Cover

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Title Page, copyright

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xi

If members of the sixth convocation of Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, were at all chastened by the wave of protests that followed their contested election in December 2011, one could hardly tell, judging by the raft of new legislation they proposed in the first year of their new term. Draft laws restricting the consumption of tobacco and alcohol, prohibiting the defamation of the Russian Orthodox...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xv

While the bulk of this book was written on American soil, much of the creative and scholarly impetus for it came from Europe, where historically more attention has been devoted to matters of language in political and cultural contexts. Norway, in particular, has served as my scholarly home away from home for the research, primarily thanks to the generous support of the Norwegian Research Council for....

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Note on Transliteration and Translations

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p. xvii

Throughout this book I have used the Library of Congress system of transliteration for rendering Cyrillic text in the Latin alphabet, with the exception of proper names and concepts that have become widely recognized through alternative spellings...

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Introduction: Ideologies, Economies, and Technologies of Language

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pp. 1-24

Along with kreativ (creative [n.]), it was the curious term politkonkretnost′ (“polit-concreteness”) that received the dubious award of “antiword of the year” (antislovo goda) from a panel of linguists and literary critics appointed to name both the word and antiword of the year for 2007 (Epshtein 2008). (The honor of “word of the year” went...

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1. The Soviet Legacy: From Political to Cultural Correctness

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pp. 25-47

One obvious reason for post-Soviet reticence toward Western notions of political correctness is that the Soviet era featured a state-sponsored form of PC that was both ubiquitous and hypertrophied. The well-documented clichéd, wooden language of official speeches, documents, and newspapers assumed such a degree of dominance that it came to symbolize, in the Gorbachev-era revolts against that system, all that was...

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2. Glasnost Unleashed: Language Ideologies in the Gorbachev Revolution

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pp. 48-74

One of the chief architects of glasnost, Aleksandr Iakovlev, opens his memoir chapter on the Gorbachev years with a curious metalinguistic rumination, triggered by a single word, pustoslovie, which in English can be loosely translated as “empty rhetoric.” Recalling how in the spring of 1985 he had penciled the word into the margin of a draft of a eulogy Gorbachev was to deliver to the recently deceased...

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3. Economies of Profanity: Free Speech and Varieties of Language Degradation

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pp. 75-97

In the aftermath of the failed coup of August 1991, it became clear that it was the democrats who had won the rhetorical battle over glasnost. For a variety of reasons, their broader interpretation of the term as a close cousin to “free speech” eclipsed the narrower notion of glasnost as “greater public access to information” espoused by the party apparatchiks. But by winning the battle over words, they also helped trigger...

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4. In Defense of the National Tongue: Guardians, Legislators, and Monitors of the Norm

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pp. 98-130

The dynamics examined in chapters 2 and 3—first the battle over glasnost then the reframing of “freedom of speech”—tend to feature instrumental attitudes toward language, views of language as a tool for bringing about either reform or revolution in a positive light, or anarchy or lawlessness in a negative one. When the debates tend in the direction of excess and lawlessness, they likewise places greater focus on language’s “organic” or essential bond with the individual, society...

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5. Taking the Offensive: Language Culture and Policy under Putin

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pp. 131-165

It may at first seem a contradiction to associate Vladimir Putin with the notion of linguistic norms and proper usage. This, after all, is the man who has been notorious for his colorful and at times crass turns of phrase. And yet he was selective about his use of such turns and the contexts in which he used them and, for the most part, distinguished himself—particularly apart from his predecessor—as a master of bureaucratic...

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6. “Cyber Curtain” or Glasnost 2.0? Strategies for Web-based Communication in the New Media Age

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pp. 166-191

On 15 December 2011, then–Prime Minister Putin staged his tenth annual meeting with the Russian nation, newly dubbed “Conversation with Vladimir Putin.” His first three meetings since assuming the premiership had largely followed the script of the earlier “Direct Lines”: they too were marathon, multimedia displays of competence and supreme authority afforded by friendly journalists, prepared questions,...

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Conclusion

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pp. 192-198

Linguistic innovation tends to accelerate during less stable periods of history, and the degree of success of any term, speech style, or discourse depends on the degree to which it resonates with the general population, which in turn depends on its ability to tap into underlying ideologies, economies, and technologies of language. Discussion in this book has shifted between the language of politics and the politics....

Appendix: Sayings and Proverbs about Language

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pp. 199-202

Works Cited

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pp. 203-226

Index

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pp. 227-234