198099 Saint Petersburg
17 Promyshlennaya Ulitsa, Room 107
190008 Saint Petersburg
16 Soyuza Pechatnikov Ulitsa
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.
This article explores the intellectual history of the concept of “feeling of justice” and related concepts and the attempts to make them central to legal practice in the context of early 20th century Russia. It starts by tracing the emergence of new modes of thinking about judicial emotion in fin-de-siècle Russian Empire and accounts for both international and local influences on these ideas. It further examines the development of these theories after the 1917 Russian Revolution and notes both continuities and ruptures across this revolutionary divide. Finally, the article explores the attempts to put these radical ideas into practice by focusing on the experimental legal model of “revolutionary justice” that was employed in Soviet Russia between 1917 and 1922 which highlights the discrepancies between bold utopian projects and harsh material realities of the revolutionary period.
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.
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.
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.
The main source for my study is a set of notarial deeds produced in Tana by the Venetian notaries Nicolo de Varsis and Benedetto Smeritis. These sources have not been published previously and have never been the subject of intensive study. Researchers have long regarded Venetian notarial acts as one of the most important sources of the economic, social, political, ethnic, and legal history of the Italian trading stations. The documents drawn up by the Italian notaries in the Levant, in the trading stations of the Eastern Mediterranean, and on the Black Sea coast have attracted the attention of the scholars from different fields, being a relevant source for reconstructing the history of the Italian republics, Eastern Europe, and the region at the edge of the Caucasus.
Italian notarial documents are quite numerous because the trading stations’ commerce and political relations with the Byzantine Empire, Russian principalities, the Golden Horde, and the states of the East were intensive and this produced plenty of documentary material. Undoubtedly, a large part of the archives of the trading stations perished during the Ottoman conquest. Nevertheless, the republics retained copies of many original documents and books of accounts, which they sent to the metropolis and attached to the reports of officers. According to the legislation of the republic of Venice, notarial deeds passed from one notary to his successor and then came to the archives. Currently, 1194 Venetian deeds are extant, drawn up in Tana by some thirty-four well-known notaries. Later acts, in contrast to earlier, survived, as a rule, not as instrumentae (original papers), but as imbreviaturae (copies left by the notaries).
Drawing on an analysis of a large corpus of published and unpublished sources, this chapter focuses on four exemplary encounters between ‘intellectual’/’political’ convicts and ‘common’ prisoners in Russian and Italy between the early nineteenth century and the present. It explores how emotions shape and are shaped by face-to-face encounters, and explores the ways feelings are communicated across social and cultural divides, both real and perceived. Further, it discusses some instances in which prison encounters deeply transformed the emotional repertoires of those who experienced them.
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 two-part overview of contemporary Russian anthropology focuses in detail on the work of several scholars and situates it in the changing landscape of Russian academia. The main issue I address is debates about an academic identity of Russian anthropology as ‘historical science’. Given that in Western anthropology, history has become one of the leading modes of anthropological analysis and that the turn to history marked a radical repositioning of anthropology’s very subject, it is important to explore how such configurations of history and anthropology work in other anthropological traditions and what the reasons are for turning to history or, conversely, avoiding it, for specific national, continental and transnational anthropological schools. In this article, I explore these questions by focusing on anthropology in Russia with an aim of reassembling the relationship between anthropology and history from the point of view of the anthropology of time. I ask what temporal frameworks underscore the relationship between anthropology and history. I explore these understandings ethnographically, that is, through ethnographic interviews with Russian scholars in addition to close readings of their works.
This two-part overview of contemporary Russian anthropology focuses in detail on the work of several scholars and situates it in the changing landscape of Russian academia. The main issue I address is the debated academic identity of anthropology as ‘historical science’ as it is officially classed in Russia. Proceeding in a case-study manner, I aim to re-conceptualise the relationship between anthropology and history from the point of view of the anthropology of time, not merely by historicising anthropology but also by anthropologising history. I ask what temporal frameworks underscore the relationship between anthropology and history as it is thought about by the scholars I explore.
Rebuking the common views of the Soviet Union as an ideal model of a drug-free society, this paper seeks to provide a fresh, challenging and stimulating account on drug abuse, drug treatment and drug policy in the Soviet Union. Shattering the common notion that 'there were no drugs in the Soviet Union', the paper improves our understanding of Russia's socialist past and also argues for the discarding of obsolete concepts that still tend to greatly influence contemporary Russian drug policy.
In 1923–1924 the Bolshevik Party experienced political conflict that took the form of a public confrontation between two trends related to issues of intra-party practice and economic policies. This essay examines the Left Opposition in the Bolshevik party, which is widely known as the Trotskyist Opposition; yet was not a unified faction led by Lev Trotsky, but a heterogeneous and informal movement in support of democratic reform in the party. The problem of party, government, and economic leadership led to friction and then a split in the party in 1926–1928. The majority of the Central Committee and the Opposition became the ideological and organizational core of the trends which combined into stable or situational coalitions.
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.
This paper focuses on the Guizolfi family and showcases the aftermath of the Genoese colonization of the Black Sea area, highlighting the complex and entangled multiple identities that resulted from more than two centuries of the Genoese presence there. The Guizolfi were a Genoese patrician clan that was integrated into both the life of the Genoese Black Sea colonies and the local environment of Circassian and Zikh nobility. The prominent role it played in Eastern Europe went far beyond the Genoese Gazaria in the course of the late Middle Ages and early Modernity. Guizolfi intermarried with the local Circassian nobility and were quite successful in playing on double identities. One of the last representatives of this family in the area, Zaccaria Guizolfi, took measures to resist the Ottoman threat, but later on he began considering moving to the Russian Principality of Moscow, where Ivan III Vasilyevich was happy to accept the Christians who were fleeing from the Ottomans from the South. Zaccaria Guizolfi negotiated the terms of his potential service at the court of Ivan III, but finally failed to travel to Muscovy and found his way at the service of the Khans of Crimea. What is more interesting is a supposed link between Zaccaria and certain events in the religious life of Russia. Since long time ago, Zaccaria Guizolfi, Prince of Taman, also known as Zaccaria Skara from the above-mentioned correspondence with Ivan III, was identified by some scholars as a Jew Scharia, who was a heresiarch of the Judaizing heresy in Novgorod and Moscow. This point is a matter of ardent debate in historiography for decades, and till now there is little certainty on this matter.
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.
This article is based on the Venetian documents coming from the chancery of the Venetian Senate and the notarial deeds drawn by the Venetian notaries Niccolò di Varsis and Benedetto di Smeritis in the 1430s in the Venetian trading station in Tana and it examines the system of international relations in the fifteenth century Mediterranean and Eastern Europe and the place of the Venetian colony in Tana in it. The Venetians and the Genoese began to explore the Black Sea region in the mid-thirteenth century, and by the mid-fourteenth century their colonial expansion in the area resulted in a network of colonies and trading stations. The international situation in the Black Sea region was very complex. The Venetians had to play a hard game among such political actors in the region as the Golden Horde (later the Khanate of Crimea), the Principality of Theodoro, the Ottoman Empire and the Genoese colonies. While Genoa in fact established a whole colonial empire on the shores of the Black Sea and Azov Sea, Venice had to rely on Tana and Trebizond; still Venice managed to maintain parity, to appropriately take care of the security of the colony, and at times to create for Genoa significant difficulties (as in the case of the rebellion in Cembalo). The sources speak rather in favor of improving of the trading situation in Tana in the first half of the fifteenth century. The number of ships only slightly decreased, and the number of visits of the Venetian mudae to Tana in this period increased significantly compared to the fourteenth century. The parking time in Tana in the first half of the fifteenth century was consistently longer than in Trebizond, Sinope, Caffa and other Black Sea ports, and the amount of the incanti grew steadily from 1436 years, reaching their peak in 1448; then they increased till 1452. Despite temporary bursts of instability, the trade grew till 1453 and was still surviving till the final conquest of the Italian colonies by the Ottomans in 1475.
The chapter takes the case of the formation of the Constitutional Democratic party (the Kadets) in the context of emerging mass politics, 1905 revolution, and political reforms. Going against the genealogical approach, the author stresses the contingency and novelty of party liberalism in the early twentieth century. In particular, the chapter explores the heterogeneity of the Kadet ranks, the concept of rupture and pluralism in self-representation of the nascent liberal party, and techniques of compromise and negotiation in the pluralist political setting that allowed the party and its platform to cohere. The author also argues that the pluralism of political and ideological context of the Kadet party formation was also matched by pluralism of mobilized space of imperial diversity, that included national, regionalist, and autonomist voices. The context of mobilized imperial diversity is shown to be not only inhibiting, but aiding the liberal politics in the Russian Empire.
Towards the end of the Middle Ages, the Black Sea region became an area of increasing political importance. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in this region (the Black Sea and the Azov Sea) and, more broadly, in the regions of Southeastern and Eastern Europe, the interests of numerous political players were confronted: Genoa, Venice, Florence and Pisa, Papal Rome, the Holy Roman Empire, the kingdoms of England, France and Aragon, the Duchy of Burgundy, the Byzantine Empire, Georgia, Russian principalities, Tatar states, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Kingdom of Poland, Hungary and Wallachia, the Mamluk Sultan and, finally, the growing Ottoman Empire were just a short list of actors on the political scene at the time. However, against the background of the growing Ottoman threat, neither the metropolis of the colonies itself, Genoa, nor Casimir IV, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, nor Vladislaus II, King of Bohemia and of Hungary, who was also an enemy of the Ottomans, could help Caffa. Caffa and other Genoese and Venetian colonies were captured by the Ottomans in 1475. Thus, we can see that the Southeastern Europe saw many wars in the fifteenth century, which eventually led to the domination of the Ottoman Empire.