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.
In this chapter, we draw on a project called ‘The third resistance in a pedagogical perspective’. We pay attention to the armed anti-communist resistance in Stalinist Czechoslovakia from 1948–1953. A review of available literature finds the topic to be of only marginal interest to international academia. In the case of domestic research, we find a number of deficiencies, especially when concentrating on single case studies: a low level of attention to the conceptual grip of the topic, and often an uncritical acceptance of the way anti-communist resistance was ‘co-created’ by the political police. We propose more precision in the conceptual grip based on the approach of Einwohner and Hollander. Their approach systematically uses a nexus defined by a trio of the actors’ intent and recognition of the resistant behaviour by its target and audience. We further enhance this approach by adding a time layer.
In our view, the controversy around anti-communist resistance is productive material from a pedagogical point of view. That is why we investigate the phases and shapes of the production of cultural memory in this regard, taking the birth of the term ‘third resistance’ as one example. Our analysis shows an incongruence between the widely accepted notion of collective trauma present in post-communist societies representing the memory of victims and the memory of active anti-communist resistance. The dynamic of the phenomenon after 1989 is illustrated by the legal acknowledgement of the anti-communist resistance coming only after 2010.
The section of the chapter that deals with the educational application of anti-communist resistance uses the methodology of teaching using controversial approaches developed by Diana Hess and Alan McCully. Its basic principles are applied in the two subsequent case studies and include inquiry-based learning using primary and secondary sources, multi-perspective approach, uncovering moral dilemmas in historical context and leaving controversial and incongruent aspects unsmooth (not romanticising the stories).
The case studies deal with the so-called Masin brothers’ case and an unarmed protest against the collectivisation of agriculture in the small Czech town of Dobruška. Both studies start with a short overview of the story and develop further using the pedagogical goals and methods associated with these pieces of material in education. Perhaps the best-known case of armed resistance by the Masin brothers is complemented by a completely different story of the non-violent protest of farmers of the Dobruška region in 1949, against violent collectivisation. While the political motives of the armed protest of the Masin brothers are unquestionable and the form of resistance was overt, in the case of Dobruška, political motives were largely ascribed to the protesters in retrospect. The reasons behind this selection are twofold: they might allow for different educational goals, and show us that violent resistance is only one type of resistant behaviour; in Czechoslovak history, in particular, rather a rare one.
As it sought to realise the external policy objectives of the US Government during these years – objectives that included the overthrow of the Soviet Government and the communist regimes in many Eastern European countries – the CIA believed that by training Albanians living in Western countries, who openly declared themselves to be anti-communist and ready to fight against the regime of Enver Hoxha, and by sending these exiles to Albania it would be possible to put an end to communist rule in the country.
The first signs of an (attempted) uprising and armed struggle against the installation of a communist regime in Albania were recognisable in early 1945. Armed anti-communist groups were formed, particularly in Northern and Northeastern Albania. Their objective was to overthrow the communist authorities and create the right conditions for an intervention in the country by Anglo-American forces. The communist regime reacted speedily and brutally in putting down such attempts. Several illegal political organisations were also active in Albania alongside these armed groups. In 1946 and 1947 state security forces got wind of the activities of such organisations. Many members were arrested and sentenced to death.
The operations against the regime of Enver Hoxha organised by the American CIA and the British secret service in Albania between 1949 and 1954 are amongst the most notable examples of an organised military attempt to overthrow a communist regime in Central and Eastern Europe, but they also represent one of the first cases of Western secret services training armed groups and then sending them into their home countries with the task of overthrowing a Soviet Bloc communist regime with the help of paramilitary forces.
According to this concept, Albanians who had left home during the war were to return to Albania and organise themselves into small armed groups. Their role was to whip up anti-communist emotions in their regions and provoke a popular uprising as a means of organising nationwide opposition to Hoxha’s regime.
Experience shows, however, that a communist regime cannot be overthrown from outside unless this is favoured by the internal circumstances. One of the main reasons that the operation failed was the fact that most Albanians were not yet aware of the inhumanity of the regime of Enver Hoxha in Albania.
In Romania, the period from 1944 to 1960 saw tens of anti-Communist groups and isolated fugitives. The topic fell under the scrutiny of researchers after the demise of the regime, when former members of these groups were available for interviews, and afterwards, when the files of the former Securitate also became available.
Most of these anti-Communist groups fought in the mountains, since the terrain offered them a better chance of survival. There were groups which organized resistance in hills or lowlands, but not as many.
The reasons for the emergence of these groups are manifold, mostly relating to the people’s opposition to the new political regime controlled by Soviet armies, the dissolution of the Greek-Catholic Church, the repression of the opposition and its potential leaders, the economic changes (especially the collectivization of agriculture), and the possibility of a new war between the West and the USSR.
One of the most relevant areas for such anti-Communist groups was the north-west of Romania. Some of the more important groups fighting in this part of the country, and which I will be presenting in this paper, were ‘Teodor Șușman’, ‘Capotă-Dejeu’, ‘Cruce și Spadă’ (‘Cross and Sword’), and ‘Garda Albă / Liga Național Creștină’ (‘The White Guard / National Christian League’).
The significance of these groups is revealed by the authorities’ attempts to dismantle them. The full force of the political police and its informants, of the army and other types of pressure on families and acquaintances was used. Thousands were detained, tortured and convicted. The members of these groups either died fighting the authorities or they were apprehended and executed or sentenced to death. Only a fraction of them were sentenced to many years in prison and survived the harsh conditions in the prisons and labour camps were they served their sentence.
The paper aims to present the causes which led to the formation of these anti-Communist groups, their political and social composition, their activities and the retaliation of the authorities, the involvement of the families and communities in these movements and the short- and long-term effects of their actions.
The paper relies on documents from the Securitate archives, oral history interviews with surviving members of these groups or their family members, as well as scientific studies dealing with the topic at hand.
The anti-communist resistance in post-war Poland was a direct structural and ideological continuation of the underground movement of the pre-war period. The largest organisation was Freedom and Independence (WiN), whose founders sought to build unarmed political resistance and whose leaders assumed that their organisation would support all democratic political parties in their efforts to build an independent, democratic Poland. The second underground power was the National Military Union (NZW), whose leaders believed that defeating Germany would not stabilise the international situation and that conflict between the Western world and the Soviets was inevitable. They saw this confrontation, however, as an opportunity for Poland to regain its independence. The leaders of the NZW, unlike those of the WiN, worked to expand their forest-based guerrilla units. They did not accept the new Polish Eastern border. The political concept of the NZW envisaged Poland as a parliamentary-corporate hybrid with a strong central executive authority. To the far-right of both organisations was the National Armed Forces – Polish Organisation (NSZ-OP), whose leaders intended to establish a one-party dictatorship inspired by the idea of a fascist state. In addition to the above there were also several regional or supra-regional organisations that did not subordinate to the WiN, NZW or NSZ-OP central commands.
Between 1945 and 1953 the membership of all these organisations and underground groups totalled 120,000-180,000. Half of these fighters had previously belonged to the Home Army and later operated within the framework of WiN and the DSZ. One quarter were connected with the national underground, mainly with the NZW. The others belonged to various local organisations.
In 1945 13,000-17,000 people were hiding in forests. In 1946 this number was 7,000-9,000 and there were still 1,200-1,800 partisans between 1947 and 1950. After 1950 the armed fight was still continued by a group of 250-400 people but, with a few exceptions, these were unable to form a partisan group after 1953. During the entire period considered in this paper over 20,000 partisans belonged to permanent forest units. The last Polish anti-communist partisan, Józef Franczak ‘Lalek’, was killed in October 1963 in a manhunt organised by the Polish Security Police.
With few exceptions, the historiographical presentation of the subject of armed anti-Communist resistance in Slovakia in the first years after the war represents a scientific desideratum. It is the best-known chapter in Slovak postwar history and made up of the anti-Communist ‘White Legion’ movement with all its aspects, including its abuse by the State Security Service. The ‘White Legion’ movement was founded as a self-help organization by broad sections of the population as a means of protection against Communist terror and was, generally characterized by passive resistance. Under the specific conditions of the initial years after the communist dictatorship had been established, the movement also had an armed nature, particularly in eastern Slovakia. It should be noted, however, that the more general signs of resistance to the coming regime had already emerged in the trial against the former President of the Slovak Republic, Jozef Tiso, and after his death sentence had been passed in April 1947. This not only did not consolidate the unity of the state, but the Slovaks also remained permanently disaffected, and their confidence in state institutions was severely undermined. In 1949, popular uprisings broke out against the pro-regime Catholic Action, which aimed at separating the church and the state. These were the largest manifestations of anti-Communist resistance. A characteristic feature of the anti-Communist resistance in Slovakia is also its link to the activities of Slovak politicians in exile, who had been seeking to form a strong resistance movement since 1945. The essential goal of exile organizations after 1945 was to restore Slovak statehood and to eliminate the Communist regime and Soviet hegemony. These were the causes for which former members of the Slovak Army as well as former participants in the Uprising of autumn 1944 and former members of the Czechoslovak army were willing to risk their lives.