You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13 which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.
READING PASSAGE 1 – RED IN RUSSIAN ART
In Old Slavonic, a language that precedes Russian, ‘red’ has a similar root to the words ‘good’ and ‘beautiful’. Indeed, until the 20th century, Krasnaya Ploshchad, or Red Square, in central Moscow, was understood by locals as ‘Beautiful Square’. For Russians, red has great symbolic meaning, being associated with goodness, beauty, warmth, vitality, jubilation, faith, love, salvation, and power.
Because red is a long-wave colour at the end of the spectrum, its eﬀect on a viewer is striking: it appears closer than colours with shorter waves, like green, and it also intensifies colours placed alongside it, which accounts for the popularity of red and green combinations in Russian painting.
Russians love red. In the applied arts, it predominates bowls, boxes, trays, wooden spoons, and distaﬀs for spinning all feature red, as do children’s toys, decorative figurines, Easter eggs, embroidered cloths, and garments. In the fine arts, red, white, and gold form the basis of much icon painting.
In pre-Christian times, red symbolised blood. Christianity adopted the same symbolism; red represented Christ or saints in their purification or martyrdom. The colour green, meantime, signified wisdom, while white showed a person reborn as a Christian. Thus, in a famous 15th-century icon from the city of Novgorod, Saint George and the Dragon, red-dressed George sports a green cape, and rides a pure-white stallion. In many icons, Christ and the angels appear in a blaze of red, and the mother of Christ can be identified by her long red veil. In an often-reproduced icon from Yaroslavl, the Archangel Michael wears a brilliant red cloak. However, the fires of Hell that burn sinners are also red, like those in an icon from Pskov.
A red background for major figures in icons became the norm in representations of mortal beings, partly to add vibrancy to skin tones, and one fine example of this is a portrait of Nikolai Gogol, the writer, from the early 1840s. When wealthy aristocrats wished to be remembered for posterity, they were often depicted in dashing red velvet coats, emulating the cloaks of saints, as in the portraits of Jakob Turgenev in 1696, or of Admiral Ivan Talyzin in the mid-1760s. Portraits of women in Russian art are rare, but the Princess Yekaterina Golitsyna, painted in the early 1800s, wears a fabulous red shawl.
Common people do not appear frequently in Russian fine art until the 19th century when their peasant costumes are often white with red embroidery, and their elaborate headdresses and scarves are red. The women in the 1915 painting, Visiting, by Abram Arkhipov seem aflame with life: their dresses are red; their cheeks are red; and, a jug of vermillion lingonberry cordial glows on the table beside them.
Russian avant-garde painters of the early 20th century are famous beyond Russia as some of the greatest abstract artists. Principal among these are Nathan Altman, Natalia Goncharova, Wassily Kandinsky, and Kazimir Malevich, who painted the ground-breaking White on white as well as Red Square, which is all the more compelling because it isn’t quite square. Malevich used primary colours, with red prominent, in much of his mature work. Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin is hailed as a genius at home, but less well-known abroad; his style is often surreal, and his palette is restricted to the many hues of red, contrasting with green or blue. The head in his 1915 Head of a youth is entirely red, while his 1925 painting, Fantasy, shows a man in blue, on a larger-than-life all-red horse, with a blue town in blue mountains behind.
Part of the enthusiasm for red in the early 20th century was due to the rise of the political movement, communism. Red had first been used as a symbol of revolution in France in the late 18th century. The Russian army from 1918-45 called itself the Red Army to continue this revolutionary tradition, and the ﬂag of the Soviet Union was the Red Flag.
Soviet poster artists and book illustrators also used swathes of red. Some Social Realist painters have been discredited for their political associations, but their art was potent, and a viewer cannot help but be moved by Nikolai Rutkovsky’s 1934 Stalin at Kirov’s coffin. Likewise, Alexander Gerasimov’s 1942 Hymn to October or Dmitry Zhilinsky’s 1965 Gymnasts of the USSR stand on their own as memorable paintings, both of which include plenty of red.
In English, red has many negative connotations – red for debt, a red card for football fouls, or a red-light district – but in Russian, red is beautiful, vivacious, spiritual, and revolutionary. And Russian art contains countless examples of its power.
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-27 which are based on Reading Passage 2 below.
READING PASSAGE 2 – Lepidoptera
Myths and Misnomers
A buttercup is a small, bright yellow flower; a butternut is a yellow-ﬂeshed squash; and, there is also a butter bean. The origin of the word ‘butterﬂy’ may be similar to these plants – a creature with wings the colour of butter – but a more fanciful notion is that ‘flutterby’ was misspelt by an early English scribe since a butterfly’s method of flight is to ﬂutter by. Etymologists may not concur, but entomologists agree with each other that butterflies belong to the order of Lepidoptera, which includes moths, and that ‘lepidoptera’ accurately describes the insects since ‘lepis’ means ‘scale’ and ‘pteron’ means ‘wing’ in Greek.
Until recently, butterflies were prized for their evanescence – people believed that adults lived for a single day; it is now known this is untrue, and some, like monarch butterﬂies, live for up to nine months.
Butterﬂies versus Moths
Butterflies and moths have some similarities: as adults, both have fur membranous wings covered in minute scales, attached to a short thorax and a longer abdomen with three pairs of legs. They have moderately large heads, long antennae, and compound eyes; tiny palps for smell; and, a curling proboscis for sucking nectar. Otherwise, their size, colouration, and lifecycles are the same.
Fewer than one percent of all insects are butterﬂies, but they hold a special place in the popular imagination as being beautiful and benign. Views of moths, however, are less kind since some live indoors and fast on cloth; others damage crops; and, most commit suicide, being nocturnal and drawn to artificial light. There are other diﬀerences between butterﬂies and moths; for example, when resting, the former fold their wings vertically above their bodies, while the latter lay theirs ﬂat. Significantly. butterﬂy antennae thicken slightly towards their tips, whereas moth antennae end in something that looks like a V-shaped TV aerial.
The Monarch Butterﬂy
Originating in North America, the black-orange-and-white monarch butterﬂy lives as far away as Australia and New Zealand, and for many children, it represents a lesson in metamorphosis, which can even be viewed in one’s living room if a pupa is brought indoors.
It is easy to identify the four stages of a monarch’s lifecycle – egg, larva, pupa, and adult – but there are really seven. This is because, unlike vertebrates, insects do not have an internal skeleton, but a tough outer covering called an exoskeleton. This is often shell-like and sometimes indigestible by predators. Muscles are hinged to its inside. As the insect grows, however, the constraining exoskeleton must be moulted, and a monarch butterfly undergoes seven moults, including fur as a larva.
Temperature dramatically aﬀects butterﬂy growth: in warm weather, a monarch may go through its seven moults in just over a month. Time spent inside the egg, for instance, may last three to four days in 25° Celsius, but in 18°, the whole process may take closer to eight weeks, with time inside the egg eight to twelve days. Naturally, longer development means lower populations due to increased predation.
A reliable food supply influences survival and the female monarch butterfly is able to sniﬀ out one particular plant its young can feed oﬀ – milkweed or swan plant. There are a few other plants larvae can eat, but they will resort to these only if the milkweed is exhausted and alternatives are very close by. Moreover, a female butterﬂy may be conscious of the size of the milkweed on which she lays her eggs since she spaces them, but another butterfly may deposit on the same plant, lessening everyone’s· chance of survival.
While many other butterﬂies are close to extinction due to pollution or dwindling habitat, the global numbers of monarchs have decreased in the past two decades, but less dramatically.
Monarch larvae absorb toxins from milkweed that renders them poisonous to most avian predators who attack them. Insect predators, like aphids, ﬂies, and wasps, seem unaﬀected by the poison and are therefore common. A recent disturbing occurrence is the death of monarch eggs and larvae from bacterial infection.
Another reason for population decline is reduced wintering conditions. Like many birds, monarch butterﬂies migrate to warmer climates in winter, often flying extremely long distances, for example, from Canada to southern California or northern Mexico, or from southern Australia to the tropical north. They also spend some time in semi-hibernation in dense colonies deep in forests. In isolated New Zealand, monarchs do not migrate, instead of finding particular trees on which to congregate. In some parts of California, wintering sites are protected, but in Mexico, much of the forest is being logged, and the insects are in grave danger.
Milkweed is native to southern Africa and North America, but it is easy to grow in suburban gardens. Its swan-shaped seedpods contain fluﬀy seeds used in the 19th century to stuﬀ mattresses, pillows, and lifejackets. After milkweed had hitched a lift on sailing ships around the Pacific, the American butterflies followed with Hawaii seeing their permanent arrival in 1840, Samoa in 1867, Australia in 1870, and New Zealand in 1873. As butterfly numbers decline sharply in the Americas, it may be these Pacific outposts that save the monarch.
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 28-40 which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.
READING PASSAGE 3 – HOW FAIR IS FAIR TRADE?
The fair-trade movement began in Europe in earnest in the post-war period, but only in the last 25 years has it grown to include producers and consumers in over 60 countries.
In the 1950s and 60s, many people in the developed world felt passionately about the enormous disparities between developed and developing countries, and they believed the system of international trade shut out African, Asian, and South American producers who could not compete with multinational companies or who came from states that, for political reasons, were not trading with the West. The catchphrase ‘Trade Not Aid’ was used by church groups and trade unions – early supporters of fair trade – who also considered that international aid was either a pittance or a covert form of subjugation. These days, much fair trade does include aid: developed-world volunteers offer their services, and there is free training for producers and their workers.
Tea, coffee, cocoa, cotton, flowers, handicrafts, and gold are all major fair-trade items, with coffee being the most recognisable, fund on supermarket shelves and at café chains throughout the developed world.
Although around two million farmers and workers produce fair-trade items, this is a tiny number in relation to total global trade. Still, fair-trade advocates maintain that the system has positively impacted upon many more people worldwide, while the critics claim that if those two million returned to the mainstream trading system, they would receive higher prices for their goods or labour.
Fair trade is supposed to be a trade that is fair to producers. Its basic tenet is that developed-world consumers will pay slightly more for end products in the knowledge that developing-world producers have been equitably remunerated, and that the products have been made in decent circumstances. Additionally, the fair-trade system diﬀers from that of the open market because there is a minimum price paid for goods, which may be higher than that of the open market. Secondly, a small premium, earmarked for community development, is added in good years; for example, coﬀee co-operatives in South America frequently receive an additional 25c per kilogram. Lastly, purchasers of fair-trade products may assist with crop pre-financing or with the training of producers and workers, which could take the form of improving product quality, using environmentally friendly fertilisers, or raising literacy. Research has shown that non-fair-trade farmers copy some fair-trade farming practices, and, occasionally, encourage social progress. In exchange for ethical purchase and other assistance, fair-trade producers agree not to use child or slave labour, to adhere to the United Nations Charter on Human Rights, to provide safe workplaces, and to protect the environment despite these not being legally binding in their own countries. However, few non-fair-trade farmers have adopted these practices, viewing them as little more than rich-world conceits.
So that consumers know which products are made under fair-trade conditions, goods are labelled, and, these days, a single European and American umbrella organisation supervises labelling, standardisation, and inspection.
While fair trade is increasing, the system is far from perfect. First and foremost, there are expenses involved in becoming a fair-trade-certified producer, meaning the desperately poor rarely participate, so the very farmers fair-trade advocates originally hoped to support are excluded. Secondly, because conforming to the standards of fair-trade certification is costly, some producers deliberately mislabel their goods. The fair-trade monitoring process is patchy, and unfortunately, around 12% of fair-trade-labelled produce is nothing of the kind. Next, a crop may genuinely be produced under fair-trade conditions, but due to a lack of demand cannot be sold as fair trade, so goes onto the open market, where prices are mostly lower. It is estimated that only between 18-37% of fair-trade output is actually sold as fair trade. Sadly, there is little reliable research on the real relationship between costs incurred and revenue for fair-trade farmers, although empirical evidence suggests that many never realise a profit. Partly, reporting from producers is inadequate, and ways of determining profit may not include credit, harvesting, transport, or processing. Sometimes, the price paid to fair-trade producers is lower than that of the open market, so while a crop may be sold, elsewhere it could have earnt more, or where there are profits, they are often taken by the corporate firms that buy the goods and sell them on to retailers.
There are problems with the developed-world part of the equation too. People who volunteer to work for fair-trade concerns may do so believing they are assisting farmers and communities, whereas their labour serves to enrich middlemen and retailers. Companies involved in West African cocoa production have been criticised for this. In the developed world, the right to use a fair-trade logo is also expensive for packers and retailers, and sometimes a substantial amount of the money received from sale is ploughed back into marketing. In richer parts of the developed world, notably in London, packers and retailers charge high prices for fair-trade products. Consumers imagine they are paying so much because more money is returned to producers when profit-taking by retailers or packers is a more likely scenario. One UK café chain is known to have passed on 1.6% of the extra 18% is charged for fair-trade coﬀee to producers. However, this happens with other items at the supermarket or cafe, so perhaps consumers are naive to believe fair-traders behave otherwise. In addition, there are struggling farmers in rich countries, too, so some critics think fair-trade associations should certify them. Other critics find the entire fair-trade system ﬂawed – nothing more than a colossal marketing scam- and they would rather assist the genuinely poor in more transparent ways, but this criticism may be overblown since fair trade has endured for and been praised in the developing world itself.