below for a full listing of events at the Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia this semester.

WCEE Fall Events

CREES Lecture. Post-Soviet Satire in Russia and Ukraine

Dmitry Bykov, writer in residence, Cornell University
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
5:30-7:00 PM
1010 Weiser Hall Map
In the 1990s, Russia saw a slight rise in the field of social satire. However, very soon all this degenerated into innocent humor, and severe censorship was introduced on television. The most gifted satirists emigrated after a period of public harassment, and the least gifted refocused on ridiculing the opposition. Currently, there is simply no social satire in Russia because everyone who knew how to do it left either the profession or the country. Meanwhile, the fast and stormy development of satire in Ukrainian society the past 20 years provoked a rise in national self-consciousness, which led to two revolutions in 2004 and 2014. The victory in the 2019 Ukrainian presidential elections of Volodymyr Zelensky—a satirist, comic actor, and producer of the country’s main satirical show—is in itself an illustration of the enormous role that irony and social criticism played in Ukrainian public life. Nationalism, corruption, theft, incompetence, vestiges of Soviet slavery, and dependence on the West—all of these vices became the target of harsh, sometimes brutal satire.

In this lecture, Dmitry Bykov will explore these ideas while highlighting examples from Russia in the 1990s, like Shenderovich’s television show Puppets (Kukli) and some successful jokes and skits on the show Club of the Cheerful and Resourceful (KVN). From the Ukrainian satire scene, Bykov will talk about the writings of Marina and Sergey Dyachenko, Maria Galina, Lyubko Deresh, Yuri and Sofya Andrukhovych, and Oksana Zabuzhko, as well as the songs of Vopli Vidoplyasova and Okean Elzy. Drawing on these examples, Bykov will explore how Ukrainians are a self-ironic nation, which has made them phenomenally resistant to any form of totalitarianism.

Dmitry Bykov is a writer, poet, literary critic, and journalist. He has written and published approximately 90 books, including 15 novels and 20 collections of poetry. Mr. Bykov is the recipient of numerous literary awards, including the Big Book and Golden Pen of Russia. He has worked for 17 newspapers, five magazines, and on seven TV shows. Mr. Bykov has taught in nine universities in Russia and the U.S. including Princeton, UCLA, and Cornell. Most of his books are banned in Russia, but several have been translated into seven languages.

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us at Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Building: Weiser Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Comparative Literature, literature, russia, ukraine
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Comparative Literature, International Institute, Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia, Slavic Languages & Literatures

Videos of programs organized by WCEE affiliates are posted on the CES, CCPS, and CREES websites.

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