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Polish Encounters, Russian Identity

Edited by David L. Ransel and Bozena Shallcross

Publication Year: 2005

At a time when Poland is emphasizing its distance from Russia, Polish Encounters, Russian Identity points to the historical ties and mutual influences of these two great Slavic peoples. Whether Poland adopted a hostile or a friendly stance toward Russia, the intense responses of Russian thinkers, writers, and political leaders to Poland and to Polish culture shaped Russians' idea of themselves and their place in the world. Countering the recent trend to deny the rich interactions between Russia and Poland, this collection reminds readers that these longstanding, if often difficult, contacts constitute an important and enduring element in the consciousness of the peoples of both countries.

The contributors are Manon de Courten, Megan Dixon, Halina Goldberg, Leonid Efremovich Gorizontov, Irina Grudzinska, Beth Holmgren, Judith Deutsch Kornblatt, Matthew Pauly, Nina Perlina, Robert Przygrodski, David L. Ransel, Bozena Shallcross, Barbara Skinner, and Andrzej Walicki.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: Indiana-Michigan Series in Russian and East European Studies

Cover, Series Editors, Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii

This publication is the result of many efforts and sources of support. We would like to mention first of all the assistance of the staff of the Russian and East European Institute (REEI) at Indiana University, especially the work of Assistant Director and Outreach Coordinator Denise Gardiner, who did much of the organizational preparation for the conference that led to this volume. Financial...

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Introduction: Russian Identity in Its Encounter with Poland

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pp. 1-19

Poland forms a key element in the historical creation and continuing reconstruction of Russian identity. National identity is shaped in large part through images reflected in encounters with the people of neighboring countries. Russian writers, artists, and publicists habitually viewed themselves in the mirror of Polish life and culture, employing that mirror to sharpen their perception...

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1. The Irreparable Church Schism: Russian Orthodox Identity and Its Historical Encounter with Catholicism

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pp. 20-36

Pope John Paul II’s visit to Ukraine in June 2001 provoked indignation and outrage from the Russian Orthodox Church. The largest Orthodox community in Ukraine remains subordinate to the Moscow patriarch, who firmly opposed the visit and denounced it as an affront to the dominant Christian community in the region.1 In the previous year, as the new Russian president Vladimir...

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2. Imitation of Life: A Russian Guest in the Polish Regimental Family

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pp. 37-48

Nadezhda Durova (1783–1866), the famous Amazon who successfully masqueraded as a Russian officer during the Napoleonic wars, confesses late in her Journals that ‘‘for some reason I like being a guest better than a stay-at-home.’’1 This specific statement was provoked by her keen displeasure at quitting the ‘‘beautiful land’’ of Holstein, where she and her fellow uhlans had been savoring...

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3. Repositioning Pushkin and the Poems of the Polish Uprising

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pp. 49-73

Discussions of Alexander Pushkin’s life and work at the turn of 1830 and 1831 usually involve his marriage and his fruitful autumn at Boldino. Reading through his poetry for this period offers a sudden surprise: the poems of the Polish uprising, written in June, August, and September of 1831. If we recall that Pushkin was in Boldino from October 1830 (shortly before the outbreak of the uprising), that...

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4. Appropriating Poland: Glinka, Polish Dance, and Russian National Identity

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pp. 74-88

The presence of characteristically Polish dance elements among what is deemed quintessentially Russian repertory is astounding—Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Balakirev, Borodin, Cui, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, and Scriabin all wrote a variety of polonaises and mazurkas. More significant, Polish elements abound in Russian operas: the most famous are the ‘‘Polish act’’ (act 3) of Mussorgsky’s...

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5. The Slavophile Thinkers and the Polish Question in 1863

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pp. 89-99

The Polish uprising of 1863 was a watershed in the history of partitioned Poland and an important event in the history of the Russian Empire. It was the last attempt to restore—in a new, democratized form—the old Polish- Lithuanian Commonwealth, understood as a multiethnic community based upon common historical tradition. Its consequences, however, were strikingly different,...

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6. Dostoevsky and His Polish Fellow Prisoners from the House of the Dead

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pp. 100-109

Dostoevsky’s response to the outbreak of the Polish Revolt in 1863 is well known: he treated the insurgents’ demand for the independence of their country and a restoration of the Polish borders of 1772 as a challenge to the might of the Russian Empire and a threat to the moral integrity of all Russian people. Having read about the beginning of the revolt from newspapers, Dostoevsky began his private...

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7. Vladimir Solov’ëv’s Views on the Polish Question: Poland and Reunion of the Eastern and Western Churches

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pp. 110-121

The philosopher, publicist, and poet Vladimir Solov’ëv (1853–1900) continues to intrigue his readers. He proposed a unique role for Poland as a mediator between Eastern and Western Christianity. Since Poland, or at least part of it, belonged to the Russian Empire, a logical step was to understand this role as a part of Russia’s regenerating mission in the world. As a result, Solov’ëv approached...

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8. The Geopolitical Dimension of Russian-Polish Confrontation in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

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pp. 122-143

Russian-Polish confrontation can be analyzed in geopolitical categories. This type of analysis has already been attempted by the American scholar John LeDonne.1 The central concept in his study of empire is the core area of the nation-state. The space between neighboring cores—the frontier—which is the main arena for their confrontations, is not qualitatively uniform. The frontier is divided...

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9. Tsar Vasilii Shuiskii, the Staszic Palace, and Nineteenth-Century Russian Politics in Warsaw

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pp. 144-159

At the end of the nineteenth century, the Russian Empire had controlled Warsaw and much of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth for approximately a century. The empire’s rule in Poland, however, was far from untroubled. Repeated Polish rebellions during the nineteenth century and a large revolutionary émigré population in France and Great Britain contested Russian claims...

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10. At Home with Pani Eliza: Isaac Babel and His Polish Encounters

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pp. 160-171

In the second story of Isaac Babel’s Red Cavalry (Konarmiia), titled ‘‘The Catholic Church of Novograd’’ (‘‘Kostel v Novograde’’) after the location of its action, the narrator seeks out his military commander at the latter’s current billet. While waiting for the commissar’s return from headquarters, Liutov— the name of the narrator as well as the pseudonym of Babel himself during the months...

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11. Soviet Polonophobia and the Formulation of Nationalities Policy inthe Ukrainian SSR, 1927–1934

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pp. 172-188

The Soviet Union and the Polish Republic clashed almost at birth. The 1920 war fought between them produced a climate of hostility and suspicion that continued through the interwar period. For the Soviet Union, talk of a Polish attack on the border republic of Ukraine was to have a lasting impact on internal events. During this time Soviet rhetoric, if not real fear of such a confrontation,...

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12. Under the Influence? Joseph Brodsky and Poland

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pp. 189-204

The description of the relationship between a poet and a country—Joseph Brodsky and Poland—is a risky undertaking. Brodsky is not a typical poet, nor is he a typical representative of Russian culture: in fact, there was nothing typical about him at all, as he himself somewhat ironically wrote: My song was out of tune, my voice was cracked, But at least no chorus can ever sing it back.1 Yet he lived in a specific historical moment...

Selected Readings

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pp. 205-207


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pp. 209-210


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pp. 211-218

E-ISBN-13: 9780253110541
E-ISBN-10: 0253110548
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253345882

Page Count: 232
Illustrations: 1 b&w photos, 2 maps, 1 bibliog., 1 index
Publication Year: 2005

Series Title: Indiana-Michigan Series in Russian and East European Studies