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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 paper outlines the complexity of interactions between Russian Orthodox monasteries and fish resources of the Russian North in the White and Barents Sea basins. The authors consider the complete cycle of monastic fishing activities as a complex of routine practices of an organizational, managerial, and commercial character. They demonstrate that the monks developed the organizational structure and management system that crucially contributed to the transformation of traditional fishing practices into the market-oriented exploitation of the natural resources of the White and Barents seas.
We now know that the Iron Curtain was not an impenetrable wall but, rather, a porous imaginary boundary through which people, ideas, and goods could travel. This volume is a fresh attempt to look across two blocs to examine variations, similarities, and connections between what we used to call East and West. As editors Astrid Mignon Kirchhof and John R. McNeill explain in the introduction, the volume aims to challenge a traditional question about the East-West divide. It focuses on the environment and its connections to politics, culture, and society.
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.
Focusing on the accelerated use of limestone as a building material in Russia, and government sponsored scientiﬁc studies of widespread limestone deposits throughout the nineteenth-century, this contribution investigates the process of transforming common rocks into measurable and valuable natural resources indispensable for actualizing industrial development on a national scale. Special attention is given to the production of a new body of expert knowledge on the speciﬁc properties, qualities and practical uses of raw stone materials, to the actors involved in producing this knowledge, and to their crucial role in forming a scientiﬁc support system for the mining and construction industries, which gradually developed an institutional hierarchy in its own right. One of the important points of the article is, on the one hand, to show that scientiﬁc engagement with the material was closely interrelated to ‘resource nationalism’ policies that became an inﬂuential driving force of material sciences institutionalization on the national scale. On the other hand, it is argued that the international circulation of knowledge, technics, and standardization of testing procedures also greatly inﬂuenced that process.
This article argues that the history of Russian constitutional and parliamentary reform in the early 20th century can be cast in a new light in view of the global transformation of political life under the challenge of imperial diversity and mass politics. The article points out that imperial diversity as a challenge to democratic government was not unique to the Russian Empire. The character of the Russian Empire was marked by peculiarities; it was shaped by composite and hybrid imperial space, which placed the challenge of imperial diversity at the center of political practices and imaginaries. The article traces the history of political reform in the Russian Empire in the early 20th century focusing on the reform of the Sejm of the Grand Duchy of Finland and the novel practices and political imaginaries of imperial diversity in the first and second State Duma. The exploration of the history of the constitutional reform in the Russian Empire of early 20th century demonstrates that rather than being absolute antagonists to representative government, Russian imperial politics and traditions of imperial sovereignty nested possibilities of compromise and redefinition of political solidarity in the space of diversity.
Keywords History of the Russian Empire, history of the State Duma, global history of parliamentarism, pseudo-constitutionalism, Russian liberalism
This article examines interconnections between politics and culture in the early Soviet era, using Leon Trotsky’s activities in the campaign for a new everyday life (novyi byt) in 1923 as a case-study. Traditionally, scholars pay attention primarily to Trotsky’s writings on literature and art. In contrast, this article shows the important role of Trotsky’s brochure ‘Problems of Everyday Life’ in the development of a new field of political communication that became the space for criticism of different political and cultural aspects of Soviet power and Bolshevik rule. Using archival and press sources, it shows how the campaign was spread both from below and above, and what were the reasons for its failure to become an alternative cultural revolution.
The paper examines the early history of environmental concerns in Russia. It focuses on a case-study – the debates about a potentially detrimental impact of deforestation on water regimes, which took place in the 1830s-1840s. It examines two sets of issues: the role of ideas about a growing scarcity of forest resources in Europe, and the actual state of forests in Russia that provided some evidentiary basis for these debates. It argues that these debates were possible at the convergence of several trends: an expanding role and objectives of the forest administration well-versed in European scientific debates of the age and at the same time a visible danger of deforestation in some regions of a strategic significance to the empire. The author also considers different expert cultures and evidentiary standards that could be observed during the debates.
Ethnographic conceptualism takes its cue from conceptual art and uses
artistic interventions as an anthropological research tool. The term
‘ethnographic conceptualism’ was coined to sum up the method of the
exhibition project Gifts to Soviet Leaders (Kremlin Museum, Moscow
2006) as simultaneously a reflection on the vast and complex economy
of public gifts to heads of Soviet state, a distinctly post-Soviet political
and cultural artefact, and as a tool for ethnography of post-socialism.
This article explores ethnographic conceptualism’s contribution to
performativity theory. I look at how it makes visible the tension between
what such projects perform and describe. In doing so, I use
ethnographic conceptualism as a vantage point to revisit the
foundational distinction of performativity theory between the constative
and performative statements (Austin). Drawing in this artistic and
research method, I redefine the performative, not as a domain or a type
of utterance that is distinct from the constative, but as an act of drawing
This chapter builds on the author’s previous work on the history of marginalized social groups, such as users of psychoactive drugs, female criminal offenders and GULAG prisoners. Taking the notion of ‘positionality’ as the point of departure, it traverses some of the methodological and ethical issues arising from the author’s experience in writing and publishing on such sensitive topics in the Russian context.
This book is dedicated to E.F. Kankrin, M.Kh. Reitern, and N.Kh. Bunge - finance ministers of imperial Russia, who have held their post for more than 40 years and have done a lot for the development of the Russian economy. Excerpts from the memoirs and diaries of contemporaries, journalistic and artistic works tell about them both as statesmen and as people. According to eyewitnesses, one can trace how the role of the financial ministry and its leader has changed throughout almost the entire XIX century. E.F. Kankrin (Minister of Finance in 1823–1844) led a successful struggle for a stable ruble exchange rate and encouraged the development of various branches of industry and trade so that their income would regularly fill the budget. M.Kh. Reitern (1862–1878), who held this position in the era of the “great reforms”, switched to a considered economic policy, stimulating priority financing of the most profitable industries. Finally, N.Kh. Bunge (1881–1886) had his task to prepare the conditions for a steadily surplus state budget. He looked at the activities of the Ministry of Finance in the general context of imperial politics, which was reflected in his “Afterlife Notes”, the latest edition of which is published for the first time in this book. The one also included notes by the art critic M.P. Kovalevsky, “The Powers That Hold”, vividly and bright depicting the Russian ministers of that time. The publication is equipped with detailed notes, an index, a glossary explaining special concepts and terms and contains the pasting of archived photographs.
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.
The name Tritogeneia likely means ‘born of the Third’, this Third one being the supreme god, the Most High. Poseidon (at least Poseidon Helikonios) was once such a god. He was the lord of the water that descended from heaven and a deity closely associated with the celestial pole. His trident is the symbol that indicates his celestial nature, and this symbol developed from a previous one – a raised hand with three fingers. This number of fingers signified the similarity with the dwellers of the sky – the birds, with their three toes in front.
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.
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
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.