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Among the inhabitants of the late medieval Venetian Tana one finds people from various countries from Central Asia to Spain. The place hosted the Venetian and Genoese trading posts, Greek, Slavic, Jewish settlements nearby, and anomadic city of Tatars. This study is devoted to the Greek Orthodox population of Tana (Greeks, Russians, Bulgarians, part of the Zikhs and Tatars) in its dynamics throughout time.
This article deals with the fates of the two notaries, Niccolò de Varsis and Benedetto de Smeritis, who served in the 1430s in the Venetian colony in Tana (today Azov), placed in the mouth of the River Don where it flows into the Sea of Azov. In this article the author established based on the notarial documents the chronology of the arrival and departure of our two notaries together with the chronology of the arrival and departure of the respective consuls. Further, based on the self-identifications of the notaries the author inferred that that the self-description of the notary and, more broadly, of any person in notarial deeds varied considerably, and there is no reason to see any clear relationship between the formula and the legal status of the person. The imbreviaturae of the notarial documents drawn up by the notaries Niccolò de Varsis and Benedetto Smeritis mainly, although with a few exceptions, in Tana from 1430 to 1440 are stored in the Archivio di Stato di Venezia, in the sections Notarili Testamenti and Cancelleria Inferior, Notai. After the death or the termination of the activities of public notaries, the Cancelleria Inferior received these imbreviaturae. The deeds of Varsis and Smeritis are the only notary documents of Venetian origin that came to us from Tana in the 1430s. Joining the notarial College, Venetian notaries were not always able to find a place in Venice and went to practice overseas, often combining their work with other positions, most often the clerical ranks, and then they returned home. In the overseas colonies the functions and responsibilities of a notary were much wider than in the metropolis – they included not only the drafting of the private notarial deeds, but also participation in the management of the colonial chancery and administration, the drafting of the official documents of the curial office of the consul, etc. The position of a notary could be combined with other administrative and ecclesiastic posts in the colonies. The notaries in the overseas Venetian trading stations were simultaneously priests, and this can be often seen in Tana, since they could combine in one person a number of essential functions (the chancellor of the consul’s curia, the chaplain, the notary). In Tana, the Venetians lived compactly within a community, which determined the special role of the notary, who performed in relation to them, in addition, the duties of the pastor. One of their tasks was to draw up private notarial deeds for the individuals, although their work as notaries was not limited to this, as it is discussed in this article.
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.
The Chapter reveals to the reader a look at the global process of climate change from the perspective of the local population of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous district and adjacent regions. Their destinies, way of life, professional plans and career trajectories unfold against the background of changing natural conditions, shifting seasons, unpredictable ice conditions, the collapsing Soviet and emerging post-Soviet infrastructure being built by new stakeholders. The first section explains the socio-economic, historical, infrastructural and natural linkages between the Arctic and subarctic zones, as well as the need to take into account the zonal changes throughout Western Siberia, as they form a transdisciplinary context of transformations in the Russian Arctic.
The second section shows the scenarios of overcoming the difficulties and adapting to the changing conditions caused by the new wave of development of the North, management decisions and natural disasters occurring during the life of the last two generations of the northerners. What is more important for survival in the Arctic: the ability to survive autonomously, using local knowledge and skills, community resources, or the bet made on the operational supply and close, intensive transport and informational links in the Arctic?
The third section raises the question of whether there are serious climate changes (that can be seen thanks to the research of landscapes, the state of permafrost, water resources, soils, ecosystems, ecology of regions), from the perspective of local residents, leading the economy and working in the far North? How do they feel them and what aspects of daily life are affected by climate change? The Chapter is based on empirical research on the territory of the Yamal and Khanty-Mansiysk district (Yugra) and northern part of Tomsk region, the corpus of interviews and observations.
Rhodiola rosea is a Siberian medicinal plant possessing qualities of a central nervous system stimulant that has been traditionally used in the folk medicine of the indigenous peoples in Siberia. Between the 1960s and the 1980s, the plant had been intensively studied in the scientific laboratories of Tomsk. $e study of physicochemical properties of the plant and its effects on humans was initially carried out in the Tomsk Medical Institute (TMI) by a large research
group headed by A. S. Saratikov and E. A. Krasnov. Following a series of animal studies in the early 1960s, Saratikov started to enlist human volunteers from TMI students and staff and examine the effects of the plant on concentration and auto-suggestion. These trials were later expanded, and a number of medical institutions in Tomsk incorporated them into their research programs, seemingly hailing Rhodiola rosea as a potential all-curing miracle drug for the overworked and stressed modern self. (Interestingly enough, there has recently been a renewed interest in the plant in the West that has corroborated a number of Soviet findings). At the same time, research into the history of Rhodiola rosea trials also highlights both numerous ethically problematic issues in the treatment of research participants as well as unexpected divergences from the officially prescribed Soviet clinical trials practices. Using examples from a large number of published scientific studies and corroborating them with materials from oral history interviews with researchers and study participants, this paper explores the local idiosyncrasies that shaped Soviet clinical trials on the ground.
The article explores Vladimir Arsen’ev’s rationalization of the economic activities that he observed during expeditions in the Russian Far East, predominantly in the Ussuri region. It analyzes his categorization of the local population, which was derived from nonmatching taxonomies and included concepts such as nationality, religion, race, and subjecthood. Disentangling this categorization helps to outline the main contexts that influenced Arsen’ev, such as postwar political and military concerns, challenges of settler colonialism, and nationalizing empire. The article shows how Arsen’ev’s intertwined life experiences as a military officer and geographer, colonization official, ethnographer, and resource-conscious naturalist outlined the limits of his imagination and provided the ground for his intellectual innovations.
How can we walk the talk of sustainability on a daily basis in our working environments? How can we interpret the concept of sustainability within the academic sphere and widen its scope? How can we build more sustainable careers? This notepad reflects on the condition of early-career environmental historians in Europe and beyond, introduces visions for the field, and suggests concrete action in order to build a more inclusive academic environment.
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.
The article proposes a discourse analysis of Fazliddin Muhammadiev’s novel Dar on dunye (In the Other World), first published in 1965 in Tajik language, then translated into multiple languages, and republished numerous times in Russian. It was the only published fictional hajj account based on a real journey from Dushanbe via Moscow to Mecca in the post-war Soviet Union. How do we explain this novel’s strange origins and success? What were its intended message and audiences? What narrative tropes did the author use to achieve his goals? And why would Soviet officials support the publication of a hajjnāme, let alone encourage its frequent re-publication? We should not assume that Soviet readers would have focused on the anti-religious aspects of the novel. Denunciations of religion had largely become a routinized discourse by the 1960s. What would have been completely new to Soviet readers, whether Muslim or not, were the descriptions of the hajj, which, for all of the author’s satire, are also highly detailed. The author’s direct, journalistic style, which he uses to try to show the “true” nature of the capitalist world and religion, also makes it possible for a Soviet reader to imagine what it would be like to go on such a journey, although only a handful of them would ever have such an opportunity. The Soviet Union strove to show that it could be respectful of cultural traditions associated with religion even as it sought to eliminate religious practice. Travel to the Soviet Union was one way of accomplishing this goal. The audience for this kind of outreach was not the pious or the committed foes of socialism, but rather progressive post-colonial elites who the Soviet Union hoped could be won over to the Soviet side in the Cold War. Ultimately, Muhammadiev is only partially successful in his attempt to reconcile the needs of Soviet foreign policy, Soviet atheism, and Soviet nationalities policy. The novel is hardly subtle in the way it satirizes religion, piety, and the pious. But the novel nevertheless proved successful. This can be explained in part by the author’s successful use of the travelogue to show local Soviet elites and citizens a world they would have almost no chance in encountering otherwise, but also because the novel’s characters are complex enough that the overall story remains compelling. The novel’s limitations speak to the larger contradictions of Soviet nationality policy, religious policy, and foreign policy. Intermediaries like the author and his narrator/alter-ego Qurbon Majidov may have felt empowered by the system and taken pride in their role within it. Yet the encounter with the outside world for which they recruited always threatened to challenge their authenticity.
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.
Ukrainian parliamentarism and constitutionalism have a long history. Its brightest episode occurred 100 years ago, in 1917–1921, when the Ukrainian activists tried to cope with the breakup of the Romanov Empire by suggesting various projects of its reconstruction. In this article, I argue that the history of these projects began at least half a century earlier, when a young professor of history at Kiev University, Mykhailo Drahomanov, started to reflect upon future reorganization of the Russian Empire into a parliamentary state. Being an ardent advocate of turning the empire into a representative democracy, Drahomanov still felt uneasy about unapologetic support of parliamentarism. Having embraced Proudhonian idea of anarchy or self-government, he realized that the existence of parliament was not a universal cure for all political ills of the Russian Empire, especially for the main one—extreme state centralization. Hence, his views of political reconstruction of the empire did not necessarily mean transforming it into the Russian Republic. It seems that a reasonable and reasoned monarch, who could turn the empire into a federal state with a wide local self-government, would totally fulfill Drahomanov’s ideas of future Russia. His enormous influence upon the pre-war Ukrainian intellectuals explains why only few of them seriously discussed an idea of Ukrainian state independence in 1917.
This article is devoted to the flow of migrants from the French kingdom to the Genoese colonies.
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.
The article reflects on the monograph by Sparky Booker Cultural exchange and identity in late medieval Ireland: The English and the Irish of the four obedient shires (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2018) which offers a revised perspective on the issue of assimilation and acculturation in late medieval Ireland on the basis of the material of the four obedient shires, Dublin, Meath, Louth, and Kildare. It illustrates the spheres of medieval everyday life where ethnicity really mattered. The scholar presents a complex and multi-faceted image of interethnic interplay in the region distinguishing between cultural and legal dimensions. She demonstrates that cultural practices were not the main resource of identity in the late medieval Ireland in which political allegiance and descent were prioritized. She highlights two aspects: the discursive level and the level of everyday interaction. On the discursive level, ethnicity played a significant role and was instrumental in maintaining distinctions which justified exclusive position of the English colonists. On this level, assimilation was unattainable. The everyday level was more dynamic, and there the boundaries were not so crucial.
Despite the obvious merits of the book, the material presented there requires more theoretical consideration of the issue of medieval identities. The authors of the article argue that the situation of interethnic interplay in the four obedient shires described by Booker could have been suitable for the emergence of consensual identity. The authors coin this term and define it as the type of identity which originates in the situation of interethnic interplay, entails intercultural switching, and is of supragentile character, i.e., not insisting on common descent. However, the discourse of consensual identity did not emerge in the four shires because of the absence of common subjecthood of English and Irish as well as prevalence of gentilism.