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The Defiant Life of Vera Figner Cover

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The Defiant Life of Vera Figner

Surviving the Russian Revolution

Lynne Ann Hartnett

This engaging biography tells the dramatic story of a Russian noblewoman turned revolutionary terrorist. Born in 1852 in the last years of serfdom, Vera Figner came of age as Imperial Russian society was being rocked by the massive upheaval that culminated in the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. At first a champion of populist causes and women's higher education, Figner later became a leader of the terrorist party the People's Will and was an accomplice in the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881. Drawing on extensive archival research and careful reading of Figner's copious memoirs, Lynne Ann Hartnett reveals how Figner survived the Bolshevik revolution and Stalin's Great Purges and died a lionized revolutionary legend as the Nazis bore down on Moscow in 1942.

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Derzhavin

A Biography

Vladislav Khodasevich, Translated and with an introduction by Angela Brintlinger

Russian poet, soldier, and statesman Gavriil Derzhavin (1743–1816) lived during an epoch of momentous change in Russia—imperial expansion, peasant revolts, war with Turkey, and struggle with Napoleon—and he served three tsars, including Catherine the Great. Here in its first English translation is the masterful biography of Derzhavin by another acclaimed Russian man of letters, Vladislav Khodasevich.
            Derzhavin occupied a position at the center of Russian life, uniting civic service with poetic inspiration and creating an oeuvre that at its essence celebrated the triumphs of Russia and its rulers, particularly Catherine the Great. His biographer Khodasevich, by contrast, left Russia in 1922, unable to abide the increasingly repressive regime of the Soviets. For Khodasevich, whose lyric poems were as commonplace in their focus as Derzhavin’s odes were grand, this biography was in a sense a rediscovery of a lost and idyllic era, a period when it was possible to aspire to the pinnacles of artistic achievement while still occupying a central role in Russian society.
Khodasevich writes with humor, intelligence, and understanding, and his work stands as a monument to the last three centuries of Russian history, lending keen insight into Russia’s past as well as its present and future.


“Khodasevich’s light narrative touch (as translated by Brintlinger) lends a novelistic quality to the biography, making it a genuine tour de force. All students and scholars – of history, literature, poetry, biography – will find something of interest here.”—Choice

Designing Tito’s Capital Cover

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Designing Tito’s Capital

Urban Planning, Modernism, and Socialism in Belgrade

by Brigitte Le Normand

The devastation of World War II left the Yugoslavian capital of Belgrade in ruins. Communist Party leader Josip Broz Tito saw this as a golden opportunity to recreate the city through his own vision of socialism. In Designing Tito’s Capital, Brigitte Le Normand analyzes the unprecedented planning process called for by the new leader, and the determination of planners to create an urban environment that would benefit all citizens. Led first by architect Nikola Dobrović and later by Miloš Somborski, planners blended the predominant school of European modernism and the socialist principles of efficient construction and space usage to produce a model for housing, green space, and working environments for the masses. A major influence was modernist Le Corbusier and his Athens Charter published in 1943, which called for the total reconstruction of European cities, transforming them into compact and verdant vertical cities unfettered by slumlords, private interests, and traffic congestion. As Yugoslavia transitioned toward self-management and market socialism, the functionalist district of New Belgrade and its modern living were lauded as the model city of socialist man. The glow of the utopian ideal would fade by the 1960s, when market socialism had raised expectations for living standards and the government was eager for inhabitants to finance their own housing. By 1972, a new master plan emerged under Aleksandar Đorđević, fashioned with the assistance of American experts. Espousing current theories about systems and rational process planning and using cutting edge computer technology, the new plan left behind the dream for a functionalist Belgrade and instead focused on managing growth trends. While the public resisted aspects of the new planning approach that seemed contrary to socialist values, it embraced the idea of a decentralized city connected by mass transit. Through extensive archival research and personal interviews with participants in the planning process, Le Normand’s comprehensive study documents the evolution of ‘New Belgrade’ and its adoption and ultimate rejection of modernist principles, while also situating it within larger continental and global contexts of politics, economics, and urban planning. The devastation of World War II left the Yugoslavian capital of Belgrade in ruins. Communist Party leader Josip Broz Tito saw this as a golden opportunity to recreate the city through his own vision of socialism. In Designing Tito’s Capital, Brigitte Le Normand analyzes the unprecedented planning process called for by the new leader, and the determination of planners to create an urban environment that would benefit all citizens. Led first by architect Nikola Dobrović and later by Miloš Somborski, planners blended the predominant school of European modernism and the socialist principles of efficient construction and space usage to produce a model for housing, green space, and working environments for the masses. A major influence was modernist Le Corbusier and his Athens Charter published in 1943, which called for the total reconstruction of European cities, transforming them into compact and verdant vertical cities unfettered by slumlords, private interests, and traffic congestion. As Yugoslavia transitioned toward self-management and market socialism, the functionalist district of New Belgrade and its modern living were lauded as the model city of socialist man. The glow of the utopian ideal would fade by the 1960s, when market socialism had raised expectations for living standards and the government was eager for inhabitants to finance their own housing. By 1972, a new master plan emerged under Aleksandar Đorđević, fashioned with the assistance of American experts. Espousing current theories about systems and rational process planning and using cutting edge computer technology, the new plan left behind the dream for a functionalist Belgrade and instead focused on managing growth trends. While the public resisted aspects of the new planning approach that seemed contrary to socialist values, it embraced the idea of a decentralized city connected by mass transit. Through extensive archival research and personal interviews with participants in the planning process, Le Normand’s comprehensive study documents the evolution of ‘New Belgrade’ and its adoption and ultimate rejection of modernist principles, while also situating it within larger continental and global contexts of politics, economics, and urban planning.

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The Devil's Garden

A War Crimes Investigator's Story

Cencich, John R.

In 2002 John Cencich traveled to a safe house in Belgrade to interview the former head of a Yugoslav secret intelligence agency. In less than an hour, Cencich had what he needed: corroboration of information provided by another spy. This evidence would be used against Slobodan Milosevic in his war crimes trial at The Hague. For the veteran United Nations war crimes investigator, however, the mission was business as usual.

The Devil's Garden is the inside story of the investigation and indictment of Slobodan Milosevic and the identification of fifteen coperpetrators in the joint criminal enterprise (JCE) that had resulted in the massacre of thousands of civilians. As the senior American investigator at The Hague, Cencich drew up the investigative plan, codeveloped the prosecution theory of the JCE, and wrote the first significant draft of the indictment. He also led the international team of police investigators, detectives, and special agents on the case against Milosevic and his inner circle of secret police, assassins, spies, terrorists, underworld figures, and murderous paramilitary leaders for crimes committed throughout Croatia.

Here, readers will travel alongside Cencich as he journeys to The Hague and will see how these once-in-a-lifetime experiences affect him to this day. Detailing one of the largest international criminal investigations ever undertaken, this book is a unique blend of history, international law, and true crime in Europe's deadliest battles since World War II.

Disability and Mobile Citizenship in Postsocialist Ukraine Cover

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Disability and Mobile Citizenship in Postsocialist Ukraine

Sarah D. Phillips

Sarah D. Phillips examines the struggles of disabled persons in Ukraine and the other former Soviet states to secure their rights during the tumultuous political, economic, and social reforms of the last two decades. Through participant observation and interviews with disabled Ukrainians across the social spectrum -- rights activists, politicians, students, workers, entrepreneurs, athletes, and others -- Phillips documents the creative strategies used by people on the margins of postsocialist societies to assert claims to "mobile citizenship." She draws on this rich ethnographic material to argue that public storytelling is a powerful means to expand notions of relatedness, kinship, and social responsibility, and which help shape a more tolerant and inclusive society.

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Domestic Violence in Postcommunist States

Local Activism, National Policies, and Global Forces

Edited by Katalin Fábián

Domestic violence has emerged as a significant public policy issue of transnational character and mobilization in the postcommunist era in Europe and Eurasia, as global forces have interacted with the agendas of governments, local and international women's groups, and human rights activists. The result of extensive collaboration among scholars and activist-practitioners -- many from postcommunist countries -- this volume examines the development of state policies, changes in public perceptions, and the interaction of national and international politics.

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Doubly Chosen

Jewish Identity, the Soviet Intelligentsia, and the Russian Orthodox Church

Judith Deutsch Kornblatt

    Doubly Chosen provides the first detailed study of a unique cultural and religious phenomenon in post-Stalinist Russia—the conversion of thousands of Russian Jewish intellectuals to Orthodox Christianity, first in the 1960s and later in the 1980s. These time periods correspond to the decades before and after the great exodus of Jews from the Soviet Union. Judith Deutsch Kornblatt contends that the choice of baptism into the Church was an act of moral courage in the face of Soviet persecution, motivated by solidarity with the values espoused by Russian Christian dissidents and intellectuals. Oddly, as Kornblatt shows, these converts to Russian Orthodoxy began to experience their Jewishness in a new and positive way.
    Working primarily from oral interviews conducted in Russia, Israel, and the United States, Kornblatt underscores the conditions of Soviet life that spurred these conversions: the virtual elimination of Judaism as a viable, widely practiced religion; the transformation of Jews from a religious community to an ethnic one; a longing for spiritual values; the role of the Russian Orthodox Church as a symbol of Russian national culture; and the forging of a new Jewish identity within the context of the Soviet dissident movement.

Doubt, Atheism, and the Nineteenth-Century Russian Intelligentsia Cover

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Doubt, Atheism, and the Nineteenth-Century Russian Intelligentsia

Victoria Frede

The autocratic rule of both tsar and church in imperial Russia gave rise not only to a revolutionary movement in the nineteenth century but also to a crisis of meaning among members of the intelligentsia. Personal faith became the subject of intense scrutiny as individuals debated the existence of God and the immortality of the soul, debates reflected in the best-known novels of the day. Friendships were formed and broken in exchanges over the status of the eternal. The salvation of the entire country, not just of each individual, seemed to depend on the answers to questions about belief.
    Victoria Frede looks at how and why atheism took on such importance among several generations of Russian intellectuals from the 1820s to the 1860s, drawing on meticulous and extensive research of both published and archival documents, including letters, poetry, philosophical tracts, police files, fiction, and literary criticism. She argues that young Russians were less concerned about theology and the Bible than they were about the moral, political, and social status of the individual person. They sought to maintain their integrity against the pressures exerted by an autocratic state and rigidly hierarchical society. As individuals sought to shape their own destinies and searched for truths that would give meaning to their lives, they came to question the legitimacy both of the tsar and of Russia’s highest authority, God.

Dubitando Cover

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Dubitando

Studies in History and Culture in Honor of Donald Ostrowski

edited by

The Elusive Empire Cover

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The Elusive Empire

Kazan and the Creation of Russia, 1552–1671

Matthew P. Romaniello

In 1552, Muscovite Russia conquered the city of Kazan on the Volga River. It was the first Orthodox Christian victory against Islam since the fall of Constantinople, a turning point that, over the next four years, would complete Moscow’s control over the river. This conquest provided a direct trade route with the Middle East and would transform Muscovy into a global power. As Matthew Romaniello shows, however, learning to manage the conquered lands and peoples would take decades.
    Russia did not succeed in empire-building because of its strength, leadership, or even the weakness of its neighbors, Romaniello contends; it succeeded by managing its failures. Faced with the difficulty of assimilating culturally and religiously alien peoples across thousands of miles, the Russian state was forced to compromise in ways that, for a time, permitted local elites of diverse backgrounds to share in governance and to preserve a measure of autonomy. Conscious manipulation of political and religious language proved more vital than sheer military might. For early modern Russia, empire was still elusive—an aspiration to political, economic, and military control challenged by continuing resistance, mismanagement, and tenuous influence over vast expanses of territory.

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