Mark Galeotti is a senior non-resident fellow at the Institute of International Relations in Prague and an expert and prolific author on transnational crime and the Russian security services. He runs in the In Moscow’s Shadows blog and is the author of several books. His new book is The Vory: Russia’s Super Mafia published by Yale University Press.
The Clash, “Police and Thieves,” The Clash, 1977.
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By Sean — 13 years ago
Soviet dress is a rather understudied topic. But now we can breathe easier. According to the London Guardian, Professor Olga Gurova from the European University in St. Petersburg is working on a cultural history of underwear in the Soviet period. I have to say, I’ll read it. I find the topic absolutely fascinating. Here is how Gurova explains her work:
In the 1920s, Soviet magazines touted a “regime of cleanliness” for the proletariat. “Underwear,” explains Gurova, “was a compulsory part of that regime.” A goal was established: everyone should have at least two sets, and should change sets at least once every 7-10 days. Mass production was cranked up, underclothing the populace in officially healthy, comfortable, hygienic long johns, boxers, undershirts and bras. Gurova’s research shows that most of these items were “spacious”, and that “there was no big difference in design between male and female underclothes”.
Having pored over masses of documentation, Gurova infers that during the 20s “Soviet underwear was not about sex, it was about sport”. Sports outfits – T-shirts, shorts and sleeveless shirts – became the basic prototypes. Petticoats, seen as old-fashioned, faded from the scene, as did corsets. Underwear design quickly adapted to better serve Soviet women’s physical activities in the factory and the kitchen. In contrast to most European countries, reports Dr Gurova, “the Soviet revolution cancelled corsets and dressed women in bras more quickly”.
This is corroborated by Christina Kiaer’s Imagine No Possessions, which looks at, among other things, the intersection of commodity production, fashion design, and avant-garde art in 1920s Russia. Much of the avant-garde fashion design was geared to sports uniforms and wear. I just hope Gurova’s study will be available in the US, so I don’t have to track it down in Russia.Post Views: 2,912
By Sean — 5 years ago
It’s the summer of mayors in Russia. That’s right: mayors. Those unalluring, often block shaped, overwhelmingly male, cheap suited, bottom feeders in Putin’s power vertical. Their goings-on usually fly under the radar of Russia watchers, especially in the West. Journalists and pundits, myself included, tend to aim high when it comes to ‘figuring out’ Russia. Putin, his inner circle, oligarchs, and other power elites concentrated in Moscow—this is the real stuff of politics. Mayors and their local bailiwicks, well, just don’t figure into the equation.
Focusing too intently on the commanding heights, however, can easily lead to mistaking the grand oaks for the forest. A lot has been going on in Russia’s political hinterlands. The Kremlin and its Investigative Committee have been wielding mighty axes in the regions, felling mayors like trees as part of Putin’s anti-corruption campaign. There’s a house cleaning of city managers. Many of these criminal indictments of mayors are totally legitimate. Many are examples of selective justice: corrupt but also politically advantageous. Others might be fabricated. Mayors are easy targets. Corruption is rife in the regions. Often stuck between a rock and hard place mayors often turn to corruption simply to get things done. Unlike federal officials, mayors are subject to their constituencies, making local elections one of the few places where real politics matter in Russia, and thus the soft underbelly of Putin’s rule.Post Views: 728
By Sean — 2 months ago