Forget roses, depictions of your favorite teams mascot and scrolled renderings of your significant others name. In the former Soviet Union, tattoos were often used to express ones personal and political leanings in a complex, covert way.

Learn more about this inked and coded form of communication on Friday (Feb. 22) when West Virginia Universitys Department of Foreign Languages sponsors a talk by a University of Pittsburgh professor who is an expert on Russian culture.

Helena Goscilo, a professor of Slavic languages and literatures, will discussBody Talk: Russian and Soviet Tattoos,at 4 p.m. in Oglebay Hall, Room 117.

Her visit is sponsored by the Slavic and European Studies Program in WVU s Department of Foreign Languages.

Goscilo has authored and co-authored more than 20 books on Russian gender and culture, includingDe-hexing Sex: Russian Womanhood During and After GlasnostandPoliticizing Magic: An Anthology of Russian and Soviet Fairy Tales.

Her current project,Fade from Red: Screening the Cold War Ex-Enemy During the 1990s,is a collection of profiles of Russian celebrities.

Admission to her talk is free, and refreshments will follow.

For more information, contact Lisa DiBartolomeo, WVU s Russian program coordinator, at or 304-293-5121.

The Department of Foreign Languages is part of WVU s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.