We invite you to the next meeting of the series of events organised for years in cooperation with the Centre for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding under the name Polish-Russian Dialogue at the International Cultural Centre. This time Prof. Tamara M. Smirnova from the Faculty of Humanities of St. Petersburg State University of Aerospace Instrumentation will talk about the Polish diaspora in pre-revolutionary and post-revolutionary St. Petersburg. The meeting will be held in Russian with simultaneous translation into Polish.

Since the mid-nineteenth century Poles have played an important role in the social, cultural, scientific, artistic, economic and political life of this multinational and multicultural metropolis. The most important characteristic features of the Polish diaspora besides the language, literature and the Roman Catholic religion was the social activity, developing especially after the 1905 revolution and during the First World War.

Today, the memory of it has been forgotten – both in Russia and in Poland. A unique material for the reconstruction of this no longer existing world is provided by an archival and press research, bringing to light unknown or largely forgotten facts about the social and cultural activities of Poles in the former Russian capital. For many of them, their stay on the Neva River was of such importance that it had an impact on their further lives, and it is hard to overstate the contribution of the former St. Petersburg residents to the creation of a reborn Poland after 1918.

Tamara M. Smirnova – a historian, professionally connected with the Faculty of Humanities of St. Petersburg State University of Aerospace Instrumentation, author of several publications, including some based on desk research, fundamental studies on the social history of national minorities in the Russian Empire, among others Национальностьпитерские. Культурная жизнь национальных меньшинств Петербурга и Ленинградской области в ХХ веке (2002) [Nationality – Piter-residents. Cultural life of national minorities in St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast in the 20th century] and several hundred scientific and popular science articles.

T. Smirnova is a pioneer of research on the Polish diaspora in pre- and post-revolutionary St. Petersburg/Petrograd. Her monograph Польские общества в Санкт-Петербурге конец XIX – начало XX века (2013) [Polish Communities in St. Petersburg at the late 19th and early 20th Century] is the only one of its kind published in Russian. As part of the series “Polonica Petropolitana” of the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in St. Petersburg, Smirnova published Polacy w radzieckim przedwojennym Leningradzie (2006) [Poles in the Soviet pre-war Leningrad] and "Sokół Polski" w Petersburgu: historia widoczna (2008) ["Polish Falcon" in St. Petersburg: a visible history]. For a few years, she has also been cooperating with the “Polish St. Petersburg” internet encyclopedia published by the ICC.

Being passionate about the metropolis on the Neva River, Prof. Smirnova also acts as a local expert and guide, and is also an active social activist. In recognition of the promotion of knowledge about the fate of the Polish community in St. Petersburg, she was awarded the Decoration of Honor Meritorious for Polish Culture in 2013. Whereas, in 2019, for her last monograph Театральная жизнь многонационального Петрограда-Ленинграда. 1917-1941 (2016) [The theatrical life of the multinational Petrograd-Leningrad in 1917-1941], she was awarded the prestigious Nikolai Antsiferov Prize for the best works about St. Petersburg.

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