Daniel Beer is a senior lecturer in the History Department at Royal Holloway, University of London. He’s written widely on 19th century Russia and is the author of Renovating Russia: The Human Sciences and the Fate of Liberal Modernity, 1880–1930, published by Cornell University Press. His new book is The House of the Dead: Siberian Exile under the Tsars published by Knopf.
Adam & the Ants, “King of the Wild Frontier,” Antbox, 2000.
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By Sean — 8 years ago
Contrary to what most people think, I see few signs of the neo-Sovietization of Russia. What I have observed, however, is a return to Russian traditionalism, even a kind of re-embrace of Tsarist symbolism. I’ve noticed this in several areas of Russian daily life: Christmas cards with the recently canonized last Romanov family, icons of the last Tsar sold in kiosks, large portraits of Petr Stolypin and Sergei Witte at the entrance of the International University, and book after book reevaluating the late Tsarist period, newly published volumes of Stolypin’s collected works, and the memoirs of not only Witte, but the diaries and biographies of princes and princesses in bookstores.
Let us also not forget the growing assertiveness of the Orthodox Church in cultural and political life, or the fact that Dmitri Medvedev’s inauguration looked like a Tsarist coronation more than anything. They might as well had placed the Russian Constitution on his head rather than having him swear to it. To me, “Sovereign democracy” is more reminiscent of Nicholas I’s “Official Nationality” with its cornerstones Autocracy, Orthodoxy, and Nationality. Indeed, even the portraits of Putin and Medvedev hanging on chinovniki’s walls are more Tsarist in origin. As is the “cult of personality” Putin recently denied he had. This is not to say that Russia hasn’t changed. It’s only to suggest that it takes from its Tsarist as much as its Soviet pasts as it negotiates the present contours of its national character.
By Sean — 2 years ago
Natalia Antonova is a pundit, playwright and sometime journalist living in Russia. You can read her blog where she comments a wide variety of topics, including sex, at nataliaantonova.com. Her most recent article is “Russia’s Porn Stars Aren’t Just Hot, They’re Also Ostracised And Exploited” on Open Democracy.
Prince and the Revolution, “Darling Nikki,” Purple Rain, 1984.Post Views: 4,708
By Sean — 3 years ago
Faith Hillis, Assistant Professor of Russian History at the University of Chicago and author of Children of Rus’: Right-Bank Ukraine and the Invention of a Russian Nation. Her most recent article is “Intimacy and Antipathy: Ukrainian-Russian Relations in Historical Perspective” published in Kritika.
Andrew Weiss, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he oversees research in Washington and Moscow on Russia and Eurasia. His most recent article is “Putin the Improviser” in the Wall Street Journal.Post Views: 579