This paper is devoted to the transformation of viewers’ perception in the USSR during the 1980s and 1990s. Through collecting and analyzing letters by spectators discovered in the archives and published in the revue Sovetskiy Ekran, this research is aimed to consider the norms and categories of film interpretation, as well as to understand of changes in historical reception during these times. This paper pays close attention to the complicated processes of popular cinema legitimation in the Soviet Union during the transformation of the whole Soviet film industry. Thus, the shift to the market system in the Soviet film industry revealed that filmmakers were not ready to work under the circumstances of market-driven film economy, oriented to the audience. Due to the censorship annulment and the leveling of erotic taboo in Soviet cinema, the naked body became almost the main way of audience attraction. However, the aesthetic tradition of nudity had not yet developed in Soviet cinema, as well as a spectator had not to experience in watching, evaluating and discussing erotic episodes in the cinema. As a result, a viewer used ‘Soviet’ optics of interpretation, relying on the educational discourse of Art and mimetic function of cinema.
This article is an analysis of metadata from 955 closed trials of Soviet people accused of being collaborators during World War II. The trials reveal Soviet officials' understandings of who was capable of collaboration and what kinds of acts were collaboration. At the same time, the aggregate data from trials demonstrates that the accusations were grounded in the realities of the war and were not falsifications like the investigations of the Great Terror in the 1930s.
ince 2015, our journal’s publisher, Taylor & Francis, has sponsored the Canadian Association of Slavists’ Taylor & Francis Book Prize. It is awarded annually for the best academic book in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies published in the previous calendar year by a Canadian author (citizen or permanent resident). The winner of the 2018 prize, to be awarded at the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Slavists at the University of British Columbia in June, is Lynne Viola of the University of Toronto for her book, Stalinist Perpetrators on Trial: Scenes from the Great Terror in Soviet Ukraine (Oxford University Press, 2017). To mark Professor Viola’s achievement and to further the discussion of her important work, Canadian Slavonic Papers/Revue canadienne des slavistes invited three international scholars who work in related fields of Soviet history to comment on the book. Following interventions from Alan Barenberg, Wendy Z. Goldman, and Tanja Penter, Professor Viola offers a response.
This article explores the role played by the Eternitate memorial complex, the central site for World War II commemoration in Chişinău, as a tool and site of history politics in the Republic of Moldova. It analyzes different facets of the history of the memorial complex, focusing in particular on the years after its renovation in 2006. The article traces the evolution of the site from a Soviet military glory complex to a more multi-layered and diverse commemorative space, which even includes monuments not related to World War II. It demonstrates how commemorations at the complex interact with the complexities of history politics in independent Moldova, as well as with the culturally diverse history of Chişinău and the site itself.
These excerpts from critical reviews covering French dance tours in Vienna, Salzburg, and Innsbruck reflect the scale and variety of French cultural engagement and its growing public visibility in Austria. Out of the four Allied powers, it was France, and not the Soviet Union with its “ballet capital,” that made most use of dance and ballet for nation-brandingpurposes, both in sabots and on pointe. France's dance diplomacy exported all genres of dance to Austria in order to portray the politically and militarily weakened nation as a rayonnant cultural leader of Europe, whose diversity, supremacy, and grandeur were not undone by 1871 and 1940.
The article considers the practices of implementing the labor laws, primarily the law on deserters, during the years from 1941 to 1945. The following questions are at the center of attention: How were the bulk of sentences under the labor decrees carried out? How, due to delays in the implementation of these decrees, did the number of individuals actually serving their sentences change over time? How can the large-scale nonimplementation of the decrees or correctives applied to them be interpreted? In addition to published documents, this article studies these questions via documents from the USSR procuracy, which exercised oversight over the implementation of extraordinary labor law/
Liberalism in Russia is one of the most complex, multifaced and, indeed, controversial phenomena in the history of political thought. Values and practices traditionally associated with Western liberalism—such as individual freedom, property rights, or the rule of law—have often emerged ambiguously in the Russian historical experience through different dimensions and combinations. Economic and political liberalism have often appeared disjointed, and liberal projects have been shaped by local circumstances, evolved in response to secular challenges and developed within often rapidly-changing institutional and international settings. This third volume of the Reset DOC “Russia Workshop” collects a selection of the Dimensions and Challenges of Russian Liberalism conference proceedings, providing a broad set of insights into the Russian liberal experience through a dialogue between past and present, and intellectual and empirical contextualization, involving historians, jurists, political scientists and theorists. The first part focuses on the Imperial period, analyzing the political philosophy and peculiarities of pre-revolutionary Russian liberalism, its relations with the rule of law (Pravovoe Gosudarstvo), and its institutionalization within the Constitutional Democratic Party (Kadets). The second part focuses on Soviet times, when liberal undercurrents emerged under the surface of the official Marxist-Leninist ideology. After Stalin’s death, the “thaw intelligentsia” of Soviet dissidents and human rights defenders represented a new liberal dimension in late Soviet history, while the reforms of Gorbachev’s “New Thinking” became a substitute for liberalism in the final decade of the USSR. The third part focuses on the “time of troubles” under the Yeltsin presidency, and assesses the impact of liberal values and ethics, the bureaucratic difficulties in adapting to change, and the paradoxes of liberal reforms during the transition to post-Soviet Russia. Despite Russian liberals having begun to draw lessons from previous failures, their project was severely challenged by the rise of Vladimir Putin. Hence, the fourth part focuses on the 2000s, when the liberal alternative in Russian politics confronted the ascendance of Putin, surviving in parts of Russian culture and in the mindset of technocrats and “system liberals”. Today, however, the Russian liberal project faces the limits of reform cycles of public administration, suffers from a lack of federalist attitude in politics and is externally challenged from an illiberal world order. All this asks us to consider: what is the likelihood of a “reboot” of Russian liberalism?
This article focuses on an analysis of the culture of memory that has developed in contemporary Russia. At the center of the research are the biographies of former collaborators who took part in Nazi crimes and then, after the liberation of Soviet- occupied territories, were mobilized into the Red Army and sub- sequently performed exploits honored by awards. Information that these men were arrested by the NKVD after the war can be found in their personal files, which are not accessible to the broad public. Instead, the fact of their awards and a brief description of their exploits can be found on the site ‘Podvig Naroda’ [Exploits of the People], which has open access. The state memory policy in contemporary Russia, as in the Soviet era, is aimed at emphasiz- ing the heroism of Red Army soldiers; their criminal activities remain in the shadow of the medals they received.
This chapter is based on an examination of the writings of the leading fellow-travelers of the 1930s and archival study of their Soviet visits. At its center is the web of concrete ties binding them to Soviet intel- lectual mediators and cultural institutions. It will make several inter- locking arguments that address longstanding debates about Western intellectuals and communism.
Introduction: The many dimensions of Russian liberalism 1. Reassessing liberalism in a conservative framework 2. The historical dimensions of Russian liberalism 3. Liberalism under pressure in post-Soviet Russia
This chapter explores experience of the Jewish soldiers of the Russian Army during First World War.
Seth Bernstein has produced a valuable institutional history of the Soviet youth organization, the Komsomol. By tracing the Komsomol from its origin after the October Revolution, through the years of high Stalinism in the 1930s and World War II, and into the immediate post-war period, Bernstein argues that the group went from being an iconoclastic (and, from the state’s point of view, unwieldy) collection of politically active youth, to a structured organization designed for ‘disciplining youth for socialism.’ (p. 222) Moreover, in drawing upon an impressive range of archival sources, Bernstein is able to create a full picture of the Komsomol, including both the debates over its political role at the top of its hierarchy, and the repercussions of those policies on ordinary members and would-be members. This presentation is particularly useful for scholars interested in gender history, as Bernstein regularly addresses the ways that men and women navigated the changing dynamics of Komsomol politics.
This article uses the example of Arkhangel’sk province in North Russia to examine how the two main parties in the Russian Civil War—the Bolsheviks and the White armies—used elements of nationalism and xenophobia to delegitimise their enemies. It reveals the evolution of patriotic rhetoric, first used by the Whites to discredit the Bolsheviks as German agents, and then by the Reds to delegitimise the Whites as agents of the Entente. In the 1920s anti-Allied sentiments became the main trope in the memory of the civil war both among émigrés and in the Soviet North.
Fedor Danilovich Gnezdilovo was born in 1898 to a poor peasant family in Voronezh province. Long before he became a famous partisan, he joined the counterinsurgency troops fighting the insurrections in Turkestan that began in 1916. During the Civil War he joined the Red Army to fight the Whites in the South, then returned to Central Asia to “liquidate bands” of rebels in the early 1920s. Having finished only a one-class peasant school, he was too illiterate to take advantage of an invitation to study at a party school, he recalled, but after demobilization at the end of 1922 he began work as an executioner for Soviet courts in Central Asia. “Eleven years I shot enemies of the people who were sentenced by our Soviet court,” he proudly told the Academy of Sciences Historical Commission, the socalled Mints Commission, in May 1942.1 By 1929 he had “gone psycho” (zapsikhoval), as he readily admitted in his interview, but was cured after six months in a psychiatric institute. He moved to Moscow and found work in the department of prisons of the NKVD.
In the present article, I attempt to bring to light the particularities of Stalinist wartime criminal justice via the example of the implementation of the most “popular” article of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic [RSFSR] Criminal Code on “counterrevolutionary crimes,” Article 58-10, regarding propaganda or agitation containing a call to overthrow, undermine, or weaken Soviet power or to commit specific counterrevolutionary crimes. In my view, counterrevolutionary crime cases most clearly demonstrate both the continuity of Stalinist criminal justice from the period of the 1930s and its evolution under the influence of the realities of war. Above all, the penal policies and judicial practices of the beginning of the war are in many regards reminiscent of the Great Terror, even though in absolute numbers the scale of repression was significantly smaller.
This essay reviews the characteristic features of the Soviet ‘shadow economy’ by examining the activities of a major construction enterprise headed by N. M. Pavlenko from 1948 to 1952. This was the largest currently known private illegal enterprise of the Stalinist period. Pavlenko’s organisation built dozens of roads and railways under contract to state entities. Based on newly accessible archival documents, the methods of Pavlenko’s organisational activity and the reasons for its lengthy existence are considered. The author argues that, regardless of its extraordinary scale, Pavlenko’s enterprise was in fact typical of the Stalinist ‘shadow economy’, and that future archival research would probably reveal that this shadow economy was far more significant than has been understood to date.
This paper is devoted to the issue of so–called ‘trophy films’ in the context of Soviet foreign policy. The aim of this research is to reveal how the cultural competition between the USSR and the USA during the early Cold War caused the emergence of the famous credit title «This film was captured as a trophy after the Soviet Army defeated Nazi troops near Berlin in 1945», and, as a consequence, resulted in the establishing of ‘Trophy Film’ concept in public discourse.
The supply crisis in the USSR and Russia in the late 1980s and early 1990s was the result of the Soviet planned economy’s development as a whole and the failure of M.S. Gorbachev's economic reforms in particular. For several years before the liberalization of prices in January 1992, the Soviet population had various options for grappling with supply deficits. People could turn to the rationing system and count on repression of speculators. At the same time, there were limited economic reforms toward a market economy. The failure of both government controls and reform had a huge impact on popular attitudes about the economy. The discrediting of the planned economy among Soviet people was an important factor in the transition to a market system. This article, based on published and archival materials, asks several questions about how these attitudes formed. How did the supply crisis emerge and in what areas? How did authorities and the population react to supply deficits? How did supply problems contribute to the transition of Russia to a market economy? And how did Russian people respond to the liberalization of prices in early 1992?
This article is devoted to the discursive construction of radiation. Here nuclear archeology coexists with nuclear ethnography, and empirical research on nuclear industry veterans’ speech is supplemented by epistemological work to expand the discursive analytics. I consider scientists and engineers, the pioneers of Soviet atomic technoscience, as carriers of pre-Chernobyl discourses about the “peaceful atom.” The article focuses on how these people, for whom radiation had not been a subject of public speech for decades, today include it in retrospective narratives about their life and work addressed to researchers, journalists, residents of the atomic city, and readers of nuclear memoirs. In search of procedures for inclusion and conditions of possibility for articulation of radiation, I turn to the analysis of discursive figures, formations, and individual speech situations— that is, I combine in a single study different scales of discursive analytics. In the article, three discursive formations of the “peaceful atom”—grouped around nuclear optimism, radiation damage, and safety—are briefly characterized in an archaeological mode. I suggest that the conditions of possibility for absence of radiation in the nuclear industry veterans’ speech are determined by radiation’s position in relation to larger atomic discourses. At the same time, the inclusion of radiation in discourse always occurs in a local situation of interaction with its own pragmatic resources for meaning production. The article describes how the stories, circumstances, positions, and affects that belong to competing discursive formations are incorporated into the discourse of nuclear veterans through particular discursive acts and events—comments, euphemisms, remarks, indirect speech, hints, erosion of syntax, stories about the past, and anecdotes. Sometimes these inclusions are incompatible with the views, values, and beliefs of veterans themselves; sometimes they threaten the existence of their lifeworlds. One of the main conditions for their incorporation into discourse is the small dosage. I describe the procedures for minimizing and weakening alien elements that support an extended order of discursive production and the interaction of competing discourses as “limiting inclusion” or “discursive dosing.” The article suggests complementing the political analytics of discourse, focused on exclusion procedures, with discourse ecology that emphasizes the coexistence of different (including conflicting) discursive worlds, their hybridization, contact, and inclusion techniques.