As readers of Russian literature know, the nineteenth century was a time of pervasive financial anxiety. Russians of all classes were enmeshed in networks of credit and debt, and borrowing and lending shaped perceptions of material and moral worth. Sergei Antonov recreates this imperial world of borrowers, bankrupts, lenders, and loan sharks.
Mikhail Lermontov (1814-1841) is one of Russia's most prominent poets--and one of its most puzzling. In this radically new interpretation, David Powelstock reveals how the seeming contradictions in Lermontov's life and works can be understood as manifestations of a coherent worldview.
By bringing to light Lermontov's operative version of Romantic individualism, Powelstock is able to make sense of the poet's relationship to "romantic irony," his highly modern concept of the reader (both real, and implied in the text), and his vexed passion for his predecessor Alexander Pushkin--a relationship that is almost always treated sentimentally, but is here given its true competitive edge. Furthermore, Powelstock offers the most persuasive account ever given of Lermontov's exceptionally odd treatment of, and success with, women--both in real life and in fiction--and of his cruel overlapping of these two planes.
Clarifying what has remained perplexing for so long, and correcting what has been misinterpreted, Powelstock's work illuminates Lermontov's views of dignity, death, love, nature, society, and ethics--and, finally, gives us an intellectual biography that is deeper and more subtle than any written before.
Between Europe and Asia analyzes the origins and development of Eurasianism, an intellectual movement that proclaimed the existence of Eurasia, a separate civilization coinciding with the former Russian Empire. The essays in the volume explore the historical roots, the heyday of the movement in the 1920s, and the afterlife of the movement in the Soviet and post-Soviet periods. The first study to offer a multifaceted account of Eurasianism in the twentieth century and to touch on the movement's intellectual entanglements with history, politics, literature, or geography, this book also explores Eurasianism's influences beyond Russia.
The Eurasianists blended their search for a primordial essence of Russian culture with radicalism of Europe's interwar period. In reaction to the devastation and dislocation of the wars and revolutions, they celebrated the Orthodox Church and the Asian connections of Russian culture, while rejecting Western individualism and democracy. The movement sought to articulate a non-European, non-Western modernity, and to underscore Russia's role in the colonial world. As the authors demonstrate, Eurasianism was akin to many fascist movements in interwar Europe, and became one of the sources of the rhetoric of nationalist mobilization in Vladimir Putin's Russia. This book presents the rich history of the concept of Eurasianism, and how it developed over time to achieve its present form.
Though the Russian Symbolist movement was dominated by a concern with transcending sex, many of the writers associated with the movement exhibited an intense preoccupation with matters of the flesh. Drawing on poetry, plays, short stories, essays, memoirs, and letters, as well as feminist and psychoanalytic theory, Beyond the Flesh documents the often unexpected form that this obsession with gender and the body took in the life and art of two of the most important Russian Symbolists.
Jenifer Presto argues that the difficulties encountered in reading Alexander Blok and Zinaida Gippius within either a feminist or a traditional, binary gendered framework derive not only from the peculiarities of their creative personalities but also from the specific Russian cultural context. Although these two poets engaged in gendered practices that, at times, appeared to be highly idiosyncratic and even incited gossip among their contemporaries, they were not operating in a vacuum. Instead, they were responding to philosophical concepts that were central to Russian Symbolism and that would continue to shape modernism in Russia.
During Russia's late imperial period, Orthodox churchmen, professionally trained theologians, and an array of social commentators sought to give meaning to Russian history and its supposed backwardness. Many found that meaning in asceticism. For some, ascetic religiosity prevented Russia from achieving its historical destiny. For others, it was the means by which the Russian people would realize the kingdom of God, thereby saving Holy Russia and the world from the satanic forces of the West.
Patrick Lally Michelson's intellectual history of asceticism in Russian Orthodox thought traces the development of these competing arguments from the early nineteenth century to the early months of World War I. He demonstrates that this discourse was an imaginative interpretation of lived Orthodoxy, primarily meant to satisfy the ideological needs of Russian thinkers and Orthodox intellectuals as they responded to the socioeconomic, political, and cultural challenges of modernity.
Jonathan A. Grant has written a highly original study of the Putilov works—the most famous industrial conglomerate in the Russian Empire during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. With the emergence of a capitalist system in the Russian federation in the 1990s, scholarly debate over the nature of Russian capitalism has been revived, and with this study, Grant issues a major challenge to the conventional wisdom on the nature of the Russian economy in the years before the Bolshevik revolution. Grant argues that the Putilov Company, which manufactured arms for the Russian state and a wide range of heavy industrial equipment for civilian use, adopted business practices that resembled the experiences of large machinery and armaments manufacturers in Britain, France, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Germany. This interpretation runs directly counter to the traditional and widely held view that Russian capitalism was shaped by the tsarist state's orders and subsidies and that the tsarist system was incompatible with the development of modern capitalism. Grant makes direct comparisons between Putilov and the famous western firm of Krupp and Vickers, illustrating similar business decisions made by both companies in terms of diversification of the product line and a penchant for private (as opposed to state) markets for primary income.
Grant has gone beyond Soviet works on the Putilov plant, examining archival documents of the company and offering critical comments on both Soviet and Western scholarship on Russian economic and social history from the perspective of this important industrial enterprise. Grant not only repeatedly demonstrates that the Putilov firm responded effectively to the changing market for its wide range of industrial products but also shows that the tsarist regime provided far more of the "systemic regularity" needed for capitalist development than generally believed. Grant's work is a significant contribution to this ongoing debate, offering a much-needed case study of Russian business history and a comparative study that extends across national boundaries. Big Business in Russia is essential reading for graduate students in Russian and European history and will also appeal to American and European business leaders eager to understand the historical background of the current economic challenges facing Russia.
This book, translated from the original Spanish, is the primary academic and historical study of the Blue Division -- a Falangist initiative involving the dispatch of some forty-thousand Spanish combatants (over a half of whom paid with their lives, health, or liberty) to the Russian Front during the Second World War. Xavier Moreno Julia does not limit himself to relating their deeds under arms, but also analyses -- for the first time -- the political background in detail: the complex relations between the Spanish government and Hitler's Germany; the internal conflicts between the Falangists and the Army; the rise and fall of Franco's brother-in-law, Minister Ramon Serrano Suner, who inspired the Blue Division and became the second most powerful person in Spain; and the attitude of General Agustin Munoz Grandes, commander of the Blue Division, who was encouraged by Berlin to seriously consider the possibility of taking over the reins of Spanish power. In the end, there were 45,500 reasons that led to joining the Blue Division -- one for each young man who decided to enlist. To understand all of the complex reasons behind their military service under German command is impossible at this juncture. It is an irrecoverable past that lies in Spanish cemeteries and on the Russian steppes. This book, based on massive documentation in German, British and Spanish archives, is an essential source of information to understand Spain in the 1940s -- an epoch when the Caudillo's power and the regime's good fortune were less secure than is often believed. Published in association with the Canada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies, LSE.
The rise of the Bolsheviks is an epic Russian story that now has a definitive end. The major historian of the subject, Adam Ulam, has enlarged his classic work with a new Preface that puts the revolutionary moment, and especially Lenin, in perspective for our modern age.
In eighteenth-century Russia, as elsewhere in Europe, bread was a dietary staple—truly grain was the staff of economic, social, and political life. Early on Tsar Peter the Great founded St. Petersburg to export goods from Russia’s vast but remote interior and by doing so to drive Russia’s growth and prosperity. But the new city also had to be fed with grain brought over great distances from those same interior provinces. In this compelling account, Robert E. Jones chronicles how the unparalleled effort put into the building of a wide infrastructure to support the provisioning of the newly created but physically isolated city of St. Petersburg profoundly affected all of Russia’s economic life and, ultimately, the historical trajectory of the Russian Empire as a whole.
Jones details the planning, engineering, and construction of extensive canal systems that efficiently connected the new capital city to grain and other resources as far away as the Urals, the Volga, and Ukraine. He then offers fresh insights to the state’s careful promotion and management of the grain trade during the long eighteenth century. He shows how the government established public granaries to combat shortages, created credit instruments to encourage risk taking by grain merchants, and encouraged the development of capital markets and private enterprise. The result was the emergence of an increasingly important cash economy along with a reliable system of provisioning the fifth largest city in Europe, with the political benefit that St. Petersburg never suffered the food riots common elsewhere in Europe.
Thanks to this well-regulated but distinctly free-market trade arrangement, the grain-fueled economy became a wellspring for national economic growth, while also providing a substantial infrastructural foundation for a modernizing Russian state. In many ways, this account reveals the foresight of both Peter I and Catherine II and their determination to steer imperial Russia’s national economy away from statist solutions and onto a path remarkably similar to that taken by Western European countries but distinctly different than that of either their Muscovite predecessors or Soviet successors.
A classic problem of social order prompts the central questions of this book: Why are some groups better able to govern themselves than others? Why do state actors sometimes delegate governing power to other bodies? How do different organizations including the state, the business community, and protection rackets come to govern different markets? Scholars have used both sociological and economic approaches to study these questions; here Timothy Frye argues for a different approach. He seeks to extend the theoretical and empirical scope of theories of self-governance beyond groups that exist in isolation from the state and suggests that social order is primarily a political problem.
Drawing on extensive interviews, surveys, and other sources, Frye addresses these question by studying five markets in contemporary Russia, including the currency futures, universal and specialized commodities, and equities markets. Using a model that depicts the effect of state policy on the prospects for self-governance, he tests theories of institutional performance and offers a political explanation for the creation of social capital, the formation of markets, and the source of legal institutions in the postcommunist world. In doing so, Frye makes a major contribution to the study of states and markets.
The book will be important reading for academic political scientists, economists (especially those who study the New Institutional Economics), legal scholars, sociologists, business-people, journalists, and students interested in transitions.
Timothy Frye is Assistant Professor of Political Science, The Ohio State University.
By Authors Possessed examines the development of the demonic in key Russian novels from the last two centuries. Defining the demonic novel as one that takes as its theme an evil presence incarnated in the protagonists and attributed to the Judeo-Christian Devil, Adam Weiner investigates the way the content of such a book can compromise the moral integrity of its narration and its sense of authorship.
Weiner contends that the theme of demonism increasingly infects the narrative point of view from Gogol's Dead Souls to Dostoevsky's The Devils and Bely's Petersburg, until Nabokov exorcised the demonic novel through his fiction and his criticism. Starting from the premise that artistic creation has always been enshrouded in a haze of moral dilemma and religious doubt, Weiner's study of the demonic novel is an attempt to illuminate the potential ethical perils and aesthetic gains of great art.