Assiya Issemberdiyeva (QMUL) - 2021-22 Students

Red Cross or Red Star? The Tension between Humanitarian and Socialist Internationalism in World War II Aid to Russia

While the USSR was a country with great cultural diversity, the British media referred to it as ‘Russia’. My interest is how non-Russian, and particularly non-Slavic, Central Asian ethnicities were represented in this narrative and to what extent this narrative was humanitarian, socialist, or otherwise. The national question’ is a delicate issue in the Post-Soviet legacy, rooted in the controversial nationality policy of the USSR, especially in the turn it took after Stalin’s ascendance to leadership. However, British attitudes to non-Slavic Soviet ethnicities is considerably under-researched. It is widely accepted that the Russian aid campaign in Britain was successful, yet films’ contribution to this success is rarely discussed. Shortly after the German invasion, Soviet major film studios were evacuated to Central Asia: Mosfilm to Almaty, Lenfilm to Almaty and Samarkand, Soyuzdetfilm to Dushanbe, Kiev Film Studio to Ashkhabad, and so on. Major wartime Soviet films, therefore, were made in Central Asia, and, I will look at if/how these films reflected local identities and how the British audience made sense of them.

Primary supervisor: Professor Jeremy Hicks, QMUL
Secondary supervisor: Professor Matthew Hilton, QMUL

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