The December 17 Oscar short-listing of Marianna Yarovskaya's Women of the Gulag in the documentary-short category created a stir in the world-wide Russian intellectual community. Yarovskaya, a dual citizen and a graduate of both Moscow University and USC, is the first Russian woman to be so short-listed since the founding of the Russian Federation. While official Russian media limited coverage to a brief announcement on the Kultura channel, Russia's small liberal media celebrated.
Hopes for a historic Russian Oscar were elevated when Hollywood's seven top gurus all predicted nomination. When Women of the Gulag fell short of a nomination, social media redirected to a discussion of Hollywood's silence on Stalin's genocides, which are among the worst in modern history. (By “Hollywood,” I mean L.A.'s international film community).