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Volume 1 | Issue 2

Fall 2011

A Walled City, Dubrovnik, Tatiana August-Schmidt

This publication is made possible by support from the Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, with funding from the the U.S. Department of Education Title VI National Resource Centers program.

Front Cover: History Repeats Itself, Kseniya Konovalova


Old Church, Prague, Damjan Bogdanović

Untitled, Kseniya Konovalova

Lowiczanie Polish Folk Ensemble, Elizabeth Zienczuk


Mostar at Sunset, Tatiana August-Schmidt

Table of Contents 1

Editors’ Note


Troika Management


Editorial Staff




Acknowledgements and Disclaimer


Yi | Celluloid Dreams: Ivan’s Childhood and the Tragedy of War


Chinchilla | Their Just War: Analyzing the Polish Resistance in World War II


Westbrook | Trapped in Her Freedom


Korobova | Lyrical


Korobova | Cuckoo Clock


Atwood | Completely Replaceable: The Superfluous Man in Russian Literature


Di Cocco | Development in the Post-Soviet Sphere: Kazakhstan


Young and Pizzella | Reviews of: Our Newspaper and 900 Days


Reid | Mir Isskustva

31 Tennis | Catalyst to Freedom: How Gorbachev’s Reforms Assisted Lithuanian Nationalism 34

Meyer | From Bread to Potatoes: How Cuisine Reveals Russian History and Culture

37 Sharp | The Gypsy/Romani Paradox: European Citizens Othered and Seen as NonEuropean 40

Akopyan | Love Poem


Rawat | Obscene Politics: Understanding Swearing in Early Soviet Russia


How to Contribute to Troika Interested in having your work published in Troika’s next issue? E-mail your submissions to: We accept a variety of student work, from research papers and memoirs to photography and art. To find more information on our submission policy and requirements, or to view an online version of our journal, visit:

University of California, Berkeley Graduate Program in Slavic Languages and Literatures The graduate program is designed to train future scholars and teachers of Slavic languages and literatures. Students concentrate either in literature and culture or in linguistics and philology; they combine a core curriculum with independent research early in their graduate career. Our graduate students participate in the life of the Department (studying, teaching, running the library, organizing film series, performances, colloquia, conferences), in the life of the University, and in the profession (reading papers at national and international conferences). More information:


Editors’ Note Dear Reader, We are proud to present you with the Fourth Edition of The Troika Journal. The theme of this issue has been expansion, which has manifested itself in many ways. The journal, as a whole, has been dedicated to celebrating the culture and history of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian countries, and now more than ever we feel that our submissions cover this expanse. From a piece on Kazakhstan to photographs of a local Polish dance troupe, this edition encompasses the spirit of these countries from far abroad to right at home. For the first time Troika was offered as a DeCal course to the editorial staff. This both enhanced the journal’s visibility within the campus community and encouraged students of many majors to participate. Thus we are pleased to say that Troika has expanded in this sense as well. We now have several editorial staff from outside the Slavic and Literature departments; art history majors, political science majors, and even community members who simply wanted to get involved have joined the journal this past year. Troika’s editors also expanded their role on staff. We are excited to have two film reviews written by two staff members. We hope this opportunity will lead to more written participation by the editorial staff, as we review local cultural events in the Bay Area and beyond. We are very enthusiastic about the future of Troika, as it continues to expand, and we hope you will enjoy this new issue. Happy reading, Zuza and Isa


Troika Managing Board Zuzanna Gruca Editor-in-Chief Zuzanna is a fourth year majoring in Political Science with a concentration in Comparative Politics. She is currently working on an honors thesis that examines the role and motivations of Polish aid to Jews during the Holocaust. Her academic interests include international intervention in the wake of genocide and the process of democratization.

Charlotte Pizzella Managing Editor Charlotte is a third year student majoring in Russian Language and Literature with a minor in Political Economy. She is currently beginning a senior thesis on the literary interpretations of blockaded Leningrad, and is preparing to study abroad in St. Petersburg next spring. In her free time, she likes to take ballet classes.

Isabella Mazzei Editor-in-Chief Isabella is a fourth year majoring in Comparative Literature. In her spare time she enjoys yoga, tea, and front-end development.


Troika Editorial Staff Leslie Fruchey Associate Editor Leslie is a fourth year student double majoring in Slavic studies and German. She is currently preparing for a one-year tour of Germany and Eastern Europe, which she will depart for this fall. In her free time, she likes working out, cooking, and finding goofy images for her Pinterest page.

Yvonne Lin Associate Editor

Yvonne is a fourth year Comparative Literature and French double major with a minor in Chinese, but she likes to pretend she is also in the Slavic department. In her spare time, she enjoys reading webcomics and watching British sitcoms.

John Neeley Associate Editor

John is a third year majoring in Political Science. His hobbies include riding his bike, listening to music, and keeping up with the San Francisco Giants.

Stephen Harlan Associate Editor Stephen is a first year Slavic major. He enjoys playing tennis and listening to classical music.

Djamilia Niazalieva Associate Editor

Christina Kowalski Associate Editor Christina is a fourth year double major in Comparative Literature and German. She spent a semester abroad in Berlin cultivating an addiction to Haribo gummy bears. During this time she went to Poland twice and hopes to go back

Djamilia is majoring in Slavic Language and Literature. She immigrated to the United States when she was eleven from Kyrgyzstan. Her academic interests include post-Soviet spaces and political tensions between Central Asian countries and Russia. She also enjoys poetry and writing.

Chuck Rosencrans Associate Editor

Xiaoxiao Li Associate Editor

Chuck is a fourth year Slavic Languages and Literature major who is studying Russian, Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, and Bulgarian. His main interests include the history and cultures of the former Yugoslavia, twentieth century Russian literature, film, and poetry, and South Slavic linguistics. He also thinks that Balkan music and folklore will “change your life forever.�

Xiaoxiao is a non-profit professional in the Bay Area. He was born in China and attended colleges in three different countries. He appreciates the amazing diversity of this world and loves people from different cultures and their stories. He is a folk dancer specialized in Hungarian and Polish dance. 3

Alison Young Associate Editor

Erica Posey Associate Editor

Alison is a fourth year Art History major with an emphasis in Western Art. She joined Troika with hopes of gaining insight into European issues, and hopefully, relevant topics to art history. She wishes one day to pursue work overseas, with particular focus on German and Italian artwork.

Erica is a third year studying Slavic Languages and Literature. She did a study abroad program at St. Petersburg State in the spring.

Matej Silecky Associate Editor

Matej is a first-year with an intended double major in Slavic Languages and Literature andTheatre/Dance and Performance Studies.

Contributors Alexandra Chinchilla is a junior at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service studying international politics with a concentration in international security. She speaks Polish and plans to minor in Russian and Eastern European studies. Her academic interests include strategic studies and Central Europe’s integration into NATO.

Rozalina Akopyan is an undergraduate student at the University of Texas at Arlington. She is of Armenian descent, and came to the United States from Turkmenistan to study International Business with a concentration in Modern Russian Translation.

Christopher Atwood is a 2010 University of Texas at Arlington graduate with a degree in Russian. Currently, he is a copywriter at a Russian advertising agency in Moscow.

Alexandra Di Cocco is a fourth year at the University of Virginia, double-majoring in Foreign Affairs and Russian/Eastern European Studies with a minor in Russian Language and Literature. Alexandra is currently drafting an undergraduate thesis on Kazakhstan’s foreign policy.

Tatiana August-Schmidt is a third year History major at UC Berkeley focusing on twentieth century Europe. She is looking to pursue a career in filmmaking. She enjoys adventures, learning languages, camping, reading, and writing.

Damjan Bogdanović is a Philosophy major at the University of Belgrade. His primary academic interests are bioethics and technological developments in society. He particularly enjoys exploring minimalist art, music, and alternative culture in general.

Maya Garcia is a fourth year Comparative Literature and Slavic studies double-major at UC Berkeley. In her spare time, she draws cartoons. Some of them are inspired by Russian culture; these can be found at 4

Kseniya Konovalova is a fourth year at Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) dual degree program. She is concentrating in International Relations at Brown, and majoring in Painting at RISD. Fascinated by Soviet propaganda imagery and drawing influences from family history, she pieces together narratives that blend the personal and the historical. Olga Korobova is a fourth year at Northwestern University, double majoring in Slavic Studies and Spanish. At Northwestern, she is an active member of the Slavic community, both academically, having done research in the Slavic department, and in extra-curricular activities, as social chair of the Russian Student Association. Cassie Meyer recently graduated from the University of Kansas. She studied Creative Writing and, due to her interest in diverse cultures around the world, minored in Global and International Studies.

Natasha Sharp is a fourth year French major and Russian Studies minor at the Unversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is currently abroad in Paris. She enjoys Nouvelle Vague cinema and Soviet dissident literature. Maggie Tennis is a student at Brown University, pursuing majors in Slavic Studies and Anthropology. She has also studied at the Yaroslavl State Pedagogical Institute in Yaroslavl, Russia. Paige Westbrook graduated from Baylor University this past May (Spring 2013) with a Bachelor of Arts in Russian. Upon graduation, she was commissioned into the United States Air Force as a Logistics Readiness Officer. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, working out, traveling, and reading.

Rishi Rawat is a fourth year majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley. He is interested in contemporary Russian politics, culture, and social norms.

Katarina White is a fourth year double major in History and Slavic Languages and Literature with a Human Rights minor. She grew up speaking Serbian, learned English in kindergarten, moved on to Spanish and German in high school, and is now studying Russian.

Erika Reid is a 2012 UC Berkeley graduate with a degree in Art History. She hopes to continue studying Russian Art as she takes a year off to discover what she wants to do with her life.

Annie Yi is a fourth year at Yale University majoring in history. She writes on narratives of war in the twentieth century, with particular emphasis on memory, the body, and traumatic space.



This issue would not have been possible without support from the Peter N. Kujachich Endowment. We would also like to acknowledge Jeff Pennington of the Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Professors Irina Paperno, Ronelle Alexander, and Anna Muza, and Alla Efimova of the Magnes Collection for their indispensable advice, time, and support.

The Troika Journal is an ASUC sponsored publication of UC Berkeley. The content contained herein does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the ASUC, nor does it necessarily reflect our own.

We would like to acknowledge our former Editor-in-Chief, Olga Slobodyanyuk, and our founder, Alekzandir Morton. Most importantly, thank you to all of this year’s editors for their hard work and effort in creating this publication. 5

Celluloid Dreams:

Ivan’s Childhood and the Tragedy of War

Annie Yi “Yesterday in the mail I received two mysterious letters / Each line was nothing but periods / For me to figure out on my own.”

well. No logical advance is shown, simply accepted as the sensible trajectory across which the dream takes Ivan. Similarly, the birch forest establishes another one of Tarkovsky’s sensory rhythms. Even before any action takes place in the woods, an image of the birch forest is flashed briefly before Galtsev tells the innocent nurse Masha to straighten out the medical service. In this scene, the first aid post where the two converse is constructed out of birch logs. The beautiful, cool-wooded birch is reappropriated for the creation of military facilities. Kholin arrives to fetch Galtsev, and as he leaves with Galtsev, he lingers to gaze at the fetching Masha. After the two men leave, the film spins out into a separate sequence, and we find ourselves in a birch wood with Kholin and Masha engaged in a tense negotiation between Kholin’s aggressive desire for her and Masha’s shy, fearful propriety. At its conclusion, he sends her running, lips trembling, through the stark, bewildering landscape of black-flecked white wood. The camera practically runs into tree trunks as it bounces and spins to convey Masha’s disorientation. The same effect is used later when Masha distractedly watches Kholin walk into the woods and smirk at her. Earlier she was almost made to cry by Kholin’s advances, yet her face is shown in a state of pure delight as the camera sets off again to whirl through the forest. Nothing links the action in the three scenes to each other besides the slender trunks of birch wood. The viewer never witnesses Kholin inviting Masha for a walk in the woods, nor do they see any sort of resolution that would cause Masha to reevaluate her initially disturbed feelings towards Kholin. We are given no warning besides peppery white bark. Just as in dreams, sensory cues, not logical causality, provide the underpinnings of narrative development in Ivan’s Childhood. This technique is more than just glorified repetition. Tarkovsky introduces his recurrent imagery even before the viewer is conscious of it, a strategy that mimics the way images that we hardly take notice in our waking lives seep into the fabric of our reveries. When Ivan runs away to escape being sent to military school, he encounters an old man who has lost both his wife and his mind in the war, living in a charred estate. The old man flatly informs Ivan, “A stove and a chimney will always stand. No stove or chimney will ever burn down.” This comment seems to be a non sequitur in his stilted, deranged monologue, for the viewer has no idea why he is referring to heating appliances. Yet as Ivan is driven back to the barracks, we see from the car a barren landscape where a village once stood, a graveyard where two sets of stoves and chimneys serve as tombstones. After the German bombardment starts, Kholin walks past a lone stove and chimney as he emerges from the shelling. These sturdy brick structures are the only standing remains after a rain of heavy artillery. They serve as ghostly reminders of what once stood, dotting the Eastern Front’s razed, nightmarish landscape. These modern graves

This cryptic lyric sung by a grizzled old widower in Ivan’s Childhood (Иваново Детство, 1962) describes the challenge set forth by the Andrei Tarkovsky’s poetic but perplexing dreamscape of a war film. World War II may have been Russia’s Great Patriotic War, but as much as it is tempting to aggrandize the “space of tragedy” and the “scale of heroism” involved in sacrificing over twenty million lives to prevent a continent from falling under the Nazi shadow, as per the tradition of Soviet social realism, there needs to be another way to represent, interpret, and explain the conflict on the Eastern Front.1 It was a conflict in which entire villages were wiped from existence, their inhabitants marched into community barns and set on fire, where death camps drew in the populations of nations to die, and in which the annihilation of human life became systematic and all-the-more brutal. In Ivan’s Childhood, director Andrei Tarkovsky chooses to transmit the nature of war more obliquely, relying on the sensory logic of dreams to map the topography of war. The 1963 Soviet film centers around an orphaned prepubescent boy named Ivan. Having borne the deaths of his mother, father, and sister, he has become a violent, restless force, seeking vengeance and refusing inaction by serving as a scout for the Russian army. The boy positively lives and breathes war. During the course of the film, Ivan undertakes one more reconnaissance mission to spoil the German offensive alongside his two handlers, Captain Kholin and Lieutenant Galtsev. With the narrative disrupted by Ivan’s dreams, the viewer is charged with the task of decoding and interpreting the dual narratives of both the titular character’s dreams and the battlefield in which his and his adult comrades’ conscious lives take place. In doing so, one discovers that Tarkovsky interpolates the sensory markers of dreams into tangible life and the looping cycle of warfare into dreams in order to illustrate the inescapable nightmare that is war. Series of Linkages Tarkovsky evokes the progression of dreams by using visual and aural cues to set forth the sequence of events. After Ivan falls asleep, exhausted from his harrowing return, his hand dripping in water conjures a dream in which he cups well water in his hands. He and his smiling mother stand at the edge of a well, and after his mother intones, “In a very deep well, you can see a star even on the brightest day,” he reaches out for the light in the well. The visual transition is clear: as the camera zooms in, his hand reaches for and is then submerged in the illumined water. However, when the camera pans out from his submerged hand, the viewer discovers that Ivan has reappeared deep within the


Yi slipped into our subconscious via the crazy old man before we were even made aware of it. Writing on the wall also gradually accretes attention and therefore significance. On the wall of the church where the soldiers are billeted, there is a message scrawled: “THERE ARE 8 OF US / NONE OVER 19 / IN ONE HOUR WE’RE TO BE TAKEN OUT AND SHOT/ AVENGE US.” Presumably written by young Russian prisoners earlier in the war, the etching provides the fodder for the voices, cries, and chaotic sounds that flood the darkness in Ivan’s third dream. It is vastly different from the first two in that it occurs when he is fully awake. Ivan battles an unseen, imagined enemy, probably the German guilty of executing the eight children. This waking nightmare for Ivan is a reality, evinced in the tears and sweat streaking down his face as he yells at a jacket hanging on the wall, “I’ll sit in judgment at your trial!” Yet this is not the first time the message appears. It initially comes into focus behind Galtsev as he questions Ivan when he first arrives. Right before Ivan dozes off into his fourth dream, of a girl and a wagon overflowing with apples in a summer rain, his gaze travels up the wall to stare at the writing again. Finally, the message sharpens in the visual plane right before they leave on the mission, a reminder of the vengeful force that drives Ivan. Introduced impassively as part of the background, Tarkovsky allows the grisly message to accumulate meaning after centering a dream sequence around it. Quotidian details, such as scratches on a wall, acquire force in the context of dreams. By constructing a series of linkages between the nature of Ivan’s dreams and conscious life, Tarkovsky draws the real world into a dreamscape that departs from traditional editing and montage. However, the dream-like nature of the film does not remove Tarkovsky’s depiction of war any farther away from reality. In fact, dreams depict more accurately the conditions of war than traditional “realistic” plot development. In his writings in the Sculptures in Time, Tarkovsky explains why he replaces “narrative causality” with “poetic articulations.”2 He remarks that,

that the things we never notice creep into our dreams and gain new significance, so too do the banal in war. Thus, only the logic of dreams lays bare the nature of war. Constructing the Infinite Loop What is the nature of this dream? It is perhaps answered by the exquisite symmetry in the formulation of Ivan’s Childhood. The mirroring of homologous events and images establishes an infinite loop, of which there is no escape. In the conscious realm, the action is cyclical. Ivan begins his journey in the film by crossing the river. The last time he is seen alive, he is going back the other way. He departs from Kholin and Galtsev in same flooded remains of a forest through which he waded at the start of the picture. The sound of dripping water both accompanies Ivan’s undressing upon returning from his first mission and his dressing up in preparation for his last mission. Just as Kholin shuts off the phonograph before the mission, accusing Galtsev of being crazy for turning it on, so does he turn on the player upon their return. Ivan tolls the church bell and throws furniture to hark his descent into the waking nightmare. Kholin repeats this action, ringing the bell and throwing a chair to mark the passage of his own nightmare: Masha being sent away. Circuitousness manifests itself in Ivan’s dream sequences as looping imagery. In his fourth dream, the girl who sits besides him on the apple cart passes in front of the camera three times when he offers her an apple, as if rotating on a wheel, her expression changing each time. In his final, postmortem dream sequence, Ivan runs from the beach into the water, only to land in front of the jagged black tree stump that marked his starting point on the beach again. The scorched tree is emblematic of a particular visual motif Tarkovsky employs in Ivan’s Childhood. Black, jagged objects intrude in the shot, serving as a dark frame. From the very windmill from which Ivan emerges, to the cross that falls askew amidst the shelling, to the airplane carcass; these dark intrusions signpost the cycle. As the crashed airplane comes into the frame when the trio set off across the river, so does it welcome their return. The orphaned stove and chimney in the foreground when Kholin steps out of the trenches serve the same purpose, marking the renewal of destruction. These unending loops effectively illustrate the inescapability of the dream. Ivan, supposedly liberated through death and dream, still cannot run anywhere except in a circle back to the charred tree.

traditional theatrical writing… links images through the linear, rigidly logical development of the plot. That sort of fussily correct way of linking events usually involves arbitrarily forcing them into sequence in obedience to some abstract notion of order… In my view, poetic reasoning is closer to the laws by which thought develops, and thus to life itself, than is the logic of traditional drama…3

In war, this proves even truer. Under the siege of war, the order of logical causality explodes apart. A war in which books are burned in a square, millions are annihilated in death camps, when an entire family is dissolved, leaving a maniacal, possessed child behind, there can be no causal, sequential explanation. This war is a dream, because it takes the familiar, such as stoves and chimneys and ubiquitous birch wood, and bastardizes them in a way that renders them horrific. The stoves and chimneys, such everyday objects, are a haunting sight when they are found orphaned, standing alone, a reminder of the destruction that passed through. The dense birch wood is left as nothing but a few charred stumps, their stunning white bark gone. In the way

Inversion As the reality of war follows dream logic and the dreams in war are trapped in enclosed circles, the question of how they relate to each other arises. In the way that Ivan experiences a dramatic distinction between his dreams and his reality, it can be deduced that dreams are an inversion of waking life. Robert Efird writes, “Tarkovsky’s film, from the first to the last sequence, emphasizes just such an inverse


Celluloid Dreams relationship between the worlds of dream and reality by reflecting and inverting images, movements and sounds.”4 Visually, Tarkovsky depicts this in the atmosphere of Ivan’s fourth dream. As Ivan rides in the apple cart, the sky flashes in silent lightning, flipping the background into a negative image of “black sunlight sparkling through snowy trees” in order to, in Tarkovsky’s words, create “an atmosphere of unreality.”5 Yet when Galtsev discovers that his comrade Katasonych is dead, it is nighttime, and Katasonych’s covered body in the trench is bordered by a birch pole. In this instance too, Tarkovsky’s mise-en-scène depicts a snowy tree against a blackened sky. However, when we find the image in the real and not-subconscious world, it is all the more horrifying. It is not the phantasmagoria of dreams, but rather their startlingly real quality, that is the true inversion here. In comparison to the horrors of war, dreams pale with normalcy. When dreams become more mundane than reality, waking life proves to have become a nightmare. Ivan’s true life, however surreally depicted, is found in his dreams. The title of the film, Ivan’s Childhood, really only applies to a short couple of minutes of footage: the young boy sailing over the unadulterated natural landscape, filled with wonderment over light in a well, smiling at his mother, offering an apple to a girl, and racing along a sundrenched beach. Ivan’s childhood is experienced only in his sleep. Instead, what we find is a hardened and brutal soldier behind the physical appearance of a child. To himself, he is no longer Ivan but Bondarev, an official military operative that signs off as И. Б. on his reconnaissance report. After returning from his harrowing journey across the river, Ivan does not eat immediately, despite his emaciated frame. He instead writes out a numbered chart in accordance with fallen cones and pine needles he brought back, his covert record-keeping system. When he is finally fed, his eyes go blank, and he dozes off swiftly. He declines nourishment so that he can stay awake long enough to complete his mission. This behavior is years more mature than the way children live, inclined to respond first to their most immediate physical needs; Ivan puts military duty above the basic instinct of hunger. When he wakes up from crying for his mother in his dream, he asks Galtsev if he talked in his sleep. “My nerves are on edge,” he explains. There exists a fundamental fear of night terrors spilling over into real life. However, in war’s inverted context, Ivan fears that his true self, a child crying out for his mother, with genuine fears and visceral memories, will leak into the waking world and betray the steely warrior that the nightmare of war has forged. He berates Kholin for smoking like a reproachful parent and breaks up a verbal spar between Galtsev and Kholin, sternly scolding, “That’s enough, you two,” like a schoolteacher managing two unruly children. On their final mission, the three of them pass the corpses of two captured comrades who went back to look for Ivan on his first mission. Ivan solemnly observes, “They should be buried. Lakhov and Moroz.” When he departs, he insists on traveling solo, and so assumes the responsibility of a

man, one that will do anything to ensure that no one else will die for him like Lakhov and Moroz did. He conducts himself in such a mature manner to the disbelief of all, who still persist in treating him like a child. Galtsev urges Kholin to remove Ivan from a mission, since “war is no place for children,” and the Colonel who orders Ivan to the rear to military school tries to gently coax him with, “war isn’t for you, understand?” The point that they both miss is that the war has inverted Ivan to the point where he is, in fact, the best suited for war. He has seen the Trotsyanets death camps, he has witnessed the extermination of his family, he has spoken to the casualties of war such as the old man; when such events have been experienced, a child is no longer child. Ivan’s final portrait in the Nazi prisoner dossier reveals a nearly snarling face, full of vengeance and violence, not a shred of precociousness to be found. Ultimately, Tarkovsky’s choice in using the subjective language of dreams to develop Ivan’s story proves not to be aesthetic whimsy capable of revealing only the reveries of one child, but rather imparts weighty implications on the trauma of war. Jean-Paul Sartre, in his impassioned defense of Ivan’s Childhood, writes, Actions and hallucinations are in close correspondence... [Ivan’s] nightmares, his hallucinations have nothing gratuitous about them. They are not about morsels of bravery nor are they about the surveys carried out in the ‘subjectivity’ of the child: they remain perfectly objective, we continue to see Ivan from outside, like in the ‘realist’ scenes; the truth is that for this boy the entire world is a hallucination and that in this universe this boy, monster and martyr is a hallucination for others...Madness? Reality? Both of them: in war, all soldiers are mad, this child monster is an objective testimony of their madness because it is he who has gone the farthest.6

Typically, one escapes from the unreality of dreams to the reality of waking life, but in war, there is no such escape. Ivan wakes up to a more nightmarish landscape than what is found in sleep. Such is the unending infinity of the tragedy of war.

Works Cited Denise J. Youngblood, John Whiteclay Chambers, and David Culbert, “Ivan’s Childhood (USSR, 1962) and Come and See (USSR, 1985): Post-Stalinist Cinema and the Myth of World War II,” in World War II, Film and History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 85. 2 Andrey Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time: Reflections on the Cinema, trans. Kitty Hunter-Blair, 4th ed. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1989), 29. 3 Ibid., 18–20. 4 Robert Efird, “Dreams, Mirrors and Subjective Filtration in Ivan’s Childhood,” Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema 3, no. 3 (2009): 305. 5 Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time: Reflections on the Cinema, 30. 6 Jean-Paul Sartre, “Discussion on the Criticism of Ivan’s Childhood”, October 9, 1963, com/TheTopics/Sartre.html. 1


Their Just War:

Analyzing the Polish Resistance in World War II

Alexandra Chinchilla “Perhaps all fields are battlefields, those we remember and those that are forgotten…” –“Reality Demands,” Wisława Szymborska

The Invasion The Polish partisans were a direct response to the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, and the Soviet invasion on September 17, per the secret Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement that divided Poland between Germany and the Soviet Union. On October 6, 1939, major hostilities ended in Poland after the capture of Warsaw, nearby towns, and the surrender of the Polish Special Operations Group in the northeast.3 The Polish government never formally surrendered. It evacuated Poland, and formed a Polish government-in-exile to govern Poland from abroad. The remnants of the Polish military were ordered to withdraw to continue fighting in other Allied countries, and over 100,000 troops did so successfully.4

All of Poland was a battlefield during World War II. The conventional war ended quickly when Warsaw surrendered in October 1939, but the irregular war continued, fought by the irregular forces of the Polish Resistance Movement. Only a few tragic and costly incidents in this underground war, like the Warsaw Uprising, are remembered. People often view the Polish partisans as brave but ultimately suicidal combatants, whose daring acts of insurrection merely brought punishing reprisals on the Polish population. However, the actual Polish opposition was organized, subject to political authority, and careful in its use of armed force. We can analyze the moral justifications for the Polish resistance through the lens of just war theory. Through just war theory, we can determine with certainty that despite its use of irregular forces, the Polish resistance was justified in its existence, and even in the costs it brought upon Polish civilians. Just war theory uses a set of moral tests to evaluate whether a war is just or unjust (jus ad bellum), and to set standards for just conduct in war (jus in bello). There is much controversy over whether irregular forces can meet the conditions of jus ad bellum and jus in bello. The morality of irregular warfare is highly dependent on the context.

Formation of the Polish Underground Army Even before the fall of Poland, the Polish government authorized the use of clandestine armed resistance to resist the double occupation by the Nazis and Soviets.5 Some individual military units continued fighting in Poland, either because they never received the order to evacuate, or because this was impossible and they were unwilling to surrender.6 Other resistance groups began to form organically through the efforts of individuals. However, the formal resistance organization was created by General Michał Tokarzewski, who was chosen before the fall of Warsaw by General Juliusz Rommel, commandant of Warsaw, to create plans for an armed resistance organization. By the time Warsaw capitulated, Tokarzewski had formed a formal organization to resist the Nazi occupation. This fledging organization began forging documents for resistance workers and plotting armed resistance, including a failed assassination of Hitler during his victory parade in Warsaw.7 After a period of time, the Polish government-in-exile, through the efforts of General Sikorski, took control of the young underground organization. It was renamed the Union for Armed Struggle (UAS). The UAS had a defined hierarchy of leaders on the ground in Poland, who reported directly to the government-in-exile through an elaborate system of relaying messages by courier, emissaries, and clandestine radio stations. This process included input from the political parties in Poland, which were all represented in the government-in-exile. In February of 1942, the UAS changed its name to the Armia Krajowa (AK) or Home Army. The AK, commanded by General Tadeusz Bor-Komorski, controlled the entire armed resistance movement in Poland, except for the Communist People’s Army (which took its orders from Moscow), and some fringe groups on the extreme political right and left.

Defining Irregular Forces, Guerrilla Warfare, and Partisans The Polish partisans in World War II were an irregular force that opposed the unjust foreign-occupying powers that overthrew the legitimate government of Poland. In this context, irregular forces, refers to: “A group of irregular, predominantly indigenous personnel organized along military lines to conduct military and paramilitary operations in enemy-held, hostile, or denied territory.”1 Resistance movements that opposed foreign occupations in World War II are referred to as “partisan movements.”2 This differentiates them from the guerrilla movements of the post-World War II era. Modern guerrilla movements are often composed of a relatively small group of individuals who are dissatisfied with their home government, and resort to subversion and violence to cause regime change. In contrast, a World War II partisan movement usually only sought a return to the antebellum status quo.


Their Just War did involve the use of force), until the time was opportune for armed national insurrection. This moment would come during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, when the Poles thought they had a chance of succeeding. To fight the Nazis in open combat too early was considered merely suicidal. Clearly, then, the Polish resistance thought carefully about the just use of force.

A Strong Central Organization The AK became a well-organized, powerful network of individuals over the entire country. The governmentin-exile financed the AK, smuggling cash into the country by courier or air drops.8 The AK network developed an efficient system for forging papers and fake identities for underground members. It could obtain safe houses and new identities for members on short notice, deploy forces to undertake a daring operation, procure supplies, and blackmail Gestapo agents to ensure their cooperation. To a certain extent, it was safer to be in the organization than outside it. Jan Karksi, one of the famous emissaries between the government-in-exile and the AK in Poland, wrote how the Gestapo once rounded up 20,000 civilians in Warsaw during a manhunt. About one hundred underground workers were in the group—and almost all of them were released, since their papers were in perfect order.9 The work was dangerous, but the AK was large and powerful enough to protect its workers through its efficient organization. The AK even had sophisticated methods for dealing with disruption from the Gestapo. Protocols limited the amount of information that each AK member knew, so the Gestapo would not be able to extract much information through torture. When an AK member was arrested, the AK quickly issued new paperwork and identities to those compromised by the arrest. The central organization also elected replacements for captured leaders. Therefore, the Gestapo thought it was dismantling the organization, while it only destroyed isolated individuals on the outer periphery of the organization.

Jus ad Bellum Did the Armia Krajowa meet the conditions of jus ad bellum under just war theory? Six premises of just war theory will be considered: the classic triad of just cause, right intention, legitimate authority, proportionality, likelihood of success, and last resort. Thomas Aquinas wrote in the Summa Theologia that a just war must have just cause, right intention, and legitimate authority. The Polish partisans clearly had a just cause and right intention. They were fighting for their national independence and their actual physical preservation, engaging in self-defense against unjust occupying powers that were physically harming the Polish people. Their intention was right, because they merely sought freedom rather than revenge or conquest. The legitimate authority question is a bit murkier, since irregular forces are usually not considered legitimate. Also, the Nazis claimed that their military government—not the government-in-exile—possessed the right to govern Poland. The government of Poland was legitimate at the time of the Nazi invasion. Although the pre-war government in Poland was not democratic, it did protect the basic rights of the citizens.12 Therefore, it had a definite claim of sovereignty over the territory it controlled. Germany invaded Poland’s sovereignty without just cause or right intention, so its war was unjust. Any government established by the Germans in Poland would be unjust, because Germany did not have the right to overthrow the Polish government in the first place. Therefore, it follows that the Polish government would continue to be the legitimate government of Poland. Second, the government-in-exile represented the collective right of the Polish people to self-defense. Although it was not exactly the same government as the one deposed by the Nazis, it was composed of public figures in both the ruling and opposition parties prior to the war. Therefore, it represented the views of most of Polish society. It was a Polish “secret state” with political parties, an army (the AK), schools, a justice system, and a diplomatic relationship with other Allied nations. The Polish people overwhelmingly supported the Underground. For example, the Underground asked Poles not to purchase German newspapers on Fridays, to show their support for the movement. After the Underground made this request, German papers had to drastically scale back their publication of Friday editions. The support for the Underground is also clear simply from the fact that the AK had nearly 400,000 members.11 This does not even include those who sheltered, fed, and clothed AK fighters.

‘Measured and Calculated’ Strategic Objectives The strong central organization of the underground movement prevented it from becoming a desperate group of suicidal fighters, despite the brutality they endured under the occupation. Approval of central command in the AK was needed for all combat-diversion action. The AK followed a “measured and calculated policy of resistance,” designed to create maximum harm to the occupying force with a minimum amount of harm to noncombatants.10 Noncombatants usually were not harmed directly by the subversive activities of the AK, but they were harmed by severe Nazi reprisals on the civilian population. Randomly selected civilians were publicly executed as punishment for the activities of the Underground, and entire neighborhoods were hauled off to concentration camps. Therefore, the AK needed to weigh the risks of an operation and the potential costs to the civilian population against the likely damage done to the Nazis. The military objectives of the AK existed to further the political objectives of the government-in-exile. Military operations were not done to take revenge on the Nazis for the brutal occupation, but rather to hasten their defeat. Therefore, the movement did not degenerate into terrorist activities or widespread acts of random violence. Instead, it focused on covert, subversive activities (some of which


Their Just War The Nazi government in Poland was illegitimate simply because it did not represent the will of the Polish people. In contrast, the government-in-exile could claim to exercise the collective right of the Poles to protect their lives and national sovereignty. Third, the government that the Nazis established was illegitimate because of its human rights violations. Under the doctrine of conditional sovereignty, a state loses its right of sovereignty when it can no longer serve as an “instrument” to protect the basic rights of its citizens. By randomly arresting and executing noncombatants, the Nazi military government in Poland flagrantly disregarded the right of Poles not to be killed. For this reason alone, then, the Poles had the right to oppose the Nazi regime. This would fit Aquinas’ definition of lawful “sedition” against an unjust government. Finally, although the Armia Krajowa was an irregular force, it operated under the command of the legitimate government of Poland. As discussed previously, the AK had a strong central organization that reported directly to the government-in-exile, which was essentially an actual state. Unlike the typical image of partisans as a group of ill-kempt men plotting suicidal missions, the AK was well-organized, subject to legitimate political authority, and restrained. The AK also met the criteria for legal combatants as outlined in the Third Geneva Convention of 1949. After World War II, the Convention was revised to reflect the experience during the war that irregular forces could be legitimate combatants. The Convention requires that combatants meet the following conditions: “(a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates; (b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance; (c) that of carrying arms openly; (d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.”13 As seen previously, the AK had a central command structure. During military operations, such as the Warsaw Uprising, the AK fighters wore a red and white armband with writing on it to signify that they belonged to the Armia Krajowa. They carried their arms openly while launching an attack, and generally did not break the laws and customs of war. After the Warsaw Uprising, the Germans acknowledged the legitimacy of the AK members by negotiating terms of surrender that recognized them as legal combatants. The Polish partisans also fulfilled the final three criteria of last resort, proportionality, and reasonable chance of success. The AK was a last resort when the regular army and government were no longer able to protect its citizens. The Poles had no other means of continuing the war than to use an underground, irregular army that operated using guerrilla tactics. Armed insurrection was arguably also a proportional response to the Nazi occupation, since the Nazi threat was a sufficiently serious harm to the lives and national sovereignty of Polish citizens. The argument could be made that the Polish resistance movement fails the reasonable hope of success test of just war theory, because it was suicidal and merely harmed the Polish civilian population. However, the Nazis would have 11

harmed the Polish population even without the excuse of an active resistance movement. After the Nazis seized control of Poland, they immediately liquidated thousands of Polish inteligencja—teachers, professors, lawyers, former government officials, and anyone who they thought might pose a threat. They continued to arrest “threatening people” throughout the war, and committed random acts of violence to keep the people subjugated. Therefore, the harm would have occurred regardless of the existence of a resistance movement. Also, while certain actions of the Underground—like the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, which ended in the total destruction of more than 90 percent of the city—may appear suicidal in retrospect, they had a reasonable chance of success at the time they began. With Allied intervention, the Warsaw Uprising could have been successful; it was carefully planned for months and caught the Germans by surprise. The Soviets had advanced up to the Vistula River, and used radio broadcasts to encourage the AK to join the Soviets in “liberating” Warsaw. The AK expected them to join the Uprising, but the Soviets did nothing once the Uprising began. The Allies did not resupply the partisans by air, except for a few isolated and largely ineffective drops. This was partly because the Soviets blocked the US and British air forces from using Soviet-held airfields. The Uprising could have been successful if the AK had received adequate weapons, food, and medical supplies from the Allies. Jus in Bello The final consideration is whether the Armia Krajowa conducted the war justly. This is somewhat more ambiguous, because the AK used morally dubious guerrilla tactics. For example, the AK assassinated high-profile Gestapo figures, and shot members of the SS and Gestapo on sight instead of giving them POW status. However, the AK treated members of the Wehrmacht as POWs, entitled to their full rights under the Geneva Convention. They took steps to limit non-combatant deaths, and usually carried out death sentences only on collaborators that had been legally condemned by the Polish governmentin-exile. As discussed earlier, this government was the legitimate government of Poland, so it could legally try Nazi collaborators for treason. It could be argued, also, that in an irregular war of this nature, open collaborators (such as spies for the Gestapo) were actually combatants and therefore were not entitled to noncombatant immunity. In either case, the amount of people condemned in this way was relatively small—around 200 cases.14 A growing movement within just war theory argues that in certain exceptional cases, even the use of morally objectionable tactics may be acceptable when a party has no other way to win a just war. For example, Smilansky argues that “… to have a chance of being justified, terrorism must be employed for a proportionate just cause, and be a last resort after all other means have been exhausted.”15 His argument can be applied to the guerrilla tactics of the

Their Just War Polish AK. The efforts to demoralize and impede the Nazis and Soviets required acts of “terror,” such as assassination, to demoralize collaborators and Gestapo officials. Overall, however, Polish partisans respected the laws of warfare, protected noncombatants from harm, and showed remarkable restraint while under great provocation. Conclusion: A Just War After examining the historical data under the lens of just war theory, it is clear that the Polish partisans fulfilled the jus ad bellum criteria of right cause, right intention, legitimate authority, proportionality, reasonable chance of success, and last resort. The partisans were acting in self-defense against brutal occupiers who attacked and overthrew the Polish government unjustly and without provocation. They used military force carefully under the direct command of the legitimate political body of the Polish government-in-exile. Furthermore, the formation of an underground army in Poland was a last resort, after the regular Polish military units had been forced to surrender and flee to other Allied nations to continue the fight there. Subverting Nazi and Soviet attempts to extort and control the Polish population was a proportional and necessary response to the direct threat that they posed to the lives of Polish citizens. Finally, the scale and intensity of underground military activity was limited to actions with a reasonable chance of success. The organization as a whole was cautious about when it intervened, did not favor suicidal missions, and did not want to cause unnecessary civilian casualties through inciting reprisals. In their conduct during the war, the Polish partisans generally met the conditions of jus in bello, although some of the guerrilla tactics they used are of dubious morality. When faced with no other choice, almost 400,000 brave Poles voluntarily risked their lives in the Armia Krajowa to save the lives of their countrymen and preserve their national independence. It was a just war fought by ordinary people, on a battlefield as large as the nation.


Jan Karski, Story of a Secret State (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1944), 72.


Paul Latawski, “The Armia Krajowa and Polish Partisan Warfare, 193943” in War in a Twilight World (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 137.


Korbonski, 58.


Helen Frowe, The Ethics of War and Peace (New York: Routledge, 2011),


ICRC, “Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.

87. Geneva, 12 August 1949,” accessed December 6, 2012, http://www. 14

Korbonski, 74.


Frowe, 186.

Works Cited 1

Pictured above is a wooden carving of Miloš Tarabić, known by many as the Serbian Nostradamus. In the 19th century, his father and three brothers allegedly predicted many events and inventions that became a reality in the following century--the coming of telegraphs and telephones, the invention of television, the end of the monarchy of the Karađorđević’s, and even communist leader Tito coming to power. As with all such figures, there are those who truly believe in these prophecies and others who remain skeptical about the interpretation of their writings. The Tarabić’s of Kreman village on the Tara mountain have forseen a world ruled by a man in a turban. Let us see if this and any other predictions come to pass...

“Guerrilla Force,”, accessed December 6, 2012, asp?term_id=2361.


“Defining War: A Quick Reference Guide of Terms,” Shadow Spear Special Operation, accessed December 6, 2012, http://shadowspear. com/quick-reference-guide.html.


Kenneth K. Koskodan, No Greater Ally (Westminister: Osprey Publishing, 2009), 40.


Koskodan, 41.


Koskodan, 61


Stefan Korbonski, The Polish Underground State (New York: Columbia U


Korbonski, 19.


Korbonski, 65.

Press, 1978), 15.

-Katarina White


Trapped in Her Freedom Paige Westbrook Virtually unknown to modern academia and marginalized by her contemporaries, the Imperial Russian soldier’s wife, a soldatka, typifies those who have been neglected by conventional society. From the Petrine reforms to the great reforms of the 1860s, the conscription of serfs and state peasants had become a common aspect of Russian society. For example, from 1796 to 1855 almost five million men were conscripted into the Imperial Russian army and navy.1 The average conscript frequently left behind a family, which could include his young wife and children. Due to her husband’s conscription into the armed services, the state ostensibly freed this woman and her children from the bonds of serfdom. Despite her newfound legal freedom, the soldatka’s economic and social status plummeted, making her much more vulnerable to the harsh realities of the Russian Imperial world. Thus she became a woman trapped in her freedom, a serf to her circumstances. To fully understand the soldatka’s status, there must be a thorough examination of her and her husband’s life prior to his conscription. The overwhelming majority of conscripts approximately aged in their mid-twenties and came from the serf or state peasant populations. The exact percentage of these serfs who were married at the time of their conscription is unknown. However, as a sample unit, over half of the recruits sent to the Azov Infantry Regiment in 1795 and 1811 were married, and approximately a third had children.2 Generally, conscripts were culled from the lower ends of the commune’s social hierarchy, often the dregs or troublemakers. As one bailiff ruled, persons “discovered stealing, remiss in domestic matters, and especially those lazy and without horses” would be given as recruits.3 Cleaning up society in this way was not an uncommon practice among the peasant communities, and it was often the first method used. If this method of selection did not yield enough recruits, the commune would then cast lots to decide which households would provide the remaining necessary conscripts.4 Not surprisingly, despite the apparent egalitarian nature of the lots process, many abuses existed within the systems used for conscript selection. Most times the more powerful and better-connected families would be able to bribe their way out of conscription or avoid it altogether. Because of this, the burden of conscription often fell upon the shoulders of the poor, economically strained families within the mir (a rural peasant village or community).5 Furthermore, since the head of the household decided which family member would be recruited, the conscript was almost never a first-born son, heir to the household. Typically it was a younger son or one that did not have as much work potential as the other sons.6 The combination of these methods and abuses virtually ensured that a Russian conscript would be from the lowest segment of


society, whether through his own actions or his economic or familial status. Sadly, the wives of these future conscripts fell even further beneath their husbands’ already low socioeconomic status. Within the Russian family, the daughter-in-law was already at an incredible disadvantage. Being an outsider made her vulnerable to the abuses of her in-laws long before her husband’s conscription. She did not need to be treated with respect because she was not a blood relative.7 Although the idea is somewhat questioned today, most historians of the twentieth century viewed the daughterin-law, the snokah, as a helpless victim of sexual, mental, and physical abuse.8 This general air of contempt transformed a disrespected daughter-in-law into an extremely alienated and susceptible soldatka. In the following lament, a soldier knowing what awaits his young family pleads with his brothers to not harm his wife and their young children: I’m going for you my brothers And so, remember Don’t harm my orphaned young wife And take to your hearts my dear little children And bring them up until they are fully grown And don’t just send them out into the world.9 Recruitment was seen as a death sentence. Depending on the year of conscription, a recruit would have an enlistment of twenty years to life. They were never allowed to return home during their time of service.10 Understandably, due to the intense economic repercussions, recruitment was often a traumatic event for the family unit. One eyewitness described the scene: As I drove into this village, my ears were assailed not by the melody of verse, but by a heart-rending lament of women, children, and old men… Going up to a group of people, I learned that a levy of recruits was the cause of the sobs and tears of the people crowded together there.11 A family’s economic security was dependent on how many workers it had. Even if a son who was not a strong laborer was permanently lost, it not only detracted from the labor pool of the family unit, but also added to the strain on resources due to the continued dependency of the conscript’s wife and children.12 This point is vividly illustrated in this lament of a newly made soldatka: My fatherless children are standing before me, And crying with hunger. The family, frowning, Looks coldly upon them… At the table, they’re “gluttons!” And somebody threatens To punish my children— They slap them and pinch them! Be silent, you mother! You wife of a soldier!13

Trapped in Her Freedom Once the soldier left, the situation of the soldatka became rather peculiar. She had a sort of legal freedom in that she no longer belonged to the landlord or to the commune. This gave her three basic options. First, she could join her husband on campaign. This proved to be a very hazardous option due to the poor living conditions and inhumane treatment afforded soldatkas.14 They very rarely made this choice. As an example, between the years 1841 and 1844, only nine percent of married privates had their wives living with them.15 The soldatka’s second option was to move to the city. If she chose this course, she often took on such occupations as domestic servant, factory worker, peddler of abandoned children, or prostitute. However, due to a typical serf ’s lack of connections outside the village and limited mobility because of children or the prohibitive cost of travel, this again was a very rare choice.16 Most commonly a woman was left in the village with her husband’s family.17 In addition to her poor choice of supposed options, there were important caveats to this type of political freedom that made the life of a soldatka even less appealing. Perhaps the most striking blow to the soldatka is that the children of soldiers became sources of conscription for the empire as well. “All legitimate and illegitimate sons of soldiers, of soldiers’ wives or girlfriends, and of soldiers’ unmarried daughters must enter military service.”18 At seven years old, children were sent to military boarding schools.19 Despite their mothers’ supposed freedom from serfdom, the children had been placed in the same form of servitude that their father had: forced military service.20 Many soldatkas would go to great lengths for their children to avoid this fate. In their efforts to protect their children from military service, some soldatkas reportedly would disguise their legal identities and even maim their own children in order to exempt them from military service.21 In addition to the crushing blow of losing her husband and eventually her children, the social situation of the soldatka was grim at best. The most common situation for a soldatka, namely being left in the rural village, had many social repercussions. Having a husband recruited for military service was perceived as much worse than becoming a widow. Widowed daughter-in-laws were expected to quickly remarry and leave the home of their former in-laws. Remarriage was not an option for soldatkas because their husband was alive. As morbid as the thought might seem, the best possible outcome for a soldatka was for her husband to be legally confirmed dead. Until this occurred, the soldatka often remained with her husband’s family because she had a legal entitlement to live with them if she so desired.22 This, again, was a far-from-ideal situation. She and her children were often subject to the family’s resentment, abuses, and even banishment from their home and the landlord’s estate. As one folklorist lamented: My husband is gone; There is no one to shield me23 My loving protectors, If you could but see me!


Could know what your daughter Must suffer without you! Could learn of the people To whom you have left her!24 Soldatkas also lacked a social group that could support them. With the exception of wartime, only one to three percent of serfs in a village would be sent to military service in a five-year period.25 The fact that she was such a minority further alienated her from the commune. The distance between her situation and the norm often led to stereotyping. Soldatkas were typified as licentious women who bore illegitimate children and constantly drank.26 Women distrusted her because they saw her as a threat to their own security within their marriage. The other village women concluded that since the soldatka had no legitimate outlet for her sexual desire, she would try to seduce their husbands away from them.27 Again, the folklorist reveals the shame and ridicule that the fellow villagers heaped upon the soldatka: To go to God’s church I have made myself tidy; I hear how the neighbors Are laughing around me: “Now who is she setting Her cap at?” they whisper.28 Not only would these social pressures within the community bear down on the soldatka, but also, as previously mentioned, within the dvor (courtyard) she became susceptible to familial abuses. The soldatka had gone from being part of a functioning, productive economic unit alongside her husband to a batrachka, a family member deprived of rights who served the rest of the household. Although seemingly counterintuitive to many modern readers, her husband’s absence left the soldatka with his family’s abuse instead of their protection. As many historians agree, the dvor was more a means of exploitation than a family unit. A patriarch’s status was defined by his control of the household, not of external resources.29 As a woman without a male protector, she became an easy target for him and other family members pursuing their own interests.30 Beyond the spurning of her peers, being a social outcast had an even more calamitous consequence. During the Imperial times, there was not a strong welfare system, particularly for those cast out from the society at large. As one leading economist in the field asserts, “For those who were left out, emergency grain reserves, almshouses, hospitals, dispensaries, and the like could rarely be found. Neither did the parish church play any significant role in the poor relief. The basic response of the Russian peasant society was to control access to productive resources.”31 This lack of institutional support in addition to the resistance of her household to share sparse resources obviously created a dire economic situation for the soldatka. Sometimes the desperation of her case forced her to beg or send her children begging in the village for scraps from other families. Folklore provides further insight into precisely how dismal the soldatka’s condition could be:

Trapped in Her Freedom In the cold winter I’ll send my dear children out To stumble from house to house. I’ll put on their unfortunate shoulders a tiny coat. And I’ll let the poor things go. Oh wretched, dear children of mine. I am a poor, penniless, grief-stricken mother.32 Obviously this social and legal suppression had intense economic repercussions as well. Because of her low social status, the soldatkas often became targets for the greed of others, particularly their own landlords.33 However, there were many instances in which the soldatka did not remain helpless, but fought these abuses through the legal system. Although sometimes successful, their individual successes through the legal system were rare and did very little to combat their overall societal disadvantage. On occasion, the soldatka did have an avenue of recourse through the political system to force the hand of her husband’s family. If denied the opportunity to leave her husband’s home by the mir, the mir’s council often enforced some level of resource sharing among the family. In one instance, a soldatka asked the mir for a separate piece of land so that she might live apart from her brother-in-law. For some unknown reason this request was denied. However, the mir did require her brother-in-law to give her two quarters of rye for subsistence.34 This paltry settlement underscores the soldatka’s frustrating situation. Even the local government offered no respite to this woman constantly rebuffed by her circumstances. In view of the economic hardship, social shame, and legal vulnerability of the soldatka, it becomes incredibly obvious as to why she suffered such a cruel life. Despite her freedom from enserfment, the soldatka was not an enviable woman. Much rather, she was a woman who was marginalized by society and is often forgotten today. Although sometimes able to defend herself through the legal system, the day-to-day life of a soldatka in rural Imperial Russia left an abused and ostracized woman in its wake. Her legal freedom from serfdom did nothing more than to further ensconce her pitiful socio-economic position. As folklore memorializes: I now have no part In the village allotments, No share in the building The clothes, and the cattle, And these are my riches: Three lakes of salt tear drops, Three fields sown with grief! No friend under heaven There is for the woman The wife of the soldier.35

Petrovskoe, a Village in Tambov (Chicago: Univ of Chicago Pr (Tx), 1986), 152. 4 Wirtschafter, From Serf to Russian Soldier, 9-11. 5 Beatrice Farnsworth, “The Soldatka: Folklore and Court Record,” Slavic Review 49, no. 1 (Spring. 1990) stable/2500416 (accessed September 17, 2012), 62. 6 Hoch, Serfdom and Social Control in Russia, 152. 7 Ibid., 96. 8 Beatrice Farnsworth and Lynne Viola, eds., Russian Peasant Women(New York: Oxford University Press, USA, 1992), 89. 9 Farnsworth, The Soldatka: Folklore and Court Record, 64. 10 Ibid, 60. 11 Ibid, 64. 12 Peter Czap Jr., “A Large Family: The Peasant’s Greatest Wealth,” in Reinterpreting Russian History: Readings 860-1860, ed. Daniel H. Kaiser and Gary Marker (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), 356. 13 Nicholas Nekraessov, Who Can Be Happy and Free in Russia? (Westport, Conn.: Hyperion Reprint, 1977), 254. 14 Carol B. Stevens, ed., “Women and War in Early Modern Russia,” in A Companion to Women’s Military History, ed. Barton C. Hacker and Margaret Vining (Boston: Brill Academic Pub, 2012),404. 15 Wirtschafter, From Serf to Russian Soldier, 37. 16 Farnsworth, The Soldatka: Folklore and Court Record, 60-61. 17 Ibid., 67. 18 Elise Kimerling Wirtschafter, “Legal Identity and the Possession of Serfs in Imperial Russia,” The Journal of Modern History 70, no. 3 (September 1998), stable/10.1086/235117 (accessed October 13, 2012), 577 – 578. 19 Farnsworth, The Soldatka: Folklore and Court Record, 60. 20 Wirtschafter, Legal Identity, 580. 21 Wirtschafter, From Serf to Russian Soldier, 6-8. 22 Farnsworth, The Soldatka: Folklore and Court Record, 60. 23 Nekraessov, Who Can Be Happy and Free in Russia? 256-257. 24 Ibid., 251. 25 Farnsworth, The Soldatka: Folklore and Court Record, 60. 26 Ibid., 58. 27 Greta Bucher, Daily Life in Imperial Russia (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 2008), 135. 28 Nekraessov, Who Can Be Happy and Free in Russia? 255. 29 Steven L. Hoch, “The Serf Economy, the Peasant Family, and the Social Order.” In Imperial Russia: New Histories for the Empire, edited by Jane Burbank and David L. Ransel, 202203. 30 Farnsworth, The Soldatka: Folklore and Court Record, 63. 31 Hoch, The Serf Economy, the Peasant Family, and the Social Order, 204. 32 Farnsworth, The Soldatka: Folklore and Court Record, 61. 33 Wirtschafter, Legal Identity, 577. 34 Ibid, 578. 35 Nekraessov, Who Can Be Happy and Free in Russia? 254, 256.

Works Cited Elise Kimerling Wirtschafter, From Serf to Russian Soldier (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Univ Pr, 1990), 3. 2 Ibid., 10 -11. 3 Steven L. Hoch, Serfdom and Social Control in Russia: 1


Lyrical / ЛИРИЧЕСКАЯ Olga Korobova The paws of firs here tremble from their own weight Here, restless birds chirp in alarm. Enchanted the woods are you inhabitate, From which one can never depart.

Здесь лапы у елей дрожат на весу, Здесь птицы щебечут тревожно. Живешь в заколдованном диком лесу, Откуда уйти невозможно.

Let the bird cherries dry like linens in the wind, Let the lilacs seep droplets of rain, They won’t stop me from leaving and taking you with, To a palace where the reed pipes play.

Пусть черемухи сохнут бельем на ветру, Пусть дождем опадают сирени, Все равно я отсюда тебя заберу Во дворец, где играют свирели.

Your world has been hidden for thousands of years By wizards from me and from light. You’ve come to believe nothing better exists Than this forest of charm and delight.

Твой мир колдунами на тысячи лет Укрыт от меня и от света. И думаешь ты, что прекраснее нет, Чем лес заколдованный этот.

In the morning, the leaves won’t be covered in dew, The moon will quarrel with the dark sky Let it be, I’ll still come there, I’ll come and take you To a cottage down by the seaside.

Пусть на листьях не будет росы поутру, Пусть луна с небом пасмурным в ссоре, Все равно я отсюда тебя заберу В светлый терем с балконом на море.

Will the hour come, the weekend or weekday, When you will walk out to me, cautious, The day, in my arms, when I take you away To where no one will ever find us?

В какой день недели, в котором часу Ты выйдешь ко мне осторожно? Когда я тебя на руках унесу Туда, где найти невозможно?

I will steal you if robbery’s more to your heart Not in vain, all my strength I’ve forsaken. So agree to a heaven within a small hut If the palace and cottage are taken.

Украду, если кража тебе по душе, Зря ли я столько сил разбазарил. Соглашайся хотя бы на рай в шалаше, Если терем с дворцом кто-то занял.

Vladimir Vysotskiy 1970

Владимир Высоцкий 1970


Cuckoo Clock / ХОДИКИ Olga Korobova The day my woman first entered my home Some books lay in a pile, gathering dust, My woman said to me: “That’s not enough! Our house needs more,” she said. We were in love. We took a knapsack that was worn and old Went out, bought everything that was essential, We placed a cuckoo clock up on the wall, Went out and bought a whistling kettle.

Когда в мой дом любимая вошла, В нем книги лишь в углу лежали валом, Любимая сказала: “Это мало! Нам нужен дом”. Любовь у нас была. И мы пошли со старым рюкзаком, Чтоб совершить покупки коренные, И мы купили ходики стенные, И чайник мы купили со свистком.

Oh, there’s no better flame than one which never withers And there’s no better home than the one that you call home Where there’s a cuckoo clock that’s ticking in the kitchen, A whistling kettle, and the woman that I love.

Ах, лучше нет огня, который не потухнет И лучше дома нет, чем собственный твой дом, Где ходики стучат старательно на кухне, Где милая моя и чайник со свистком. Потом пришли иные рубежи, Мы обрастали разными вещами, Которые украсить обещали, И без того украшенную жизнь. Снега летели, письмами шурша. Ложились письма на мои палатки, – Что дома, слава Богу, все в порядке, Лишь ходики немножечко спешат.

The times changed after that, new boundary lines, Soon, we were overgrown with different items, They vowed to decorate, make even brighter, Our already such decorated life. Rustling with letters, all the snows flew on. The letters settled down upon my tents, – At home, thank God, everything was well, The cuckoo clock just in a little rush.

С любимой мы прожили сотню лет, Да что я говорю, прожили двести... И показалось мне, что в новом месте, Горит поярче предвечерний свет, И говорятся тихие слова, Которые не сказывались, право... Поэтому, не мудрствуя лукаво, – Пора спешить туда, где синева...

My woman and I lived a hundred years, What am I saying, lived at least two centuries... It seemed to me that, in a new location, The late afternoon light was not as dim. There, we would utter quiet words and tunes, That never could be said in our old life... And so it took no wisdom to decide The time had come to rush towards the blue.

С тех пор я много берегов сменил. В своей стране и в отдаленных странах, Я вспоминал с навязчивостью странной, Как часто эти ходики чинил... Под ними чай другой мужчина пьет, И те часы ни в чем не виноваты... Они всего единожды женаты Но, как хозяин их, спешат вперед.

Since then, on many shores I’ve come to dock. Within my country and in foreign lands, A throbbing followed me, as I remembered, How often I would fix that cuckoo clock... A different man sips tea beneath it now, That clock does not have fault in it at all... It only married once, married for love But, like its owner, came to hurry on. Oh, there’s no better flame than one which never withers And there’s no better home than the one that you call home Where there’s a cuckoo clock that’s ticking in the kitchen, A whistling kettle, and the woman that I love. June 2, 1977

Ах, лучше нет огня, который не потухнет И лучше дома нет, чем собственный твой дом, Где ходики стучат старательно на кухне, Где милая моя и чайник со свистком. 2 июня 1977

Yuri Vizbor


Юрий Визбор


Christopher Atwood Author’s Note: This is a light-hearted look at the superfluous man in Russian literature, written in Onegin verse. As academic topics are not generally discussed in verse, I made a point to ensure that this should not be treated as a purely academic work. It is more of a tribute to Russian GoldenAge poets. XXX To my dear friend and humble reader, Please do know that my lone aims Are just to be your bashful leader, Not justly say these Russian names! I get mixed up and mispronounce them So, please, my darling, don’t denounce him, The man who tries his best to say The words that lead our tongues astray. I do not claim to be a scholar, So if I have mistook some fact, Or have not written this with tact, Please do not throw me by my collar! Without ado or any ploy To take advantage, please enjoy: I When Pushkin wrote Onegin’s chatter, And Lermontov, his golden verse, When Don Juan made such a clatter, And Russian prose fell to the curse, Who told this man that love is leisure, That words are poison darts of pleasure? Who told this man, in proper thought, To win her hand, duels must be fought? Who told this man to live in fashion, In pointless task, without a heart, With crippled soul, so cold and tart, To love himself with empty passion? To steal away out from the light, To follow girls into the night? II The culprit of this heinous person: First “Childe Harold was he hight.” Lord Byron’s name this verse would worsen Then Russia, too, it would ignite, When Pushkin read works of the Baron. After his ride in Greece with Charon, George Gordon’s words once made to roam, Onto her shelves, found Russia home. Onegin was a Russian Byron, A prototype, a “useless” dish (Who held more truth than some might wish). He seemed to some a screaming siren. This man was, written though in gloom, A generation’s vice in bloom. III 1 IV In Woe From Wit, alarm bells sounded When Chatsky dared open his mouth. Our Fasumov, a man well-rounded,

Would have done well to send him south. He read too much of revolution! He’d be the end of institution! Of Fasumov’s society! Of Muscovite fraternity! Sophia spoke a revelation, Which sent a crowd off for his head. Poor Chatsky now, to them, was dead For speaking of a new sensation. This man, they claimed, was surely mad: His mind now gone, his soul now sad. V Sophia, oh, why spread this rumor, And claim your Chatsky was insane? Though in your house, he was a tumor, Compared to you, he seemed quite plain! Yes, Chatsky was a bit romantic, And his arrival, somewhat frantic, But, unlike you, he spoke not lies, As had Mochalin to your eyes! He spoke with grace, and rhyme, and reason, And though he spoke sometimes in jest And others, still, he would not rest, You had no right to speak such treason Against his broken heart and soul! His only crime — a lofty goal! VI 2 VII In Lermontov’s unique novella In which we meet his dark-haired love The Cherkess beauty, his dear Bela, Sent straight to him by faith above. She, stolen by this handsome devil, Took in delight the life she’d revel, But only after days of tears (Once Pechorin cleared her fears). What did he do once she’d been smitten? Once she’d agreed to his demand? Once she’d agreed to take his hand? He soon fell to that fad from Britain. That fad to find all love a bore, To treat love like a useless war. VIII Oh, sweet Pechorin, Princess Mary, Young Grushnitsky and Vera, too, Lived in a tangled web so scary With duels and fools and life to rue. A call to arms, a call to action By Grushnitsky, his “noble” faction Had showed all readers once again There’s something different in the brain Of such a man as our Grigory – He could not live a normal life, Of normalcy with normal wife – For him, this world was purgatory, ‘Twas worse to him than living hell; He found himself an empty shell.


Completely Replaceable Pechorin, yes, by some was branded Superfluous – a useless man! But Lermontov, in being candid, Confessed to us, our boy he can Be so compared to every brother Who lived with him, called Russia mother. Chechnya bore them such a strife, Most every man was bored of life! To those who say he didn’t matter, Pechorin, ours, so sly and coy, Who found useless Teatre Bol’shoi, I call your words unfounded chatter. Why must this man live life your way? Why must he do all that you say? X Of all these men, who was the master Of hating all conformity? Whose social life was a disaster? Of course we speak of Yevgeniy! To rid his life of balls he hated He left St. Pete, as Uncle stated That by this time his death crept near, But passing did not give him fear, For dear Yevgeniy lived in sorrow, As he was born the bastard son Of Greece’s hero, chosen one. But grief subsided in the morrow: Here Tania left him with a note (We cherish every word she wrote). XI 3 But our Yevgeniy would not bother To ruin such a perfect dove He would not act as had his father For Tania’s soul came from above XII 4 The illness with which he’d been smitten should have been analyzed when caught, something like spleen, that scourge of Britain, or Russia’s chondria, for short; it mastered him in slow gradation; thank God, he had no inclination to blow his brains out, but instead to life grew colder than the dead. So, like Childe Harold, glum, unpleasing, he stalked the drawing-rooms, remote from Boston’s cloth or gossip’s quote; no glance so sweet, no sigh so teasing, no, nothing caused his heart to stir, and nothing pierced his senses’ blur. XIII Tchulkaturin, himself, was realized To be useless – a loveless man! The loved Prince N, himself idealized, A well-bred prince from noble clan, Brought such a stir in meeting Liza, As if to say, a tomb in Giza Upon his death would be N’s fate With Liza’s name on his estate. In empty guilt, in life so futile, A duel was fought between these men – Tchulkaturin, and Sir Prince N. In Liza’s mind, an act so brutal Against a man whose head was crowned

Meant our dear boy was useless found XIV 5 XV Turgenev penned an awful creature With frivolous stamped on his soul, He saw his heart, questioned the feature “Why in my chest is there a hole?” No one can know, no one can answer Of why his soul, it seemed a cancer, Except to say that he was drawn To show those Russian days bygone. Because he simply ignored standard Of how elite thought life should be, Of Princes and Nobility, Tchulkaturin’s name was but slandered. His very name, within his mind, Was ridiculed and much maligned XVI 6 I say goodbye, now, my dear reader, I hope you have, my darling friend, Now understood this “useless” leader. Just two more stanzas, and I end: XVII Let’s take, for instance, Pushkin’s chatter In his lone book, from start to end; Accounting for all hearts he’d shatter, I still say this to you, my friend: Although he’d lived without his brothers, (This feeling wasn’t felt by others) He’s more important than new boots 7 Because he spoke-out for the mutes, The restless youth, a generation (Influenced by democracy To trample old society, But trapped in an archaic nation), Whose dreams were dashed, supporters killed For crimes against the tsarist shield. XVIII Pechorin and Onegin, others, Whose names their critics did defame, Exemplified their Russian brothers In Petersburg, who saw such shame. No, Russia saw no revolution In twenty-five, just retribution, Which came in many different forms To those who dared question the norms, Like death, exile and creation To the chagrin of Fasumov, And sorrow of our Lermontov, Of a new useless generation Whose only goal, to follow France Would never stand as had Romance. Intentionally left blank by the author Intentionally left blank by the author 3 Intentionally left incomplete by the author 4 Taken from Charles Johnson’s translation of Aleksandr Pushkin’s “Yevgeniy Onegin” (Chapter 1, Stanza XXXVIII) 5 Intentionally left blank by the author 6 Intentionally left incomplete by the author 7 Dmitri Pisarev, the famous nihilist, is often quoted as saying, “A pair of boots is worth more than all of Pushkin!” 1 2


Development in the post-Soviet Sphere: Kazakhstan

Alexandra Di Cocco Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991, its former republics were given the responsibility to reintegrate into the global community and re-identify as non-Soviet. For some this was as simple as reestablishing relationships with Western Europe that were damaged by the ideological conflict and power politics of the Cold War, such as Eastern Germany and Poland. For others it was the first time in centuries that they had not been under the auspices of a foreign empire, whether Russian or Soviet. The newly independent republic of Kazakhstan faced the latter circumstance. Landlocked and sparsely populated, this Central Asian nation had been a subject of the Russian Empire since the eighteenth century, and before that of the Mongol Empire since the early thirteenth century.1 Declaring independence from the Soviet Union on December 16, 1991 entailed the establishment of the first sovereign Kazakh nation with all the advantages and challenges of its Soviet inheritance. Due to geographic and historic advantages, as well as particularly abundant natural resources, Kazakhstan had the ability to quickly develop into a major regional power, yet its economy declined throughout the 1990s. The residual effects of the abuse of natural resources, destruction of the Kazakh identity, and oppressive political leadership during the Soviet reign contribute the most to Kazakhstan’s decline following independence and frustrate its efforts to develop into an advanced industrialized society. Kazakhstan was gifted with great geographic luck as a nation deep within the Eurasian steppe. Its 275 million hectares of rolling plains are arable and the myriad of hoofed animals easily domesticated.2 Following the destructive cultivation tactics of early agriculturalists, the grasslands became the primary means of survival as the Kazakhs evolved into a herding society of nomadic and pastoral people.3 The Kazakhs developed a patriarchal society in order survive on the plains, as well as a judicial system accustomed to pillaging as “retaliatory raids grew into blood feuds which kept the steppe in constant turmoil.”4 These characteristics are consistent with Patrick Nolan and Gerhard Lenski’s definition of herding societies in their well-respected introduction of macrosociology, Human Societies. Hoofed animals and husbandry were the primary means of survival for the Kazakhs. Horses were especially essential; descended from the steeds of the Mongol conquerors, they had “the great endurance necessary under rigorous steppe conditions.”5 Intense personal bonds developed

between herdsmen and their horses after centuries of companionship and mutual reliance for survival. Cattle were also present on the steppe; bulls provided meat and means of transportation while the smaller cows provided milk.6 By the 1900s, the fine-wooled merino sheep became a staple of the Kazakh herders, prompting the development of its wool industry and subsequent exports to Europe.7 Finally, Kazakhstan has major deposits of natural resources, most of which are large contributors to industrialization. These include petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, manganese, chrome ore, nickel, cobalt, copper, lead, zinc, bauxite, gold, and uranium.8 It was for access to these natural resources that the Russian Empire initially expanded south into the Kazakh steppe. The Russian Empire defeated the Mongols in the sixteenth century, beginning its rapid growth and expansion of power across the Eurasian plains. The lands of Kazakhstan were extremely appealing source of growth and “the Kazakhs occupied rich lands, as attractive for Russian settlement as the lands of the Indians had been for the settlers in the Americas.”9 This expansion supplied the economic growth of the empire, promoting the medieval theory of Russian imperialism that increases in land beget increases in power. In addition, it was essential for the Russian Empire to subdue the violent and brutal Kazakhs: “turbulent by nature and impatient of control or restriction by any central authority, they were always ready to plunder villages, drive off livestock, and sell unlucky captives into slavery… they also hindered the development of trade, frequently raiding the caravans.”10 The originally nomadic herding society of the Kazakhs only adopted a sedentary lifestyle under pressure from the Russian Empire, and later the Soviet Union.11 These foreign autocratic powers established the first administrative zones and controlled the formation of subordinate Kazakh state that later developed into the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic. The Republic of Kazakhstan that emerged following the dissolution of the Soviet Union is, therefore, the first sovereign Kazakh nation governed by and serving its nationals. As the twentieth anniversary of the dissolution of the USSR approaches, the issue of Kazakhstan’s stunted industrial growth still remains. Eric Sievers posits five hypotheses in his 2003 book The PostSoviet Decline of Central Asia to explain Kazakhstan’s decline during the 1990s. Evidence supports Siever’s claim that the natural process of reorganization can lead to economic decline; his hypothesis states, “Central Asia will inevitably reconstruct 20

Kazakhstan and resurrect itself to realize the advantages of free markets and democracy envisioned at the beginning of the decade.”12 However, the non-economic factors contributing to decline must first be analyzed in order to establish a broad understanding of the environment the Kazakhstani administration faces when planning industrialization and development. These factors include the destruction of lands, struggle with identity, education, and lastly, democratization and political corruption. Soviet agricultural policies severely deteriorated the viability of the Kazakhstani plains. Between 1953 and 1966 Nikita Khrushchev’s revolutionary Virgin Lands campaign sought to cultivate the previously undisturbed lands of the Volga region; the Urals, Siberia, and Kazakhstan and achieved short-term success.13 However, without the proper planning, the program neglected to utilize crop rotation and the overexploitation of these lands “eroded soil and promoted weeds.”14 Among other current environmental issues the “soil pollution from overuse of agricultural chemicals” resulting from these destructive practices remains. In addition, pollution from toxic waste associated with former defense industries poses health risks for humans and animals.15 The lack of environmental consideration during the Soviet era thereby destroyed the deep geographic and historic advantages of the productive, workable land of the Eurasian plains. The deep history associated with the Kazakhs’ nature as a herding society resulted in the swift movement of culture as it transferred during raiding expeditions. As Pierce states, “The predominantly level terrain of Russian Central Asia has facilitated many invasions which have left as their heritage a complex mixture of races, languages, and cultures.”16 Because of this the Kazakhs are fundamentally torn between their cultural heritage as Turks and the influence of their former Asian, Islamic, Russian, and Soviet conquerors. Finally, after centuries of oppression by different dominant foreign powers, they have the freedom and opportunity to identify themselves as Kazakhstanis and sovereigns of their own nation. Immediately after the collapse of the USSR, many believed Central Asia would devolve into chaos as Yugoslavia did. Such a development would have distracted these nations from achieving their development goals.17 However, the establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) dampened the influence of nationalist movements that could have swept across the region after the USSR’s collapse; it “demonstrated the apparent unity of the post-Soviet republics for the population.”18 The Kazakhstani government consistently promotes the growing use of the Kazakh language rather than Russian, as had been imposed during centuries

of Russian domination. Continuing to promote Kazakhstani culture over foreign ones establishes pride and nationalism in the citizenry and provides motivation for development and advancement, as seen in the economic semi-isolationism of today’s Kazakhstan. In addition, Kazakhstan faces massive emigration of its trained professionals. The outflow of its skilled professionals is severe enough to warrant the attention of the director of the Astana Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Center, Alexander Kelchevsky. Kelchevsky claims that this brain drain is a “deterrent to social and economic development of [Kazakhstan].”19 The brain drain and loss of human capital is simply another obstacle the nation must face if it wishes to industrialize and become a major regional power. After gaining independence, Kazakhstan quickly established a Western-style multiparty electoral system. The adoption of such a system was “indicative of the ‘democratic impulse’ sweeping across the Soviet Successor states.”20 However, by the mid to late-1990s the Kazakhstani government shifted towards more restrictive political policies. This included the election of the, colloquially considered, President-for-life Nazarbayev who proceeded to centralize power under the President and executive branch.21 Recent invalid elections continue to hinder Kazakhstan’s democratization and it now resembles a semi-authoritarian regime.22 Corruption in the political sphere, as seen by the contested elections, creates yet another distraction from Kazakhstan’s development by threatening its economic and political stability.23 Kazakhstan is currently experiencing impressive economic growth despite these challenges. Although it faced negative growth during the 2008-09 global recessions, its final annual Gross Domestic Product growth for 2010 was an astounding 8.6%.24 The trend of decline from 1997-2009 coincides with external pressures – like the recession – but also with the allocation of resources towards industrializing the Kazakhstani economy. After experiencing abuse by foreign investors during the 1990s, the administration began to isolate its economy from foreign investment in 2004, “and a trend towards regaining state control over oil and gas assets has been evident.”25 These reforms undoubtedly cost the Kazakhstani economy profits it could have earned through these investments, decreasing its overall wealth in the short-run. Simultaneously, Kazakhstani programs advanced multilateral industrialization of the economy, allocating funds to this development that initially increased the national debt. However, investment in domestic industries such as the extraction of its abundant 21

Di Cocco natural resources –oil, natural gas, and uranium– and metallurgy contribute the most to the growth of Kazakhstan’s economy.26 The ability to cultivate these resources is one of the few positive inheritances of the Soviet legacy, as the development of this technology was a primary concern during the Soviet era of industrialization. The export of these natural resources has provided the profits and wealth that has gradually increased the GDP since 2009, and funds current development and industrialization projects. In 2010 President Nazarbayev decreed the establishment of a new state program devoted to “increasing the efficient use of natural resources, improving the efficiency of human resources, and [the] implementation of geopolitical potential.”27 The focus to improve these areas coincides with the challenges outlined above – destruction of lands, brain drain, and taking advantage of geographic luck. This shows that the administration does not underestimate the difficulty of industrializing, and that it aims to do so successfully through efficient and effective practices. The State Program for accelerated industrial and innovative development (AIID) plans to diversify the economy, avoiding dependence on one industry to sustain growth – unlike the Russian economy, which relies on petroleum profits to remain sustainable. According to the decree, AIID aims first, to achieve the “balanced development of economy in the next ten years through diversification and enhancing its competitiveness”; second, to “advance social effectiveness of priority sectors and implement investment projects which create an enabling environment for industrialization”; and finally, to “build up centers of economic growth on the basis of rational territorial organization of economic potential and ensuring effective interaction between government and business.”28 Kazakhstan had already established itself as a regional power by 2011. As seen by recent announcements of support and partnership with Ukraine and Belarus as well as the finalization of petrol pipeline plans with China, Kazakhstan threatens Russia’s supremacy in the post-Soviet sphere. Following the American tragedies of 11 September 2001, the United States recognized the nation’s strategic importance, considering its proximity to Afghanistan, in the global war against terrorism.29 This strategic relationship with the United States and economic relationships with Ukraine, Belarus, and China have allowed Kazakhstan to develop and industrialize despite the disadvantages it faces as a former Soviet republic. A threatening political atmosphere is the only challenge that remains. As Navarbayev carries out his term without regard to or respect for the democratic process, the semi-

autocratic political environment faces the pressure of maintaining a stable industry and market. True democratization and holding uncontested elections maybe the final development necessary for Kazakhstan to achieve the potential its herding and pastoral ancestors provided. Works Cited The US Central Intelligence Agency, “Kazakhstan.” The World Factbook, publications/the-worldfactbook/geos/kz.html. 2 Ibid. 3 Pierce, Richard A, Russian Central Asia, 1867-1917: a Study in Colonial Rule (Berkeley: University of California, 1960), 7. 4 Ibid, 10. 5 Ibid, 158. 6 Ibid, 159. 7 Ibid, 158. 8 The US Central Intelligence Agency. 9 Pierce, 17. 10 Ibid. 11 Ibid, 156. 12 Sievers, Eric, The Post-Soviet Decline of Central Asia: Sustainable Development and Comprehensive Capital (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003), 8. 13 Suny, Ronald Grigor, The Soviet Experiment: Russia, the USSR, and the Successor States (New York: Oxford UP, 2009), 391. 14 Ibid, 408. 15 The US Central Intelligence Agency. 16 Pierce, 8. 17 Libman, Alexander, “Regionalisation and Regionalism in the Post-Soviet Space: Current Status and Implications for Institutional Development,” Europe-Asia Studies 59.3 (2007), 413. 18 Ibid, 414. 19 “Brain Drain in Kazakhstan.” Kazakhstan Today. Kazakhstan Today Media Group, 25 June 2009. 20 Jones, Luong Pauline, Institutional Change and Political Continuity in Post-Soviet Central Asia: Power, Perceptions, and Pacts (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2008), 2. 21 Ibid, 17. 22 Libman,416, 420. 23 Werner, Cynthia, “Gifts, Bribes and Development in Post-Soviet Kazakhstan,” Human Organization 59, no.1 (2000), 11-22. 24 “Kazakhstan GDP Growth Rate,”, 12 Jan. 2011. 25 Libman, 406. 26 “Kazakhstan GDP Growth Rate”. 27 “New Plan for Accelerated Industrialization of Kazakhstan’s Economy,” The Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Japan, 26 Apr. 2010. 28 Ibid. 29 Olcott, Martha Brill, Central Asia’s Second Chance (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2005). 1


Review of:

Review review of: of:

900 Days: TheMythandRealityoftheSiegeofLeningrad

Our Our Newspaper Newspaper

Alice Young

Charlotte Pizzella

Our Newspaper is a documentary about Russian journalist Andrey Schkolni and his small, yet ambitious, self-run newspaper. Together with his wife, Marina, he travels around the Russian country side to the villages of the isolated, poor and elderly. During his investigation he carefully documents these people’s plights and their implications toward their eventual demise should their individual crises not be addressed by their governing officials. Previously a reporter from the Leninist, Schkolni takes it upon himself to combat state-censored articles masquerading as news in his local communities and replace them with topics relevant to the locals themselves. The information he gathers is often volatile toward corrupt big business while taking an empathetic alliance with the common man, the victimized villagers of the area in this case. The documentary itself employs several shots of hazardous or miserable conditions for the elderly or disenfranchised. Within the film, Schkolni is positioned as a hero of the people. He takes steps locally to expand not only his right to collect and distribute news in the area, but also reclaiming the news for the people that is not deluded by big business and politics, and is rather a reflection of actual lived experience. The director successfully elicits sympathy from the audience by showing state neglect of the Russian people through short, yet intimate, interviews with common folk. For Schkolni, fear of being crushed by the larger corporation haunts him daily and the prospect of losing everything lingers in the back of his mind. Through this documentary, we are introduced to a brave man, writing in the voice for the people, supported by the local peoples and emblemized as a struggling spark of enacted independence within a newly sprouting democratic order.

Jessica Gorter’s haunting film opens to a scene of the national “Victory Day” celebration in Russia in 2010. Among uniformed soldiers and bright red banners, former president Dmitry Medvedev congratulates the veterans and survivors of World War II; “Dear Veterans, sixty five years ago you fought for our peace and won it. As a result, now we can live.” As the camera pans out, we see regiments of soldiers in front of the Kremlin who answer Medvedev with a deafening “Hoorah!” The film then cuts to two elderly Russians who are survivors of the war, reclining in a dark room in front of the glowing television set. “Let’s switch off the TV. We’ve seen enough of that nonsense in our lifetime.” 900 Days: The Myth and Reality of the Siege of Leningrad is a brilliantly executed narrative of the Leningrad blockade and its propagandistic glorification, told from the perspective of its ever-shrinking community of survivors. Gorter guides us through the dark history and historicization of the two and a half year blockade, concentrating particularly on the “horrible winter” of 194142. After the war, survivors of the Leningrad blockade were placed (often unwillingly) in the role of “defenders” of the “heroic city” and decorated as national heroes, but were forbidden to speak of the horrific events that actually took place. By uncovering these suppressed memories, Gorter deconstructs the official narrative of the Leningrad blockade that supported the Soviet regime and is still used to reinforce government power in Russia today. This film is unique in that it seamlessly brings together accounts of past events with their ramifications for the present; the use of both contemporary and historic materials gives the viewer a picture of the event as it exists both then and now. In doing so it powerfully reveals post-Soviet confusion in Russian cultural consciousness; as these suppressed tales are brought to the surface, so is the tension caused by the seemingly irreconcilable disparity between factual events and the ever-persistent narrative of the Soviet propaganda machine. I would recommend this film as a moving documentary not only of this significant historical event, but also of how individuals are personally implicated in the construction (and deconstruction) of national identity.

Films may be obtained through Icarus films: Icarus Films 32 Court Street #2107 Brooklyn, NY 11201 Tel: 718.488.8900 23

Mir Isskustva Erika Reid At the turn of the twentieth century, the World of Art, known natively in Russia as Mir Iskusstva, was consuming Europe. The miriskusniki (followers of the World of Art) were expanding the movement’s influence from Russia to France through the innovation of the Ballet Russes. The company’s gifted director, Sergei Diaghilev, was also the editor-in-chief of the artistic journal that birthed the World of Art movement. Diaghilev’s collection of essays, “Complicated Questions,” which appeared in the first four issues of Mir Iskusstva, proposed a new method of conceiving Russian art as a sincere expression of beauty, personality, and national identity. The Ballet Russes’ innovative productions would provide the World of Art movement with an aesthetic performance of their ideals. In 1910, Sergei Diaghilev and his company’s ballet Petrushka, including an original score, choreography, set design, and costume, would be a testament to the development of Mir Iskusstva. The founding members of Mir Iskusstva, including Alexander Benois, Konstantin Somov, Sergei Diaghilev, and Walter Nouvel, met as young students in St. Petersburg in the early 1890s.1 Initially known as the Society for SelfEducation, these “Nevskii Pickwickians” (as they referred to themselves), met to discover and discuss literature, musical performance, and works of art. The group was particularly interested in contemporary European art and art philosophy, especially the work of modern French writers that were censored in Russia, like Huysmans, Baudelaire, and Verlaine.2 By 1987 the determined Diaghilev took control of the group, dedicating himself to the surmounting ideals discussed in the meetings of Mir Iskusstva, which lead to the creation of the eponymous journal. The name “World of Art” was derived after much discussion among the group, as a summation of their belief of “Europe and Russia, past and present, as one perfectly continuous ‘world of art.’”3 From the start Mir Iskusstva represented a radical shift in art historical thought in Russia, leaving behind the staunch classicism of art past. Until this point, the art world in Russia was dominated by the peredvishnichestvo, or the Itinerants, who saw art as educational and utilitarian. Russian artists were expected to produce easily identifiable works that functioned in the context of the nation and were morally or socially beneficial.4 This stance was very similar to that of the French Académie des beaux-arts and the famed history paintings of Jacques Louis David. Like the French Academy, the Russian Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg was the only institution from which one could gain a credited art education. This institution bred systematic, government-sponsored art. Yet any young artists who wished to depart from the Academic style were unable to graduate from the Academy or exhibit their work, since no other exhibitions existed except that of the peredvizhniki, limiting freedom of expression.5 While many members of Mir Iskusstva studied for some time in

the Academy, none ever graduated, and the group held a general distaste for the Academy’s staunch teachings.6 The launch of the Mir Iskusstva journal in 1899 coincided with other changes in art society that made it possible for the movement to flourish. Wealthy patrons, like Savva Momontov, were essential in supporting younger talent that was turning away from the Academy and toward the World of Art.7 Mamontov, along with Princess Maria Klavdievna Tenisheva, were the original financial backers for Mir Iskusstva as well as the annual painting exhibitions organized by Diaghilev to help publicize the movement.8 Exhibitions of foreign (and domestic) art works were central to Mir Iskusstva’s vision of promoting Russian artists to compete artistically on an international level, and thus bring praise and recognition to their art. There was also extreme need for a modern art publication in Russia, as current magazines such as Niva (Grain Field) and Zhivopisnoe Obozrenie (Pictorial Survey) were aimed at a mass audience, and did not discuss art on a philosophical level.9 The appearance of a highly articulate and theoretical magazine that advocated “art for art’s sake” and a national Russian art was welcomed in the struggling independent art community. Mir Isskustva existed for six years, from 1899 to 1904. Even though its existence was short, the twelve issues that were published clearly expressed the “program” of editorin-chief Diaghilev and his World of Art.10 In the first two volumes of the journal, Diaghilev printed the four parts of his aesthetic manifesto, “Complicated Questions.” In it, Diaghilev conveys Mir Iskusstva’s goal of inspiring a “sincere national feeling” that would produce Russian art that could compete and be judged on the same level as Western art, ultimately developing a radical new form of criticism for Russian art. Russian art was no longer to be examined by the standards of other Russian art, but instead by terms of International art, both past and present.11 Throughout his manifesto, Diaghilev argues and traces the history of Russian art and its critics, finally arriving at a new path for a new national Russian art to follow. The first part of “Complicated Questions” is “Our Supposed Decline” in which Diaghilev traces the evolution of artistic periods in the nineteenth century that have led to the supposed period of decline in which Russian art. Diaghilev attacks the art critics of the nineteenth century, namely John Ruskin, who criticized the miriskusniki and their art exhibitions of being too decadent.12 Diaghilev turns the argument around on the critics, stating that “decadence” is the name of the decline that results after the achievement of a high point in art. But the past century has seen, as Diaghilev boldly states, “there is no decline and there can be none, because there is nothing for us to decline from.”13 Instead the past one hundred years had been the overlapping existence of three types of “decadents,” consisting of the decadents of Classicism, the Romantic decadents,


Mir Isskustva and the decadents of Realism. Diaghilev denounces these movements and states that Mir Iskusstva shall not follow in their path; instead they will thrive independent of this supposed decay they exist in. Having addressed the aesthetic decay that many critics viewed at the end of the nineteenth century, Diaghilev turns his attention to the underlying causes of this decline in “The Eternal Conflict.” For Diagilev, the eternal conflict is that between the utilitarian view of art, the art of the peredvizhniki, and art for art’s sake, of which Mir Iskusstva was the main advocate.14 While Diaghilev does not deny the social significance of art, he finds it incomprehensible that art should serve society in a moral or political way. The attack continues on Ruskin and Nikolai Chernyshevskii; as the author puts it, “the arbiters of art secretly idolize this barbarian [Chernyshevskii] who stretches out unclean hands toward art, seeking to destroy it.”15 Diaghilev’s distaste for the proponents of utilitarian art stems from his belief that art is free, that art should not be produced with a deliberate idea in hand, but rather these ideas should be developed in the creative process. It is the artist’s genius that stems from his creative process and love of beauty as he “must converse with only her during the tender, mysterious manifestation of his divine nature.”16 Thus in the first two issues of Mir Iskusstva, Diaghilev establishes the World of Art’s independence from the prior generation of “decay” and establishes the basis for free art, created wholly for itself. In the second volume of Mir Iskusstva, which contained issues three and four, Diaghilev continues his manifesto, now exploring the subject matter of Mir Iskusstva artwork in “The Search for Beauty.” Above all, the World of Art valued the power of beauty in communicating their ideals, and in “The Search for Beauty” Diaghilev discusses the two dominant, but opposing theories of beauty, those of Baudelaire and Ruskin. While Diaghilev favors Ruskin’s writings that beauty exists in the visible world, as contrasted to Baudelaire’s view that the search for beauty is only in the imagination, Diaghilev still manages to find fault.17 Diaghilev believed that the principle function of the artist is to “determine the essence of an object and to treat everything else as insignificant,” but Ruskin’s insistence on recreating nature in exact copy was not in line with the miriskusniki belief in capturing only the essential of something’s appearance.18 Diaghilev concludes that in the simplification of subject matter lies only the manifestation of beauty, while the source of beauty, the reason for all of creativity lies in the human personality. Finally, Diaghilev concludes “Complicated Questions” with Mir Iskusstva’s aesthetic platform in “The Principles of Artistic Evaluation.” Above all, Diaghilev declares that “beauty in art is temperament expressed in images” and that beauty is the highest manifestation of the artistic personality.19 Artworks are only significant as the expression of the artist’s personality and that the history of art is but a “manifestation of human genius in artistic images.”20 Essential to the aesthetic argument of Mir Iskusstva as well as the essence of art criticism, is this value of the artist’s personality (as one who communicates his own vision) and

Petrushka’s Town Fair, sketch by Alexandre Benois, 1911

the accord between the audience and the artist.21 Diaghilev also raises the issue of nationalism that the foremost goal of Mir Iskusstva is to preserve and elicit a sincere feeling of Russian pride in young artists. Only in the evocation of sincere nationalism can Russia produce a true, traditional art that can equal that of the West. As the publication of Mir Isskustva ceased in 1904, Sergei Diaghilev looked for new outputs to extol the aesthetic values of his movement. He continued producing exhibitions of Russian art, his most successful being the Exhibition of Russian Historic Portraits in 1905, which was supported by imperial patronage, garnering hundreds of works from the state collection.22 The success of this exhibition allowed Diaghilev to stage the show in Paris the following year, and assured Diaghilev that now was the time to introduce the power and culture of Russia to Western Europe. In 1907 Diaghilev staged five concerts of Russian composers, a series entitled “Russian Music through the Ages.”23 Popular French enthusiasm for this concert series allowed Diaghilev to return to Paris in 1908 to produce Russian opera; once again the show was a grand success and in 1909 Diaghilev would return to Paris to stage the first of the Ballet Russes. Music and theatre had been longstanding points of interest for the members of Mir Iskusstva. Founding member Alexandre Benois noted in his memoirs that music was “the basic element of all my association with art.”24 Similarly, Diaghilev, who had studied music in college, felt that beauty could be found not only in painting but in sound and rhythm; above all the miriskusniki felt an emotional relationship to music and its power to achieve the ideal.25 While members of Mir Iskusstva had produced ballets in the Imperial Theatre of Russia before, these projects failed to achieve their artistic goals and led to a dismissal of Diaghilev by Tsar Nicholas II. By performing in Paris and other cosmopolitan European cities, the Ballet Russes was able to revolutionize the art through its stress on unity, rather than the classical form that had stagnated in Russia.26 The tumultuous political conditions in Russia such as the rise of Lenin in 1902, the “Bloody Sunday” massacre in 1905, and subsequent Revolution of 1917, were also contributing


Reid nationalism, or as Diaghilev notes, personality, existed on two levels, that of the Ballet Russes and the audience. In that sense, to experience the Ballet Russes was to experience Mir Iskusstva’s very definition of great art. Music was one of the hallmark shifts in the innovation of the Ballet Russes, and naturally Diaghilev supported the creation of original scores for the majority of his shows, many of which were composed by the young genius Igor Stravinsky. Stravinsky was drawn to the Ballet as a launching site for his career, where he was free to create and develop music without boundaries. The idea for Petrushka originated from Stravinsky, who wanted to express “a kind of burlesque duel between an animate puppet and an orchestra,” but the plot was further developed through collaboration with Benois.33 The score to Petrushka is very manic, constantly alternating between slow and fast movements that reflect the drama of Petrushka’s sufferings. While Diaghilev was originally taken aback by the story of Petrushka, he admired Stravinsky’s bold score and found it to be appropriate for the Ballet. Choreographer Fokine noted that “in this case there was no simultaneous mutual work between the composer, the painter and the choreographer…Only after the composer had finished his work did I start mine. Each of us in his own language told of Petrushka’s sufferings: Stravinsky with sounds, I with movement.”34 Even though the score and choreography were not produced in collaboration, the ballet captured a perfect balance, largely due to the skill of Vaslav Nijinsky in the role of Petrushka. While the score and choreography of Petrushka certainly reflects national pride, there is also a large element of freedom and personality in Stravinsky’s and Fokine’s work that Diaghilev addresses as essential to art in “Complicated Questions.” Diaghilev, allowing Stravinsky to develop Petrushka without having directly commissioned the work shows a respect for the artist and the need for his independence and freedom. There is similar freedom in the way that Fokine choreographs the ballet, allowing his dancers to improvise and become a living entity.35 In this there is a reflection of the Mir Iskusstva belief that “art and life are inseparable and the one is reflected in the other.”36 Fokine was heavily influenced by this miriskusniki statement and declared that “dance should express the spirit of the actors in the spectacle…through the rhythms of the body the ballet can find expression for ideas, sentiments, emotions.”37Nijinsky’s dancing was the physical embodiment of this sentiment as seen when he danced as Petrushka who struggles as he realizes his futile existence as a human soul that can never escape its puppet body.38 Critics remarked that the ballet “succeeded because Nijinsky was able convincingly to interpret Stravinsky’s and Fokine’s intentions” and because of Nijinsky’s “perfection with which he became the very incarnation of this character.”39 Petrushka’s sense of loss, danced with such sincere feeling, is an expression of Mir Iskusstva’s desire that only the essential be reflected in art, since “what is essential is the expression of the human spirit.”40 For Diaghilev, Fokine, and Stravinsky, ballet was ultimately a produced spectacle in which there

Petrushka’s cell, sketch by Alexandre Benois, 1911

factors to Diaghilev’s decision to depart from his homeland, where his ballet company would never perform.27 The first four years of the Ballet Russes’ existence, from 1909 to 1913, are its most famed as they established the tone and style of a unified World of Art. During this time the predominant contributors to the Ballet Russes (still led and organized by Diaghilev) were Alexandre Benois and Leon Bakst for set and costume design, Michel Fokine for choreography, and Igor Stravinsky for music. In the 1911 season Diaghilev and his core team created the original ballet of Petrushka, which was based upon the Russian folk tale of a puppet with human feelings.28 The ballet was written by Benois and Stravinsky, who set the story in St. Petersburg in 1830 at a festival dedicated to the peasant holiday known as Butter Week, which preceded Lent.29 Petrushka is one of three puppets, along with the Ballerina and the Moor, owned by the sinister Magician. Petrushka attempts to share his love for the Ballerina, but his fervent passion causes her to seek the condolence of the Moor. The soul of Petrushka is killed by her rejection of love, causing his spirit to seek revenge on the defiant Magician.30 Essential to the story of Petrushka, as it relates to Mir Iskusstva, is the fact that the ballet draws upon traditional Russian imagery and thought, thus encapsulating the sincere national feeling that Diaghilev expounded upon in “Complicated Questions.” Even in the name of the company, the Ballet Russes draws attention to the fact that this is a Russian ballet, produced by Russian designers, musicians, and dancers. So the very foundation of Petrushka, as well as the company’s other productions are a reflection of Diaghilev’s argument that “the only possible nationalism is unconscious nationalism that is in the blood.”31 Another underlying aspect of Petrushka is the sense that the development of the story is a remembrance by Stravinsky, Fokine, and Bois of their childhood and the puppet shows they used to attend. These artists captured the experience of the puppet show, and in extension childhood, in hopes that the audience members would unconsciously revisit their own youth.32 Therefore, the elicitation and absorption of


Mir Iskusstva was a clear manifestation of the personality of the artist in the art which was produced. The set and costume design for Petrushka were an amazingly bold use of color and scale that conveyed the romance of the simple folk tale. The ballet takes part in one act and four scenes, and the story begins at the Butter Week fair, which Alexandre Benois framed with a false blue proscenium decorated with alternating red, green, and white windows.41 Set into this representational framework was a lifelike fairground that contained a Ferris wheel, a pavilion and the puppet theatre in the immediate background (Fig.1). To the left was a two story building that contained sideshow attractions, and on the right were booths selling souvenirs. All buildings were painted in bright primary colors that corresponded to the proscenium, and were accentuated by a white ground cloth (to represent snow).42 The next scene takes place in Petrushka’s cell, where he lives in between his performances on the stage (Fig. 2). The walls of the cell are painted dark blue and filled with stars, and the tops of the walls are framed in clouds, representing a night time scene.43 The third scene is set inside the exotic chamber of the Moor, where the walls are once again coated in reds,

greens and blues, but this time there are palm trees, luscious flowers, and running rabbits surrounding the room.44 Both the dark, somber nature of Petrushka’s cell and the colorful orientalism of the Moor’s chamber reflect their characters personalities. The ballet concludes as the characters return to the brilliantly decorated fair grounds. Costume design for Petrushka reflected a similar color palette as the settings, allowing for a striking impact upon the audience. Petruska “wore a white cotton blouse with a frilled collar trimmed with red, a red tie, satin checked trousers of red and orange, blue boots and a red and white hat with a tassel (Fig. 3).”45 The prominence of the red and blue in both the costume and set design impressed the audiences of the ballet, showing that “the St. Petersburg of the thirties…seemed to Paris something exotic, remote, and picturesque.”46 Benois’ ability to convey both the historical and romantic nuances of Petrushka reflected the success of the ballet in unifying both the pictorial and representational aspects of their art. Benois’ set and costume designs for Petrushka are a brilliant testament to Russian heritage that reflects the essence of the ballet in simple, striking motifs. The repetitive use of red, green and blue demonstrate Benois’ familiarity with the decorative arts in Russia as well as the power of these colors to convey the historical milieu of the ballet.47 Overall the pictorial effect which the viewer is presented with speaks to Diaghilev’s demand that “until we see in Russian art an elegant, grandiose harmony, a majestic simplicity and rare beauty of color, we will have no real art.”48 In the set design of the miriskusniki there is a sense of reverting back to the stylized and symbolic, of letting color take dominance in the scene and speak to Diaghilev’s conception of grand Russian art. The Ballet Russes continued to produce ballets until Diaghilev’s death in 1929, and throughout their existence a variety of performers, musicians, and designers contributed to the ballets. While the individual styles of these artists may have varied, they were all unified under the common aesthetic principles of Mir Iskusstva. Their goal was to create artistic unity among all factors of ballet production in the ballet and to produce a grand spectacle that would captivate its audience into another time and place.49 The success of the Ballet Russes played upon the desire of their Western European audiences for the exoticism of Russia and its ability to harness this “Russian-ness” in innovative forms.50 Especially influential was the revolutionary choreography of Fokine, who instituted five reforms to the art of ballet including the return of the male dancer, the primacy of emotion, collaboration, unified themes, and freedom of movement.51 What the Ballet Russes stood for in Paris was a legacy of Russian culture that had been reformatted in a modern context through the influence of Mir Iskusstva. The Ballet Russes and their many productions were exquisite craftings of glamour and beauty in the early twentieth century. The many dancers and artists that contributed to the fantastical productions continued their careers beyond the ballet, branching into teaching and the fine arts, further spreading the influence of the Ballet

Photographic Montage of the Dancers in Petrushka (Nijinsky is on top right), Ballet Russes program, 1912


Reid Russes. The legacy of Sergei Diaghilev and his leadership of the company, as well as his contributions to Russian art in the direction of Mir Iskusstva, are essential in preserving Russia’s power as a leader in fine art making. Original ballets like Petrushka were essential in transforming the West’s view of Russia, both in terms of their artistic heritage and abilities to create modern art that reflected their unique sensibilities. Without the dramatic tendencies of the Ballet Russes or Mir Iskusstva’s call for innovative Russian art, Western dance and art would lack the revolutionary ideals of Russia.


Ibid. Joan Acocella, The Reception of Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes by Artists and Intellectuals in Paris and London, 148. 22 John Percival, The World of Diaghilev, (London: Studio Vista Limited, 1971), 15. 23 Joan Acocella, The Reception of Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes by Artists and Intellectuals in Paris and London, 179. 24 Quote from Benois’ memoirs taken from Janet Kennedy’s The “Mir Iskusstva” Group and Russian Art, 1898-1912, 341. 25 Ibid, 340. 26 In a critique of the performances of the Imperial Ballet, Diaghilev is quick to blame the director of the company who had no artistic policy or control. Diaghilev would later be regarded as a strict organizer with an ability to draw miraculous talent and direction for his ballets. Ibid, 349. 27 Vseveolod Petrov, The World of Art Movement in Early 20thcentury Russia, 24. 28 Ann Kodicek and Rosamund Bartlett, Diaghilev, Creator of the Ballets Russes: Art, Music, Dance, (London: Barbican Art Gallery/Lund Humphries, 1996), 92. 29 Susan Au, Ballet and Modern Dance, (New York: Thames & Hudson, 2002), 80. 30 Ibid, 80. 31 That is the foundation of the ballet is its blood. Sergei Diaghilev, “Complicated Questions: The Principles of Artistic Evaluation.” 32 Joan Acocella, The Reception of Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes by Artists and Intellectuals in Paris and London, 269. 33 Cyril W Beaumont, Complete Book of Ballets: a Guide to the Principal Ballets of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, (New York: Garden City Publishing, 1941) 589. 34 Fokine as quoted in Robert C. Hansen, Scenic and Costume Design for the Ballets Russes, (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1985), 21. 35 Ibid, 362 36 Sergei Diaghilev, “Complicated Questions: The Principles of Artistic Evaluation.” 37 Fokine as quote in Janet Kennedy, The “Mir Iskusstva” Group and Russian Art, 1898-1912, 363. 38 Lynn Garafola, Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 29. 39 Ann Kodicek and Rosamund Bartlett, Diaghilev, Creator of the Ballets Russes: Art, Music, Dance, 92. 40 Sergei Diaghilev, “Complicated Questions: The Principles of Artistic Evaluation.” 41 A proscenium is the arch that usually surrounds the stage of a theatre, the use of a false proscenium here is ironic in that it presents the story of a puppet theatre in the context of a real, larger one. Fokine as quoted in Robert C. Hansen, Scenic and Costume Design for the Ballets Russes, 21. 42 Ibid, 21. 43 Ibid, 22. 44 Ibid, 22. 45 Ibid, 22. 46 This quote was from Prince Peter Lieven, one of the original viewers of the ballet. Ibid, 22. 47 Robert C. Hansen, Scenic and Costume Design for the Ballets Russes, 22. 48 Sergei Diaghilev, “Complicated Questions: The Principles of Artistic Evaluation.” 49 Vseveolod Petrov, The World of Art Movement in Early 20thcentury Russia, 152. 21

Works Cited 1

Later members include Leon Bakst and Evgenii Lansere, the former being the key set and costume designer for the Ballet Russe. Vseveolod Petrov, The World of Art Movement in Early 20thcentury Russia, (Leningrad: Aurora Art Publishers, 1991), 26. 2 Janet Kennedy, The “Mir Iskusstva” Group and Russian Art, 18981912, (New York: Garland Publishing Inc., 1977), 14. 3 Ibid, 24. 4 Stuart Grover, “The World of Art Movement in Russia,” (Russian Review 32, no. 1 (1973): 28-42), 28. 5 Ibid, 29. 6 The group noted the Academy’s lack of knowledge of contemporary Western art and their reliance on inferior Western models. Janet Kennedy, The “Mir Iskusstva” Group and Russian Art, 18981912, 40. 7 Mamontov was a railroad entrepreneur and Russian nationalist who also subsidized a private opera, and provided funds for artists to study abroad. Stuart Grover, “The World of Art Movement in Russia,” 30. 8 Ibid, 17. 9 Ibid, 16. 10 Ibid, 63. 11 Stuart Grover, “The World of Art Movement in Russia,”35. 12 John Ruskin (1819 – 1900) was a British aesthetician and social reformer, also supporter of the Pre-Raphaelites. Sergei Diaghilev, “Complicated Questions: Our Supposed Decline,” HRI Online Humanities Research Institute, texts/diaghilev/dia01/dia01-a.html (accessed April 8, 2011). 13 Ibid. 14 Joan Acocella, The Reception of Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes by Artists and Intellectuals in Paris and London, (Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1984), 142. 15 Nikolai Chernyshevskii (1828-1889) was a Russian aesthetician and social reformer who spent many years in Siberian exile. Sergei Diaghilev, “Complicated Questions: Eternal Conflict,” HRI Online Humanities Research Institute, http://www.hrionline. (accessed April 8, 2011). 16 Ibid. 17 Janet Kennedy, The “Mir Iskusstva” Group and Russian Art, 1898-1912, 77. 18 Sergei Diaghilev, “Complicated Questions: The Search for Beauty,” HRI Online Humanities Research Institute, http:// (accessed April 8, 2011). 19 Sergei Diaghilev, “Complicated Questions: The Principles of Artistic Evaluation,” HRI Online Humanities Research Institute, dia01/dia01-b.html (accessed April 8, 2011).


Botanical Gardens, Maya Garcia

The Double Burden, Kseniya Konovalova

A Tree on the Croatian Coast, Damjan Bogdanović 29

Standing Guard on a Tower in Dubrovnik, K. White

Lenin at the Botanical Gardens, Maya Garcia

The Great River of Pskov, Maya Garcia 30

Catalyst to Freedom:

How Gorbachev’s Reforms Assisted Lithuanian Nationalism

Maggie Tennis During the late 1980s and early 1990s, as the Soviet Union began to unravel, Lithuania was one area of particular turbulence. Since the incorporation of Lithuania into the USSR. during World War II, the Lithuanian people had questioned the legitimacy of Soviet rule and yearned for independence.1 In 1985, when Mikhail Gorbachev became the Soviet leader, he introduced the policies of perestroika (“restructuring”) and glasnost (“transparency”). These policies allowed for the emergence of Sajudis, a political movement whose interpretation of perestroika and glasnost caused a revival of nationalism in Lithuania. In a paradox that would prove disastrous to the Soviets, Gorbachev’s reformist policies enabled the growth of Lithuanian nationalism that would ultimately lead to the country’s break from the USSR. Gorbachev came to power in 1985 and soon instituted a series of reformist policies, including perestroika and glasnost. The movement for Lithuanian independence was able to grow under the guise of supporting Gorbachev’s policies, which earned Gorbachev’s support. This support served to increase the Sajudis’ prominence and effectiveness in developing national feeling in Lithuania. To prove that they were not an antigovernment movement, its members initially took the name of the “Lithuanian Movement for Perestroika,” which they eventually shortened to simply “Movement” (which translates to Sajudis in Lithuanian).2 The Sajudis issued the “Program of Demands of the Lithuanian Restructuring Movement,” which showed how the movement would operate in accordance with the government.3 The document proclaimed that the movement “supports and deepens the restructuring of socialist society on a democratic and humanitarian basis initiated under the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.”4 The use of common Soviet language, such as ‘restructuring socialist society,’ and the care taken by the movement to link itself to the Communist Party is significant and may have soothed any Soviet tendency toward suspicion of the movement.5 Yet, much further down in the same document, the Sajudis discloses its commitment to “national self-consciousness and self-expression,” showing that the movement’s agenda went beyond its support of Gorbachev and the Party.6 To an alert observer, they revealed a separate goal of developing nationalism within the country. Whether or not Gorbachev realized that the Sajudis had other aims besides support of his administration, he chose to declare his support for the movement. The Soviet leader stated that he saw in them a “positive force that can well serve” the Soviet Union.7 According to Anatoly Chernyaev, one of Gorbachev’s advisors, Gorbachev defended the Sajudis against calls in the Plenum to ban the movement.8 He again supported the movement in the Soviet Parliament by advocating for the right of the Lithuanians to implement their own economic program.9 Gorbachev’s support had the effect of further legitimizing the Sajudis, and his actions helped the movement gain momentum. Gorbachev replaced the leader of the Lithuanian Communist Party, Ringaudas Songaila, with Algirdas Brazauskas, who would make “bold conciliatory gestures toward national feeling.”10 These ‘conciliatory gestures’ would be ‘bold’

because they would exhibit Gorbachev’s reformist policies in action. Gorbachev took the opportunity to use the movement in Lithuania to prove that his reforms were legitimate. At this point in time, the Sajudis and Gorbachev had a mutually beneficial relationship. In skillful display of this duality, the movement was able to propel itself in the summer of 1988 through an interpretation of Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost. The Sajudis, citing its commitment to openness, called for transparency on the part of the government concerning the controversial Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. A Radio Free Europe broadcast from 1988 questioned whether Lithuania would “stretch glasnost to its limits.”11 Under the pretext of glasnost, the Sajudis engineered the publication of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, something the pre-Gorbachev Soviets never would have permitted. Because Gorbachev claimed to be opposed to censorship and suppression, the document’s publication was allowed to take place. The Sajudis saw this publication as a sign of glasnost in action, but the revelation of the content of the Pact gave an enormous boost to Lithuanian nationalism and spread national sentiment throughout the country. The publication of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact unmasked “the illegitimacy of the Soviet claim that the three Baltic States had somehow voluntarily voted to become Communist.”12 The movement then issued the “Declaration of the Lithuanian Reform Movement Sajudis on the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact,” which implored the Soviets to end their illegal occupation of Lithuania.13 Glasnost played an unintended role in perpetuating Lithuanian fury over the document, as it allowed discussion of the Soviet “occupation” of Lithuania to spread throughout the country.14 It would be impossible for the Soviet government to ignore the significance of the Pact. The Soviet response to the publication of the MolotovRibbentrop Pact and the resulting uproar in Lithuania made the Soviet government look weak and illegitimate. The Congress of People’s Deputies of the USSR. issued a “Resolution on the Political and Juridical Appraisal of the Soviet-German Non-aggression Treaty of 1939,” which stated that the territorial divisions of the Pact were “in conflict with the sovereignty and independence” of Lithuania.15 However, the Soviets claimed that though the Pact was not legitimate, it had not led directly to Lithuania’s annexation; therefore, this annexation had been legal.16 The acknowledgement of the Pact’s violation of Lithuanian sovereignty coupled with the statement that this violation would still be upheld displayed the hypocrisy and corruption of the Soviet government and of Gorbachev himself. Gorbachev’s subsequent proposal that the Molotov-Ribbentrop was perhaps a forgery simply confirmed this dishonesty.17 Since the Soviets addressed the Pact and did not immediately suppress any discussion concerning the document, this served to “increase the tension” in Lithuania, and communicated to the Sajudis that the government would not take a hard line against nationalistic actions in the future.18 The members of the movement continued developing nationalism, as they had avowed in the Sajudis’ Program. One item in the Program states, “Lithuanian national symbols must


Tennis be awarded the status of state symbols.”19 The Soviet Union had hitherto banned many of Lithuania’s national symbols, like its flag and national anthem.20 But Gorbachev’s reforms enabled the Sajudis to once more make these symbols visible. The movement took advantage of two events in summer of 1989, the Lithuanian Rock March and the Baltic Way, to display these symbols to a large portion of the Lithuanian population, apparently recognizing that a high visibility of national symbols would inspire national feeling. Gorbachev’s administration allowed for an increase in musical entertainment—something the Soviet government had always been skeptical of in the past. The Lithuanian Rock March was one music festival evidently permitted in light of Gorbachev’s reforms. However, this festival was not simply an outlet for enjoyment, as one might believe. By providing a forum for the exposure of national symbols, the festival offered an opportunity to exhibit the growth of Lithuanian nationalism. The Lithuanian national anthem became the theme song of the Rock March and the original flag of Lithuania (not the official flag of the Lithuanian Socialist Soviet Republic) made many appearances.21 The Rock March also served as a platform for Sajudis ideology and publicity. One band that the festival featured was the rock group Antis, who had lyrics critical of the Soviet Government.22 Important figures, such as Sajudis member Arvydas Juozaitis, made speeches aimed at inspiring national sentiment among Lithuanians. This combination of music and national feeling was successful in expanding Lithuanian nationalism, as it “mobilized the youth of Lithuania behind the Sajudis.”23 Indeed, Juozaitis said, “rock rules the masses.”24 At the Rock March, more than half the population experienced Lithuanian national symbols and the national sentiment of the Sajudis.25 These festivals seemed to inspire unity among the people, something they would look to recreate in the Baltic Way. The Baltic Way occurred soon after the Lithuanian Rock March in the summer of 1989. It featured a human chain spanning all three Baltic nations and proclaimed the illegality of Lithuania’s annexation.26 Lithuania had the highest attendance rate at the event, with one million Lithuanians participating.27 Like the Rock March, the Baltic Way was an opportunity to publicize the Sajudis and gain support. Members of the movement distributed over 150,000 posters reading “With Sajudis – for Lithuania!”28 These posters linked the movement to the success of the Baltic Way. Events like these inspired feelings of unity and Lithuanian patriotism among the people of Lithuania, allowing them to experience what it might be like to be part of a sovereign nation. The Sajudis, who advertised at these events, professed to provide a road to sovereignty, and so appealed widely to the population. Nationalism grew rapidly after these events, until its strength became worrisome to the Soviet government and Gorbachev himself. The Soviet leadership responded to the surge of nationalism following the success of the Baltic Way. The Soviets tried limiting public demonstrations in Lithuania, but the Lithuanian people declared, “We will not be silent!”29 The Soviet Union’s response, like the response to the uproar over the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, was not threatening to the Sajudis. According to Chernyaev, Gorbachev was not willing to impose harsh measures, maintaining that he “would not allow blood to flow.”30 The initial reply of the Communist Party to

the Baltic Way, as reported by the Washington Post on August 27 of 1989, was that the “fate of the Baltic peoples is in serious danger.”31 The Party warned that nationalist leaders were leading the people into an “abyss” and the consequences could be “disastrous.”32 This language was vague, and the Lithuanian people did not seem worried. For example, the Milwaukee Sentinel quoted Sajudis spokeswoman Raimona Sakalouskis as saying “we expected this,” referring to the Party’s response.33 The Lithuanians were right to be unconcerned with Soviet threats. Gorbachev’s initial message to the Sajudis was, “if processes continue developing like this in Lithuania….I will not be your friend.”34 The Sajudis, recognizing that Gorbachev was taking a restrained approach to the movement, began pushing strongly for full-scale independence. It issued a declaration that it sought “the creation of an independent democratic Lithuanian republic not under the power of the Soviet Union.”35 In early December of 1990, the Lithuanians voted to eliminate the monopoly of the Communist Party in Lithuania.36 Gorbachev’s words of warning to the Communists not to stray too far from Moscow were futile, and the Lithuanian Communist Party had split with the Soviet Communist Party by December 19th.37 This was the first move of its kind in Soviet History. The Lithuanians ignored the subsequent reaction of Gorbachev and the Politburo, because the Soviets again failed to take any decisive action against the Sajudis. Indeed, on January 1, 1990, a Lithuanian television show called “The Mirror” “mocked” Gorbachev’s responses to the Lithuanian independence movement.38 The program featured a puppet of Stalin screaming, “You idiot! There is no time for compromise! Just attack!” at a flouncing Gorbachev.39 By this time, according to Chernyaev, Lithuania was “de facto no longer under Moscow’s control.”40 Gorbachev’s next attempt at stemming the Lithuanian independence movement was to make concessions and promises of greater freedom. He also warned the Lithuanians that they would not be able to handle their independence. The Lithuanians, however, viewed Gorbachev’s response as condescending and a way to discourage the independence movement just as it was gaining the momentum it needed. After the Lithuanian Communist Party’s split with Moscow, Gorbachev realized the significance of the situation in Lithuania and traveled there in January of 1990. The trip was not successful; the Lithuanians again viewed much of what he said as condescension and empty threats. Gorbachev proclaimed that Lithuania would “fall in a puddle” upon achieving independence.41 He promised that if Lithuania remained in the USSR there would be “more decentralization, more democratization.”42 But the members of the Sajudis were not prepared to compromise, just as they had not heeded any earlier threats from Gorbachev. Vytautus Landbergis, a Sajudis leader, referred to Gorbachev’s statements as “absurd deceit” and a “propaganda trap.”43 The Lithuanians would not be mollified. When Gorbachev again questioned their ability to stay afloat independently, they responded by waving him a map of the Soviet Union that did not include Lithuania.44 Another Sajudis leader, Kazimieras Motieka, proclaimed that “no threats, no gloomy predictions will stop the Lithuanian people.”45 Gorbachev eventually tried a conciliatory approach. This strategy, like all of his previous attempts at reversing Lithuanian progress toward independence, failed. By announcing his acceptance of the Multi-party system in Lithuania, Gor-


Catalyst to Freedom bachev appeared weak to the Lithuanians, who as a result saw no need to compromise. It was obvious that he had lost control of the country and the respect of the people when his speeches in Lithuania were repeatedly “interrupted.”46 BBC broadcast a statement made by Arvydas Juozaitis, a Sajudis member, that Gorbachev’s visit to Lithuania was a failure and had only proved that the power of the movement was growing stronger.47 It displayed this strength and fearlessness in late January by blocking K.G.B. trucks from removing files from its Lithuanian headquarters.48 According to the Washington Post, one Lithuanian, Arvydas Zygas declared that he “was no longer afraid of an institution that until now had been untouchable.”49 Without fear of the Soviet State, the Sajudis could make a final push toward total independence. On March 11, 1990, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania, made of a majority of Sajudis members and chaired by Sajudis leader Landbergis, issued the “Act on the Re-establishment of the State of Lithuania” which declared, “Lithuania is an independent state.”50 Gorbachev proclaimed the action illegal, but Lithuania had already stopped listening.51 Within two years, the Sajudis had evolved from an organization dedicated to supporting Gorbachev’s policies of perestroika and glasnost into a nationalistic independence movement. The Soviet Government’s displays of dishonesty and corruption legitimized the Sajudis in the minds of the Lithuanian people. In the end there was no stopping this powerful combination of nationalism and fearlessness in Lithuania. Not even the use of violence in January of 1991 could reverse the chain of events that Lithuania’s secession had put into motion.52 Subsequently, more republics would break away, leading to the total collapse of the USSR.

Dainius Zalimas, “Legal Issues on the Continuity of the Republic of Lithuania,” Hawaiian Journal of Law & Politics 2 (2006): 75. 16 Hartman 1. 17 Alfred Erich Senn, “Perestroika in Lithuanian Historiography: The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact,”Russian Review 49, no. 1 (1990): 54, JSTOR (9 May 2011). 18 Chernyaev 60. 19 Sajudis, “Program.” 20 Grazina Miniotaite, “Nonviolent Resistance in Lithuania: a Story of Peaceful Liberation,” Einstein Institution Monograph Series #8 (2002): 16, Albert Einstein Institution(9 May 2011). 21 Kestutis Girnius, “Three Months of Change in Lithuania,” Radio Free Europe, (1988): 1, Radio Liberty Research, Open Society Archives (6 May 2011). 22 Antis, “Zombiai.” Dainu Tekstai, <>(10 May 2011). 23 Senn, Lithuania 94. 24 Ibid. 25 Ibid. 26 Sajudis, “Declaration.” 27 Robin Lodge, “Human Chain Spanning: Soviet Baltics Shows Nationalist Feeling,” Reuters News, (23 August 1989). 28 Jonas Varnas, “With Sajudis – For Lithuania!” Pro-Democracy Poster Collection, (1990). 29 Senn, Lithuania 94. 30 Chernyaev 58. 31 David Remnick, “Kremlin Condemns Baltic Nationalists; Soviets Warn Separatism Risks ‘Disaster,’” Washington Post, 27 August 1989, sec. 1A. 32 Ibid. 33 Ann Imse, “Baltic Drive for Independence Gains Massive Support in Year,” Milwaukee Sentinel, 28 August 1989, sec. 1. 34 Senn, Gorbachev 69. 35 Imse, “Baltic.” 36 Gerald Nadler, “Lithuania Strips Communist Mandate from Constitution,” United Press International, 7 December 1989. 37 Nick Worrall, “Lithuanian Party Split ‘Dangerous’; Soviet Union,” The Times, 29 December 1989. 38 David Remnick, “Soviet Union or Disunion: A Nation’s Fate; Gorbachev Fights to Keep Moscow’s Empire Together,” Washington Post, 31 December 1990, sec. 1A. 39 Ibid. 40 Chernyaev 61. 41 David Remnick, “Gorbachev Urges Lithuanians Not to Press for Independence,” Washington Post, 12 January 1990, sec. 1A. 42 Ibid. 43 David Remnick, “Lithuanians Assail Gorbachev Plan; Independence Leaders Term Secession Proposal a ‘Cheap Lie,’” Washington Post, 12 January 1990, sec. 1A. 44 Remnick, “Gorbachev.” 45 “Soviet Plea is Failing Lithuanians Deride Gorbachev’s Pitch,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 13 January 1990. 46 Ann Imse, “Gorbachev Having Trouble Getting Message Across to Lithuanians,” Associated Press, 12 January 1990. 47 David Remnick, “Soviet Party’s Retreat Emboldens Nationalists in Baltic States,” Washington Post, 9 February 1990, sec. 1A. 48 Don Oberdorfer, “Lithuanians Blockade KGB’s Gates; Removal of Files Haulted,” Washington Post, 30 January 1990, sec. 1A. 49 Oberdorfer. 50 Sajudis, “Act on the Re-establishment of the State of Lithuania,” Office of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania (1990). 51 Esther Fein, “Upheaval in the East; Lithuania Move is ‘Illegitimate,’ Gorbachev Says,” The New York Times, 14 March 1990 sec. 1A. 52 Rokas Tracevskis, “Jan. 13, 1991’s the Day that Changed the World,” Baltic Times, 21 January 2010. 15

Works Cited Alfred Erich Senn, Lithuania Awakening (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), 5. 2 Senn, Lithuania 55. 3 Sajudis, “Program of Demands of the Lithuania Restructuring Movement,” Seventeen Moments in Soviet History (1988):, (6 May 2011). 4 Ibid. 5 Ibid. 6 Ibid. 7 Alfred Erich Senn, Gorbachev’s Failure in Lithuania, (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995), 43. 8 Anatoly Chernyaev, “The Diary of Anatoly S. Chernyaev,” National Security Archive Briefing Book No. 275 (2009): 58 (5 May 2011). 9 Gary Hartman, “The Origins and Growth of Baltic Nationalism as a Force for Independence,” Lithuanian Quarterly Journal of Arts & Sciences 38, no. 3 (1992): 1. 10 Richard Grigor Suny, “Nationalist and Ethnic Unrest in the Soviet Union,” World Policy Journal 6, no. 3 (1989): 517, JSTOR (5 May 2011). 11 Milan Hauner, “Glasnost Out of Control in the Baltic States?,” Radio Free Europe, (1988): 1, Radio Liberty Research, Parallel Archive (6 May 2011). 12 Hauner 1. 13 Sajudis, “Declaration of the Lithuanian Reform Movement Sajudis on the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact,” The Baltic Way, (1989), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (6 May 2011). 14 Sajudis, “Declaration.” 1


From Bread to Potatoes:

How Cuisine Reveals Russian History and Culture

Cassie Meyer To study a nation’s food is to study its culture. A society and its cuisine are irrevocably intertwined, and much about a culture can be learned by delving into the history and customs behind the dinner plate – behind what people eat, how they eat, and even when or where they eat. Russia is no exception: as I began delving into my study of Russian cuisine, I found many foods held significant meaning to those who ate them. Of course, to relate all of Russian cuisine in its entirety would be an arduous task. For the purpose of this paper, I will focus on three main foods and one cooking implement that give particular insight into Russian culture: bread, and its close counterpart, the stove; Beef Stroganoff; and potatoes. Of these four items, bread and the stove will reveal old, deep-rooted cultural aspects that harken from Russia’s ancient peoples, and Beef Stroganoff and potatoes will show foreign influences that have become part of the country’s normal fare. It should also be noted that many of the ancient cultural aspects I discuss are not only Russian, but belong to many Slavic peoples. No discourse on Russian cuisine could begin without bread. For Russians, bread is not only a daily staple but a matter of pride, and its importance goes back to the Eastern Slavs and their lore of the stove. The Slavic stove was a large and prominent feature of the average peasant home – taking up one-fifth to one-fourth of the building’s living space – and had several functions, from cooking food and heating the home, to being the family bed, to drying herbs and clothing on its surface.1 This mammoth stove is an old feature of the Russian home; Ibrahim-Ibn-Yakub, an Arabic traveler, described the Slavic stove and one of its many uses in a record of his travels written sometime around 965 CE:

feel too hot.”3 The stove was also treated with deference, especially when it was baking bread. In this state, the stove was compared to an altar, and other breads were not allowed to be cut when bread was baking.4 In Russian folktales, stoves are sometimes distinct characters given names, and often seen as female.5 So important was the stove to the life of the Slavs, that it became a person of its own. More than this, the stove was not only personified, but also endowed with magical powers, integrating itself into every aspect of the Slavic belief system. Luck and happiness were associated with the stove, and particularly jovial people were said to have been “born in a stove.”6 Bad luck could also be incurred if the stove was mistreated, such as if one transferred embers from one household stove to another without the proper blessings. And at a family member’s death, the stove door was left open to provide an escape route for the deceased’s spirit, via the chimney.7 In these ways, the stove took on a supernatural aspect. Not only could one’s treatment of the stove incur good or bad luck, but because the deceased’s spirit left through the stove, we can see the stove was a connector between this world and the next, just as it was a connector between the inside of the home and the outside world. If the stove joined life and death, however, bread’s connection was even stronger. Some Slavic peoples buried small bread ladders with their dead to help them escape the grave to the afterlife.8 It was associated with weddings, too – part of the marital ritual included the bridegroom inserting wedding breads into the stove to insure future fertility.9 Particularly sick babies were secured to a bread board and very briefly “re-baked” in a hot stove (as if they were under-baked bread) so they could emerge from the stove “reborn” and healthy.10 With the rituals for wedding breads and the “re-baking” of sick babies, we see bread was a symbol of fertility, a metaphor for the womb and birth. 10 Both entering and exiting this life involved bread. Though bread and the stove were central to ancient Slavic belief, today, with the spread of electricity and other forms of heating, the stove is not quite so vital as it once was. (It is interesting to note, however, that it retains some social importance; to sit on a Russian stove makes you part of the family.12) Bread clearly remains fundamental to Russian life, and is treated with almost patriotic fervor. It is especially important in the social realm. In fact, the Russian word for hospitality, khlebosol’stvo, comes from the words “bread” (khleb) and “salt” (sol’) – Russians used to offer their guests a loaf of bread and a bowl of salt to welcome them, to which the guests would shout “bread and salt!”13 Bread is still offered to guests (often with a built-in indention

They have no bathhouses… they erect a stove of stone in one of the corners of the house and at the very top opposite the stove they open a window to let out the smoke. When the stove becomes red-hot, they shut this window and close the doors… [and] pour [water] over the red-hot stove, and then the steam rises.2

The passage continues by describing the family waving branches through the air to waft the steam towards themselves. Clearly, then, the stove also served to make the home a bathhouse when the need arose. In the cold northern reaches where the Russian Slavs lived, it is easy to see how a multi-functional heating source could become so important in the eyes of the people. But the stove became more than just an important tool – it was personified as well, given life and a personality of its own. Fire, the source of the stove’s heat, was treated with great respect; one could not spit, quarrel, or swear around it, and a prayer had to be said if it was fetched from one place to another. The fire had feelings to; sometimes a pot of water would be left on the stove as it burnt overnight so “the fire would not


From Bread to Potatoes filled with salt), and makes up a large portion of the feasting table when guests are entertained. Even when not entertaining guests, bread is a staple to every meal – an average Russian can eat a pound of bread a day.14 There are many kinds of bread in Russia, but four good variations are rye, white, sourdough, and black. Black bread often contains a mix of rye and wheat flour and caraway seeds, and is thick and hearty. Rye bread is a basic staple in Russia, rye being a main grain grown in Russia’s north.15 White is often considered a finer bread and served to guests, while sourdough was one of the earliest types of bread baked by the Slavs and is still common today.16 Both bread and the stove are old Russian traditions, stemming from the lifestyles and beliefs of their ancestors, the Slavs. However, culture does not reside in a vacuum; Russia’s culinary arts have been influenced by outside cultures as well. Beef Stroganoff is a prime example of this exchange of culture. Beef Stroganoff, or as it is called in Russia, Bef-Stroganov, has its origin only in the recent nineteenth century. After Peter the Great opened up his “window to the West” in the early eighteenth century, European dishes (especially French ones) became popular among the elite.17 As French customs and cuisine became more in vogue, Russian nobility began hiring French chefs for their courts – and when the demand for French-born chefs became too high, some nobles began sending serfs to work under French chefs. A few aristocrats even made the practice into a business, sending their serfs to cities like Moscow or St. Petersburg to learn from French chefs and then selling them for high prices to other nobles.18 However, French chefs living in Moscow had to learn to cook with some of the native ingredients, and, fashionable or not, Russian nobility still craved the food of their own nation. A fine balancing line was presented to French chefs in Russia – they had to please their masters’ tongues, which had grown up on Russian food, while pleasing their sense of high culture, which demanded French food. The solution for some chefs involved the creation of new hybrid dishes combining both elements, and many internationally popular Russian dishes – such as Veal Orloff, Nesselrode Pie, Pheasant Souvoroff, and Beef Stroganoff – are children of this era.19 These culinary works of art were often named after the gentry for whom they were created, Bef-Stroganov being named after Count Pavel Stroganov, a man of old money whose family gained prominence under Ivan the Terrible in the sixteenth century.20 The creation of Beef Stroganoff was not complex; Pavel’s chef simply took a French dish and added lots of sour cream – a common and distinctly Russian ingredient – to the sauce.21 Nevertheless, the count was quite pleased and Beef Stroganoff gained international prominence in a rapid manner. Numerous innovations to Russian cuisine were created during this period by clever chefs such as Pavel’s. New dishes were not the only foreign influence to Russia’s culinary culture; new ingredients were introduced

as well. Though one might not guess it because of their prevalence in Russian dishes today, potatoes were not always a celebrated food. In fact, the issue of potato cultivation caused much contention in Russia. When the potato was spreading through much of Europe in the 1700s, Catherine the Great ordered her subjects to begin cultivating the new crop. The people largely ignored her – perhaps because the Orthodox Church was leery of them, condemning them because they were not mentioned in the Bible.22 Paul I, who reigned in 1797, attempted to introduce the crop to Russia as well, but was no more successful than Catherine at nudging the peasants into adopting the strange new vegetable.23 However, when famine struck around 1840 (a time when Russia was spending numerous resources fighting in the Caucasus), Czar Nicholas I saw the potato as the perfect fix for the food shortage. He reinforced Catherine’s previous order with force. The result was the “potato revolts” or “potato rebellions,” ending in what was called the “Potato Mutiny of 1842.”24 Czar Nicholas employed several government officials to coerce the peasantry into doing his bidding, but revolts sprang up throughout western Russia. The Russian secret police reported what they believed to be the cause of the people’s stubbornness: Ignorant allegations to the effect that the potato is a cursed fruit whose cultivation brought about God’s refusal to bless the Russian land with fertility, were the cause of disobedience of peasants of the Moscow gubernia (province), who, in some villages, destroyed entire potato fields.25

Clearly, the Orthodox superstition toward the potato had not waned since the previous century. Other government heads believed the peasants’ rebellion stemmed from a fear that mass potato production would force them away from their land and into processing plants, as the cultivation of beetroot sugar had done before. Whatever the reason, Nicholas finally ended the destruction of potato fields and attacks on troops and state functionaries by issuing a decree on August 25, 1841: any fit “culprits” were to be drafted into the military and those not fit for fighting would become serfs in Bobruysk.26 The peasants settled down with a grumble and grew their potatoes. Today, the suspicion over potatoes has been long forgotten, and they are a favorite on the Russian table. This once contested vegetable worthy of armed revolt is now fondly called vtoroi khleb or “second bread” by the Russians.27 They are boiled, mashed, or used as a part of casseroles and cabbage-roll stuffing. Though their entrance into Russian cuisine was not as smooth as the coveted influence of French cuisine, both have now become an accepted part of Russian culture. The study of food is not as simple as it might at first seem, for a culture’s cuisine deeply intertwines with its history and culture. The Russian love for bread goes back to the stovelore of the Slavs, and their almost patriotic attitude towards bread may connect to the revered status it held in Slavic culture. Beef Stroganoff shows the impact French cuisine had on the Russian culture as Peter the Great opened the doors to influence from


Meyer European countries. And finally, potatoes show that not all changes were accepted easily, but even a once detested food can become a major part of a people’s culture. Whether old or new, sought after or despised, culinary practices are constantly changing in any country, and to study Russian cuisine is to learn something about the Russians themselves.

Novosokol’niki Region, Pskov Province, Russia, 1995. Part I: The Restless Dead, Wizards and Spirit Beings,” Folklore 111, no. 1 (2000): 80, accessed April 6, 2012, 12 Goldstein, Darra, A Taste of Russia (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1983), 6. 13 Ibid., 4. 14 Ibid., 170. 15 Tempest, 3. 16 Goldstein, 12, 171. 17 Molokhovets, Elena, Classic Russian Cooking: Elena Molokhovets’ a Gift to Young Housewives (Indiana University Press, 1998), 20. 18 Ibid., 21. 19 Goldstein, 57. 20 Ibid., 95. 21 Ibid., 95. 22 Chapman, Jeff, “The Impact of the Potato,” The History Magazine 1. no. 2 (2000), accessed April 1, 2012, http://www. 23 Ekshtut, Semyon, “Tuber or Not Tuber: Russia’s HateLove Relationship with the Potato,” Russian Life 43, no. 5 (Sep./ Oct. 2000): 28, accessed April 2, 2012, http://www.russianlife. com/pdf/potatoes.pdf. 24 Goldstein, 180. 25 Ekshtut, 30. 26 Ibid., 30. 27 Goldstein, 180.

Works Cited 1 Tempest, Snejana, “Stovelore in Russian Folklife,” in Food in Russian History and Culture, ed. Musya Glants and Joyce Toomre (Indiana University Press, 1997), 1. 2 Rapoport, Semen, “On the Early Slavs: The Narrative of Ibrahim-Ibn-Yakub,” The Slavonic and East European Review 8, no. 23 (1929): 341, accessed April 6, 2012, . 3 Tempest, 4. 4 Ibid., 5. 5 Ibid., 9. 6 Ibid., 10. 7 Ibid., 4-5. 8 Ibid., 6. 9 Ibid., 4-5. 10 Ibid., 9. 11 Warner, Elizabeth A., “Russian Peasant Beliefs and Practices concerning Death and the Supernatural Collected in

A Tram Passes on the Bank of the Vltava, Prague, Damjan Bogdanović 36

The Gypsy/Romani Paradox:

European Union Citizens Othered and seen as Non-European

Natasha Sharp Antigypsyism1 results from a long tradition of cultural tension between Europeans and the Roma. Although freedom of movement is granted to the Roma as citizens of the European Union, many Europeans continue to treat them as non-European – pushing them out of their country with violence and prejudice, and, in the case of France, through forceful, yet so-called voluntary deportations.2 The growing Roma population in France, in particular, has complex socioeconomic and political roots. The Roma migrated west to escape the violence and persecution they faced in Eastern Europe after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. However, as communism collapsed, nationalism soared in the former Eastern Bloc territories, trapping the Roma in the midst of deep-rooted, re-emerging ethnic conflicts and making them targets of prejudice and discrimination. A comparative analysis of the Roma problem in both France and Hungary illustrates that terminology previously used by the European Union to describe the Roma has created a division among European Union member states, and in turn, has caused Western European countries to view the Roma not as a problem belonging to the European Union as a whole, but solely to Eastern Europe. France is known as being one of the first and most influential member states in the European Union; however, with the recent mass deportations of the Roma, other European Union member states began questioning France’s motives.3 Magda Matache, director of Romani Criss, argues that in France “policies [by the European Union] have been set up for these minorities [,the Roma], but have not actually been implemented at the local level.” 4 Suddath asserts the French 2010 deportations of the Roma “[came] on the heels on a July 16 scuffle in which 22-year-old Luigi Duquenet, a Gypsy, was shot by police after he drove through a roadblock and allegedly hit an officer.”5 Ian Traynor in his Guardian news article references the same regional instant, claiming that

right voters.”9 Yet these deportations hold even greater significance. Since many Roma in France come from Romania and Bulgaria, they are officially European Union citizens and therefore have the right “to move freely through other E.U. Countries.”10 However, France debates this technicality, conceding these European Union citizens were allowed into France, but had time limits on their stay: within three months, “Roma [...] must find work, start studies, or find some other way of becoming established in France or [they] risk deportation.”11 Thus, France supports the European Union stated right to free movement, but inhibits any form of settlement by the Roma.12 Many of the French nonetheless view the Roma as foreign, using their “nearly black skins,” as R.F. Hobson describes, as “‘a convenient hook on which to hang certain projections, especially if […] he [they] threatens important economic and other social, vested interests.’”13 France thereby associates the Roma with other ethnic identities that are considered not French – or Western European.14 Since the Roma technically do not have a set national territory though, many French people appear to automatically assign one for them – seeming to confuse the term ‘Romani’ with the Romanian and other East European peoples.15 Because of this association, France, in turn, impugns Eastern Europe for its Romani over-population problems, claiming that the Romani matter is essentially a Slavic issue – not French – and that they have not violated these European Union citizens’ guaranteed right to free movement.16 Through their deportations, France attests that they have only denied illegal immigration and free settlement into their country.17 Although France blames the growing Romani population in Western Europe on Eastern European countries, the increased Romani migration to France is not entirely the fault of East European nations. The dissolution of the Soviet Union and absence of communism explains the emergence of Roma in French and other West European nations.18 Zoltan Barany writes that communism under the Soviet Union “brought substantial benefits to Eastern Europe’s Romani communities.”19 Furthermore, Soviet Union agendas in the former Eastern Bloc territories forced the Roma to abandon their traditional ways, “Communist-imposed mandatory school […] raised the educational level of the Roma” and improved their literacy rates, which permitted some (albeit little) job mobilization for the Roma.20 Life during the Soviet regime guaranteed jobs for the Roma, and their life expectancy increased with the provided health-care coverage under communism.21 However, the Roma did not reap as many benefits after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. As communism collapsed, “the Roma still occupied the lowest rungs of the socioeconomic ladder,” and as the market shifted to a more capitalist practice, the Roma became submerged in poverty.22 David M. Crowe attests that “Communism, had, in many instances, done nothing more than stifle the festering

Sarkozy ordered the campaign in July after Roma ransacked a police station in response to the killing of one of their community by the police, around 100 encampments have been demolished. The leaked interior ministry document stipulated that 300 had to be closed down as a priority.6

In other words, a regional issue – the killing of a Romani man by a French police officer – launched the mass expulsions of the Roma in France, illustrating that not all European Union standards are met. In fact, this demonstrates that not all local authorities have helped the Roma minority assimilate into mainstream culture. Instead, they seem to target and discriminate against the Roma – automatically viewing them as criminals. Indeed, on July 28 – shortly after the localized incident and riots – Sarkozy officially began the Romani deportations.7 Crumley writes that although the President supports these expulsions, not all government officials agree.8 In fact, many of them believe that Sarkozy’s approval to deport the Roma is just a scheme to win the upcoming presidential election in France; they believe he “aims to win over extreme-


Sharp ethnic tensions that had exploded in the nineteenth century and short-circuited the complex, lengthy process of resolving these conflicts.”23 Still, as membership in the European Union became a priority for the previous communist territories, the advancement and betterment of the Roma minority became a means to gain acceptance into the European Union. While some territories, like Hungary, continued to include and assimilate the Romani population more after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Belinda Cooper agrees with Crowe, saying that although “Communist ideology largely denied the existence of ethnic difference, […] forced assimilation could not erase the effects of centuries of inequality between Roma and non-Roma.”24 In fact, she explains that “denying the existence of ethnic distinctions had only suppressed, not eliminated, traditional antipathies.”25 Albeit Hungary introduced many new programs in the 1990s to help the Roma assimilate into society – such as an increase in education opportunities, the addition of 1993 minority rights law, and the establishment of the European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) in 1996 - violence against the Roma still – to this day – disrupts the nation.26 Increased government attention towards the Roma in Hungary appears to be an attempt towards real Roma advancement and seems to help lessen the gap between Roma and non-Roma; still, throughout the 2000s, many Roma suffered much discrimination and violence from Hungarians.27 Crowe writes that “high unemployment, poverty, and widespread discrimination have neutralized any positive effects from this legislation” and suggests that “deep prejudice” still exists towards the Roma in the Office for National and Ethnic Minorities.28 Even some local authorities and public government officials stereotype the Roma as violent, disruptive criminals and view them as sub-human.29 On television in 2000, a Hungarian mayor said “that the Roma ‘have no place among human beings. Just as in the animal world, parasites must be expelled.’”30 This typecasting of the Roma by the local authorities only encourages Hungarian citizens also to believe that “a criminal way of life is the key element of the Romani identity.”31 The bureaucratic gains for the Roma in the 1990s appear worthless when much of the Hungarian population still continues to uphold these stereotypes. This Othering32 nullifies all past progress. Due to this continued discrimination, many Roma still cannot find homes or jobs. Consequently, Magda Matache attests that past improvements in Roma education also mean nothing:

a fifth grade textbook used throughout the country said that Roma could not ‘lead a European lifestyle’ and that ‘the life of a part of the Roma is marked by crime.’ It also claimed that the Roma were spies for the Ottoman Turks when they conquered Hungary and were involved in the executions of prominent Hungarian historical figures at that time.35

Even some Hungarian religious figures denote a difference between Roma and non-Roma, claiming “that white Hungarian children should not be forced to attend school with poor [Roma] children, since this would be a ‘setback for ‘normal’ children.’”36 As Crowe proves with his examples, the new educational policies do not aid the Romani minority as much as they appear.37 Although Hungarians seem to have attempted to improve the lives of the Roma in their country, they have in fact intensified the country’s overall prejudice against the Roma.38 Yet, Hungary gained European Union membership in 2004.39 With this reversion towards discrimination in former Eastern Bloc countries, like Hungary, many Roma have sought refuge in the West. In fact, many Romanies “were granted refugee status” by France in 2000 after some Hungarians evicted them and destroyed their homes.41 In spite of this, France appears to have Othered the Roma as well by revoking their refugee status and deporting them. This forced exclusion by both France and Hungary contradicts the Romanies’ identity as European Union citizens. However, the exact definition of the Roma by the European Union itself is paradoxical due to the Romanies’ inherent ambiguity.41 Katrin Simhandl expands this, claiming that even European government officials simplify and generalize the Romani culture and lifestyle and simultaneously view them as Other.42 Based off past romanticized and negative stereotypes, past terminology used by the European Union encouraged this discriminatory behavior towards the Roma. Katrin Simhandl goes on to explain how this language used to describe the Roma by the European Union helped to create and uphold these stereotypes. In the past, the European Union regularly used the term Gypsy to label the Romani people.43 “Gypsy” references the Roma’s nonexistent but believed Egyptian origins, and is, consequentially, “an exonym, a name imposed by people who do not consider themselves to belong to the group.”44 Thus, by using the term Gypsy, the European Union typecasts the Romani identity and culture and “imposes […] boundaries” onto the Roma “from [the] outside.”45 However, in the early 1990s, the European Union changed their terminology.46 Simhandl states that the European Union began using the “endonym” Roma, signaling the beginning of viewing the Romani population as less of a politicalized and generalized kinship group and more of an underprivileged and underrepresented minority group.47 A peculiar distinction arose out of the political terminology – Roma became linked with Eastern Europe, while Gypsies existed in Western Europe.48 As Simhandl explains, as the European Union labeled Roma as an international minority groups, countries in the Eastern Europe adopted the European Union’s same terminology after the dissolution of communism in hopes of becoming a member state.49 Meanwhile, some Western European nations, or other nations already accepted into the European Union at this time in the late 1990s and early 2000s, continued to view and name the

less than 10% goes to high school. Among the many reasons is the fact that high schools are not located in the villages where they live, and their families do not have the means to pay for public transportation to school or for residences nearby. Roma are still less fortunate compared to others because of their poverty, discrimination, etc.33

The Hungarian education systems teach Romani children to consider themselves as inferior to the locals. Crowe depicts an example of such in 2001: “a middle-school teacher in Erodötelek made his Roma students write that the ‘the Gypsies can be characterized by their high rates of unemployment and by their special odour.’”34 The textbooks used in Hungary also force the Roma to internalize a sub-human depiction of themselves:


Gyspy/Romani Paradox Roma as Gypsies, which encouraged the continuation of the belittlement of the Roma, and thereby, hindered the original progress made by the European Union.50 The Romani identity weakened as European Union member states reverted to past discriminatory terminology and their political standing digressed. Furthering the minority group’s inclusion became a means to gain acceptance in the European Union instead of an actual benefit to the Roma.51 Simhandl argues that this “discursive separation between ‘Western Gypsies and Travellers’ and ‘Eastern Roma’ allows the people [the Roma] and their situation in the ‘old’ Member States to be rendered invisible.”52 This disharmony of terminology has helped create a distinct separation between Roma problems in Eastern and Western Europe. As a result, the Roma are continually considered more of an East European issue, and Western European nations blame the growing emergence of Roma in their country as the fault of the Eastern European countries.53 Recent problems with the Roma in France, for example are blamed on Romania and Bulgaria for being unable to control their ethnic minority populations, and the French majority reverts to the not politically correct terminology, the “exonym” Gypsy, to refer to the Romani people in order to separate France from the Roma.54 Essentially, the French deportations of the Roma highlight the West-East European dichotomy. Yet by use of politically correct terminology, the “endonym” Roma, European Union member states objectify the Roma, using them to advance their own political standing and gain membership into the European Union.55 When compared to the education and advancement programs that Hungary has created, France’s deportations appear worse and more unjust. However, Hungary’s Romani betterment programs appear to have done very little to improve lives. The Roma, as Cooper writes, are “caught in a cycle of poverty, illiteracy, dependency, and petty crime that has kept them marginalized.”56 In addition, by politically objectifying the Roma, the European Union has impeded Romani rights even further and has instead enforced their generalized and stereotypical image.57 As the former director of the European Roma Rights Center warned:

Works Cited Salmond,Wendy. “Moscow Modern.” Art Nouveau 1890 – 1914. Ed. Greenhalgh, Paul. (London: Harry N. Abrams, 2000), 396. Salmond, “Moscow Modern,” 395. 3 Cooke, Catherine. “Feodor Shekhtel: Architect of the ‘Forgotten Class.’” The Twilight of the Tsars. Ed. South Bank Center. (London: The Center, 1991), 56. 4 Brumfiled, Williams. “The Decorative Arts in Russian Architecture: 1900 – 1907.” The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts. Vol. 5/ Soviet Theme Issue (1987), 24. 5 Borisova, Elena Andreevna, and Sternin, Grigory. Russian Art Nouveau. (New York: Rizzoli. 1988), 123. 6 Murrel, Kathleen Berton. Moscow Art Nouveau. (London: Philip Wilson, 1997), 43. 7 Brumfiled, William. The Origins of Modernism in Russian Architecture. (California: University of California Press, 1991), 133. 8 Murrell, Moscow Art Nouveau, 43. 9 Ibid., 44. 10 Cooke, Catherine. “Feodor Shekhtel: Architect of the ‘Forgotten Class.’” The Twilight of the Tsars. Ed. South Bank Center. (London: The Center, 1991), 56. 11 Salmond, “Moscow Modern,” 395. 12 Murrell, Moscow Art Nouveau, 40. 13 Ibid., 44. 14 Brumfield, The Origins of Modernism in Russian Architecture, 139. 15 Murrell, Moscow Art Nouveau, 46. 16 Ibid. 17 Ibid. 18 Ibid., 45. 19 Brumfield, The Origins of Modernism in Russian Architecture, 139. 20 Cooke, “Feodor Shekhtel: Architect of the ‘Forgotten Class,’” 56. 21 Brumfield, The Origins of Modernism in Russian Architecture, 133. 22 Ibid.135. 23 Ibid. 23 Borisova and Sternin, Russian Art Nouveau, 42. 24 Murrell, Moscow Art Nouveau, 43. 25 Sternin, 144 26 Cooke, “Feodor Shekhtel: Architect of the ‘Forgotten Class,’” 56. 27 Ibid. 28 Ibid. 29 Brumfield, The Origins of Modernism in Russian Architecture, 136. 30 Ibid. 31 Murrell, Moscow Art Nouveau, 45. 32 Ibid., 43. 33 Hayney, Jack. “Sadko”. The Complete Russian Folktale. (London: Armonk, 1999), 340. 34 Murrell, Moscow Art Nouveau, 43. 35 Salmond, “Moscow Modern,” 395. 36 Ibid., 267. 37 Ibid., 267. 38 Ibid., 267. 39 Ibid., 267. 40 Cooper, “We Have No Martin Luther King,” 74. 41 Barany, “Orphans of Transition,” 145-146. 42 Katrin Simhandl, “‘Western Gypsies and Travellers’ – ‘Eastern Roma’: the creation of political objects by the institutions of the European Union,” Nations and Nationalism, vol. 12, no. 1(2006): 106. 43 Ibid., 104-105. 44 Ibid., 104. 45 Ibid., 104. 46 Ibid., 104. 47 Ibid., 106-107. 48 Ibid., 107-108. 49 Ibid., 109-111. 50 Ibid., 109-110. 51 Ibid., 104-111. 52 Ibid., 110. 53 Crumley, “A Defiant France”; Suddath, “Who Are Gypsies.” 54 Crumley, “A Defiant France”; Sinhandl, “‘Western Gypsies and Travellers,’” 110. 55 Ibid., 104. 56 Cooper, “’We Have No Martin Luther King,’” 72. 57 Sinhandl, “‘Western Gypsies and Travellers,’” 110. 58 Cooper, “’We Have No Martin Luther King,’” 77. 59 Crowe, “The Roma in Post-Communist Eastern Europe,” 542. 1 2

the modest gains Roma have made could be lost in the coming years if initiatives do not become self-sustaining, […] and East European countries gain membership in the EU without being required first to improve substantially the conditions of their Roma minorities.58

Yet it appears in the case of Hungary that these gains have already been lost. As Crowe states, although the Roma situation has improved somewhat in Hungary, “the genuine international, regional, and local will to find ways to integrate the Roma more deeply into the fabric of Central and Eastern Europe’s diverse societies” is still lacking.59 Western Europe, specifically France, lacks this initiative as well, favoring mass deportations over Romani assimilation. Thus, because they are considered non-European by both France and Hungry, the Roma are trapped in a vicious circle of trying to find their national identity and suffer constant discrimination. This Othering prevents the Roma from fully becoming European, which is inherently paradoxical to their identification as European Union citizens and is the basis of many of today’s problems regarding them.


Love Poem Rozalina Akopyan Люблю, живу, ночами плачу Года летят, что ожидать нам дальше? Пути давно уж разошлись, Однако сердце не переубедишь. Мне три сезона как надежда. Приходит лето - остаётся всё как прежде… Ты уезжаешь, покрывши дом, семью, родных Пыльцой воспоминаний и любви, Закрыв сердечка – доступ для других. Фортуна светит отчасти для меня, Но взглянув поглубже В том списке «недоступных» Казалось бы, освоилась и я. Тебя понять трудней младенца, Коварно протыкая сердце, Хотя наверняка и невзначай, Бурлят эмоции, вопрос лишь в том чья здесь вина? Раздумья затмевают, мысли все Крадутся частыми словами, Отрывками, моментами, былыми вечерами. Когда минутка, час или мгновенье Воплотились в красоту вселенной. Я насладиться смела и могла: Фразами – робко возглашавшими святое, Улыбкой – ясно осветляющей бездонность Глазами–нежносогревающимистрахлюбить, К концу – вновь холод у меня в груди… Моря, пустыня, горы разделают нас Есть вера – постигнет счастье каждого из нас, Услышим мы «Да только был бы шанс…!» 40

Sunset at Dubrovnik, Tatiana August-Schmidt A Sunny Street in Cavtat, Croatia, Katarina White

Obscene Politics: Understanding Swearing in Early Soviet Russia

Rishi Rawat Studying a taboo reveals the development of society: the birth of new beliefs and the security of tradition. Of the many types of taboos, swear words can provide a particularly interesting look into this evolution. While swearing across all languages has a universal ability to shock, surprise, anger, embarrass, the logic of profanity is hard to appreciate outside of a social context. While a word itself may be taboo, languages often contain synonymous words that lack the negative connotations. Thus, exploring the reasons for the taboo offers modern scholars a window into the private world of the forbidden. Obscenities can reveal societal norms, hierarchies, and historical perspectives that challenge the traditional understanding. While some taboos may develop organically over a stretch of time, others arise deliberately in response to an overwhelming need for change. In the case of the Communist Party in early Soviet Russia, this overwhelming need is ideological. An examination of Russian policy and mat (Russian obscene words) reveals an early power struggle between Russian peasants and the Communist party that is generally not emphasized. While party leaders claimed their strict enforcement of a ban on mat was motivated by a desire to free society from sexually oppressive language, a historical analysis suggests that the motivations were more complex, intended to inspire conformity while marginalizing dissidents. The ban on mat tells the story of early Bolshevik fears, insecurities, and strategy that cannot be overlooked.

When Christianity arrived, the Church declared a war on mat, which was a manifestation of these cults.4 In the process, some Russians even convinced themselves that their obscene vocabulary had its origins in a foreign language from Asia “that ‘polluted’ Russian during the period of Mongol occupation, from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century.” However, mat had been used long before the thirteenth century: “Mat acquire[d] historical visibility only after the coming of Christianity… in 988, when the church began to proscribe its use as part of the battle to extirpate paganism.”5 Thus, most scholars “dismiss this [the foreign origin of mat] as fantasy—a desire to disassociate Russian society from the crudeness of mat.”6 Most current scholars think mat was an essential part of peasant culture. They assume that the word mat, “is directly related to the word for mother (mat’),” which is a short form for earth mother, “the pagan goddess, Mokosh’, who functions as an earth mother.”7 Thus, mat words were widely used in agricultural rituals: “the earth was thought of as a female organism, and the harvest as giving birth; hence the phallic processions and ritual obscenities”8 However, mat enjoyed widespread usage outside of ritual as well: “mat, in its original form, was also a language of peasant revelry and the liberation of the flesh. In traditional folk culture, women sang obscene ditties as a challenge to their husbands or an invitation to their suitors.”9 Hence one can best understand mat to be a language of the flesh: “Mat celebrated gross corporeality, the lower physical faculties, fecundity and decay, nature and excess” – and a key part of the peasant ethos.10


An Ideological Shift

Russian obscenities are quite different from obscenities in English. In English, there are only so many obscene words, each with only a few per-defined meanings. Russian mat words, on the other hand, can be modified to create a very diverse range of expression. Russian mat words derive from three roots, ‘ebat’(fuck), ‘pizda’ (cunt), and ‘hui’ (prick), whose equivalents in English are obscene; however, these roots can be modified by prefixes and suffixes to create completely different connotations. For example, prefixes and suffixes to the word ‘ebat’ can change its meaning from to fuck to: ‘to work,’ ‘to deceive,’ ‘to lie,’ ‘to be pretentious,’ ‘to be tired,’ ‘to be bored,’ ‘to get,’ ‘to go away,’ ‘to lose,’ ‘to beat,’ ‘to be bothered’ (social). While the English word ‘fuck’ can be interpreted to mean some of these things in context, English has no system to ascribe the word itself such a diverse range of meanings. Mat also has an interesting origin. While the English profanities shit, fuck, and ass each seem to have developed separately,1 mat words seem to have a common origin. According to Russian Linguist Boris Uspenskii, “obscene swearing goes back to heathen prayers or incantations,”2 which were employed by various pagan fertility cults centuries before Russia became Christian.3

Before the rise of the USSR, movements against mat sought to eradicate it for religious reasons; however, in the early 1900s, new motives emerged. Since 1861, when the serfs were emancipated, a small city-faction of “class-conscious” workers began to question the value of mat, which they came to see as oppressive. They interpreted mat usage in factories as a sign of power, authority, and unfairness: managers would use mat to make a spectacle, “imposing discipline through fear.”11 One worker wrote: “‘He swears at us using all kinds of words, forcing us to do intolerable jobs by means of obscenity.’”12 In short, class-conscious workers saw mat as a symbol of power because a worker would not dare to use mat when speaking with a supervisor. While the class-conscious ideology certainly seems to fit with the core of communist logic, the ban on mat beginning in the 1920s does not actually relate to such sentiment for equality, but is rooted in political practicality. To study the rationale for banning mat, we must consider the period in Russian history immediately following the Bolshevik Revolution. It would be false to assume that the large peasant populations greeted the revolution with joy: the reality was quite different. In the 1920s, as communist leaders sought to enact the New Economic Policy and collectivized farming, there



Rawat were a series of bloody peasant uprisings, e.g. Tambov rebellion, Kronshtadt revolt.13 The leader of the Tambov rebellion, like many others, formerly supported the Bolsheviks in the revolution, but changed allegiances seeing new policies such as the grain tax as a betrayal of their support. Ultimately, the communists defeated the rebels, but the destruction made it clear to communist leaders that the Red Army was too weak and the peasants too unhappy for collectivized farming to be successful; however, instead of fighting the peasants head-on, the communist leadership took an indirect approach. The problem here was the peasant ideology: their resilience to change. Shortly after the rebellions, the party decided to suppress peasant disagreement by waging an ideological war, and the government decided to attack sexuality. “In the 1920s, sexuality was suppressed for the sake of higher interests of the working class and the Socialist revolution.”14 As Erofeyev writes, “In English, the word ‘fuck’ is simply a rude way of referring to the sexual act; in Russian, the act itself is indecent.”15 Thus, the ban on sexuality began, and with it the ban on the sexual mat words. Trotsky, using the class-conscious rhetoric, claimed the policy was motivated by a humanistic desire to improve the working conditions in Russia: swearing is “ a legacy of slavery, humiliation, and disrespect for human dignity—one’s own and that of other people.”16 However, politicians often say one thing and mean something very different. Sexuality being at the very roots of peasant culture and tradition, we can hardly discount the possibility that the suppression of mat was an attack on the peasant’s way of life.

one could distinguish a new soldier from a veteran based on how well and how often he swore. The “first thing that the recruits from non-Slavonic peoples learned in the Soviet army… was mat.”23 There are stories of former Soviet soldiers returning home to teach their young brothers mat so they can use it in the army. The contrast between Army mat and the city could not be starker. The different policies illustrate a double standard, but it can be rationalized by politics. On one hand, the Communists sought to build a strong, loyal army. Rather than attacking the soldiers’ mat usage, they allowed it to become a binding glue of their social structure. At the same time, they used other means to indoctrinate them with communist ideology.24 On the other hand, changing the ideology of the newly recruited peasant workforce required a different set of tactics. The mindset of the soldier differs from the mindset of the worker, for he is required to conform to a much higher extent; he must be willing to die for the state to live, and in his regular training, that requirement is constantly reinforced. On the other hand, the worker must be constantly reminded to stay loyal. When the government challenges and enforces a policy that conflicts with an age-old tradition, it is a brazen symbol of power that few would dare to oppose. This logic suggests that mat policy was driven by a desire to build loyalty. It further implies that as the population conformed, the government would lose incentive for continuing the ban; the shock value of the ban would simply no longer be necessary. And indeed, this appears to have to have happened. Several scholars have remarked that the 1930s, mat usage rapidly increased in the factory.25 There is even a Soviet era joke that points to this: Everything is in order at the factory and the Party inspection commission is pleased. The inspectors have just one comment: too much mat is being used on the factory floor. The management takes note, and mat is banned in the factory. By the next inspection, the factory is falling far short of its quotas. Why? Because the workers had used obscene terms for all the mechanical equipment, and without mat they are no longer able to communicate.26 At first, this seems puzzling: why would the government let mat become common in factories? An answer may come from the strength of the Party’s confidence in the Red Army. According to Mikhailin, it took “six years more [after 1922] and about six million young peasants passing through the Red Army training” to strengthen the government’s confidence in its ability to enforce the NEP. Thus, moving into the 1930s, forcing conformity via mat became less important to enforce. The army was strong enough to put down any rebellion, so they lost the impetus for punishing mat.

Inconsistent Application It has been previously noted that peasant communities “used to be the main stumbling block for any reforms and reforms of imperial Russia,”17 and that they vehemently opposed collectivized farming. From a psychological perspective, scholars have suggested that, “wider fears of loss of political and ideological control” haunted the Bolsheviks and that these insecurities were channeled into “dread of the female body.”18 By examining inconsistencies in how the ban on mat was enforced, particularly the double standard that promoted mat usage in the Red Army, it becomes clear that the communist party sought to use the ban on mat as a symbol of their total control: not to remove the oppressive aspects of swearing, but to send a message to dissidents. On one hand, the government attacked the old way of peasant life by challenging “incantations [zaklinaniya] and spells [zagovory]… [which] were declared harmful relics of the past and their use became punishable in law.”19 Thus, swearing became completely unacceptable: “swearing in public could earn you fifteen days in jail,” sending a clear message that not only were peasant traditions backwards, outdated, and wrong… they are criminal.20 Penalizing mat usage with jail time amounted to creating the stereotype that mat was a “camp/criminal” language.21 On the other hand, Soviet officials allowed mat usage to skyrocket in the Red Army. Swearing was a rite of passage;22

Modern Relevance While it seems like mat’s political purpose was short-lived, the impacts of the ban continue into the present. The Soviet government succeeded in transforming the perception of the mat speaker, associating mat usage with uncivilized, lowerclass hoodlums. 27 This stereotype persists. In some communities, mat is becoming more popular, partially because of this


Obscene Politics counter-regime association. In fact, nearing the collapse of the USSR, mat usage became much more widespread as a means to express discontent and frustration with the oppression of the Soviet government: “[Mat usage] is a reflection of their reality, a reflection of how bad they feel. It’s a discharge of psychological energy”28 For some people today, mat continues this way, playing “the role of a language of dissidence, of protest against official ideology, both political and religious.”29 Hence the analysis of Russian mat reveals how policy can change the role of a language. Mat usage began in pagan ritual, but when the regime fought to suppress it, swearing changed shape. Instead of disappearing, or retaining its previous meaning, mat became a language of negative expression: its sexual shock value transformed into cultural shock value. Thus, a language of love and physicality became a language of frustration and opposition. Tracing the history of mat reveals how language policy cannot only be interpreted de jure, and how modifying the use of a word can substantially shift the connotations associated with it. From the broader context of interpreting Soviet history, our exploration of mat prompts numerous questions about other suppressed activities. How many of those bans were motivated by an ideological fear? Has participating in those activities become a means of retaliation? One area that may be interesting to explore is sexuality, which was a taboo subject in the USSR, similar to mat. This could be useful because many of Russia’s current social problems (child prostitution, sexually transmitted diseases, and infidelity) have to do with a doubleedged sword of unrestrained sexual expression and an unwillingness to talk about the issue. It could be academically and practicality useful to explore the history of sexual repression in Russia to see how and if societal norms led to the present phenomenon.

Samburskiy, D. (2009). Sexual Metaphors in Russian Chastushka (Unpublished master’s thesis). University at Albany, State University of New York. Retrieved from 15 Erofeyev 23 16 Trotsky, L. (1923, May 15). The Struggle for Cultured Speech. Speech. 17 Mikhailin, 42 18 Smith,1 98 19 Humphrey, C. (2005). Dangerous words: Taboo, evasion and silence in Soviet Russia. Antropologicheskii Forum, 314-339. Retrieved from Dangerous%20Words%20(English).pdf, 377. 20 Erofeyev, 23 21 Mikhailin, 44 22 Mikhailin, 33 23 id, p. 34 24 Mikhailin 41 25 Smith,170; Erofeyev, 23 26 Erofeyev, 23 27 Smith, 198 28 Erofeyev, 23 29 Ibid. 14

Works Cited Wajnryb, R. (2005). Expletive deleted: A good look at bad language. New York: Free Press. 2 Uspenskii, B. A. (1984). On the Origin of Russian Obscenities. In The semiotics of Russian culture. Ann Arbor: Dept. of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan. 297. 3 Erofeyev, V. (2003). Dirty words: Letter from Moscow. New Yorker, 79(23). 4 Uspenskii, 1984; Erofeyev, 2003 5 Smith, S. (1998). The social meanings of swearing: Workers and bad language in late Imperial and early Soviet Russia. Past & Present, 1998(160), 167-202. 170. 6 Erofeyev, 23 7 Smith, 169 8 Uspenskii, 1984, p. 298 9 Erofeyev, 23 10 Smith, 197 11 Smith, 184 12 Ibid. 13 Controlling Behaviour in the Russian Army. The Journal of Power Institutions in Post-Soviet Societies, (1). Retrieved from http://pipss. 43. 1


Не болтай, Kseniya Konovalova

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The Troika Undergraduate Journal: Volume 3, Issue 1  

The Troika Undergraduate Journal publishes outstanding undergraduate work in Eastern European and Eurasian studies. Visit us at troika.berke...

The Troika Undergraduate Journal: Volume 3, Issue 1  

The Troika Undergraduate Journal publishes outstanding undergraduate work in Eastern European and Eurasian studies. Visit us at troika.berke...