Culture, Transfer, Dialogue

Russia and Germany, art, theater, literature, film, exhibitions, and research: “Intercultural exchange is not only vital in times of political crises,” says Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Cheauré, Director of the Zwetajewa-Zentrum für russische Kultur (Tsvetaeva Center for Russian Culture) at the University of Freiburg. The Center is hosting the Russian Culture Days 2019 (“Russische Kulturtage 2019”) together with the Department of Culture of the City of Freiburg, the international research training group number 1956 “Transfer of Culture and ‘Cultural Identity.’ German-Russian Contacts in the European Context” based at the University of Freiburg, as well as many other cultural organizations. The goal of the Russian Culture Days, which will last several weeks, is to promote dialogue between Germany and Russia by concentrating on highly relevant topics. The program of events will begin with a talk by Dr. Gernot Erler titled “Where Is Russia Going? 20 Years of Putin and the Future of the Country” in Haus Zur Lieben Hand on November 6, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. Dr. Erler is Director of the Southern Baden West-East Society (West-Ost-Gesellschaft Südbaden) and was a Minister of State in the Federal Foreign Office, and Commissioner for Russia of the German Federal Government.

During the Russian Culture Days, the main exhibition “Moscow Is Not Berlin” (Moskau ist nicht Berlin) will be presented in the University Library (UB). It will feature the author Michail Bulgakov (1891-1949) and his novel “The Master and Margarita,” which Bulgakov continued to work on until his death and is considered a masterpiece of world literature. The exhibition was first shown in 2018 at the Bulgakov Museum in Moscow in celebration of the first German translation of the novel in 1968. The Bulgakov Museum has collaborated with the UB to translate the exhibition into German and adapt it for a German audience. The show will open on November 13, 2019, after which it can be visited during regular library hours until January 7, 2020.

“Dance Impressions between St. Petersburg and Freiburg” (Tanzimpressionen zwischen St. Petersburg und Freiburg) is a joint project by two young, well-known dance ensembles: Kanon Dance Young from St. Petersburg, and the NEO DanceCompany from Freiburg. Twenty young dancers will perform six compositions showcasing their professionalism, creativity, and acting talent. Performances will be held on November 8 and 9, 2019, at 8 p.m. in the theater of the Dance Emotion School in Freiburg. The ensembles plan to perform a continuation of the project in St. Petersburg next year.

Other events will include documentary films – for example, about the Great Purge (show trials) under the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin – and readings by contemporary authors such as Guzel Yakhina, who will present her latest novel about the Volga Germans after her debut historical fiction novel received high critical acclaim. There will also be contemporary art, music, and events for children. This year’s Russian Culture Days will focus on the 1920s and 1930s, picking up where the last Russian Culture Days in 2017 left off with its main concentration on the Russian Revolution.

“Two years ago, the Zwetajewa-Zentrum (Tsvetaeva Center) for Russian Culture, which had just been founded by the University and the City, organized the first Russian Culture Days, and it was a huge success. Then as now, the Zwetajewa-Zentrum can rely on an impressive network of event partners in Freiburg, first and foremost the City’s Department of Culture,” said Ulrich von Kirchbach, the Commissioner of Culture and Social Affairs (Kultur- und Sozialbürgermeister) of the City of Freiburg. “The Zwetajewa-Zentrum has put together another amazing program of events this year focusing on cultural dialogue and transfer between Russia and Germany. I’m certain that this year’s Russian Culture Days will be just as big a hit as the last event.”

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