Volume Eight, 2015-2016

Roman Koropeckyj (Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Languages & Cultures)

Managing Editor
Kristina Markman (History)

Editorial Assistant
Olivia Miller (Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Languages & Cultures)

Online Editor: Susan Bauckus (Center for World Languages)
Publicity: Yelena Furman (Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Languages & Cultures)
Undergraduate Advisor: Olga Kagan (Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Languages & Cultures)

Editorial Board: Niko Banac (Near Eastern Languages and Cultures), Michael Lavery (Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Languages & Cultures), Jesse O'Dell (Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Languages & Cultures), Nana Osei-Opare (History), Dane Reighard (Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Languages & Cultures), Yelena Severina (Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Languages & Cultures), Sarah Tellier (History), Peter Winsky (Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Languages & Cultures), and Maia Woolner (History)



Kristina Markman

View Introduction

A Rivalry in Satire: Political Cartoons of Russia and Great Britain, 1894–1914

Sarah Barnard, Johns Hopkins University

  • View abstract
    This paper examines satirical images from the British and Russian Empires between 1894 and 1914, a time that encompasses the end of the period known as The Great Game as well as the Russo-Japanese War, the Russian Revolution of 1905, and the formation of the Triple Entente. During this time, satirical images in periodicals and other forms of mass-produced print media became increasingly popular. British and Russian cartoonists appear to have been well aware of the visual symbols used by their rivals and often employed them in their own work. As a result, satirical publications used many of the same images but to convey very different messages. A study of these images reveals that visual print culture was a tool of propaganda, and its development and use parallels many of the political changes that took place in the years leading up to World War I.

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Unraveling the Babushka: An Exploration of Successful Aging in the Soviet Union

Caroline Bilsky, College of Wooster

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    "Successful aging" is a term that originated in the medical field, but has since gained popularity among researchers in a sub-field of anthropology known as ethnogerontology, or the "anthropology of aging." The concept of successful aging suggests that there are specific factors in every cultural context that contribute to a person’s aging experience and can make the process more or less positive. Although a significant number of studies on successful aging have recently been published, almost none examine Slavic cultures specifically. Through an analysis of seven Soviet short stories from the 1970s and 1980s, this paper examines the Russian understanding of successful and unsuccessful aging. Although these stories reveal interest in many factors relevant to aging such as intergenerational relations, public and private life, and professional status, ultimately this paper argues that kin networks determined the aging process as well as its “success.”

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Russian (Re)centralization and its Effects on the Insurgency in the Caucasus: Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria

Bennett Clifford, Wake Forest University

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    This article examines the shifting distribution of insurgency related violence in the Russian Federation’s ethnic republics in the North Caucasus region after the end of the Second Chechen War (1999–2009). In the 1990s and early 2000s, the volatile Chechen Republic was the epicenter of insurgent activity. After the cessation of formal conflict, the Chechen Republic’s neighboring states began experiencing increased rates of violence. By evaluating the effects of direct presidential appointment in the Republic of Dagestan, the Republic of Ingushetia, and the Kabardino-Balkar Republic, I seek to demonstrate that there has been a change in the nature of insurgent violence in the North Caucasus. More specifically, the epicenter of tensions has shifted away from the Chechen Republic toward its neighboring republics as a result of Russia’s “power vertical” federalist policies, which divest governing power from local governments in favor of centralized control by Moscow. This strategy was first used by the Russian Federation in managing the Chechen Republic, but has subsequently been applied to other republics as well with deleterious effects on stability. Due to the overwhelming ethnic, religious, and political complexity of these republics, the current “top-down" model of federal governance creates the kind of sociopolitical conditions (e.g., clan-based competition, corruption, and ethnic conflict) that are most likely to spark insurgent reactions.

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Russia's Relationship with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization: Perceived Imbalance and Inequality

Daniel Higuchi, University of California, Los Angeles

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    Questions regarding why Russia is not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and whether continued exclusion is prudent have long been the subject of scholarly debate. This paper examines the major political and military actions undertaken by NATO since the collapse of the Soviet Union through the lens of its relationship with the Russian Federation in an attempt to explain why Russia is not a member of this collective security organization. More specifically, this paper traces the development and enlargement of NATO by analyzing four crucial historical events, including 1) the survival and continuity of NATO after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the fall of the Soviet Union; 2) the first phase of NATO’s expansion into Eastern Europe; 3) the reasons for and effects of direct military intervention by alliance troops in the region of Kosovo during the height of ethnic conflict in the late 1990s; and 4) the second stage of NATO enlargement in 2004. Each event reveals a distinct discrepancy between Russia’s policy preferences in preliminary negotiations with NATO and the actual policies realized by NATO. This paper, therefore, argues that the relationship between Russia and NATO is generally marked by a tendency of NATO to disregard Russian policy preferences in international matters, thus leading to the perceived marginalization of Russia on the international stage.

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Chernorizets Hrabar's Treatise ´О письменехь´ (O pis´menekh´) as an Assertion of the Emergence of a New Academic Community

Alex Lenk, University of California, Santa Barbara/University of St Andrews

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    The current paper challenges traditional historiographical studies of Chernorizets Hrabar’s treatise O pis´menekh´ that overemphasize its pan-Slavic value in terms of the creation of a new Slavic cultural identity driven by the appearance of a new written alphabet—Glagolitic. Although the polemico-apologetic tone that persists throughout the treatise succeeds in defending the new Slavic alphabet against the Greek alphabet, this defense was intended to justify a different cause and not an end in itself. This paper argues that Hrabar’s treatise, by demonstrating a mastery of rhetoric and an exceptional literary education, was used as a tool to assert the presence of a developing community of Slavic scholars—domestic and international—that had ambitions to equal, or even surpass, the reputation of the established community of Byzantine and Latin scholars. In this respect, the birth of a new Slavic linguistic identity, as evidenced by the treatise’s leitmotif, should be understood in the context of a scholarly power struggle that also helped the Bulgarian elite gain political autonomy from Byzantium. Careful consideration of both the ideological content of the treatise and its primary audience supports this new analysis.

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The Historical Trajectory of Gay/Lesbian Identity in Russia as it Relates to Contention

Yelena Muratova, University of California, Los Angeles

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    In 2013, after the passing of similar laws by various city and regional governments, the Russian Federation approved a federal amendment that forbade the “propagandizing” of alternative sexual relations in the presence of minors. The international protest to this imposition on freedom of speech was sizable, but the consequences were negligible, resulting in misunderstandings, even among activists from Russia and abroad. This paper traces the culturally-specific, historical trajectory of the gay/lesbian identity in Russia in order to support the idea that, while sexuality based on a strongly polarized model of gender has been institutionalized in law and medicine, there is currently no cohesive collective gay/lesbian identity in Russia as such. Instead, institutional forces have led to the development of a more fluid “queer subjectivity,” in which members are able to maneuver for resources, but which lacks the interpretive framework for a collective struggle for recognition.

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Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin: Realists Whose Miscommunications Made the Cold War Inevitable

Hristiana Petkova, University of California, Los Angeles

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    The theory of realism mandates that states should prioritize their own security above all other political or military matters. However, a more nuanced view of the function and character of security suggests that there are ways to observe and analyze the origins of the Cold War without assuming it to have been an inevitable phenomenon. By investigating the complex web of negotiations between the “Big Three” (Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin) at the end of World War II, this paper aims to demonstrate that their visions for a new world order were not all that different because they were all essentially diplomatic realists. However, miscommunication caused in part by several misunderstandings between the leaders and their government apparatuses hindered the formation of a “realist” world order. In the end, ideological ambitions clashed with realist values and precipitated the Cold War.

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