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Abstract

Mass protest movements of the early 2010s, particularly the Occupy movement, stimulated the rise of radical left organizations globally. In Southern Europe, radical left parties celebrated their first electoral successes. In Russia, radical left organizations were also influenced by this upsurge of social protest movements and participated in the Bolotnaya protests in 2011–2012 but were marginalized and disintegrated shortly after, resuming their activities only by 2019. This article explores the radical left movements and groups in Russia and offers projections for their future. The Russian radical left is divided into three sub-groups: fundamentalist communists who identify with Stalin and the Soviet Union, libertarian socialists and communists (subdivided into neo-anarchists, autonomists, and neo-Trotskyists), and hybrid organizations (e.g., the Left Front). These organizations face two major constraints unknown to their Western counterparts. First, Russia’s authoritarian regime blocks opportunities for independent, particularly electoral, politics. This reveals itself in targeted repressions against left radicals and anarchists. Second, the dominance of the CPRF blocks any potential of strong left opposition. Unless these restrictions are lifted, radical left organizations in Russia will not be able to overcome their current crisis.

In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
Author: Yacov Livne

Abstract

This article focuses on the strategies that Moscow chose during the first decade after World War II to overcome the obstacles created by the West to its entrance into the Middle East. The cases of Israel in 1948 and Egypt in 1955 show two different entry strategies used by Moscow and reflect significant changes in Soviet foreign policy that occurred between Stalin and Khrushchev toward developing countries. In 1948 Stalin chose an indirect and often tacit support of Israel, while in 1955 Khrushchev opted for a more direct approach with Egypt. Khrushchev’s confident tactics presented Moscow with new opportunities in the Middle East and the developing nations but also created long term challenges for the Soviet regime.

At the same time, Israel and Egypt successfully maneuvered between Moscow and the West to gain maximum benefits for their national security needs by using both camps of the Cold War.

In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review

Abstract

The present paper addresses the manner in which local population of the Polesie voivodeship perceived the Soviet invasion of Poland through the prism of encounter with “others”. In particular, this paper focuses on the local understanding of “others” and how this changed due to the invasion. Also, as an important part of its contextualization, I explore the image of the Soviets held by local communities before the war.

In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
Free access
In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review

Abstract

The founding of Akademgorodok near Novosibirsk in the late 1950s features prominently in the historiography of the Thaw and the general turn of Soviet science to the eastern parts of the country. This article puts this story into the context of the formation of modern “green” ideas in the late Soviet Union and reconsiders the relationship between humans and nature, along with the definition of nature itself. Akademgorodok produced a telling visual perspective: the architectural plan for the city dictated that its scientific, industrial, and living zones were drowned deep in the taiga. Architects named this type of urban planning “diffusive,” and memoirists described it as a “Forest City.” Using the term of Sheila Jasanoff, we designate this “Forest City” as a sociotechnical imaginary of Akademgorodok.

Our aim is to study the historical roots of the “Forest City” and how it became a collective imaginary. How did it happen that in the 1950s and 1960s, when the “faces” of Soviet cities were defined by districts of standard panel houses, that a city was built near Novosibirsk in which so much attention was given to pre-human flora, fauna, and landscapes? What ideas and intellectual contexts composed the concept of Akademgorodok as a “Forest City”? Our answer possesses two dimensions. First, the rejection of the use of decorative elements in housing construction in the post-Stalin epoch stimulated architects to pay more attention to the greening of cities. They revived the concept of a “garden city” proposed by Ebenezer Howard on a new level. Second, the evolution of the ideas of Mikhail Lavrentyev, the founder of Akademgorodok, who upon arrival in Siberia applied the productivist program manifested in the slogan “Siberia is a treasure of resources,” but later changed his opinion to more “green” views under the influence of the so-called “Baikal Discussion.” The viewpoints of Lavrentyev influenced the design of this “center” of Siberian science, and then he formulated the idea of a “Forest City.” These contexts enable the utopian horizons and the search for models of a constructed future that were typical of the Thaw era to reflect upon the important challenges of the contemporary Anthropocene.

In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review

Abstract

The north of Western Siberia is a region that in a historically short time went from a hub of territorial development, where it was only necessary to control the volume of extraction of certain resources, to a zone of extensive industrial development of vast territories with the need for comprehensive environmental protection. The models of embedding the north of Western Siberia into the socioeconomic space of the USSR were simultaneously based on the need to develop the region’s rich natural resources and to rationally use them. At their core was an industrial standard. In the 1930s–1950s, this industrial standard depended on the use of biological resources, where the main producer of material wealth was the Indigenous inhabitants of the north. Yet it failed. A need arose to rely on resources with a more powerfully transformative and modernizing potential. These resources became hydrocarbons. Beginning in the 1960s, the model of natural resource use in the north was reoriented towards the extraction of oil and gas. The favorable market conditions and large export potential of these resources made it possible to solve not only economic but also ideological tasks. The main producer of material goods became the migrant population, which had the necessary professional and social skills to translate the industrial standard into practice. The Indigenous peoples of the north found themselves on the sidelines of socioeconomic development.

A stereotype took root in Soviet society and science that the main object of management and transformation should be nature, which can be modified unlimitedly and at any speed. At the same time, it is obvious that technological and socioeconomic mechanisms are more, not less, malleable than natural ones. A person in the “human-nature” system was considered utilitarianly, exclusively from an economic standpoint. All of this speaks to the need to better understand the historical experience of state environmental management in northern Siberia and the role of people in this process.

In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review