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Abstract

The branch of public knowledge that is designated as “historical science” has its own mythology. It is based not only on one-sided historical facts, but also on various theoretical concepts. Some historical and theoretical myths are peculiar to individual countries, while others are more widespread, for example, the myth of democracy as the power of the people. Now in Russia there is final approval for the concept of the “Great Russian Revolution of 1917,” which is another pseudoscientific myth that quite happily coexists with the old myth of socialism in the USSR. The new myth enjoys full support from the authorities and is positively accepted by the vast majority of the Russian scholarly community, which is entirely dependent on the state and adapts to its policies quite consciously or by force of habit. This article attempts not only to critically analyze the concept of the “Great Russian Revolution” as another phenomenon of Russian historical mythology, but also to present a different explanation for the events of 1917 in Russia.

In: Russian Politics

Abstract

The article is devoted to the current state of the discussion around transition of power in Russia in 1999-2001. The authors rely both on the patronal approach to show post-Soviet specificity and on the theory of neo-elitism to show its universal features. This transition was the point at which the highly differentiated post-Soviet elite was able to create a fragile base for integration. The article shows that it is possible to apply the theory of the elite pact to the Russian case, but the effects of the pact itself may ultimately differ from the trajectory of movement towards democracy predicted by the neo-elite theory. The trajectory deviates from the given one due to the patronal ribbon structures and the reversibility of the differentiation process. A new form of elite pact in Russia is possible, but the newborn elite coalition is doomed to be unsustainable unless a new constitutional reconsolidation follows.

In: Russian Politics

Abstract

This article examines the main stages in the development of relations between Russia and Latin America from 2000 to 2022. The research covers the entire set of bilateral cooperation between Russia and Latin American countries, and the internal and external factors influencing their evolution. The article presents the author’s view of interstate interactions from two perspectives – the foreign policy of Russia, and the national and international objectives of leading Latin American countries. The author concludes that for Russian foreign policy in the 21st century, all the countries of this region can be divided into four conditional groups: traditional partners, ideological allies, trade partners, and low priority states. This mapping of the region can explain the peculiarities of the formation of dialogue between Moscow and Latin American countries, and the possibilities and limits of interstate and interregional cooperation.

In: Russian Politics
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Abstract

One of the most critical foreign policy issues of middle – power states is how to mold attitudes towards major powers. Since 1979, Iran has changed the nature of its relations with major powers. Although the Iranian Revolution adopted the ‘Neither East, Nor West’ motto as a macro guide to its foreign policy, since the late 1980s Iran and the Soviet Union – now Russia, have advanced their bilateral relations. Despite Iran and Russia sharing convergent views on many international issues, they have not promoted their ties to a strategic alliance. The present paper addresses the question of what conceptual model represents Iran-Russia relations and what challenges the two countries face in expanding their strategic partnership in the 2020s. This research addresses these problems at three levels: inter-state, regional, and global, and was conducted through a descriptive-analytical method. It is hypothesized that current Iran-Russia relations could be referred to as a ‘strategic alignment’.

In: Russian Politics

Abstract

The system-dynamic model elaborates processes for recruiting political elites across Russia’s regions from 1985 to 2019. The authors consider several counterfactual scenarios through computational simulations. The first series includes the radical disintegration of Soviet recruitment mechanisms. The second series elaborates the opposite scenario: the gradual evolution/preservation of Soviet continuity. The third series simulates a unique situation where Vladimir Putin abandons his policy for strengthening the “vertical of power.” A key finding is that the fight against new threats (crime, corruption, separatism) did not allow the center to realize the impact of traditional existing institutions that had corrosive and destructive power.

In: Russian Politics
Free access
In: Central Asian Affairs

Abstract

This article explores systems of social control over women’s bodies demonstrated by discourses and practices which regulate women’s virginity in Kyrgyzstan. Emergence of these discourses are shaped by Kyrgyzstan’s continued post-independence nation-building processes and economic instability. In this context, women’s bodies are at the center of political contestation, ethnic nationalism, and collective power. Findings suggest that women have learned to use their bodies in economic struggles as sources of individual resistance. Drawing on in-depth interviews and ethnography of social media, we identify how young Kyrgyz women relate to the issue and its associated practices. We investigate their strategizing mechanisms and analyze how, in the attempts to undermine patriarchal oppression and optimize their opportunities, their coping strategies may actually contribute to perpetuate them.

In: Central Asian Affairs

Abstract

The specificity and variety of the experiences of feminist organizing in the former “second world” is rarely explored in the studies of transnational feminist praxis. This paper explores the (queer) feminist discourses of the region, described as the most “distant Other” of the former USSR – Central Asia. I look at the ways artists, activists, and academics from two cities in the region, Bishkek and Almaty, articulate their understandings of feminism from an intersectional and decolonial perspectives. I argue that local (queer) feminist activists are producers of unique knowledge(s), bound neither to a “return to tradition” nor to accept ready-made solutions from the “West,” which positions itself as an “origin” of contemporary debates on gender. By engaging with the inner coloniality of the feminist movements in the former USSR, the article contributes to the transnational debates on the inclusivity of feminism(s).

In: Central Asian Affairs

Abstract

Varied visuals (paper-based, textiles, ceramics, etc.) targeted men and women to join the struggle for a new happy life in Soviet Central Asia. I designate these visuals as “Soviet material ideology” and I consider them as a powerful tool in spreading new ideas and practices. In this paper I explore posters and carpets created in the 1920s and 1930s that call for the emancipation of women of Central Asia. Studying of graphic and textile iconography helps to understand how the image of a woman of the “Soviet East” was reproduced and which ideas about women’s emancipation were promoted. The analysis of Soviet visuals, which were a part of everyday life, explores a multidimensional picture of Soviet history and reveals the links between tradition and modernity, national and supranational, top-down and bottom-up narratives. Finally, textiles and graphics reflect Soviet trends pertaining to gender roles in the 1920–1930s. The paper is based on posters from the collection of the department of the Russian State Library and the Mardjani Foundation. It also relies on the examination of carpets from the Museum of Fine Arts of Turkmenistan, the State Museum of Oriental Art, the Russian Museum of Ethnography, the All-Russian Museum of Decorative and Applied Art and private collections.

In: Central Asian Affairs

Abstract

Racializing locals has been one of the main characteristics of Russian and Soviet imperial modernity. Anbar Otin (1870–1915) was among the thinkers and writers in Turkistan’s Muslim society engaging with such issues. In Risolai Falsafai Siyohon (The Treatise on the Philosophy of the Blacks) she treats siyohon (blacks) as a color employed as a social metaphor and social position used in reference to the ordinary people of Turkestan, their frustrated hopes, and their pain. In the work, Anbar indicates that the word siyohon (qoralar -blackness) has been used to racialize, discriminate against, and denigrate Turkestan’s peoples. According to Anbar, it also carries a positive connotation as in “inner and physical beauty.” In this paper, I analyze the writing of Anbar in relation to her understanding of racialization, inequality, religion, gender, and disability, situating Anbar’s experience within broader discussions of such topics in the Central Asian context.

In: Central Asian Affairs