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Author: I. I. Verniaev

In the second half of the eighteenth century the Russian state carried out a policy of estate, civil-legal, economic, and confessional integration of Old Believers, as well as their return to Russia from abroad. This policy was first approved for the western and southwestern outskirts of the emerging New Russian region, and then the transfer of developed models to the central regions of the country occurred. Channels of social mobility were opened for Old Believers; fiscal marginalization was eliminated, as were a number of restrictions on civil rights; the official designation of “schismatics” and the mandatory labeling of external appearance were nullified; and extensive possibilities for participation in economic development were granted. On the whole, the program of estate, civil-legal and economic integration of Old Believers was implemented fairly successfully. A portion of the Old Believers from abroad returned to Russia. Deciding the question of the confessional integration of the Old Believers was more difficult. In this direction, various projects were developed by secular authorities at different levels, by the spiritual authority, and by individual groups of Old Believers. To achieve integration, the government partly rehabilitated the “Old Rite” in the 1760s. But recognition of an Old Believer confession autonomous from the ruling Church was unacceptable to the government, and particularly, to the spiritual authorities. The idea of the indissolubility of ethnic and confessional categories did not allow for another church, besides the official Orthodox one, for the Russian population. In New Russia’s Elisavetgrad Province in the 1780s, the model of edinoverie integration of Old Believers was tested. By the end of the eighteenth century, an extremely limited model edinoverie was adopted on an empire-wide scale, which did not involve the confessional autonomy of the Old Believers. As a result of the low nationwide prevalence of edinoverie, the government was partially obliged to tolerate, at the administrative level, the existence of Old Believer worship, religious infrastructure, and Old Believer priests. But this status of Old Believer confessionalism was legally uncertain and unsustainable in practical terms. Accordingly, no solution to the problem of the confessional integration of Old Believers was found during the period under review.

In: Russian History

With the signing of the Moscow Treaty in 1970 between the Soviet Union and West Germany, a new period in Soviet-German relations began. This phenomenon was made possible by two factors: the strengthening of Brezhnev's power and the election of Willy Brandt as Chancellor of West Germany. This article identified the importance of the personal relationship between the two politicians in the transition from a policy of harsh confrontation during the Cold War to a policy of détente and economic cooperation in the form of an energy dialogue from 1970 to 1973. Against the background of current events, the author poses the question of why the two politicians were unable to agree to a policy against the backdrop of the perceived ideological antagonism between the capitalist and socialist systems. This article also considers how the relationship between the two men affected the development of economic cooperation between the two countries.

In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review

This article examines a criminal case from 1966–1969 concerning a crime that took place in 1965 in the town of Izmalkovo outside of Moscow. Two young men were charged and eventually acquitted for the rape and murder of their female classmate. Their trial drew the attention of jurists and journalists from the capital, as well as scrutiny from the highest judicial and party organs in addition to the ire of local villagers. Two accounts remain of the trial: one written in 1969 by a Moscow journalist, Olga Chaikovskaia, well-known for her writings on crime and law throughout the late Soviet period, and the other penned over a decade later by Dina Kaminskaia, one of the defense lawyers in the trial and later notorious for her advocacy on behalf of prominent dissidents. Both of these women, in describing their defense of the young men, employed gendered conceptions of justice and legality in order to criticize or condemn the Soviet justice system and its agents. And yet Kaminskaia’s and Chaikovskaia’s narratives reveal that, in spite of deep divisions between people from different classes, localities, and with disparate education levels, both urban intelligentsia elite women and the simple village women who heartily opposed them could still have a remarkable degree of faith in the criminal justice system well into the era of “stagnation.” What interested the women from the capital in this case was their perception that the highest organs of Soviet power were involved in these boys’ prosecution, and that their convictions were a foregone conclusion. What kept them coming back to Izmalkovo after repeated set-backs, was the hope that, with the right arguments and evidence, and in spite of the political bias working against them, that justice could nonetheless be achieved for the boys. On this count, they were correct.

In: Russian History

This article examines Russian criminologists’ engagements with emergent norms of international criminal law at the fin-de-siècle. In particular, it discusses attempts to end the ‘international traffic in pornography’ from the 1880s onwards, framing these attempts as key elements in the development of Russian ideas about sexual crime more broadly. For pre- and post-revolutionary Russian criminologists involved with the Hague-based International Union for Penal Law, the crime of trafficking in pornography was conceptualized as both a crime against the censor and also an offense that did specific harm to certain social groups, namely women and children. In this way, anxieties about gender and sex lay at the heart of the calls to ban the cross-border trade in obscenity, suggesting a particular biopolitical understanding of international security haunting early twentieth century international criminal law.

In: Russian History
Author: Simon Young

Historians’ understanding of the involvement of the Soviet security services in the orchestration of the Moscow Olympics has heretofore been based on unsubstantiated rumours and anecdotes. Using previously unavailable sources, this article reveals for the first time how the ussr’s coercive apparatus was mobilized to both neutralize perceived threats to Soviet national security produced by the Olympiad and assist the cpsu in using it to promote Soviet socialism in the outside world during the Brezhnev era. The implications of this episode for our understanding of the kgb’s role in late Soviet politics are then considered, and compared with those which arise from a brief reading of the existing literature on the subject.

In: Russian History

This article investigates the influence of Soviet economic policy on the daily life of Siberian townspeople in the 1960s using a wide range of official and personal sources. In particular, it examines how the Soviet state provided the population with food, enacted price policy and currency reform, and implemented housing programs and consumer services. This article also employs popular memoirs to explore the involvement of the scientific revolution in the beginning of the formation of a socially oriented economy. It also provides a novel perspective on the changes that impacted the everyday lives of ordinary people during the period of Khrushchev’s “Thaw.”

In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review

This article analyzes socio-economic and cultural transformations in the Soviet village from the end of the 1920s until the 1980s. The authors identify the agrarian system of that time as state capitalism and reveal that during the 1950s and 1960s, capital that played a leading role in Soviet agriculture. The authors argue that the emergence of state capitalism was due to the interaction of the state, collective farms, and peasant holdings. The preservation of traditional peasant holdings allowed the state to build a specific system of non-economic exploitation, the core of which existed until the beginning of the 1960s. The authors connect the formation of agrarian capitalism with the creation of new rural classes. The authors conclude that from the 1920s to the 1980s, a combination of economic, political and socio-cultural factors led to the transformation of the agrarian society in the Soviet Union into the state capitalism.

In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
Author: Yury P. Bokarev

This article examines the impact of changes in the economic space of the Soviet Union on the formation of the economy of the Russian Federation. The compression of economic space after the dissolution of the ussr was accompanied by a contraction of economic activity. This process decentralized and disintegrated the post-Soviet economy. The once unified Soviet economic system was divided into an array of loosely coupled local systems. Due to a shortage of manpower and resources in the new Russian Federation, an economic center (Moscow) formed around the new Russian economic space. The problem of the expansion of the Russian economic space through regional integration, the expansion of economic ties, and the annexation of the territories is no less complex, but Russia is in the early stages of this process and is not yet possible to trace its impact on the Russian economy.

In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
In: Russian History
Author: Mircea Platon

Astolphe de Custine’s collection of letters La Russie en 1839, first published in France in 1843, was rediscovered by Henri Massis in 1946. Massis re-introduced Custine’s by then long forgotten letters on Russia to the French public. Once American Cold Warriors such as George Kennan and General Walter Bedell-Smith discovered the book, they promptly promoted it to the status of the most prophetic book on the “Russian soul.” Denounced as “fictional,” by many nineteenth-century writers and by a host of twentieth-century scholars, Custine’s book was accepted as canonical by a large reading public and, more importantly, by successive generations of us policy makers. This article contributes to the historiography of Cold War propaganda by looking first at the context in which the book was initially resurrected by Massis, and then by analyzing the ways in which Cold War propaganda constructed its “relevance,” “actuality” and “prophetic” character. The article begins by taking a look at the way in which Massis, the first popularizer of the book, fitted it into his own ideological pattern. In a second movement, the article analyzes the ways in which the book functioned in the post-wwii ideological context, seeking to discover if the alleged relevance of the book had anything to do with the survival into the postwar world of the European Right’s interwar tangle of received ideas and patterns of prejudice.

In: Russian History