On April 16, Russian Flagship students from around the country competed in teams in a fun, online game modeled after the popular Russian trivia show, What? Where? When? (Shto? Gde? Kogda?). The game, hosted by UW-Madison Russian Flagship associate director Anna Tumarkin, was based on a semester-long program of activities focused on the Russian underground rock scene in Leningrad in the 1980s and on the award-winning film Leto (2018) directed by Kirill Serebrennikov, which tells a fictional story based on real historical figures including Viktor Tsoy, co-founder and leader of the hugely popular band Kino. Pre-game activities included screenings of the film, an invited talk on Victor Tsoy and Kino: Myths and Reality of Russian Protest Rock Music, by renowned Russian music journalist and author Artemy Troitsky; and a series of online learning activities on the film Leto, on Tsoy’s life and biography, and on aspects of Soviet life depicted in the film: kommunalki, communal apartments, and kvartirniki, underground concerts held in apartments.
Undergraduate students at all levels of Russian and from all eight U.S. Russian Flagship programs participated in the game, which was designed not only for students to learn about the underground Russian music scene in the late Soviet period, but also as a forum for students from all Russian Flagship programs to meet and get to know each other.
The program was sponsored and supported by the Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. UW-Madison Russian Flagship co-directors Karen Evans-Romaine and Dianna Murphy co-directed the project, which was conducted in close collaboration with the seven other U.S. Russian Flagship programs at Bryn Mawr College; Indiana University; Portland State University; University of California, Los Angeles; University of Georgia; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Virginia Tech.