From the fissures of Brexit and the recent results of pan-national European Union (EU) elections, insurgent political parties are becoming a force to be reckoned with. For all their disparate centers of gravity, nearly all of them converge on the question of Euroscepticism and the liberal international order. The primary consternation, it is routinely said, is not so much their dogged populism, but that most of them are unwittingly setting themselves up to do Moscow’s bidding in Europe.
Drawing on Cold War historiography, this article sets out to critique how this thesis evolved along a consistent prism of ideological meta-narratives. Its key focus is highlighting how missing links in some of the seminal moments in the history of Soviet-Western relations continue to filter into explaining contemporary political developments in the EU.
This article thus makes two basic conclusions. First, that there is something to be said of the insurgent political movements as committed players in the competition for the balance of power in the political berth of Europe. And in that regard, their rhetorical association with Moscow’s positions is a pragmatic step in the grand strategy of national and pan-European politics. Second, Moscow, contrary to being the adversarial vector of liberal Europe, has historically identified its best interest with cooperating, if not outrightly, aligning with the Western-led postwar international liberal order.
The current conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh began in the second half of the 1980s, but its roots are deeper, reaching back at least to the first quarter of the 20th century. The aim of this article is to place these problematic aspects of mutual Armenian-Azerbaijani relations in their historical context and to link them with the current conflict. This article also identifies the factors that underlay the initial stages of the conflict and its subsequent escalation. The ethno-political mobilization of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, but subsequently also of Armenians in the Armenian SSR and Azerbaijanis in the Azerbaijan SSR, was driven by specific conditions that emerged during the collapse of the Soviet state. The gradual ethno-political mobilization in both union republics, as well as in Nagorno-Karabakh itself, was a by-product of Soviet nationality policy, and was enabled by the policy of glasnost. This article identifies the following key factors that created suitable conditions for the escalation of the conflict: Armenians’ dissatisfaction with the autonomous status of Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan (fueled by the perception of numerous historic injustices), the legal and social chaos brought by the disintegration of the USSR, and the political and economic weakness of the newly emerging states.
This article examines the role of the monetary world inclusion in the world of children’s games in the late Soviet period by opening a previously unknown page of board games’ social history in the USSR and describes the practices of playing Do It Yourself (DIY) Monopoly by Soviet children in the 1980s. Soviet teenagers used friendly relationships to exchange tacit knowledge about the basic rules of the board business game. They made playing fields and developed the rules of the game, using school knowledge about the principles of the capitalist economy. The article shows the game rules’ evolution of the DIY Soviet Monopoly versions and shows the creativity of the Soviet teenagers in the re-invention of the rules of the board business game. DIYMonopoly versions were a form of adaptation of western goods to socialist conditions, which were common practice in the Soviet Union since its inception.
This article addresses the complex role of mushrooms, particularly that of the fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) [Russian: Mukhomor], in the art of Moscow conceptualism in a broad setting. This paper explores the mythopoetic theme of mushroom-induced beliefs, which influenced the Moscow conceptualists, and employs background historical scholarship by R.G. Wasson, V.N. Toporov, T.J. Elizarenkova, and others. Aside from the mushrooms per se that were particularly important for Moscow conceptualism, this article also mentions various ethno-botanical entheogens (i.e. biochemical substances such as plants or drugs ingested in order to undergo certain spiritual experience, or “generating the divine within”). Apart from analyzing the ethnobotanical historical background of manifesting hallucinogenic mushrooms on the Russian soil (including Siberia), this article focuses on Pavel Peppershtein’s novel Mifogennaia Liubov’ Kast (The Mythogenic Love of the Castes), which was co-authored with Sergey Anufriev. As the narrative of the novel unfolds, its main character, the Communist Partorg (Party Organizer) Dunaev, is wounded and shell-shocked at the very beginning of the Great Patriotic War (World War II). Partorg Dunaev finds himself deep in a mysterious forest, where he inadvertently snacks on unknown hallucinogenic mushrooms. He subsequently transforms into an exceptionally strong wizard who is capable of fighting spectral enemies both on earth and in heaven. The reader discovers the so-called “parallel war” sweeping over the Russian territory where legendary Russian/Soviet fairy heroes are locked in combat with their opponents, the characters of the Western children’s tales, and books. A heroic mushroom-eater, Partorg Dunaev joins one of the sides in this fight and gradually reaches the “utmost limits of sacrifice and self-rejection.” This article contextualizes the fungi-entheogenic episodes of Moscow conceptualism into a broader sphere of constructed visionary/ hallucinogenic reality by focusing on psilocybin fungi, particularly the fly agaric/Amanita muscaria/Mukhomor, and their cultural significance.