There is a paradox in the aftermath of the global imperial crisis in the region of Eastern Europe and Eurasia. The Habsburg Empire which had been thought about as the katechon of future world of federalism broke into nation-states with regimes of accommodation and repression of national minorities. The Russian Empire which had been thought about as the future centralized nation-state transformed into a federation with layered forms of autonomy and decentralization. The exploration of this paradox begins with the critique of the image of the Russian Empire as a centralized and centralizing state and exploration of inclusive and differentiated governance and ways in which this political formation was reflected in political discourses of reformist and oppositional movements which in one way or another imagined the post-imperial order. The paper then traces the constitutional debates in the revolutionary contexts of 1905 and 1917 and assesses how these debates reflected local and global discourses of imagining the post-imperial order and how they were incorporated into the constitutions adopted on the territory of the former Russian Empire. The global imperial crisis which brought down the Qing, Russian, Ottoman, German and Habsburg empires stimulated imagination of post-imperial order not only in the named contexts, but also in the British, French and other cases. The circulation and synthesis of ideas fostered by the miscellany of the crumbling empires and the diversity within each of them produced a great variety of imaginations. The non-Soviet constitutional projects of 1917–1921 and the Soviet constitutions of 1918 and 1924 incorporated the experience of the Russian Empire and other imperial and post-imperial formations. The Constitution of the Far Eastern Republic, for instance, borrowed the concept of non-territorial autonomy from the Ukrainian Constitution of 1918, while the ineffectiveness of the formal right to territorial autonomy resembled that in the Czechoslovak Constitution of 1920. The multilateral transfers and borrowings, both from the Russian imperial and other contexts, resulted in the departure of the 1924 Constitution of the Soviet Union from the initial Bolshevik plans. Instead of establishing a non-national class-centered formation, it became a mere preamble to a multinational confederation to be developed by its sovereign participants, which included two federations.
Since the nineteenth century, access to and the development of natural
resources became an important element of national and international politics. Resource
security emerged as an issue vital to national security; and resource competition and
crises gave rise to international tensions as well as to technological innovation and new
modes of transnational cooperation. This paper discusses ongoing collaborative research
activities in the Tensions of Europe network. Three broader themes are presented: (1)
perceptions and constructions of resources, resource crises, and resource futures; (2)
globalized resource chains and environmental transformation; and (3) managing crises:
technologies, expertise, and the politics of natural resources.
During the Cold War, official Soviet institutions organized tens of exhibitions of an American figurative artist Rockwell Kent. These exhibitions, undertaken bypassing the official United States, demonstrate that promotion of Kent in the USSR was an exclusively Soviet enterprise. Examining the role of Soviet institutions in Kent’s success, the article sheds new light on the Soviet approach to the representation of American visual art during the Cold War.
Basing on unique findings from American and Russian archives, the article provides a comprehensive analysis of political and aesthetical factors, which predetermined Kent’s incredible popularity in the Soviet Union. Contextualizing the Soviet representation of Kent within relevant Cold War contexts, the article argues that Kent occupied a specific symbolic position in Soviet culture, as Soviet propaganda re-conceptualized the artist’s biography and established the Myth of Rockwell Kent. This myth served for legitimization of Soviet ideology and for anti-American propaganda.
Review of book on envrionment in socialism
The book "Coercive Economic Sanctions and International Conflicts: A Sociological Theory" by Mark Daniel Jaeger examines the social conditions within sanctions conflicts that lead either to cooperation or non-cooperation. The main assumption of the work is that coercive economic sanctions should be understood as relational, socially constructed facts and that conflicts over sanctions, as discursive conflicts, result from incompatibilities of interest (issue conflicts) or identity (identity conflicts). Based on the premises of Luhmann’s social systems theory and securitization theory, the author creates a theoretical model that seeks to explore the conflicts’ (de-)escalation from a sociological perspective. The study is based on case studies of sanctions conflicts between Mainland China and Taiwan as well as between the US and Iran over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. The research has demonstrated that depending on the combination of different sanctions regimes (positive or negative) and particular sanctions policies of an initiator and the response of an addressee, the conflict may result in further securitization or de-securitization.
According to the alliance treaty between General Jacob De la Gardie and Novgorod (signed on July 25, 1611) one of the Swedish princes became a candidate for the Muscovite throne. After Karl IX had died and Gustav Adolf had been recognized as the new King of Sweden his younger brother Karl Filip (or Carl Philip, engl.: Charles Philip) became a candidate for the Muscovite throne. It was a good candidature for numerous political powers, both in Muscovy and in Sweden. After the Land Home Guard conquered Moscow Kremlin in November 1612, the preparation to the Electing Assembly started. In the same time active preparation for the Prince’s visit were taken in Novgorod. But the “sovereign Karl Filip” left Sweden only in the summer of 1613. By that time the candidature of Mikhail Romanov had won on the Electing Assembly. In late summer 1613 Prince Karl Filip had an audience with Novgorod representatives. The head of the Novgorod embassy, archimandrite Cyprian in his speech to the Prince had appealed to the so called “Varangian Legend”. The first address to the Old Russian heritage appeared in Novgorod’s political rhetoric in the Order to the Embassy of Jur’ev archimandrite Nikandr, on December, 25, 1611. The idea of the Varangian origin of Rurik was used in it. This idea corresponds with the background of a typical Muscovite “intellectual” of the late 16th century. No agreement in Vyborg was achieved. The Prince returned back to Sweden and Novgorod’s embassy – to Novgorod. But the figure of Prince Karl Filip did not leave the Novgorod scene since his leaving Vyborg. In autumn the Swedish viceregent Evert Horn initiated the plebiscite for the Novgorodians’ oath to King Gustav Adolf (if they agreed they became the King’s subjects). The plebiscite was postponed until Easter 1615; then it failed but in May 1615 Novgorod stockholders proposed a collective notion: they had sworn an oath to Prince Karl Filip as their sovereign and they could not swear to anybody else as to him. Such an oath could be recognized as treason. Proclaiming such fidelity to “sovereign Karl Filip” was symbolic for those Novgorodians who stayed in Novgorod and did not submit to the direct pressure by the King’s authorities. Those who kept fidelity to Karl Filip (and rejected to swear to the King) were subjected with great fiscal press. In such conditions Novgorod townsmen and servicemen waited for a peaceful agreement between Moscow and Sweden that had been achieved only on February 27, 1617. The election of Mikhail Romanov to the Muscovite throne was likely a result of direct violence. The idea of a czar’s election itself had embarrassed Muscovite society reminding the elections of czar Boris Godunov in 1598. The ideological narratives created during the first decades of their reign plotted Mikhail’s rights to the throne not on the all- Land elections but on the relations with previous czars. Up to the end of 1613 positions of foreign candidatures (Prince Wladislaw from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Prince Karl Filip from Sweden) were very strong indeed. There are numerous evidences that the servicemen from different districts were ready to reject czar Mikhail for the “true czar from a reigning race”.
In the interview to Ab ImperioJournal within the series “Conversation with Author” Pieter Judson shares the research laboratory behind his revisionist account of the history of the Habsburg Empire (The Habsburg Empire: A New History) which was published by Harvard University press in English in 2016. The interview reveals an interesting historiographic situation at the end of the 20thcentury when historians of the Habsburg Empire felt the need to differentiate its experience from the domineering perspective coming from the history of the Russian Empire, while historians who rediscovered the imperial dimension in Russian history followed the ideal-type of the Habsburg multinational empire. The major thrust of revising the history of Habsburg Empire by Judson is twofold: to explore in the long dureeperspective the vitality of the empire-building (“state-building from above” and “state-building from below”) in the Habsburg case through institutions and subjecthood, i.e. to decenter the national narratives about the composite Habsburg space and the idiom of inevitable decline of the Habsburg empire as another “sick man” in Europe; and to advance a systematic and symmetric comparison of modern statehood in Europe, in which the Habsburg case does not look exotic, having the imperial dimension. The interview touches on the question of global and comparative history of empires, the usefulness of comparative taxonomy of colonial-continental empire, the problem of analytical languages and hegemony of nation-centered imaginary in description of the historical experience of empire, the balance between political and social and cultural history approaches to understanding empire, and, finally, on the reception of the book in the region.
The article examines a crucial shift in models of domestication of the Soviet Far North during the Thaw period. The closure of the Gulag system and the social transformations of the 1950s caused changes in the social space of the Soviet North and in the role of expert knowledge in the USSR. By focusing on modernist urban projects for the Soviet Arctic, I analyse how urban specialists during the Thaw attempted to formulate a new conception of the North as a place for ‘ordinary life’ and therefore transform a peripheral region into an ‘average’ Soviet space.
This chapter focuses on imageries and historical change in the European Russian Arctic.
Language policy and usage in the post-communist region have continually attracted wide political, media, and expert attention since the disintegration of the USSR in 1991. How are these issues politicized in contemporary Estonia, Latvia, and Ukraine? This study presents a cross-cultural qualitative and quantitative analysis of publications in leading Russian-language blogs and news websites of these three post-Soviet states during the period of 2004–2017. The most notable difference observed between Ukraine and the two Baltic countries is that many Russian-writing users in Ukraine’s internet tend to support the position that the state language, i.e. Ukrainian, is discriminated against and needs special protection by the state, whereas the majority of the Russian-speaking commentators on selected Estonian and Latvian news websites advocate for introducing Russian as a second state language. Despite attempts of Ukraine’s government to Ukrainize public space, the position of Ukrainian is still perceived, even by many Russian-writing commentators and bloggers, as being ‘precarious’ and ‘vulnerable’. This became especially visible in debates after the Revolution of Dignity, when the number of supporters of the introduction of Russian as second state language significantly decreased. In the Russian-language sector of Estonian and Latvian news websites and blogs, in contrast, the majority of online users continually reproduce the image of ‘victims’ of nation-building. They often claim that their political, as well as economic rights, are significantly limited in comparison to ethnic Estonians and Latvians. The results of Maksimovtsova’s research illustrate that, notwithstanding differences between the Estonian as well as Latvian cases, on the one hand, and Ukraine, on the other, there is an ongoing process of convergence of debates in Ukraine to those held in the other two countries analyzed in terms of an increased degree of ‘discursive decommunization’ and ‘derussification’.
Sergey Glebov and Alexander Semyonov recall Mark von Hagen as a historian of empires, Ab Imperio’s supporter, and member of its Editorial Board.
This article examines the nature of Soviet consumption and technological development through the history of milk and milk packaging between the 1950s and 1970s. Based on published and archival materials, the paper focuses on the role that milk played in Soviet nutrition and the role that packaging played in Soviet consumption. The article also examines the modernization of technology for making packaging as well as technology transfer from the West. It concludes that, as in many Western countries, both the Soviet state and Soviet specialists saw it as important to increase the consumption of milk after the war, but the meaning of milk changed. Milk, a basic staple for nutrition, became a matter of science and specialists sought to explain its positive effects. In addition, due to the development of the paper and chemical industries, new forms of milk packaging, more practical in their uses, were introduced in the West. Soviet leaders and specialists saw the new packaging as a desirable feature of modernity, but were unsuccessful in launching domestic technologies for manufacturing such packaging. While experimenting with domestic technology, Soviet producers also received foreign equipment for making milk packaging. Nevertheless, the capacity of such foreign equipment was not enough to satisfy growing demand and the consumption of “modern packaging” remained lower than in the West until the introduction of capitalism and, with it, foreign companies into the Russian market in the 1990s.
This article explores the history of the Russian monopolistic companies that operated in the international market for blubber in the first half of the eighteenth century. It argues that the long-held view that the companies were unsuccessful is not supported by the statistics relating to the trade, which indicate impressive progress in terms of market revenue and the redistribution of profits. Moreover, the authorities had ambitious strategic goals for the project as a whole that entailed more than simple commercial success. The companies, in fact, were perceived as an instrument that would transform landlocked Muscovy into a leading power in the international maritime economy. The article analyzes the essence and the consequences of these conflicting perspectives.
This article examines the changing patterns of industrial conflict in a rapidly modernizing Eastern European city, focusing on a multi-ethnic industrial hub. I follow repertoires of contention in four crucial moments characterized by shifting scales of the geopolitical embeddedness of the city: (1) an early Luddite riot of 1861 in the Polish autonomous sub-state within the Russian Empire, (2) the first massive labor protest and the following pogrom of 1892 in the city already fully subsumed under the imperial governance, (3) a failed revolution of 1905 with a sophisticated feedback loop between party politics and street emotions, (4) mobilization practices during the German military occupation during the IWW culminating in the tram workers strike of 1917, (5) developing forms of industrial bargaining in the early Polish state after 1918. This broad picture spanning over 60 years (1861-1921) is grounded in the existing secondary literature, extensive queries of primary sources such as administration reports, court proceedings and petitions, and the analysis of political leaflets and biographical testimonies of the working class militants. Such a cross temporal comparison brings a broader outlook on the labor unrest in Russian Poland and beyond, which before was researched only in fragmented manner.
This article examines the industrial wastes and environmental effects of Soviet technological development through the history of the Karelian Isthmus, a border territory that had previously been Finnish. Focusing primarily on the history of two large enterprises – the Svetogorskii (former Enso) and Sovetskii (former Johannes) pulp and paper making plants, the authors illustrate the polluting nature of the Soviet economy in the 1940s-1980s. We contend that from the very beginning, important as they were for the USSR, the enterprises of the Isthmus were built into a system of shortages of techniques and materials that contributed to the hectic fulfillment of the plan. Producing pulp and pulp-based products remained a priority during the whole Soviet period. On the level of industrial enterprises, the Soviet system revealed itself as incapable of solving the problem of pollution and wasting. After waste treatment facilities developed by Soviet engineers in the 1960s turned out to be inadequate for dealing with increasing pollution, the Soviet authorities called on Finnish companies to carry out substantial modernization of a few enterprises on the Isthmus. This helped the modernized plants remain functioning in the age of economic crisis at the end of the Soviet epoch. Old problems, however, such as shortages and lack of expertise, remained pivotal, while new sources of pollution, such as carbon emissions, appeared. As a result, the level of contamination was still high and led to negative environmental impacts.
The representation of electricity was a significant challenge because Soviet authors were to communicate the complex ‘scientific’ phenomenon to an unprepared audience. In my essay, I will explore how during the 1920s to the 1930s, Soviet authors experimented with the representation of the electricity in order to find an optimal proportion of fantasy and factual data for children’s books. A forthcoming publication within The Pedagogy of Images: Depicting Communism for Children, edited by Marina Balina and Serguei Oushakine.
Published by EH.Net (January 2019)
Tapio S. Katko, Finnish Water Services: Experiences in a Global Perspective. Finnish Water Utilities Association, 2016. 288 pp. 70 euros (hardcover), ISBN: 978-952-6697-26-0.
Reviewed for EH.Net by Viktor Pál, Laboratory for Environmental and Technological History, Higher School of Economics.
The 1905 Revolution was often considered by workers writing memoirs as the most important event in their lives. This paper examines biographical reminiscences of the political participation of working-class militants in the 1905 Revolution. I scrutinize four tropes used by working-class writers to describe their life stories narrated around their political identity. These are: (1) overcoming misery and destitution, (2) autodidacticism, (3) political initiation, and (4) feeling of belonging to the community of equals. All four demonstrate that the militant self cannot be understood in separation from the life context of the mobilized workers. Participation in party politics was an important factor modifying the life course of workers in the direction resonating with their aspirations and longings. The argument is informed by analysis of over a hundred of biographical testimonies written by militants from various political parties in different political circumstances.
The paper aims to discuss the multifaceted links between the marine environment of the Gulf of Finland and the representations of the large complex of cultural heritage related to the city of St. Petersburg. The paper is based on a spatial imaginary of Greater St. Petersburg as the cultural and technological unity of the city and adjacent waterscapes in the times of the Russian Empire. This concept is instrumental to see the historical links between the parts of the heritage complex that has by now disintegrated and has been separated by state borders.
The transformation of the peaceful demonstrations, which started on November 21, 2013, against Yanukovych’s decision to suspend the signing of the association agreement with the EU, into the bloodshed in Kyiv and eastern Ukraine, has vividly demonstrated that the rhetoric of the “protection of Russian-speakers’ rights” can be easily transformed from the level of “discursive threats” to the real threat of Ukraine’s dissolution. Therefore, the article seeks to explain how language-related issues were securitized in public discussions in leading Ukrainian blogs and on news websites that function in the Russian language after the Revolution of Dignity. The analysis of journalistic articles and users’ comments encompasses the period of 2013–2015 when the Russian–Ukrainian conflict and the discussion of language issues reached its climax. It is argued that despite an extreme presence of anti-Russian (anti-imperialist) arguments and consolidation over the idea of Ukrainian as the only state language (“one nation–one language”), arguments that supported an equal legal status of Russian- and Ukrainian-speakers were also to be found in selected digital media outlets. The analysis has also demonstrated that for most online users of Ukrainian digital media that function in Russian, the state language is constructed as the language discriminated against in its own national state.