About Smyth

My name is Kitson Smyth and I use they/them pronouns. I’m from Manhattan and The Bronx. I have four siblings and four parents, and my extended family is scattered across the U.S., Argentina, and England. I am a Spanish and English double minor. I work for the Offices of LGBTQ Services and Residence Life and Housing. I’m a Spanish TA and tutor. I love dogs, reading, and cooking at home.

Fantastic Diseases and Where to Find Them

 

The easiest way to find a fantastic disease in Russia is to do a search of its prisons. Through unsustainable practices such as the failure to continue treatment of highly communicable diseases, such as tuberculosis, once an inmate has been released from prison, tuberculosis has spread in places where it can be easily treated.[1] In order for health in Russian prisons to improve, measures must be taken to ameliorate the inadequate living conditions that spread communicable diseases.… Read the rest here

Pussy Riot Member Moved without Family’s Knowledge

The jailed member of Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was moved to a Siberian prison during an almost month-long period while her family was unaware of her whereabouts. Russian prison authorities moved Tolokonnikova after a highly publicized hunger strike over a distance of several thousand miles without telling her family  where she was being moved. Movement of prisoners often takes this long because the trains that transport the prisoners stop many times in different prisons throughout Russia.… Read the rest here

From Russia with LGBT Love

This past summer, President Vladimir V. Putin passed a law that banned “propaganda on nontraditional sexual relationships” officially meant to protect children but known to be an anti-LGBT law. The New York Times asked Russians to send in their stories of being LGBT in Russia and several of those stories were published yesterday. The New York Times received over 400 stories from Russians and Russian-Americans and published 9 accounts from LGBT Russians of different ages, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds.… Read the rest here

Tuberculosis and Health Care

Here is my first draft for my project on tuberculosis in Russian prisons. This draft focuses on public health in Russia and the rate of communicable diseases such as tuberculosis from the 1940s until present day. This draft will eventually be a part of my final project as an overall summary of health care and disease control in Russian history.

Here is the link: http://goo.gl/1LajGZ

Secret Speech

We’ve talked about Khrushchev’s contradicting opinions of Stalin while he was the Party First Secretary and later Chairmen of the USSR, but his “Secret Speech” seems to finally put to rest his true opinion on Stalin’s dictatorship. The speech was known as such because it was read in a session without discussion and was not reported in the Soviet press. However, the Communist world knew of its existence and the claims within- that Stalin’s “Cult of Personality” was responsible of crimes such as the Terror of the later 1930s to the deportation of nationalities in the early 1940s- shocked and led many Western Communists to abandon Communism altogether.… Read the rest here

Charges Reduced in Greenpeace Case

Yesterday, Russian investigators reduced the charges against the crew members of the Greenpeace ship who held a protest against exploitation of natural resources at an oil rig in the Arctic Ocean from piracy to hooliganism.  Piracy charges could have resulted in a prison sentence of 15 years while the penalty for hooliganism is 7 years. Russia’s Investigative Committee has presumably lowered these charges in order to avoid any more diplomatic confrontation over the fate of the crew members, who hail from over 18 nations.… Read the rest here

Tuberculosis in Russian Prisons

While researching articles and websites for this project, I found a common theme of the health care system in Russia and how it’s changed over the years for better or for worse. My sources agree that the ’80s and ’90s were a particularly bleak time for Russia’s health care system, especially in Russian prisons were infirmaries were smaller and more crowded than public hospitals and larger centers for spreading diseases. Several of the other sources also discuss the problem of drug resistant tuberculosis and how Russia’s high recidivism rates contribute to the issue of multi drug resistant tuberculosis in prisons.… Read the rest here

Meteorite in Lake Chebarkul

Yesterday a meteorite was dredged from Lake Chebarkul, in the Southern Urals region, about 900 miles east of Moscow. The meteorite, which is believed to be a chunk of the Chelyabinsk meteor from the meteor shower last February due to the dents in its structure which are similar to the Chelyabinsk meteors. The rock is 5 feet long and weighs approximately 1,255 pounds but upon weighing the rock, it broke into 3 pieces. According to the BBC website and the meteorite curator at the London Natural History Museum, the rock has the markings and “thick melted crust” of a meteorite.… Read the rest here

Pussy Riot

Much has been made of the arrest of the Pussy Riot band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and her hunger strike in prison. She was convicted of “religious hatred inspired hooliganism” in August of 2012 after performing at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow and sentenced to 2 years at a women’s penal colony.

Most recently, Tolokonnikova was in the news during her nine-day hunger strike. While she was hospitalized on the tenth day and given a food IV drip, a letter that she wrote appeared online on September 23rd explaining the inhospitable conditions that led to her hunger strike.… Read the rest here