August Monthly Gathering – WHAT is Happening in Russia???

(Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images, Contributor/Getty Images, Alexey Furman/Getty Images, Laurent Van der Stockt for Le Monde/Getty Images)

Russia’s war in Ukraine was supposed to be a quick and overwhelming invasion that would topple the western-looking Ukrainian state and bring it into line. Now, nearly eighteen months later, and with forty countries financially backing Ukraine, and Putin facing mutiny and the growing likelihood of needing to call up more reserves, it is difficult to see when or how the war will end.  

This talk will examine how the Russian state has portrayed and uses history to justify the war.  It will also discuss Putin’s perceived hold on power and Russia’s foreign policy objectives, both with its neighbors and with the west, and internal unrest, especially within the military. Finally, it will dive into the current state of the war and outline some possible outcomes for the war and the Russian state.  

Leading us in this discussion will be Dr. Aaron Retish, Wayne State Professor of Russian history. Dr Retish is a specialist in late Imperial and Soviet history with a focus on the social, cultural, and political history of the countryside. He is the author of Russia’s Peasants in Revolution and Civil War: Citizenship, Identity, and the Creation of the Soviet State, 1914-1922, as well as articles on violence in the Revolutionary era, local courts and penal reform and has broader research interests in law and punishment, gender and ethnicity in the Soviet era. He co-edits Revolutionary Russia, the leading journal in its field. He also serves on the Board of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives and is associate editor of its journal The Volunteer. Retish teaches courses in Russian, Soviet and post-Soviet history and politics, as well as world and modern European history. He received his BA from The University of Wisconsin-Madison and his MA and PhD from Ohio State.

Please note that this program will be presented live and on Zoom. You can attend the live presentation, for a chance to also mingle with your fellow Mensans and guests, at our usual location:

Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield
23925 Northwestern Highway
Southfield, MI 48075

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. (EDT). The program begins at 7:00 p.m. (EDT). Admission: $4 for Mensa Members, $6 for non-Mensans. 

Following the presentation, please join us for dinner at Buddy’s Pizza, located at 31646 Northwestern Highway, in Farmington Hills, just northeast of Middlebelt Road.

If you’d prefer to participate on Zoom, you’ll need to pre-register by clicking on the following link: , The event’s Zoom URL and instructions for connecting will only be sent to those who are pre-registered. The Zoom room opens at 6:30 p.m. (EDT). for mingling. There is no charge for the Zoom presentation.

Please note that starting with the September monthly gathering, admission prices for the live presentation will increase to $5 for Mensa Members, $6 for non-Mensans. Checks will no longer be accepted at SEMM events.