Introducing previously neglected primary sources and suggesting an alternative approach to researching history of art during the Cold War, in this article, I rethink Soviet Thaw- and post-Thaw fate of cubism. In doing so, I acknowledge the movement's major constituting role within Soviet art discourse. In a first step, I analyze an unknown strategy of apology of cubism designed by seminal Kulturträgers Igor Golomstock and Andrei Sinyavsky. This is to challenge dominant scholarly accounts paying overly attention to Soviet negative criticism of cubism while ignoring the actual complexity of debates within the allegedly monolithic totalitarian discourse. Analyzing results of the apology, I argue that the attempt to rehabilitate cubism caused an intensification of negative criticism characteristic of novel anti-modernist patterns such as by Mikhail Lifshitz, a prominent Soviet philosopher. This re-actualization of debates on cubism had both domestic and transnational premises. Ultimately, situating Soviet discussions of cubism within relevant European debates on modernist art, I nuance interpretations of Soviet art discourse as that of an isolationist.
This article examines the phenomenon of Soviet industrial and technical creativity (promyshlennoe i tekhnicheskoe tvorchestvo) from the late 1950s to the 1980s. It particularly focuses on invention and rationalization movement at industrial enterprises via the lens of Soviet industrial policy. It emphasizes creativity as a labor resource and incentive developed into the oversized system and shows its structural elements and encouragements. The paper argues that beginning in the 1950s onwards, the Soviet state placed labor creativity into the center of industrial development and own vision of progress seeing it as a resource for technological competitiveness from Khrushchev`s aim to reach communism to perestroika. The Soviet leadership, however, overemphasized creativity as workers` ability to come up with new ideas and find rapid technical solutions to industrial problems in addition to their main duties to show the creative nature of socialist labor. As a result, it developed a formalized branched system of numerous institutions and nominal awards which made creativity not only an industrial necessity but to a large extent a performative product.This article examines the phenomenon of Soviet industrial and technical creativity (promyshlennoe i tekhnicheskoe tvorchestvo) from the late 1950s to the 1980s. It particularly focuses on invention and rationalization movement at industrial enterprises via the lens of Soviet industrial policy. It emphasizes creativity as a labor resource and incentive developed into the oversized system and shows its structural elements and encouragements. The paper argues that beginning in the 1950s onwards, the Soviet state placed labor creativity into the center of industrial development and own vision of progress seeing it as a resource for technological competitiveness from Khrushchev`s aim to reach communism to perestroika. The Soviet leadership, however, overemphasized creativity as workers` ability to come up with new ideas and find rapid technical solutions to industrial problems in addition to their main duties to show the creative nature of socialist labor. As a result, it developed a formalized branched system of numerous institutions and nominal awards which made creativity not only an industrial necessity but to a large extent a performative product.
The arctile uncovers Soviet biopolitics of respiratory safety.
This article examines the history of socialist collaboration in Comecon through the lens of a large industrial project in Soviet Siberia. It examines the construction of the Ust`-Ilimsk forest industrial complex which was conceived as a collective effort of six socialist European countries. On the one hand, the project formed part of the Soviet Union’s strategy of technological colonization of Soviet Eastern lands, and on the other, it aimed to enhance socialist collaboration and integration efforts through the exchange of material goods and expertise, as prescribed by the project agreements. The paper focuses on the interplay between ideological implications, national interests and material shortages when completing the project, showing the contradictory nature of socialist collaborative construction. It argues that the Soviet central government sought material resources for the construction from ‘brother’ socialist countries with an ideological emphasis on how important it was for further cooperation in the Eastern bloc. In fact, the project exposed difficulties, ranging from material shortages typical of state socialism and the predominance of national economic interests, with the result that this socialist project was compelled to also make use of Western equipment and expertise, transforming Ust`-Ilimsk from a socialist to a far more international construction site.
The paper discusses prefiously unknown story of the first documented international voyage of the Russian whaling vessel throught the perspective of the early experience of interaction between the Russian seafarers and the foreign judicial system.
is chapter examines the diering opinions between industrial and scientic institutions over the use of the waters of Lake Baikal in the context of Soviet development policies in Siberia, beginning in the 1950s. It argues that institutions and people experienced Baikal as a place of contradiction, clearly illustrating that Soviet industry posed the risk of harm to the natural environment. In dierent professional layers of Soviet society, Baikal became an arena of conict over water (and nature more broadly) and the lake’s own, natural ability to purify chemical waste discharged into the waters. Employing new archival sources, such as institutional and individual correspondence and reports, this chapter discusses the role of Baikal in the interplay between industry and environment at the institutional level and contributes to the scholarship on Soviet postwar environmental history.
In the last ten years, history of technology has transformed from a national, single-authored endeavour to an increasingly transnational or even global undertaking that follows the cross boundary flows of matter, scientific and technological knowledge as well as experts and organisations. Transnational history of technology such as in the Making Europe book series has highlighted the asymmetrical relations of power and mobility in the state-sanctioned and unofficial flows of technology and expertise, without sacrificing the materiality of the technologies. Our own international project on global history of nuclear energy, in which the seven of us have been working together since 2018, is part of this movement. The following is an outcome of the many methodological discussions in our heterogenous team on how history of technology can and should be written.
Woolly mammoth tusk hunting has become a black-market industry in the Siberian region of Yakutia, where thawing permafrost due to climate change is revealing the bodies of thousands of mammoths. They are often in a state of incredible preservation, and their accompanying tusks can be sold to China where they are carved into ornaments as a marker of status. Alongside tusk hunting, another potential industry has emerged: deextinction. Many of the mammoths found on the tundra have potentially viable DNA that might be used to resurrect a mammoth through genetic technology. Mammoth de-extinction is a cryopolitical process – a focus on the preservation and production of life at a genetic level through cold storage. 'Cryobanks' have emerged as a way to safeguard endangered and extinct species' genetic material, and forms part of a turn towards preempting conservation crises during what some scholars are calling the 'sixth great extinction.' The mammoth's body is broken down into pieces – tusks form luxury commodity chains, whilst flesh and blood is parceled into frozen genes and cells. The mammoth in the freezer is indicative of a reorganization of cold life in a warming world, with the specific cryopolitics found in the cryobank an attempt at extending human control over planetary processes that are now seemingly out of control. Drawing on fieldwork undertaken at the Mammoth Museum in Yakutsk, Siberia, and at the Natural History Museum's cryobank in London, I follow the mammoth from permafrost, to freezer, to back outside, and consider how her de-extinction is a response to a particular sort of future crisis – that of our own extinction.
The article examines the process of maritimization of the Russian state through the formation and functioning of fleets of the rich monasteries in the Early Modern Russian North: Solovetsky, Anthonievo-Siysky, Krestny Onezhsky and others. The athors analyze qualitative and quantitative characteristics of the fleets of the northern monasteries (types of vessels used in the economy of the monasteries; the number of ships belonging to the monasteries, and the dynamics of its change). They stress the importance of sea vessels in the life of northern monasteries: the intensity of their use, directions of mobility, the role of specific types of vessels in the economy of monasteries and their services .
This book offers new perspectives on the environmental history of the lands that have come under Russian and Soviet rule by paying attention to ‘place’ and ‘nature’ in the intersection between humans and the environments that surround them
This is the introduction to the book that offers new perspectives on the environmental history of the lands that have come under Russian and Soviet rule by paying attention to ‘place’ and ‘nature’ in the intersection between humans and the environments that surround them. Through a series of carefully selected, linked case studies, the book highlights the importance of local environments and the specificities of individual places in understanding the human-environment nexus. This focus is accentuated by the fact that the authors have travelled extensively in the places they write about. They have first-hand experience of the specificities of local natural systems, and have gained a sense of how these places look, sound, taste, feel and smell. They have met, talked to, interviewed and in other ways engaged with members of the local populations, including the specialists in a variety of disciplines who study these places and ecosystems and the people who manage and administer them. In this way, our collective research also makes an important methodological intervention to the research and practice of environmental and perhaps also other elds of history: that to write robust history, historians need to embed themselves in the places and environments they study. In this way, our work underscores that ‘place’ and ‘nature’ are both topics of study and theoretical models and methodological approaches for scholarship.
The paper presents comparative discussion of the Russian and French historical experience of maritimization in the social, economic, and cultural spheres, and introduces basic approaches to this phenomenon. The paper highlights the importance of social imaginaries for the construction and development of maritimity - the combination of cultural, social and economic specificities, that support the representation and perception of a community as maritime.
Review of The Power of the Periphery: How Norway Became an Environmental Pioneer for the World by Peder Anker
This article explores the specifics of commercial shipping in the Russian Empire’s ports. Actors involved in commercial activities in ports are considered in the perspective of maritime experience. Custom officers, shipmasters and merchants all participated to the commercial activities and coastal experiences of the ports of the Russian Empire. The article traces the impact of spatial specifics on commercial and maritime practices in different ports of the Russian Empire, such as Saint-Petersburg, Riga, Vyborg and Narva. Because of spatial and legal aspects, imperial control of, as well as knowledge about, these ports differed significantly from one to another.
A review of the book 'Soviet Signoras' by Martina Cvajner
Pedagogy of Images.
This article examines Comecon’s scientific-technological cooperation via the lens of the so-called ‘direct contacts’ of Soviet industrial and research institutions and specialists. It emphasizes two particular questions: the place of institutional and technological inequality in the attempt to integrate socialist Europe; and the motivations of Soviet research and industrial institutions. The paper studies from a local perspective the way in which regional integration was to provide modern technologies to help both the bloc and the Soviet technological system beat the West. It demonstrates that technological integration of the bloc was complicated by institutional inequalities on the local level that contradicted the design and bureaucracy of cooperation that had initially been based on the principle of equality. As a result, in many cases, cooperation was not an opportunity for mutually beneficial technological development, but a formalized necessity and a source of individual benefits. It gave Soviet specialists motivation to see better techniques and higher working and living standards, which sometimes became an important incentive for cooperation.
The formation of the travel and tourism industry in the Russian Empire was a prolonged process. Along with the development of a vast transportation network, the spread of rail services and the introduction of new railway tariffs in 1894, the number of travellers in the Russian Empire increased by the beginning of the twentieth century. All those people required reliable information, instructions and advice on how to organise and complete their journeys, which they increasingly found in tourist guidebooks. Guidebook authors and publishers helped them master the fears arising from the uncertainties of travel. Being a highly contested rhetorical resource, authors, compilers and publishers of guidebooks debated, negotiated and constantly changed the Trans-Siberian ‘landscapes of transportation’. By analysing travel guides on Siberia as complex artefacts and focusing on the transportation landscapes as a historical phenomenon, we hope to shed more light on the complex intersections of mobility, transport technologies and environment in the Russian Empire at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century. We argue that in the process of (re)making railway landscapes—which we consider as a material stage on which actions took place—perception of these landscapes was shaped by the natural environment in the process of its transformation, by transportation technologies and infrastructure, by services and conveniences, comfort and safety.