Student Essay Contest

The Canadian Association of Slavists Student Essay Contests

The Canadian Association of Slavists (CAS) offers two awards for the best student essays, one at the undergraduate, the other at the graduate level.

Papers completed in any discipline relating to any part of central and eastern Europe, Russia, central Asia, or the Caucasus are eligible. Students participating in the contest must have been enrolled at a Canadian educational institution during the preceding academic year. Their essays may have been written in connection with course work, as a component of thesis or dissertation research, or for presentation at scholarly meetings. Only unpublished papers that are not currently under consideration for publication are considered for the contest.

Winners are recognized at the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Slavists, and each winner receives a one-year paid membership in the CAS.  Winning submissions are also considered for publication in the association’s journal, Canadian Slavonic Papers.

Details about the 2024 competition will be announced in due course.

Winners of the 2023 Prizes

The 2023 Student Essay Contest jury, consisting of Eduard Baidaus (University of Alberta), Erica Fraser (Carleton University), and Antony Kalashnikov (University of Waterloo), is pleased to announce the winners of the 2023 CAS Student Essay Prizes.

The undergraduate prize is awarded to Connor Haines, whose paper, “From Tricksters to Devils: Factors Influencing Tsar Alexey’s Edicts against the Minstrels in 1648,” was submitted by Dr. Roman Krakovsky (University of Ottawa).

The graduate prize is awarded to Michael Czyż, whose paper, “Far From a Capital ‘Worthy of a Nation among Nations’: Critical Perspectives on Warsaw in Polish Architectural and Urban Discourse in the Interwar Period,” was submitted by Dr. James Krapfl (McGill University).

The jury is also pleased to grant honourable mention in the graduate category to Danylo Leshchyshyn, whose paper, “Who Rescued the Rebbe? The Challenges in Identifying ‘Righteous among the Nations’,” was submitted by Dr. Lilia Topouzova (University of Toronto).

Congratulations to Connor, Michael, and Danylo, and many thanks to their supervisors!

List of Past Student Essay Prize Winners


  • Undergraduate Essay: Sydney Shiller (McGill University), “The Crucified Land: Accusations of Ukrainian Antisemitism in Putin’s Russia, 2014-2022”
  • Graduate Essay: Filipp Lekmanov (University of Toronto), “‘Not fashionable but just how I need it: rather tasteless’: Nikolai Chernyshevsky’s Philosophy of Dress”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Sarah Sturken (McGill University), “Honour and Glory to the Heroes: Cultural Memory, Politics, and the Controversial Legacy of Poland’s ‘Cursed Soldiers'”
  • Graduate Essay: Benyamin Villani (McGill University), “The Refugees’ Revolution: Displaced Persons, the Eastern Bloc, and the United Nations”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Yaroslav Gouzenko (McGill University), “Shaimiev and the Tatarstan Model: A Successful Highjack”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Flora Deverell (McGill University), “Rushing the Maidan: Understanding the Relationship between the 2004 Orange Revolution and the 2013-14 Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine”; and Hannah Rudderham (University of Alberta), “Who Wore the Uniform? The Question of Soldier Identity in Revolutionary Russia, February-October 1917”
  • Graduate Essay: Sean Patterson (University of Alberta), “Prefiguring Privilege: Mennonite Self-Defence as a Symptom of Imperial Decolonization”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Samuel Hull (McGill University), “Violence and Power: The Expulsion of the Sudeten Germans and the Fall of the Beneš Regime”
  • Graduate Essay: Rachel Van Fraassen (McMaster University), “Black Ikons: Experiencing Racial Categorization in the Interwar Soviet Union”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Christopher Martin (McGill University), “Community and the Sacred: A Durkheimian Approach to Polish Nationalism in Nineteenth-Century Russian Poland”
  • Graduate Essay: Violène Dauvois, (University of Ottawa), “Aqua vitae, aqua mortis: Le système atemporel de l’eau dans l’œuvre Watermark de Joseph Brodsky”


  • Graduate Essay: Stephanie Dreier (University of British Columbia), “The Problem of Literary History”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Nicolas Tetreault (McGill University), “Foreign Tourism’s Under-Assessed Challenge to the Polish United Workers’ Party, c. 1970-1980”
  • Graduate Essay: Meagan Fairholm (University of Alberta), “Motherly Compassion and Matriarchy”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Antony Kalashnikov (University of Alberta), “Party Ideology in the Late Soviet Period: An Althusserian Analysis”
  • Graduate Essay: Zsofia Surjan, (University of Victoria), “Fertility Treatment in Sixteenth-Century Hungary: The Correspondence of a Count, His Wife and a Physician”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Dennis Khaiter (University of Toronto), “Reflecting the Problems from One Epoch to Another: A Contrast of Pushkin and Tchaikovsky’s Versions of Yevgeni Onegin
  • Graduate Essay: Francesca Silano (University of Toronto), “‘A Link in the Chain of Art’: The Life of Maria Yudina”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Sara Miller (University of Ottawa), “From the Politics of Amnesia to the Politics of Remembrance: An Analysis of the Katyń Massacre’s Historical Narrative”
  • Graduate Essay: Will McFadden (University of Toronto), “The Power and the Paradox: The Early Lives and Writing of John Dos Passos, John Scott, and Vasily Grossman”; and Ian Garner (University of Toronto), “Why the USSR Sent Troops into Kabul in December 1979”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Stephen Ejack (University of Alberta), “A Brief Critical Analysis of the War Industries Committees’ Political Activities: May–September 1915”; and Terrance David Reid (University of Waterloo), “Laying the Theoretical Groundwork of Biomechanical Technique: Understanding the Origins and Theories of ‘Biomechanics'”


  • Graduate Essay: Ben McVicker (University of Toronto), “The Creation and Transformation of a Cultural Icon: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in Post-Soviet Russia, 1994-2008”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Megan Butler (University of Lethbridge), “The Prayers of the Soviets”
  • Graduate Essay: Timothy Sayle (University of Toronto), “Andropov and the Hungarian Complex”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Alex Souchen (University of Ottawa), “The Czechoslovak Legion in Russia”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Talia Zajac (University of Toronto), “Silk and Crosses: Contextualizing the Rus’ Conversion of 988 in Byzantine and Rus’ Sources”
  • Graduate Essay: Auri Berg (University of Toronto), “From Town to City: Urbanization and Social Integration in Late 19th-Century Nizhnii Novgorod”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Paul Ferguson (Carleton University), “The Failed Middle Path: Russian Liberalism, 1900-1914”
  • Graduate Essay: Olga Kesarchuk (University of Toronto), “Loving Investment, Hating Investors? The Case of Ukraine”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Emily Anglin (University of Waterloo), “‘A Disastrous and Dangerous Illness’: Division and Danger in A Double Life
  • Graduate Essay: Max Bergholz  (University of Toronto), “Who was the Soviet Professional?”


  • Graduate Essay: Denis Kozlov (University of Toronto), “The Leningrad Martyrology: A Note on the Statistics of 1937 Executions in Leningrad City and Region”


  • Graduate Essay: Peter Waisberg (Carleton University), “A Citizenship Law for Tatarstan”


  • Graduate Essay: Heather DeHaan (University of Toronto), “Russia’s rebirth: The Spiritual Aspect of Enlightenment”; and Tawnia Sanford (Carleton University), “The Creation of Criminal Russia.” Articles based on both of these submissions were published in CSP, vol. 43, nos. 3-4 (Sept.-Dec. 1999).