Dear readers,

On behalf of the editorial board, I am proud to present the fourteenth volume of the UC Undergraduate Journal of Slavic and East/Central European Studies. Each year, we hope to broaden the scope—both theoretical and geographical—of the topics addressed in the journal while maintaining high editorial standards and a commitment to the original aims of the publication: to showcase the achievements of undergraduate students who use their secondary language skills for scholarly inquiry.

The papers in this collection, written by contributors from universities across the US and Canada, address topics in film, literature, postcolonial studies, cultural memory, political science, and medicine. They cover a wide variety of regions and communities, from Kazakhstan to the Balkans, from Stalingrad to Georgia, from emigre writers' circles in Paris to the halls of the Kremlin in Moscow. We are confident that these papers represent the best of undergraduate scholarship in the fields of Slavic and East/Central European Studies.

The Undergraduate Journal originated as the conference proceedings from the University of California Undergraduate Conference on Slavic and East/Central European Studies. As always, we remember Professor Olga Kagan, whose dedication to undergraduate research led to the creation of the conference and then of this journal. The ongoing support of undergraduate scholarship that she inspired is reflected in the journal's pages: six of this year's contributors (Alexandra Ivanova, James Nee, Joseph Matveyenko, Tyler Le, and Mina Cvjetinović and Sedina Velić) initially presented their work at the twenty-third annual conference, held virtually on May 2, 2020.

Volume 14 opens with “Andrei Tarkovsky’s Linguistic Subversion of the Abrahamic Knight of Faith,” a fascinating paper by Aurora Amidon (Bard College), who fuses Genesis, Kierkegaard and Shakespeare in an ambitious examination of Tarkovsky’s “The Sacrifice” (1986).

Three papers addressing Russian prose fiction follow, first “Irina Odoevtseva’s Isolde: Subverting the Archetypical Russian Heroine through Émigré Women’s Literature” by Alexandra Ivanova (University of California, Los Angeles), then “'The Power of Innocence, Honesty, and Purity': George Sand’s Edmée Character in Dostoevsky’s Novels” by Sarah Kirker Wappel (University of British Columbia), and “What Is to Be Done? and the Novel as a Means of Political Agitation” by Shuyan Liu (Vanderbilt University).

The next two papers address the complex positionality of marginalized or “othered” groups in Soviet history. In “Between Russia and Sredniaia Aziia: Kazakh Alterity in Historical Context” James Nee presents a survey of Kazakh history that concludes with the power of World War II propaganda in transforming Central Asian national consciousnesses. Using vibrant imagery, Anastasia M. Heaton (Westmont College), in “The Motherland Calls: War, Victory, and Motherhood in Soviet Culture from 1946 to 1970” tracks the continuation of wartime portrayals of motherhood in post-war Soviet culture.

Kathryn McConaughy (Willamette University) also addresses the post-Stalinist period in “Selective Memory: How Khrushchev used the Cult of Dzerzhinsky to Avoid Addressing the Great Terror,” and Joseph Matveyenko (University of California, Los Angeles) examines the legacy of another Soviet leader in “Gorbachev and GRIT: The End of the Cold War and the Fall of the Soviet Union.”

One of the timeliest papers published in this volume is “Centralized Power and the Demise of Community-Based Healthcare in Kazakhstan” by Tyler Le (University of California, Los Angeles). During the review process, Mr. Le was able to amend his article with research on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare in Kazakhstan. This paper is followed by “Media Influence in International Conflict: A Case Study of the 2008 Russo-Georgian War” by Tamari Dzotsenidze (University of California, Santa Barbara), another timely paper that addresses the threat of Russian information warfare.

The final paper in the volume is “Perceptions and Expressions of Yugonostalgia in the ex-Yugoslav Region.” The authors, Mina Cvjetinović and Sedina Velić (University of California, Los Angeles), present a wide-ranging examination of nostalgia for the former Yugoslavia through the prism of Svetlana Boym's The Future of Nostalgia.
Some of these papers reflect the most pressing issues of the climate in which they were written, while others make interesting contributions to longstanding questions in the realm of art, literature, and history. We congratulate the contributors on their work, and we continue to welcome paper submissions from undergraduate students interested in Russia and East/Central Europe, as well as Eurasia.

The appearance of this issue would not have been possible without the contributions of Yelena Furman, the undergraduate mentor at the UCLA Department of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Languages; Susan Bauckus, our online editor at the Center for World Languages and her team (Leo Duarte, webmaster at the UCLA International Institute, and Delaney Thurmond); Manon Snyder and Grace Vertanessian, our incredible editorial assistants; and our peer review board, made up of UCLA graduate students, who offered their time and insights to the authors. Thank you to all of them.
Finally, we would like to express our gratitude to the Center for European and Eurasian Studies and the UCLA Office of the Dean of Humanities, whose financial contributions made this project a reality.

Lydia Roberts
Managing Editor