What is “What? Where? When?”? A Russian Gameshow’s History, Participants, and Global Reach

Anna Mikulo, “What is “What? Where? When?”? A Russian Gameshow’s History, Participants, and Global Reach”
Mentor: Christine Evans, History

“Chto? Gde? Kogda?” is an intellectual TV game which originated in Soviet Union and it remains on Russian-language media today. The game is played by six experts who, after a minute for discussion and deliberation, give answers to questions asked by a team of viewers, creating a conflict between the experts on set and the viewing public across Russia and beyond. If the “experts” answer correctly, they get a point; if not, the “team” of TV viewers triumphs. After getting public recognition, for many years, the show still holds a significant position in Russian-speaking cultural life as an innovative game, combining intellectualism, enthusiasm, and eagerness to win. To gain insight not only into the show’s rules but the organization and significance of the show as a whole, – on stage as well as behind the scenes – I gathered information from newspapers and online articles, video interviews of players and their social media accounts, online chats including discussions among viewers, and the actual footage of games. Over time, a small but strong community of regular players was formed which began playing an important role in the show’s life. Moreover, the show has expanded into a global network of amateur players, hosting analogous events all over the world, creating a network of like-minded people that suggests the significance of this show for researchers interested in global media, Russophone culture, and diasporic social networks.

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