Naomi Caffee, Managing Editor, University of California, Los Angeles

It is my pleasure to announce the publication of the fifth issue of the UC Undergraduate Journal of Slavic and East/Central European Studies. The eleven papers published in this issue represent the best work from some of the most promising young scholars in our field.

Several of this year's papers explore issues of liberty, survival, and personal expression during the Soviet period. Through an analysis of Osip Mandelshtam's final cycle of poems, Caroline Brickman (Reed College) sheds light on the unexpected poetic consequences of life under an authoritarian regime. Zenon Evans (OSU) traces the threads of spirituality uniting the works of Boris Pasternak, Anna Akhmatova, and Liudmila Ulitskaya. Sonja Magnuson (UCSB) also deals with the intersection of private and public spheres in her paper on female identity in the poems of Anna Akhmatova.  Anna Gruzman (UCSD) delineates the relationship between literature, theory, and Soviet ideology in the works of Mikhail Bakhtin and Mikhail Bulgakov. Michaela Juklova (UCSD) provides an additional analysis of Bulgakov, this time from the perspective of gender relationships in Master and Margarita.

Three papers highlight the link between European literary traditions and narratives of Soviet history. Tatiana Zavodny (UCSD) analyzes the considerable number of allusions to Dante's Inferno in Journey into the Whirlwind, Yevgenia Ginzburg’s memoir of life in the Gulags. Leo Brown (Williams College) questions the construction of Soviet, Jewish, and Russian identities through a close reading of Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s poem Babii Yar and its literary predecessors.

Two papers deal with issues in Russian and émigré communities from a social science perspective. Erika Nauman (UCSB) has conducted a study of contemporary American and Russian attitudes towards male participation in ballet. Derek Groom and Sydney Heller (UCLA) situate their study of Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union in the context of American and Soviet foreign policy history. Continuing the focus on policy is Nadine Dorsht (UCLA) with a report on the economic and legal difficulties facing the Russian Federation today, with particular emphasis on natural resource management.

Finally, Stefania Marghitu (Indiana University), presents an analysis of several recent award-winning Romanian films which constitute a "Romanian New Wave." In contrast to the Romanian cinema of past years, these films offer intimate, character-driven depictions of everyday life under Ceausescu era, which provide insight into the present-day struggles of a nation in transition. 

I would like to extend my thanks to Professor Roman Koropeckyj, Professor Olga Kagan, Susan Bauckus, Yelena Furman, and Kaya Mentesoglu for their continued support. I also thank the journal's undergraduate editor, Derek Groom. Finally, on behalf of the entire editorial board, I thank the Center for European and Eurasian Studies and the UCLA Office of the Dean of Humanities, whose financial contributions made this project possible. We all look forward to future submissions from undergraduate students interested in Russia and East/Central Europe.