The Salamander and Other Gothic Tales contains eight stories by Vladimir Odoevsky (1804-69). These include The Salamander, The Cosmorama, and The Sylph, Odoevsky's three main metaphysical tales. The collection as a whole represents some of the best of Russian Romantic fiction from the first half of the nineteenth century. This is the first English edition of Odoevsky's work to be published since 1965 and six of the tales are here translated for the first time.
Marjorie L. Hilton presents a captivating history of consumer culture in Russia from the 1880s to the early 1930s. She highlights the critical role of consumerism as a vehicle for shaping class and gender identities, modernity, urbanism, and as a mechanism of state power in the transition from tsarist autocracy to Soviet socialism.
Beginning in the late nineteenth century, Russia witnessed a rise in mass production, consumer goods, advertising, and new retail venues such as arcades and department stores. These mirrored similar developments in other European countries and reflected a growing quest for leisure activities, luxuries, and a modern lifestyle. As Hilton reveals, retail commerce played a major role in developing Russian public culture—it affected celebrations of religious holidays, engaged diverse groups of individuals, defined behaviors and rituals of city life, inspired new interpretations of masculinity and femininity, and became a visible symbol of state influence and provision.
Through monarchies, revolution, civil war, and monumental changes in the political sphere, Russia’s distinctive culture of consumption was contested and recreated. Leaders of all stripes continued to look to the “commerce of exchange” as a key element in appealing to the masses, garnering political support, and promoting a modern nation.
Hilton follows the evolution of retailing and retailers alike, from crude outdoor stalls to elite establishments; through the competition of private versus state-run stores during the NEP; and finally to a system of total state control, indifferent workers, rationing, and shortages under a consolidating Stalinist state.
The Alaska Purchase—denounced at the time as “Seward’s Folly” but now seen as a masterstroke—is well known in American history. But few know the rest of the story.
This book aims to correct that. Lee Farrow offers here a detailed account of just what the Alaska Purchase was, how it came about, its impact at the time, and more. Farrow shows why both America and Russia had plenty of good reasons to want the sale to occur, including Russia’s desire to let go of an unprofitable, hard-to-manage colony and the belief in the United States that securing Alaska could help the nation gain control of British Columbia and generate closer trade ties with Asia . Farrow also delves into the implications of the deal for foreign policy and international diplomacy far beyond Russia and the United States at a moment when the global balance of power was in question.
A thorough, readable retelling of a story we only think we know, Seward’s Folly will become the standard book on the Alaska Purchase.
The Soviets are often viewed as insatiable industrialists who saw nature as a force to be tamed and exploited. Song of the Forest counters this assumption, uncovering significant evidence of Soviet conservation efforts in forestry, particularly under Josef Stalin. In his compelling study, Stephen Brain profiles the leading Soviet-era conservationists, agencies, and administrators, and their efforts to formulate forest policy despite powerful ideological differences.
By the time of the revolution of 1905, modern Russian forestry science had developed an influential romantic strand, especially prevalent in the work of Georgii Morozov, whose theory of “stand types” asked forest managers to consider native species and local conditions when devising plans for regenerating forests. After their rise to power, the Bolsheviks turned their backs on this tradition and adopted German methods, then considered the most advanced in the world, for clear-cutting and replanting of marketable tree types in “artificial forests.” Later, when Stalin’s Five Year Plan required vast amounts of timber for industrialization, forest radicals proposed “flying management,” an exaggerated version of German forestry where large tracts of virgin forest would be clear-cut. Opponents who still upheld Morozov’s vision favored a conservative regenerating approach, and ultimately triumphed by establishing the world’s largest forest preserve.
Another radical turn came with the Great Stalin Plan for the Transformation of Nature, implemented in 1948. Narrow “belts” of new forest planted on the vast Russian steppe would block drying winds, provide cool temperatures, trap moisture, and increase crop production. Unfortunately, planters were ordered to follow the misguided methods of the notorious Trofim Lysenko, and the resulting yields were abysmal. But despite Lysenko, agency infighting, and an indifferent peasant workforce, Stalin’s forestry bureaus eventually succeeded in winning many environmental concessions from industrial interests. In addition, the visionary teachings of Morozov found new life, ensuring that the forest’s song did not fall upon deaf ears.
Gregory Afinogenov explores centuries of Russian spying and scholarship on the Far East. He argues that the approaches the empire took are closely related to its leaders’ perception of Russia’s place in the world. Espionage gave way to public-facing, academic study, as Russia sought to outdo Britain in a global contest for imperial prestige.
Vasily Konovalenko’s unique, dynamic, and theatrical sculptures stand alone in the gem-carving world—bawdy but not salacious, political but not diplomatic, boisterous and exuberant yet occasionally sensitive. Stories in Stone offers the first comprehensive treatment of the life of this little-known Russian artist and the remarkable history of his wonderful sculptures.
Part art catalogue and part life history, Stories in Stone tells the tale of Konovalenko’s impressive works, explaining their conception, creation, and symbolism. Each handcrafted figure depicts a scene from life in the Soviet Union—a bowman hunting snow geese, a woman reposing in a hot spring surrounded by ice, peasants spinning wool, a pair of gulag prisoners sawing lumber—painstakingly rendered in precious stones and metals. The materials used to make the figurines are worth millions of dollars, but as cultural artifacts, the sculptures are priceless. Author Stephen Nash draws upon oral history and archival research to detail the life of their creator, revealing a rags-to-riches and life-imitates-art narrative full of Cold War intrigue, Communist persecution, and capitalist exploitation.
Augmented by Richard M. Wicker’s exquisite and revelatory photographs of sixty-five Konovalenko sculptures from museums, state agencies, and private collections around the world, Stories in Stone is a visually stunning glimpse into a unique corner of Russian art and cultural history, the craft and science of gem carving, and the life of a Russian artist and immigrant who loved people everywhere.
Co-published with the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, home to the most significant collection of Russian gem-carving sculptures by Vasily Konovalenko in the world.
Strategic Frames analyzes minority policies in Estonia and Latvia following their independence from the Soviet Union. It weighs the powerful influence of both Europe and Russia on their policy choices, and how this intersected with the costs and benefits of policy changes for the politicians in each state.
Prior to EU accession, policymakers were slow to adopt minority-friendly policies for ethnic Russians despite mandates from the European Union. These initiatives faced majority opposition, and politicians sought to maintain the status quo and their positions. As Jennie L. Schulze reveals, despite the credit given to the democratizing influence of European institutions, they have rarely produced significant policy changes alone, and then only when domestic constraints were low. Whenever domestic opposition was high, Russian frames were crucial for the passage of reforms. In these cases, Russia’s activism on behalf of Russian speakers reinforced European frames, providing powerful justifications for reform.
Schulze’s attention to both the strategic framing and counter framing of external actors explains the controversies, delays, and suboptimal outcomes surrounding the passage of “conditional” amendments in both cases, as well as the local political climate postaccession.
Strategic Frames offers a significant reference on recent developments in two former Soviet states and the rapidly evolving spheres of political influence in the postindependence era that will serve students, scholars, and policymakers alike.