Helen Mirren now joins Katya Galitzine, Dominic Lieven, Martin Sixsmith and Nicolas Pasternak Slater
At least a million people, and probably many more, became exiles from Russia during the Revolution and its aftermath. They spanned all classes and included landowners and nobles, Cossacks and the military, dispossessed businessmen and Imperial officials, intellectuals and artists such as Stravinsky, Nabokov and Chagall. They travelled to all parts of the world, with significant communities emerging in Berlin, Paris, London and Shanghai. Some achieved great success, but inevitably many of these stateless migrants faced great challenges.
Helen Mirren will be joining other descendants of some of these émigrés - Katya Galitzine, Dominic Lieven and Nicolas Pasternak Slater - to tell the stories of the grandparents and parents who moved to a new life outside Russia.
They will be in conversation with Martin Sixsmith and the event will be introduced by Professor Simon Dixon, the Sir Bernard Pares Chair of Russian History, UCL SSEES, the home of several key archives from the period of the Russian Revolution.
Princess Katya Galitzine is co-Founder of The Prince George Galitzine Memorial Library, now an established cultural centre in St Petersburg, set on preserving Russian history for the 21st century. She trained as a sculptor in Soviet Union under the People's sculptor, Mikhail Anikushin, witnessed the fall of communism first hand and wrote the book St Petersburg, The Hidden Interiors. From a well-known aristocratic family, her father was a small child when he and his parents escaped via Yalta on a British warship sent to rescue Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna.
Dominic Lieven is a Senior Research Fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge, and Fellow of the British Academy. His books include Russia Against Napoleon: The Battle for Europe 1807 to 1814 and Towards the Flame: Empire, War and the End of Tsarist Russia which won a string of prizes, including the Pushkin House Prize. He is descended from a family of Baltic aristocrats, one of whom, Prince Alexander Lieven, was chief of the Naval General Staff from 1911 to 1914, and ‘liked to work with his pet monkey perched on his shoulder.’
Helen Mirren is a celebrated actress of screen and stage. Born Helen Mironoff, her grandfather was Colonel Pyotr Vasilievich Mironov, of the Imperial Russian Army who fought in the 1904 Russo-Japanese War. He later became a diplomat, and was negotiating an arms deal in Britain when he and his family were stranded by the Revolution. UCL SSEES Library holds in its archives the collection of Colonel Mironov.
Martin Sixsmith was BBC foreign correspondent, based in Moscow at the end of the Soviet Union and also reported from the US, Brussels and Poland. He later worked in the Civil Service and politics, before returning to broadcasting and a career as a writer. His best known book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, was adapted for cinema as Philomena.
Nicolas Pasternak Slater is the son of Boris Pasternak's sister Lydia, and the grandson of painter Leonid Pasternak and Rosa Isidorovna Kaufman, an accomplished pianist. His grandparents and mother left Russia in 1921. Nicolas has divided much of his life between working as a medical specialist in hematology and as a translator, publishing both scientific and literary translations. He is the translator of Boris Pasternak: Family Correspondence, 1921-1960, edited by Maya Slater, Pasternak's autobiographical essay People and Propositions and Lermontov’s A Hero of Our Time (OUP).
The event is presented in association with the UCL School of Slavonic & East European Studies Library and organised by Dr Wojciech Janik, Area Specialist for the Former Soviet Union and Poland, UCL SSEES Library.
Enjoy food and drink, including our guest Beluga Vodka, at the Knowledge Centre Bar from 18.00 and after the event until the Bar closes at 22.00.