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Übersetzung und wissenschaftliche Redaktion von Bernard Wiaderny
Editor / Translator: Bernard Wiaderny
Zwei führende polnische Zeithistoriker schildern die jüngste Geschichte ihres Landes vom deutschen Überfall 1939 bis zur Gegenwart.
Andrzej Friszke und Antoni Dudek sind nicht nur namhafte polnische Historiker, sondern auch Zeitzeugen und scharfe Beobachter der aktuellen politischen Entwicklung ihres Landes. Mit dem Schwerpunkt auf Politik- und Sozialgeschichte geben sie einen Überblick über die Geschicke des Landes, beginnend mit der Zeit der deutschen Besatzung Polens, und die Etablierung des kommunistischen Systems. Die Rolle der Opposition und der katholischen Kirche in der Volksrepublik, die Entstehung der Gewerkschaft „Solidarność“ (an der Friszke aktiv beteiligt war) sowie die politische Transformation seit 1989 werden breit behandelt. Besonderen Wert gewinnt das Buch durch die Berücksichtigung der zeithistorisch bislang kaum erfassten 2000er Jahre.
Volume Editors: Mati Laur and Karsten Brüggemann
Die „Forschungen zur baltischen Geschichte“ sind das führende wissenschaftliche Periodikum mit einem Fokus auf der Geschichte der drei Staaten Estland, Lettland und Litauen. In dieser Nummer geht es um den Alltag finnischer Bauarbeiter in der Estnischen SSR in den 1970er Jahren, religiöse Polemiken im Mittelalter und um die spannende Frage, ob Herder tatsächlich das Litauische nicht vom Lettischen unterscheiden konnte. Die Leserschaft wird an eine reichgedeckte mittelalterliche Tafel voller leckerer Fischspeisen geladen, betrachtet litauische Gedenkpraktiken in der Zwischenkriegszeit und diskutiert die Erinnerungen von estnischen Kommunisten sowie die Rezeption des bekannten estnischen Schriftstellers Jaan Kross in der Lettischen SSR. Diverse Mitteilungen und zahlreiche Rezensionen runden diesen Band ab.
The Policy of Belarusization, 1924-1929
Author: Alena Marková
The book sheds light on processes of Belarusian nation-building and identity formation during the interwar period. It provides a complete analysis of the Soviet policy of Belarusization in interwar Belarus (1924-1929).

The analysis covers issues pertaining to the formation of national identity, the incorporation of the Belarusian national language into educational and administrative spheres within the policy of Belarusization and its acceptance by the dif-
ferent strata of the multi-ethnic society in the BSSR of that period. The monograph also sheds light on the reasons for the launching and ceasing of that policy as well as on the interrelation between the Communist Party and the
Belarusian national intelligentsia.
Series Editors: Christina Lodder and Jeffrey Brooks
Original work on the culture and history of Russia throughout the centuries; cultural, ethnic and national identity, social and political history, popular culture, visual and performing arts, architecture and cinema, gender studies, children and youth culture, oral history and memory.

Until Volume 22, the series was published by Brill, click here.

The series published an average of 1,5 volumes per year over the last 5 years.
Established in 2010 to meet a growing international interest in Balkan studies, the Balkan Studies Library series publishes high-quality disciplinary and interdisciplinary research on all aspects of the Balkans with a focus on history, politics and culture. The region is defined here as comprising Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and the countries of former Yugoslavia, including their imperial Ottoman and Habsburg heritage.

The series publishes monographs, collective volumes, and editions of source materials. Disciplines covered include history, anthropology, archaeology, political science, sociology, legal studies, economy, religion, literary studies, cultural studies, gender studies, film, theatre and media studies, art history, language and linguistics. The editors especially welcome comparative studies, be they comparisons between individual Balkan countries, or of (parts of) the region with other countries and regions. All submissions are subject to anonymous peer review by leading specialists.

Until Volume 27, the series was published by Brill, click here.
The series does not publish conference proceedings.


This article discusses Jeffrey Brooks’ metaphor of an integrated ecosystem to describe Russian cultural history in the late imperial and early Soviet periods. Brooks’s Firebird and the Fox describes an interlocking cultural system marked by high-low interactions, as a rich Russian folkloric tradition based on fable and popular tales was reworked with remarkable creativity in what he calls an “age of genius.” In response, this article argues that this period of Russian cultural creativity can be seen as coinciding with the extended life-cycle of the Russian Revolution. The subversive, satirical humor and irony running through Brooks’s cultural “play-sphere” was complemented by another tradition: a didactic, instructional, enlightening “teach-sphere” that animated a wide range of intelligentsia and cultural forces shaping cultural evolution and cultural revolution. If the play-sphere highlights the rebellious distance between culture and power, the teach-sphere’s project of transforming the masses reveals their many commonalities. The essay reflects on how the intersections of culture and power shaped early Soviet culture, the avant-garde, and successive phases of Stalinist culture. While Socialist Realism promoted the theoretical declaration of a unified socialist culture, the persistence of differing elements of the cultural system raises the question of Soviet cultural syncretism.

In: Russian History
Author: Jeffrey Brooks


The author of The Firebird and the Fox: Russian Culture under Tsars and Bolsheviks (Cambridge University Press, 2019) responds to comments of Michael David-Fox, Muireann Maguire, Kevin Platt, William Mills Todd, and Olga Velikanova. He expresses appreciation for the reflections provided and elaborates on several points raised by the commentators individually and collectively: the theoretical framing of the work and the importance of agency; continuity of culture over episodes of political disjuncture; the applicability of the term “cultural ecosystem;” an alternative treatment of the topic that would have accorded greater emphasis to political power and the life cycle of revolutions; and the relationship of the work to analysis of institutional history and cultural theory. He finds the five commentaries to be valuable companion pieces for readers of The Firebird and the Fox and stimulants to further scholarship.

Open Access
In: Russian History


The article examines the financial history of the Bolshoi within USSR’s mobilized wartime cultural industry as an example of a cultural institution highly placed in the Stalinist establishment and symbolic canon. It explores the income-outcome flows, personnel management, the impact of evacuation, notably on Bolshoi’s hard capital, and relations with supervising authorities. The theater’s perceived importance within the war effort conditioned unshakable financial support, a non-market protective environment, and lenient administrative treatment, contrasting with logistical and personnel challenges which the house only partly mastered. This relative stability stands in contrast with the absence of strong leadership, as the director’s position was kept vacant in stark difference to most European opera theaters. The shock of 1941–1942 was absorbed with internal adjustment measures and external subventions, and the Bolshoi’s budgets swelled towards the end of the war, indicating inflation and the house’s “most-favored-opera status”. The stable and conservative management still showed shortcomings, which the state chose not to punish. The opera’s symbolic and prestige capital trumped quantitative efficiency, creating a haven in the war economy.

In: Russian History
Author: Marco Gabbas


The subject of this article is the collectivization of agriculture in Soviet Udmurtia at the turn of the 1930s. Situated in the Urals, Udmurtia was an autonomous region, largely agricultural, and with a developing industrial center, Izhevsk, as capital. The titular nationality of the region, the Udmurts, represented slightly more than 50% of the total inhabitants, while the rest was made up by Russians and other national minorities. Udmurts were mostly peasants and concentrated in the countryside, whereas city-dwellers and factory workers were mostly Russians. Due to these and other circumstances, collectivization in Udmurtia was carried out in a very specific way. The campaign began here in 1928, one year before than in the rest of the Union, and had possibly the highest pace in the country, with 76% of collectivized farms by 1933. The years 1928–1931 were the highest point of the campaign, when the most opposition and the most violence took place.

The local Party Committee put before itself the special task to carry out a revolutionary collectivization campaign in the Udmurt countryside, which should have been a definitive solution to its “national” backwardness and to all its problems, from illiteracy to trachoma, from syphilis to the strip system (that is, each family worked on small “strips” of land far from each other). The Party Committee failed to exert much support from the peasant Udmurt masses, which stayed at best inert to collectivization propaganda, or opposed it openly. However, the back of the Udmurt peasantry was finally broken, and Udmurtia was totally collectivized by the end of the 1930s.

In: Russian History
Author: Boris Mironov


In the Soviet Union from 1917 to 1990, the political inequality of the nationalities’ representation in institutions of governance was overcome, non-Russians’ participation in the power structures increased, and Russians’ role in administration correspondingly decreased. The increased non-Russian percentage in governance was mainly due to the introduction of the democratic principle in government formation, according to which ethnicities should participate in proportion to their number. By 1990 in the USSR overall, Russians had a slight majority in all power structures, corresponding roughly to their higher share in the country’s population. In the union republics, however, the situation was different. Only in the RSFSR did all peoples, Russian and non-Russian, participate in government administration in proportion to their numbers, following the democratic norm. Elsewhere, Russians were underrepresented and therefore discriminated against in all organs of power, including the legislative branch. Representatives of non-Russian titular nationalities, who on average filled two-thirds of all administrative positions, predominated in disproportion to their numbers. Given these representatives’ skill majority in legislative bodies, republican constitutions permitted them to adopt any laws and resolutions they desired, including laws on secession from the USSR; and the executive and judicial authorities, together with law enforcement, would undoubtedly support them. Thus, the structural prerequisites for disintegration were established. Thereafter, the fate of the Soviet Union depended on republican elites and the geopolitical environment, because of the Center’s purposeful national policy, aimed toward increasing non-Russian representation among administrative cadres and the accelerated modernization and developmental equalization of the republics.

In: Russian History