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The Case of Mikhail Artsybashev's Sanin
The Decadent Imagination in Russia's Fin de Siecle
The first generation of Russian modernists experienced a profound sense of anxiety resulting from the belief that they were living in an age of decline. What made them unique was their utopian prescription for overcoming the inevitability of decline and death both by metaphysical and physical means. They intertwined their mystical erotic discourse with European degeneration theory and its obsession with the destabilization of gender. In Erotic Utopia, Olga Matich suggests that same-sex desire underlay their most radical utopian proposal of abolishing the traditional procreative family in favor of erotically induced abstinence.
This anthology contains 25 selected life stories collected from Estonians who lived through the tribulations of the 20 century, and describe the travails of ordinary people under numerous regimes. The autobiographical accounts provide authentic perspectives on events of this period, where time is placed in the context of life-spans, and subjects grounded in personal experience. Most of the life stories reveal sufferings under foreign (Russian) oppression.
The Power of Norms and Incentives
This detailed account of ethnic minority politics explains when and how European institutions successfully used norms and incentives to shape domestic policy toward ethnic minorities and why those measures sometimes failed.
Going beyond traditional analyses, Kelley examines the pivotal engagement by the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the Council for Europe in the creation of such policies.
Following language, education, and citizenship issues during the 1990s in Latvia, Estonia, Slovakia, and Romania, she shows how the combination of membership conditionality and norm-based diplomacy was surprisingly effective at overcoming even significant domestic opposition. However, she also finds that diplomacy alone, without the offer of membership, was ineffective unless domestic opposition to the proposed policies was quite limited.
As one of the first systematic analyses of political rather than economic conditionality, the book illustrates under what conditions and through what mechanisms institutions influenced domestic policy in the decade, preparing the way for the historic enlargement of the European Union.
This thoughtful and thorough discussion, based on case studies, quantitative analysis, and interviews with nearly one hundred policymakers and experts, tells an important story about how European organizations helped facilitate peaceful solutions to ethnic tensions--in sharp contrast to the ethnic bloodshed that occurred in the former Yugoslavia during this time. This book's simultaneous assessment of soft diplomacy and stricter conditionality advances a long overdue dialogue between proponents rational choice models and social constructivists. As political requirements increasingly become part of conditionality, it also provides keen policy insights for the strategic choices made by actors in international institutions.
Young States, Old Societies, Open Futures
In Eurasia's New Frontiers, Thomas W. Simons, Jr., a distinguished veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service with extensive experience in the Communist and post-Communist worlds, assays the political, economic, and social developments in the fifteen successor states to the Soviet Union that comprise Eurasia-from Estonia to Azerbaijan and from Tajikistan to Ukraine, centered on Russia. He makes a compelling case that the United States can play a large role in shaping the future of this vast and strategic region, and at less cost than during Soviet times. This can only be accomplished, however, if U.S. policy toward Eurasia shifts from alternating hand-wringing and indifference to steady and flexible engagement that focuses on its fledgling individual nation-states.
Throughout Eurasia, Simons shows, civil society is anemic, market reforms have been discredited, and political development has been stunted. Authoritarian and semiauthoritarian regimes are firmly in place from Belarus to Central Asia; in Ukraine, Moldova, and even Russia, some democratic forms have taken hold; but everywhere, politics features struggle among elites over access to economic resources, albeit often defined in terms of "sovereignty." Almost everywhere, states are consolidating: as resurgent Russia presses on its neighbors, they can now press back, alone or with help from the outside world. Simons believes that the post-Soviet space needs stable development of state institutions within which new civil societies can take root and grow. Potentially strong state institutions are, in his view, Soviet Communism's "secret gift" to Eurasia, and they may well enable the region to become in time an arc of promise, an anchor of relative stability in a troubled part of the world.
For that to happen, Simons argues, the nationalism that gives content to these new state structures must be the right kind: civic and inclusionary rather than ethno-religious and exclusionary. Because Russia is so diverse and its nationalism so state-oriented, Simons also sees it as more likely to develop that kind of civic nationalism than some of its new neighbors. The United States has a limited but real role to play in helping or hindering its emergence everywhere in Eurasia. If it wishes to help, though, the U.S. must realize that in this part of the world the path to democracy leads through state development. The U.S. will continue to advocate for its core values, but it can best act as a City on the Hill for Eurasia if its policy centers on the emerging new states of today, for they must be the incubators of tomorrow's civil societies.
In these original essays on long-term patterns of everyday life in prerevolutionary, Soviet, and contemporary Russia, distinguished scholars survey the cultural practices, power relations, and behaviors that characterized daily existence for Russians through the post-Soviet present. Microanalyses and transnational perspectives shed new light on the formation and elaboration of gender, ethnicity, class, nationalism, and subjectivity. Changes in consumption and communication patterns, the restructuring of familial and social relations, systems of cultural meanings, and evolving practices in the home, at the workplace, and at sites of leisure are among the topics explored.
Quotidian Studies in Honor of Daniel Kaiser
In a career spanning nearly four decades Daniel Kaiser has produced a wealth of studies illuminating otherwise little understood aspects of society and culture in medieval and early modern Russia. He pioneered the use of anthropology in the study of Russian law, and he has stood at the forefront of applying statistical methods to the study of daily life in Russia, while maintaining a sensitivity to the cultural contexts within which the records were generated. His scholarship has changed the way we understand popular notions of time, the veneration of icons, naming patterns, burial practices, and a host of other topics that collectively unveil the intimate world of family and community among elites and peasants alike. The 23 scholars who have contributed to this volume have come together in tribute to Dan Kaiser and his multiple contributions to Russian history. In keeping with his areas of interests the editors and authors have constructed the volume around the theme of everyday life in Russian history.
Skiing in Russia and the Rise of Soviet Biathlon
Nowhere in the world was the sport of biathlon, a combination of cross-country skiing and rifle marksmanship, taken more seriously than in the Soviet Union, and no other nation garnered greater success at international venues. From the introduction of modern biathlon in 1958 to the USSR’s demise in 1991, athletes representing the Soviet Union won almost half of all possible medals awarded in world championship and Olympic competition. The inherent characteristics of biathlon, which requires stamina and precision in a quasi-military setting, dovetailed with important concepts promoted by the Soviet government. The sport also supplied an opportune platform for promoting the State’s socialist viewpoint and military might. Biathlon, in other words, was about more than simply winning Olympic medals. Currently the most popular winter spectator sport in Europe, biathlon looms large in the history of global athletics, and in the event’s early narrative the Soviet Union was its most important player. William D. Frank, a former nationally ranked competitor and a scholar of Russian history, is in a unique position to tell this story. His highly readable book is the first in-depth look at how the Soviet government interpreted the sport of skiing as a cultural, ideological, and political tool throughout the course of seven decades. For scholars and general readers alike, Everyone to Skis! represents a fascinating perspective on the Soviet Union through the history of a sport closely tied to the homeland. In the words of Lenin: “Do you ski? Do it without fail! Learn how and set off for the mountains—you must. In the mountains winter is wonderful! It’s sheer delight, and it smells like Russia.”