The Slavic Connexion

A fresh international chat show from The University of Texas at Austin

About the show

A fresh international chat show from The University of Texas at Austin meant to share research, ideas, politics, and culture from the Slavic world and beyond in digestible episodes. The Slavic Connexion is a production of the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies at UT Austin. "It's not typical Texas."

The Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies condemns the Russian Federation’s military invasion of Ukraine. We stand in support of the people of Ukraine who are fighting for their lives and sovereignty in the face of the unjustified invasion by Russian military forces.

TPN 2021
Texas Podcast Network is brought to you by The University of Texas at Austin. Podcasts are produced by faculty members and staffers at UT Austin who work with University Communications to craft content that adheres to journalistic best practices. The University of Texas at Austin offers these podcasts at no charge. Podcasts appearing on the network and this webpage represent the views of the hosts, not of The University of Texas at Austin.

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  • "Writing Resistance": An Inside Look at Russian Carceral Literature with Sarah J. Young

    November 24th, 2020  |  Season 3  |  32 mins 53 secs

    In this episode, Matt talks with Dr. Sarah Young of University College London about her upcoming book "Writing Resistance: Revolutionary Memoirs of Shlissel’burg Prison, 1884-1906" as well as the genre known as carceral literature -- where do Russian literary titans like Dostoevsky and Shalamov fit in? Dr. Young presents some fascinating research from the many memoirs she has read and translated, and we are happy that she was able to share these important cultural insights with us. Thanks for listening!

  • Russian Meme Culture, "Shirtless Putin," and Pussy Riot with Eliot Borenstein

    November 16th, 2020  |  Season 3  |  42 mins 14 secs
    humor, masculinity, memes, pussy riot, putin, shrek

    On this fun episode, Dr. Eliot Borenstein from NYU joins us to talk about his research on memes and meme culture in Russia as well as his freshly-released book on Pussy Riot (available from Bloomsbury). We hope you enjoy!

  • On Russia's War in Syria with Colonel (ret.) Robert Hamilton

    November 9th, 2020  |  Season 3  |  44 mins 38 secs
    assad, erdogan, protests, putin, russia, syria, turkey

    From the Foreign Policy Research Institute comes a fantastic, dispassionate resource on Russia's intervention into Syria. Here to speak with us about the book (available for free download) and the process of compiling this insightful tome written by both American and Russian experts is Associate professor of Eurasian Studies at the US Army War College Robert E. Hamilton. Enjoy!

  • The Eurasia Downbeat with Alex Kokcharov

    November 4th, 2020  |  Season 3  |  35 mins 18 secs
    belarus, cis, eurasia, former soviet states, lukashenko, navalny, opposition, protests, russia, ukraine, zelensky

    On this whirlwind episode, Tom visits with London-based journalist and risk research analyst Alex Kokcharov on an impressive array of events and current conflicts across the CIS region. This is hardly a boring episode and we don't sit on one topic for too long, so if you're looking for a quick, but in-depth Eurasia fix (while we in the US patiently, calmly wait on those election results), look no further!

  • "Hunger and Fury: The Crisis of Democracy in the Balkans" with Jasmin Mujanovic

    October 25th, 2020  |  Season 3  |  51 mins 58 secs
    balkans, china, democratization, elections, european union, regional politics

    Dr. Jasmin Muajnovic, a political scientist focused on democratization and social movements in the Western Balkans and a host of podcast "Sarajevo Calling", joins Samantha and Cullan for an in-depth discussion on the state of democracy in the region in 2020. This is a great walkthrough of the elite maneuvering and politics in the Western Balkans and which nuclear powers hold sway and influence in the region. We hope you enjoy!

  • "Dance of Compromise": Putin's Russia, Disinformation, and the Wily Man with Joshua Yaffa

    October 19th, 2020  |  Season 3  |  35 mins 9 secs
    disinformation, journalism, pandemic, russia, us elections

    The New Yorker's Moscow correspondent, Joshua Yaffa, joins us from Moscow in fact to talk about the conditions in Russia during the pandemic, his latest book "Between Two Fires", and the oft-debated Russian interference in US elections. This is a fascinating conversation, and we hope you enjoy!

  • Kyrgyzstan's Uphill Battle for Democracy with Nazgul Kulova

    October 16th, 2020  |  Season 3  |  41 mins 27 secs
    democracy, elections, kyrgyzstan, organized crime, protests

    On this episode, we discuss the ongoing political crisis in Kyrgyzstan that resulted from the disputed October 4th elections with Nazgul Kulova, a resident of Bishkek (the capital of Kyrgyzstan) and a policy analyst in the mining sector. As a former government official at the State Agency for Mineral Resources, she has worked with various international organizations and is thus a valuable inside resource. We hope you enjoy!

    Matt and Nazgul discussed Kyrgyzstan's tumultuous political history, the motivations for constant upheaval, and the consequences of the latest political crisis gripping the country.

  • "Lukashenko Has No Future" with David Marples

    October 11th, 2020  |  Season 3  |  47 mins 37 secs
    belarus, dictators, history, protests, revolution, russia

    We're back to Belarus with this episode, but this time we take an in-depth look at the still-thrumming situation from the dictator's perspective with one of the foremost experts on the region, Dr. David Marples. Dr. Marples talks about the potential end of the dictator while rounding out the context for the current revolution, allowing us to see just how and why Alexander Lukashenko came into power. We hope you enjoy!

  • Siberian Overtones: Stories and Songs from Tuva with Dr. Susan Crate

    October 6th, 2020  |  Season 3  |  32 mins 57 secs
    culture, musical heritage, siberia, throat singing, tuva

    Dr. Susan Crate returns to the show to share her 1990 journey to Tuva, the geographic center of Asia. She shares with us original recordings of Tuvan throat singing, labor songs, ovaa prayers, a bear dance ritual, and much more. We hope you enjoy!

  • Living in a Post-Truth World: How Did We Get Here?

    October 3rd, 2020  |  Season 3  |  38 mins 6 secs
    climate change, covid-19, disinformation, education, media literacy, philosophy, politics, science denial

    Philosopher, professor, and writer Dr. Lee McIntyre joins us virtually from Boston to discuss his highly relevant book Post-Truth (MIT Press), the purpose of propaganda, science denial in English-speaking nations, and the ubiquitous problem of disinformation in today's world. We ask Dr. McIntyre how did we get here and what (if anything) can we do about it?

  • The Greater (Dysfunctional) Western Family with Leonid Ragozin

    September 29th, 2020  |  Season 3  |  36 mins
    democracy, investigations, putin, russia, ukraine

    Prominent independent journalist Leonid Ragozin graciously joins us from Latvia to discuss the perception of Russia in the West, the origins of Western xenophobia towards Russia, his view of Vladimir Putin in 2000, and his experience working as a freelance journalist on the investigations of high profile figures murdered in Ukraine. We hope you enjoy!

  • Post-Election Passivity and the Poisonous Politics of Petrostates with Maria Snegovaya

    September 24th, 2020  |  Season 3  |  47 mins 49 secs
    belarus, civic engagement, educational exchange, elections, navalny, russia, venezuela, youth

    In this episode, Matt discussed with Dr. Maria Snegovaya the leading issues of the day in the Slavic region. Namely, the aftermath of Russia's recent regional elections, the Kremlin's response to Alexei Navalny's poisoning, and the ongoing spectre of Russian intervention in Belarus's post-election crisis. We hope you enjoy!

  • The Hidden Green Men with Kiril Avramov

    September 19th, 2020  |  Season 3  |  53 mins 2 secs
    belarus, bulgaria, corruption, mass protest, mercenaries, russia

    In this insider's episode hosted by Matt and newbie host Katherine, Intelligence Studies Project fellow Dr. Kiril Avramov discusses his new book, “Russia’s Hidden Armies,” Belarusian turmoil, and the anti-corruption protests continuing within Bulgaria. This was a packed session, so we hope you're ready for this. Enjoy!

  • The Second Libyan Civil War and the Russia Connexion with Mohamed Abufalgha

    September 11th, 2020  |  Season 3  |  37 mins 23 secs
    civil war, libya, mercenaries, russia

    Tom and Matt have the great opportunity to speak with Libyan national Mohamed Abufalgha and expert on the conflict that has been going on for several years now in this oil-rich, war-torn country. Mohamed helps us unpack the Russian-Libyan connection and exactly how many countries have their fingers--and fighters--in Libya. We hope you enjoy!

  • The Białowieża Forest and "Pompik the Bison" with Tomasz Samojlik

    September 4th, 2020  |  Season 3  |  42 mins 27 secs
    belarus, bison, environment, environmental activism, environmental history, forest, poland

    On this episode, Cullan speaks with Dr. Tomasz Samojlik, an environmental historian and researcher at the Mammal Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Białowieża. In addition to his research, Dr. Samojlik spoke with us about his work popularizing science and scientific knowledge using books, comics and graphic novels for children. Enjoy!

  • "The Strategist": The Legacy of Brent Scowcroft with Dr. Bartholomew Sparrow

    August 29th, 2020  |  Season 3  |  52 mins 38 secs
    cold war, gorbachev, intelligence, iraq war, national security, scowcroft, soviet union

    On this episode, Tom speaks with UT's own Professor Sparrow about his 2015 book on legendary multi-administration US National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft who sadly passed away recently on August 6th, 2020. This is a great conversation, remembering the unassuming but brilliant strategist who was so integral during the late Cold War period. Hope you enjoy!