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The Brusilov Offensive

Timothy C. Dowling

In the summer of 1915, the Central Powers launched an offensive on the Eastern Front that they hoped would decide the war. It did not, of course. In June 1916, an Allied army under the command of Aleksei A. Brusilov decimated the Central Powers' gains of 1915. Brusilov's success brought Romania into the war, extinguished the offensive ability of the Habsburg armies, and forced Austria-Hungary into military dependence on and political subservience to Germany. The results were astonishing in military terms, but the political consequences were perhaps even more significant. More than any other action, the Brusilov Offensive brought the Habsburg Empire to the brink of a separate peace, while creating conditions for revolution within the Russian Imperial Army. Timothy C. Dowling tells the story of this important but little-known battle in the military and political history of the Eastern Front.

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Burnt by the Sun

The Koreans of the Russian Far East

Jon K. Chang

Burnt by the Sun examines the history of the first Korean diaspora in a Western society during the highly tense geopolitical atmosphere of the Soviet Union in the late 1930s. Author Jon K. Chang demonstrates that the Koreans of the Russian Far East were continually viewed as a problematic and maligned nationality (ethnic community) during the Tsarist and Soviet periods. He argues that Tsarist influences and the various forms of Russian nationalism(s) and worldviews blinded the Stalinist regime from seeing the Koreans as loyal Soviet citizens. Instead, these influences portrayed them as a colonizing element (labor force) with unknown and unknowable political loyalties.

One of the major findings of Chang’s research was the depth that the Soviet state was able to influence, penetrate, and control the Koreans through not only state propaganda and media, but also their selection and placement of Soviet Korean leaders, informants, and secret police within the populace. From his interviews with relatives of former Korean OGPU/NKVD (the predecessor to the KGB) officers, he learned of Korean NKVD who helped deport their own community. Given these facts, one would think the Koreans should have been considered a loyal Soviet people. But this was not the case, mainly due to how the Russian empire and, later, the Soviet state linked political loyalty with race or ethnic community.

During his six years of fieldwork in Central Asia and Russia, Chang interviewed approximately sixty elderly Koreans who lived in the Russian Far East prior to their deportation in 1937. This oral history along with digital technology allowed him to piece together Soviet Korean life as well as their experiences working with and living beside Siberian natives, Chinese, Russians, and the Central Asian peoples. Chang also discovered that some two thousand Soviet Koreans remained on North Sakhalin island after the Korean deportation was carried out, working on Japanese-Soviet joint ventures extracting coal, gas, petroleum, timber, and other resources. This showed that Soviet socialism was not ideologically pure and was certainly swayed by Japanese capitalism and the monetary benefits of projects that paid the Stalinist regime hard currency for its resources.

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By Honor Bound

State and Society in Early Modern Russia

by Nancy Shields Kollmann

"

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Russians from all ranks of society were bound together by a culture of honor. Here one of the foremost scholars of early modern Russia explores the intricate and highly stylized codes that made up this culture. Nancy Shields Kollmann describes how these codes were manipulated to construct identity and enforce social norms--and also to defend against insults, to pursue vendettas, and to unsettle communities. She offers evidence for a new view of the relationship of state and society in the Russian empire, and her richly comparative approach enhances knowledge of statebuilding in premodern Europe. By presenting Muscovite state and society in the context of medieval and early modern Europe, she exposes similarities that blur long-standing distinctions between Russian and European history.

Through the prism of honor, Kollmann examines the interaction of the Russian state and its people in regulating social relations and defining an individual's rank. She finds vital information in a collection of transcripts of legal suits brought by elites and peasants alike to avenge insult to honor. The cases make clear the conservative role honor played in society as well as the ability of men and women to employ this body of ideas to address their relations with one another and with the state. Kollmann demonstrates that the grand princes—and later the tsars—tolerated a surprising degree of local autonomy throughout their rapidly expanding realm. Her work marks a stark contrast with traditional Russian historiography, which exaggerates the power of the state and downplays the volition of society. "

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Capital, Coercion, and Postcommunist States

by Gerald M. Easter

The postcommunist transitions produced two very different types of states. The "contractual" state is associated with the countries of Eastern Europe, which moved toward democratic regimes, consensual relations with society, and clear boundaries between political power and economic wealth. The "predatory" state is associated with the successors to the USSR, which instead developed authoritarian regimes, coercive relations with society, and poorly defined boundaries between the political and economic realms. In Capital, Coercion, and Postcommunist States, Gerald M. Easter shows how the cumulative result of the many battles between state coercion and societal capital over taxation gave rise to these distinctive transition outcomes.

Easter's fiscal sociology of the postcommunist state highlights the interconnected paths that led from the fiscal crisis of the old regime through the revenue bargains of transitional tax regimes to the eventual reconfiguration of state-society relations. His focused comparison of Poland and Russia exemplifies postcommunism's divergent institutional forms. The Polish case shows how conflicts over taxation influenced the emergence of a rule-of-law contractual state, social-market capitalism, and civil society. The Russian case reveals how revenue imperatives reinforced the emergence of a rule-by-law predatory state, concessions-style capitalism, and dependent society.

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The Captive and the Gift

Cultural Histories of Sovereignty in Russia and the Caucasus

by Bruce Grant

The Caucasus region of Eurasia, wedged in between the Black and Caspian Seas, encompasses the modern territories of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, as well as the troubled republic of Chechnya in southern Russia. A site of invasion, conquest, and resistance since the onset of historical record, it has earned a reputation for fearsome violence and isolated mountain redoubts closed to outsiders. Over extended efforts to control the Caucasus area, Russians have long mythologized stories of their countrymen taken captive by bands of mountain brigands.

In The Captive and the Gift, the anthropologist Bruce Grant explores the long relationship between Russia and the Caucasus and the means by which sovereignty has been exercised in this contested area. Taking his lead from Aleksandr Pushkin's 1822 poem "Prisoner of the Caucasus," Grant explores the extraordinary resonances of the themes of violence, captivity, and empire in the Caucasus through mythology, poetry, short stories, ballet, opera, and film. Grant argues that while the recurring Russian captivity narrative reflected a wide range of political positions, it most often and compellingly suggested a vision of Caucasus peoples as thankless, lawless subjects of empire who were unwilling to acknowledge and accept the gifts of civilization and protection extended by Russian leaders.

Drawing on years of field and archival research, Grant moves beyond myth and mass culture to suggest how real-life Caucasus practices of exchange, by contrast, aimed to control and diminish rather than unleash and increase violence. The result is a historical anthropology of sovereign forms that underscores how enduring popular narratives and close readings of ritual practices can shed light on the management of pluralism in long-fraught world areas.

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Captives of Revolution

The Socialist Revolutionaries and the Bolshevik Dictatorship, 1918–1923

Scott B. Smith

The Socialist Revolutionaries (SRs) were the largest political party in Russia in the crucial revolutionary year of 1917. Heirs to the legacy of the People’s Will movement, the SRs were unabashed proponents of peasant rebellion and revolutionary terror, emphasizing the socialist transformation of the countryside and a democratic system of government. They offered a compelling, but still socialist, alternative to the Bolsheviks, yet by the early 1920s their party was shattered and its members were branded as enemies of the revolution. In 1922, SR leaders became the first fellow socialists to be condemned by the Bolsheviks as “counterrevolutionaries” in the prototypical Soviet show trial. In Captives of the Revolution, Scott B. Smith presents both a convincing account of the defeat of the SRs and a deeper analysis of the significance of the political dynamics of the civil war for Soviet history. Once the SRs decided to fight the Bolsheviks in 1918, they faced a series of nearly impossible political dilemmas. At the same time, the Bolsheviks undermined the SRs by appropriating the rhetoric of class struggle and painting a simplistic picture of Reds versus Whites in the civil war, a rhetorical dominance that they converted into victory over the SRs and any alternative to Bolshevik dictatorship. The SRs became a bona fide threat to national security and enemies of the people—a characterization that proved so successful that it became an archetype to be used repeatedly by the Soviet leadership against any political opponents, even those from within the Bolshevik party itself. Smith reveals a more complex and nuanced picture of the postrevolutionary struggle for power in Russia than we have ever seen before and demonstrates that the civil war—and in particular the struggle with the SRs—was the key formative experience of the Bolshevik party and the Soviet state.

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Cars for Comrades

The Life of the Soviet Automobile

by Lewis H. Siegelbaum

The automobile and Soviet communism made an odd couple. The quintessential symbol of American economic might and consumerism never achieved iconic status as an engine of Communist progress, in part because it posed an awkward challenge to some basic assumptions of Soviet ideology and practice. In this rich and often witty book, Lewis H. Siegelbaum recounts the life of the Soviet automobile and in the process gives us a fresh perspective on the history and fate of the USSR itself.

Based on sources ranging from official state archives to cartoons, car-enthusiast magazines, and popular films, Cars for Comrades takes us from the construction of the huge "Soviet Detroits," emblems of the utopian phase of Soviet planning, to present-day Togliatti, where the fate of Russia's last auto plant hangs in the balance. The large role played by American businessmen and engineers in the checkered history of Soviet automobile manufacture is one of the book's surprises, and the author points up the ironic parallels between the Soviet story and the decline of the American Detroit. In the interwar years, automobile clubs, car magazines, and the popularity of rally races were signs of a nascent Soviet car culture, its growth slowed by the policies of the Stalinist state and by Russia's intractable "roadlessness." In the postwar years cars appeared with greater frequency in songs, movies, novels, and in propaganda that promised to do better than car-crazy America.

Ultimately, Siegelbaum shows, the automobile epitomized and exacerbated the contradictions between what Soviet communism encouraged and what it provided. To need a car was a mark of support for industrial goals; to want a car for its own sake was something else entirely. Because Soviet cars were both hard to get and chronically unreliable, and such items as gasoline and spare parts so scarce, owning and maintaining them enmeshed citizens in networks of private, semi-illegal, and ideologically heterodox practices that the state was helpless to combat. Deeply researched and engagingly told, this masterful and entertaining biography of the Soviet automobile provides a new perspective on one of the twentieth century's most iconic-and important-technologies and a novel approach to understanding the history of the Soviet Union itself.

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Castle and cathedral

Longing for the Sacred in a Skeptical Age

Bruce R. Berglund

This book takes a new approach to interwar Prague by addressing religion as an integral part of the city’s cultural history. Berglund views Prague’s cultural history in the broader context of religious change and secularization in 20th-century Europe. Based on detailed knowledge of sources, the monograph explores the interdisciplinary linkages between politics, architecture and theology in the building of symbolism and a “new mythology” of the first Czechoslovak republic (1918-1938). Berglund´s text provides an important service for understanding both Czech history as well as current Czech political debate. The author’s method can be characterized as culture history, able to connect several disciplines, emphasizing common topic (religion, politics, symbolics). Modern Czech elites, superficially characterized as “ateistic”, appears in a new light to be deeply religious, a transition from more traditional, (mostly) Catholic religiosity, to a concept of a new, modern, ethical religion. The study incorporates biographical research, focusing on three principal characters: Tomás Garrigue Masaryk, Czechoslovakia’s first president; his daughter Alice Garrigue Masaryková, founding director of the Czechoslovak Red Cross; and Joze Plecnik, the Slovenian architect who directed the renovations of Prague Castle.

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Center Stage

Operatic Culture and Nation Building in Nineteenth-Century Central Europe

Philipp Ther, translated by Charlotte Hughes-Kreutzmüller

This volume, a revised and extended version of two well-reviewed books published in German and Czech, explores the social and political background to this “opera mania” in nineteenth century Central Europe. After tracing the major trends in the opera history of the period, including the emergence of national genres of opera and its various social functions and cultural meanings, the author contrasts the histories of the major houses in Dresden (a court theater), Lemberg (a theater built and sponsored by aristocrats), and Prague (a civic institution). Beyond the operatic institutions and their key stage productions, composers such as Carl Maria von Weber, Richard Wagner, Bedřich Smetana, Stanisław Moniuszko, Antonín Dvořák, and Richard Strauss are put in their social and political contexts. The concluding chapter, bringing together the different leitmotifs of social and cultural history explored in the rest of the book, explains the specificities of opera life in Central Europe within a wider European and global framework.

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A Century of Ambivalence

The Jews of Russia and the Soviet Union, 1881 to the Present

Zvi Gitelman

Now back in print in a new edition!
A Century of Ambivalence
The Jews of Russia and the Soviet Union, 1881 to the Present
Second, Expanded Edition
Zvi Gitelman

A richly illustrated survey of the Jewish historical experience in the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and the post-Soviet era.

"Anyone with even a passing interest in the history of Russian Jewry will want to own this splendid... book." —Janet Hadda, Los Angeles Times

"... a badly needed historical perspective on Soviet Jewry.... [Gitelman] is evenhanded in his treatment of various periods and themes, as well as in his overall evaluation of the Soviet Jewish experience.... A Century of Ambivalence is illuminated by an extraordinary collection of photographs that vividly reflect the hopes, triumphs and agonies of Russian Jewish life." —David E. Fishman, Hadassah Magazine

"Wonderful pictures of famous personalities, unknown villagers, small hamlets, markets and communal structures combine with the text to create an uplifting [book] for a broad and general audience." —Alexander Orbach, Slavic Review

"Gitelman’s text provides an important commentary and careful historic explanation.... His portrayal of the promise and disillusionment, hope and despair, intellectual restlessness succeeded by swift repression enlarges the reader’s understanding of the dynamic forces behind some of the most important movements in contemporary Jewish life." —Jane S. Gerber, Bergen Jewish News

"... a lucid and reasonably objective popular history that expertly threads its way through the dizzying reversals of the Russian Jewish experience." —Village Voice

A century ago the Russian Empire contained the largest Jewish community in the world, numbering about five million people. Today, the Jewish population of the former Soviet Union has dwindled to half a million, but remains probably the world’s third largest Jewish community. In the intervening century the Jews of that area have been at the center of some of the most dramatic events of modern history—two world wars, revolutions, pogroms, political liberation, repression, and the collapse of the USSR. They have gone through tumultuous upward and downward economic and social mobility and experienced great enthusiasms and profound disappointments. In startling photographs from the archives of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and with a lively and lucid narrative, A Century of Ambivalence traces the historical experience of Jews in Russia from a period of creativity and repression in the second half of the 19th century through the paradoxes posed by the post-Soviet era. This redesigned edition, which includes more than 200 photographs and two substantial new chapters on the fate of Jews and Judaism in the former Soviet Union, is ideal for general readers and classroom use.

Zvi Gitelman is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. He is author of Jewish Nationality and Soviet Politics: The Jewish Sections of the CPSU, 1917–1930 and editor of Bitter Legacy: Confronting the Holocaust in the USSR (Indiana University Press).

Published in association with YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

Contents
Introduction
Creativity versus Repression: The Jews in Russia, 1881–1917
Revolution and the Ambiguities of Liberation
Reaching for Utopia: Building Socialism and a New Jewish Culture
The Holocaust
The Black Years and the Gray, 1948–1967
Soviet Jews, 1967–1987: To Reform, Conform, or Leave?
The "Other" Jews of the Former USSR: Georgian, Central Asian, and Mountain Jews
The Post-Soviet Era: Winding Down or Starting Up Again?
The Paradoxes of Post-Soviet Jewry

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