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Contents page editorial Sara Cohen


articles Florensky’s ‘Reverse Time’ and Bakhtin’s ‘Chronotype’: a Russian Contribution to the Theory of the Visual Arts Clemena Antonova


The Shalaputs: the Beginning of the Radical Reformation in Imperial Russia, 1830s–1890s Sergei I. Zhuk


Elites’ Resistance to Social Capital Building in Uzbekistan Kai Wegerich


Romanian Law and Journalism: Impacts on Civil Society David Berry


book reviews Joseph Frank, Dostoevsky: The Mantle of the Prophet, 1871–1881 (Derek Brower)


Robert Service, Russia: Experiment with a People; A. Lewis, ed., The Eu & Belarus (S. K. Carter)


William Bartlett, Croatia: Between Europe and the Balkans (Tim Haughton)


Robin Humphrey, Robert Miller, and Elena Zdravomyslova, eds, Biographical Research in Eastern Europe, Altered Lives and Broken Biographies (Anthony Ristica)


Vladimír Patráš, Interdisciplinárne kooperácie (Lujza Urbancová)


Michael Melancon and Alice K. Pate, eds, New Labor History. Worker Identity and Experience in Russia, 1840–1918 (Evan McGilvray)


Slovo, Vol. 15, No. 2, Autumn 2003


Volume 15.2 is the second we have published with Maney during the academic year 2002–2003, and signals the culmination of the output of this year’s editorial board. Much like the year’s first edition, Volume 15.2 of Slovo elicited submissions from a wide range of today’s emerging and experienced academics. The four articles published herein present only a small segment of the diverse interests among researchers in the fields of Russian, Eurasian, Central and East European studies, while providing evidence of the very often interdisciplinary nature of the work undertaken in these fields of academic study. Clemena Antonova’s ‘Florensky’s “Reverse Time” and Bakhtin’s “Chronotope”: a Russian Contribution to the Theory of the Visual Arts’ presents us with an analysis of two separate Russian thinkers which in turn offers us a new way of looking at the visual arts through the incorporation of literary theory and, surprisingly, physics. Writing from within the fields of both history and religion, Dr Sergei I. Zhuk relies on little known archival sources in his ‘The Shalaputs: The Beginning of Radical Reformation in Imperial Russia’. This is the story of a late nineteenth-century radical millennial sect who sought to break down the gender divides of traditional Russian Orthodoxy, and who also incorporated Western religious trends in their exploration of the limits of religious practice. Dr Kai Wegerich’s ‘Elites’ Resistance to Social Capital Building in Uzbekistan’ provides us with a very different perspective. His research has taken him to the fringes of our region, the Central Asian republics, and he presents us with an analysis of the contemporary, post-transition problems encountered in the implementation of basic infrastructure reform. Dr Wegerich points out what is well-known but often overlooked: that the shadow of the region’s history continues to influence the region’s developing economies. Similarly, Dr David Berry’s contemporary Romanian focus points to the problems facing journalists in the post-transition period in his ‘Romanian Law and Journalism: Impacts on Civil Society’. Although this volume contains submissions dealing primarily with Russia and the regions of the former Soviet Union, Slovo is happy to receive submissions from any scholars interested in aspects of the broader region, as defined above. Our fundamental aim is to provide students and established academics with a forum for publication that is both respected and representative. We could not have come this far without the help of professionals and academics who offered us their time and expertise in order to ensure that Slovo remains a quality publication. The editorial board would like to thank, among others, Professors Roger Bartlett, George Kolankiewicz, Julian Graffy, Arnold McMillin,

© School of Slavonic & East European Studies, University College London, 2003


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Robert B. Pynsent and Alan Smith; Drs Gábor Batonyi, Bhavna Dave, Alex DraceFrancis, Ger Duijzings, Peter Duncan, Tim Haughton, Martyn Rady and Trevor Thomas; and Claudia Aradau, Tim Beasley-Murray, Daniel Brett, Felix Ciutab, Andrew Gardner, Liz Hoskins, Liz Rosindale, Anna Thrush, and Maria Widdowson for their help and support. Sara Cohen Executive Editor, Slovo, 2002–2003

Slovo, Vol. 15, No. 2, Autumn 2003

Florensky’s ‘Reverse Time’ and Bakhtin’s ‘Chronotope’: a Russian Contribution to the Theory of the Visual Arts1 Clemena Antonova Oxford University This paper suggests that a line of thought can be identified within Russian scholarship as early as the 1920s and the 1930s that deals, often in a profound way, with the problem of time in the visual arts. This becomes all the more significant when considering the history of the neglect of this problem, springing from an outright denial that painting, sculpture, and architecture have a genuine temporal dimension. It is only recently that philosophers and art historians have paid more consistent attention to the role that time plays in the arts, which have traditionally been considered exclusively spatial.2 The first section of this paper attempts to provide an idea of the still prevailing categorization of the arts into the spatial and the temporal. It will then critically discuss Pavel Florensky’s (1885–1937) notion of ‘reverse time’, which claims to describe the flow of time in dreams and art. Most importantly, Florensky presents the first serious attempt so far to work out a theory of the temporal dimension underlying the Eastern Orthodox icon. The third section this paper will discuss the implications of Mikhail Bakhtin’s (1895–1975) much more familiar category of the ‘chronotope’ for the theory of the visual arts. It will suggest that with both authors we can talk of an ‘Einstein connection’, as their ideas grow partly out of a realization of the space–time interconnectedness, which is a major aspect of Einstein’s relativity theory. This paper does not claim that there is any direct influence between the two Russian scholars — though it is possible that Bakhtin might have known some of Florensky’s works. Rather it views their texts as part of a common discourse, with important implications for art criticism. Neither Florensky, nor Bakhtin developed a comprehensive theory. However, even though undeveloped, the notions of ‘reverse time’ and of the ‘chronotope’ can lay a foundation for future studies. 1

I thank Prof. David Shepherd (Director of the Bakhtin Centre, Sheffield University) for his comments on the part of my text dealing with Bakhtin. 2 See M. Merleau-Ponty, The Phenomenology of Perception (London: Routledge, 1989); Y. Bonnefoy, ‘Time and the Timeless in Quattrocento Panting’, in Calligram: Essays in New Art History from France, ed. by N. Bryson (Cambridge–New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988); P. Crowther, Defining Experience, Defining Art: A Case of Normative Aesthetics, especially the chapter: ‘About Time: The Moment in Art’, forthcoming.

© School of Slavonic & East European Studies, University College London, 2003


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The problem of time in the visual arts Visual art is usually taken to be a matter of the manipulation of material in space while the temporal dimension is often disregarded. This has largely been so both on the intuitive level and in the realm of academic discourse. Indeed, most would agree with W. Thomas Mitchell when he says that ‘nothing [. . .] seems more intuitively obvious that the claim that literature is an art of time, painting an art of space’.3 It seems evident that painting has ‘no natural temporal extension’.4 In the critical history of the visual arts the problem of time has remained peripheral and when touched upon, the prevailing view has tended to suppress the temporal dimension. Otto Pächt (1902–1988), for instance, is expressing a wide-spread view, when he describes the history of pictorial art as ‘a series of repeated attempts to smuggle the time factor into a medium which, by definition, lacks the dimension of time’.5 What W. Thomas Mitchell calls ‘the tradition of denying temporality in the visual arts’6 can be attributed, to a large extent, to the impact of Lessing’s Laocoön (1766). The division of the arts into arts of time and those of space is traditional and had long been in existence before the publication of the Laocoön. Gombrich points out that even Joseph Spence and the Comte de Cayules, whom Lessing cited as having ignored the space–time distinction, actually are explicitly aware of it.7 Precedents for Lessing’s distinction are also discussed by Nikolas Schweizer in his book The Ut Pictura Poesis Controversy in 18th Century England and Germany.8 Most famously, Leonardo was credited with such a view, as when he says that ‘painting immediately presents to you the demonstrations its maker has intended’, while ‘the works of the poets must be read over a long span of time’ and further that painting ‘simultaneously conveys the proportional harmony of which the parts of the whole are composed’, while poetry describes ‘the configurations of particular objects more slowly than is accomplished by the eye’.9 It was Lessing (1729–1781), however, who was the first to systematically treat this question and popularize this distinction. His position has been hugely influential 3 W. T. Mitchell, Iconology: Image, Text, Ideology (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1986), p. 95. 4 D. Ades, ‘Art and Time in the Twentieth Century’, in The Story of Time, ed. by H. Lippinco, with U. Eco, E. Gombrich, and others (London in association with the National Maritime Museum: Merrell Holberton Publishers, 1999), p. 202. 5 O. Pächt, The Rise of Pictorial Narrative in Twelfth Century England (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962), p. 1. Pächt’s position is more complicated, as, for instance, in a later work he devotes a section to the problem of ‘unfamiliar notions of time’ in the visual arts (O. Pächt, Practice of Art History: Reflections on Method (London: Harvey Miller Publishers, 1999), pp. 41–45.) 6 W. T. Mitchell, Iconology: Image, Text, Ideology (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1986), p. 99. 7 E. Gombrich, ‘Lessing’, in The Proceedings of the British Academy for 1957 (London: Oxford University Press, 1958), p. 139. 8 N. Schweizer, The Ut Pictura Poesis Controversy in 18th century England and Germany (Bern: Herbert Lang Verlag, 1972). 9 Leonardo on Painting: An Anthology of Writings with a Selection of Documents Relating to His Career as an Artist, ed. by M. Kemp (New York and London: Yale University Press, 2001), p. 23.



since and has been questioned only relatively recently. Goethe (1749–1832) bears witness to its impact at the time, explaining that one would have to be a young man again to realize the effect wrought upon us by Lessing’s Laocoön [. . .] transported us from the region of slavish observation into the free fields of speculative thought. The long misunderstood ut pictura poesis was at once set aside. The difference between picture and poetry was made clear – the peaks of both appeared separate, however near might be their bases.10

In his 1920’s Creative Credo Paul Klee’s (1879–1940) response is quite different: ‘in Lessing’s Laocoön, on which we squandered study time when we were young, much fuss is made about the difference between temporal and spatial art. Yet, looking into the matter more closely, we find all this is but a scholastic delusion. For space, too, is a temporal concept’.11 Apparently, it seemed to Goethe and to others at the time that Lessing had solved a genuine problem. Later generations would ask if he actually did. The problem of pictorial time in the Eastern Orthodox icon — Florensky’s notion of ‘Reverse Time’ Pavel Florensky’s (1885–1937) notion of reverse time (vremia obrashtennogo)12 is exposed mainly at the beginning of the Iconostasis (Iconostasis) (prepared in 1922)13 and is mentioned on several occasions in Mnimosti v geometrii (Fictions in Geometry) (1922). According to Florensky’s commanding thesis, reverse time is the temporal concept underlying dreams and art. I will be using the latest Russian edition of Florensky’s text of the Iconostasis in Hristianstvo i kultura (Christianity and Culture) (2000). The English translation (1996) is not always precise, at times even incorrect, so I will use my own translation, when I think it necessary. Florensky’s reverse time betrays a conceptual ambiguity, partly due to the terminology, which, most probably, was chosen to fit the theory of reverse perspective, of which Florensky was the most influential exponent.14 In other words, if we accept reverse perspective as the spatial coordinate of the pictorial world of the icon, reverse time will provide the temporal one. The problem with the term is that it suggests a literal reversal in the direction of time. At the same time, what is valuable in Florensky’s discussion are those passages dealing with the change in the speed of time, which is fundamentally a reversal in kind. This latter aspect is close in spirit to the view, regarding the temporal dimension of the icon, which is one that realizes the categorical transformation from time to timelessness. This idea is mentioned 10

Goethe, Poetry and Truth: From My Own Life (London: G. Bell & Sons, 1908), ii, 282. P. Klee, ‘Creative Credo’, in Theories of Modern Art: A Source Book by Artists, by H. Chipp (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1968), p. 184. 12 P. Florensky: Hristianstvo i kultura, ed. by A. Filonenko (Moscow: Folio, 2001), p. 522. 13 The text was prepared for publication in 1922 and was the result of Florensky’s lectures at the Theological Academy in Moscow in 1918. There is an abbreviated version in English, entitled ‘Icon’ in The Eastern Churches Review, vol. 8 (1970), and a full English translation in P. Florensky, Iconostasis (Crestwood, New York: St.Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2000), p. 35. 14 See ‘Reverse Perspective’, in P. Florensky, Beyond Vision: Essays on the Perception of Art, ed. by N. Misler (London: Reaktion Books, 2002). 11


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but, unfortunately, not pursued in a short text by Konstantinos Kalokyris. Still, Kalokyris’s article ‘Byzantine Iconography and Liturgical Time’ (1966–67) deserves mention as one of the few attempts so far to point explicitly to a connection between iconic art and the basically theological notion of timelessness, even though it fails to show the nature and structure of this connection. The author makes use of the concept of liturgical time in the sense of condensed or concentré time, as it is understood by some modern scholars.15 The author suggests that Byzantine iconography reflects exactly this notion of ‘liturgical time’,16 which brings us outside time. However, he proves unable to support his thesis with convincing visual analysis and offers little beyond the vague statement that ‘sacred persons and events are made contemporary’,17 based on the assumption that the ‘overcoming of time’ has the result of making ‘an event contemporary with us’.18 At the same time, it is not at all clear how Byzantine images actually incorporate this timeless notion. Pavel Florensky’s interest in the problem of time in Eastern Orthodox art is much more persistent. Pictorial time is, for Florensky, an aspect of the larger question of the temporal dimension of the Eastern Orthodox world-view. The theme of time is recurrent throughout Florensky’s writings in general,19 which shows the author’s preoccupation with it and the importance he attaches to it. The term Florensky chooses to use suggests a procedure very much the same as the one involved in the working out of the concept of reverse perspective, which supposedly reverses the laws of linear perspective.20 No one, to my knowledge, has pointed out the connection between the two notions, reverse time and reverse perspective, which I believe to be important. On the one hand, both terms point to the idea of reversal, something that in both cases is due to and leads to misconceptions. On the other hand, there is an underlying implication of spatial–temporal unity and the idea that a certain conception of time leads to a certain conception of space and vice versa. Once this notion is applied to pictorial art, we start asking questions about the temporal dimension, incorporated in the spatial structure of a work of art. Being, in Russian religious philosophy, is largely understood in Platonic and Neoplatonic terms. This has been mentioned on numerous occasions21 and really, one cannot help noticing it. True reality resides in the other-worldly, while in this world we try to catch glimpses of it. In a short essay, Florensky discusses the term realism exactly in such Platonic terms and, as a result, warns against the confusion 15 K. Kalokyris, ‘Byzantine Iconography and Liturgical Time’, in Eastern Churches Review, i (1966–67), 359–63. On this interpretation of liturgical time, see Kalorykis’s bibliography. 16 Ibid., p. 360. 17 Ibid. 18 Ibid., p. 361. 19 See, for example Stolp i utverzdenie istini (The Pillar and the Ground of Truth) (1914) in the context of Florensky’s overall religious world-view. 20 On that see, M. Kemp and C. Antonova, ‘Reverse Perspective — Historical Fallacies and an Alternative View’, in Visual Minds, ed. by M. Emmer (Cambridge, MA.: MIT Press, forthcoming), ii. 21 In the case of Florensky’s adherence to the Platonic tradition see V. Bychkov and I. Kishand, ‘Vidna li neverojushtemu Troitza Rubleva?: K vaprosu o poniiatii ikonnogo znaka v Ikonostase P.Florenskogo’ in P.A. Florensky i kultura ego vremeni, ed. by M. Hagemeister and Kauchtschischwili (Marburg: Blaue Horner Verlag, 1995), pp. 399–411.



in terminology between realism and naturalism, and realism and illusionism.22 Realism is generally defined as ‘a kind of tendency that affirms some kind of realia or realities — in contrast to illusions’.23 Artistic realism, in particular, is about ‘[uniting] us with the realities that are inaccessible to our senses’.24 To do so, at the borderline of the two worlds, a great transformation happens — our existential categories are transformed into the categories of a higher being. Logically speaking, a transformation can be realized in at least two ways — a qualitative change in kind, as, for instance from time to a timeless eternity or one that reverses the order of the phenomenon on the existing terms. The term reverse time implies that the latter is what happens in Florensky’s conception of time — linear, Kantian time becomes reverse time. Reverse time seems to remain linear but its arrow points in the opposite direction. Art is mentioned by Florensky in this context as a ‘border-line case’, alongside with dreams. Both dreams and art belong to the realm between the two worlds. That is, not all dreams but only mystical, morning dreams and not all art, but only true art, the supreme example of which is the ancient Russian icon. To see art as the meeting of the two worlds was a common idea among Russian thinkers at the time. In an essay entitled ‘The Two Worlds in Ancient Russian Iconpainting’ (1916), Evgeny Trubetskoy defines the icon as the ‘real contact between the two worlds of being, the levels of being — the heavenly one of calm and the earthly one of sinful, chaotic but striving towards repose in God existence’.25 Just as common was the interest in dreams and psychology stirred by the writings of Freud (The Interpretation of Dreams was published in 1900). Before psychology fell under the category of a bourgeois science in the late 1920s, it enjoyed a huge boom in the early years of the decade, as Alexander Etkind shows in his book Eros nevozmoznogo: Istoriia psihoanaliza v Rossii (The Eros of the Impossible: History of Psychology in Russia).26 Nicoletta Misler also mentions the fascination with Freudian psychology at the beginning of the century in Russia and in particular among intellectuals at the Russian Academy of Artistic Sciences, where Florensky taught from 1921 to 1924.27 The connection between dreams and art was, of course, an age-old theme, going back to Plato’s Timeaus. It was also made by Freud, who maintained that ‘the psychical material out of which dreams are made’28 is comparable to the material of 22 ‘On Realism’ in P. Florensky, Beyond Vision: Essays on the Perception of Art, ed. by N. Misler (London: Reaktion Books, 2002), p. 80. 23 Ibid. 24 Ibid., p. 181. 25 E. Trubetskoy, Umozrenie v kraskah: tri ocherka o russkoi ikone (Paris: YMCA-Press, 1965), p. 63. 26 A. Etkind, Eros nevozmoznogo: Istoriia psihoanaliza v Rossii (St Petersburg, 1992). 27 N. Misler, ‘Toward an Exact Aesthetics: P. Florensky and the Russian Academy of Artistic Sciences’, in Laboratory of Dreams: The Russian Avant-garde and Cultural Experiment, ed. by J. Bowlt and O. Matich (Stanford, CA.: Stanford University Press, 1996), p. 125. Interestingly, some members of the Bolshevik elite were attracted to psychoanalysis for a while, too. The People’s Commissariat of Enlightenment had a psychoanalysis department, which sponsored a ‘children’s home laboratory’ in Moscow, attended, among others, by Stalin’s son. 28 S. Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams (New York: Avon Books, 1965), p. 347.


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visual art. Florensky himself seems to be relying heavily on pre-Freudian authors. He explicitly mentions F. W. Hildebrandt,29 who was writing in Leipzig in the late nineteenth century. According to the Russian scholar Alexander Mihailov, the closest in spirit to Florensky and a possible influence on him is G. H. Schubert (1780– 1860), a natural philosopher from the first half of the nineteenth century.30 In his works, Ansichten von der Naturwissenschaft (Views on Natural Science) (1808) and Des Symbolik des Traumes (The Symbolism of Dreams) (1814), Schubert puts forward his thesis that the ability to reach the invisible and the world beyond is the natural, physical, and spiritual condition of man as an element in the hierarchy of being. Schubert claims that this is exactly what happens in dreams. It is worthwhile noting the author’s contention that the boundary between the two worlds is temporal. In dreams, consequently, taking into consideration their function in Schubert’s theory, there is a time flow; different from the one we are aware of in woken consciousness. What Florensky attempts to do is to work out an idea of time, within that overall intellectual framework, that describes the time of dreams and art. At the point where the two worlds meet and where the transformation of categories occurs reside dreams and art, which give us an idea of true being. The notion of reverse time is illustrated by Florensky through the composition of the dream. It should be noticed that the author’s preoccupation with dreams is different from Freud’s. Freud speaks of two types of dreams — the ones due to external stimuli and the ones due to internal stimuli. His interest is mainly excited by the latter. Florensky, on the contrary, concentrates on the former and actually states at one point that all dreams are due to external stimuli.31 That dreams are the result of external stimulation is a typical nineteenth-century idea, which lies at the heart of the physiological theory of dreams. Let us take a few instances of dreams due to external stimuli, cited by Freud, and analyse their composition in Florensky’s terms. Freud actually derives his examples from L. F. Alfred Maury,32 one of the proponents of the physiological theory: ‘He was given some eau-de-cologne to smell. — He was in Cairo in Johann Maria Farina’s shop. Some absurd adventures followed, which he could not reproduce. He was pinched lightly on the neck. — He dreamt he was being given mustard plaster and thought of the doctor who had treated him as a child [. . .] A drop of water was dropped on his forehead. He dreamt he was in Italy, was sweating violently and was drinking white Orvieto wine’.33 The direct cause for the dream is an external stimulus A — an eau-de-cologne, a pinch on the neck, a drop of water. In the dream, however, A is interpreted as the symbolic image X — the shop in Cairo, the application of mustard plaster, sweating, and drinking wine. Unlike A, X belongs to the system of the dream and is the outcome of an event or a chain of 29 The name is misspelled in the English translation, see P. Florensky, Iconostasis (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2000), p. 38. 30 A. Mihailov, ‘O.Pavel Florensky kak filosof granitsi’, in Voprosy iskusstvoznania, 4 (1994), 42. 31 ‘Ikonostas’, in Pavel Florensky: Hristianstvo i kultura, ed. by A. Filonenko (Moscow: Folio, 2001), p. 523; P. Florensky, Iconostasis (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2000), p. 35. 32 Maury’s book Le Sommeil et les Rêves was pulished in 1861. 33 S. Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1954), p. 25.



events Y1, Y2, Y3, etc., happening in the dream. While A is the external cause, X is the spiritual cause for these events. The sequence of events in the dream has a certain direction and this is from effect to cause and from what follows to what precedes. Within the system of the dream X comes first and from it follow Y3, then Y2 and finally Y1. In other words, time is reversed in respect to everyday consciousness. The typical illustration is the ringing of the alarm clock (A), which in the dream could be a shot (X). Our memory sorts out the information of a dream in a coherent story, the outcome of which is X. Within the dream, X precedes all the events that have caused it, while the events themselves unfold backwards from the future to the past. The so described composition of the dream in which the end determines the beginning and all other events is teleological: its events occur because of its denouement, in such a way that the denouement will not be left hanging in the air but will, instead, exhibit deep programmatic rationality and is not an unhappy chance but possesses a deep practical motivation.34

Florensky sees the time flow in a dream as the exact opposite of Kantian time.35 In the dream, time runs acceleratedly towards the actual and against the movement of time in waking consciousness. Dream time is turned inside out, which means that all its concrete images are also turned inside out with it: and that means we have entered the domain of imaginary space.36

Dreams are the first and the simplest (in the sense that we are accustomed to them) stage of life in the invisible. Later, in memory, they are arranged according to the temporal order of our world. In the ‘Transcendental Aesthetic’, Kant describes this temporal organization of the material provided by the senses. Initially, the raw material of sensible experience arrives in human consciousness without structure. The mind then proceeds to order it by imposing a temporal and spatial framework over it. The organization of experience follows a process of synthesis — a synthesis of apprehension in intuition and a synthesis of recognition in a concept, as human knowledge requires both having intuitions and applying concepts. So far it appears that reverse time is indeed reverse in terms of the direction in which it unfolds, which is opposite to the one we are aware of in everyday life. Another characteristic of Florensky’s conception of time in dreams and art challenges this impression. Reverse time has, Florensky claims, its own duration, as well. What from an outside, empirical point of view may seem relatively short in time (minutes, hours) inside dreams might cover a much longer period (years, decades). As Thomas De Quincey (1785–1859) lucidly describes his own dreams in The Confessions of an English Opium Eater: ‘sometimes I seemed to have lived for 70 or 100 years in one night’.37 De Quincey’s experience might partly be due to the effect of 34 ‘Ikonostas’, in Pavel Florensky: Hristianstvo i kultura, ed. by A. Filonenko (Moscow: Folio, 2001), p. 525; P. Florensky, Iconostasis (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2000), p. 38. 35 Ibid., p. 527; Ibid., p. 41. 36 Ibid., p. 528; Ibid., p. 41. 37 T. De Quincey, Confessions of an Opium Eater (England: Penguin Books, 1971), p. 104.


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opium, but his ‘powerfully affected’ senses of space and time could serve as indications of what generally happens in dreams. Actually, Florensky says that the speed of time in dreams might be infinite and reverse in respect to empirical time: ‘few have considered the possibility of an infinite speed of time flow and even, turning inside out in respect to itself, in the transition to infinite speed to gain a meaning reverse (obratnii) in its flow’.39 It is that moment of reverse time, which Florensky describes as the teleological aspect of time in the invisible: ‘time, indeed, can be an instant, from the future to the past, from the effects to the causes; time can be teleological, especially when our life makes the transition from the visible to the invisible, from the actual to the illusionary’.40 It becomes obvious that there are two, interrelated features of reverse time — one is its direction, the other its duration. The latter can be ‘infinite in speed’ and ‘an instant’, both of which come down to the same thing. Thus, the phenomenon we are talking about is different in kind, not just reverse to the time in the woken consciousness. For this reason, the term reverse time could be very misleading. Florensky himself often provides grounds for such misconceptions and for a simplistic and incorrect understanding of reverse time as, for instance, when he describes the invisible world as ‘God’s creation, but (beheld) from the other side’.41 Particularly unfortunate is the example of a friend’s dream. In his dream, Florensky’s friend gets to know that under the surface of the earth there are grass and trees growing, but they grow upside down, with their roots upwards and their leaves pointing downwards. We are reminded of Alice going down the rabbit-hole and thinking: ‘I wonder if I shall fall right through the earth! How funny it’ll seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downwards!’.42 With Florensky this graphic description is meant to illustrate the notion that the invisible world is reverse to ours. It is, however, misguided as the image it evokes could easily give rise to a concept of reversal in the narrow sense of the word, where all the elements of a phenomenon become their exact opposites. The element of duration surely leads to something more than that and namely, to the notion of an in depth reversal of kind. The very reversal of time actually suggests a lack of duration — this is exactly what infinite in speed and instant imply. The lack of duration, on the other hand, is an aspect of the concept of timelessness. In this sense, Florensky’s view is similar in spirit to the one Kalokyris was driving at. Florensky’s temporal conception in dreams and art bears analogies to Maurice Maeterlinck’s (1862–1949) 38

Ibid., p. 103. ‘Ikonostas’, in Pavel Florensky: Hristianstvo i kultura, ed. by A. Filonenko (Moscow: Folio, 2001) p. 522; the translation is mine; the English translation for ‘obratnii smisl svoego techeniia’ is ‘time that flows backwards’ (p. 35) is incorrect, as it implies only a change of direction, while Florensky explicitly says ‘smisl’, i.e. ‘meaning’, which could mean other things, besides direction. 40 Ibid., my own translation: among other things, the English translation skips ‘teleologicheskim’, i.e. teleological (p. 35) 41 Ibid., pp. 528–29; P. Florensky, Iconostasis (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2000), p. 42. 42 L. Carroll, ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, in The Penguin Complete Lewis Carroll (London: Penguin Books, 1982), p. 17. It is an interesting fact that Florensky discusses Lewis Carroll for his mathematical work, see P. Florensky, ‘A Problem of Lewis Carroll and the Question of Dogma’, in The Pillar and Ground of the Truth, trans. and annotation by B. Jakim (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997), pp. 355–59. 39



description of our experience, when ‘we discover with uneasiness that time, on which we base our whole existence, itself no longer exists’.43 We come to feel that ‘all that comes and all that goes passes from end to end of our little life without moving by a hair’s breadth around its motionless pivot’.44 When Florensky claims a possible scientific significance to his theory of reverse time, he reverts the argument to a completely different direction, which is not of direct relevance to our interests here. He believes that the next stage after the discovery of instant time by Karl Duprel, and consistent with Duprel’s notion, should be the discovery of reverse time. However, it is noticeable even to non-specialists that Florensky — who incidentally got his first degree in mathematics and physics — was building his notion of reverse time on the background of contemporary research associated with Einstein. According to Einstein, Newton’s laws of motion were no longer applicable when we deal with bodies moving at high speed (i.e. faster than the speed of light in empty space).45 Einstein is not talking here of infinite speed, as even the speed of light is finite; rather speed becomes a criterion for distinguishing between two systems, adhering to different laws. Florensky’s distinction between time in dreams and art and time of the woken consciousness, too, is based on the factor of speed and not simply on a difference in direction, as his term might suggest at first glance. It is interesting to note that in the year Florensky prepared his text the German scientist Hermann Wey wrote: ‘it is not impossible for a world-line (in particular, that of my body), although it has a time direction at every point, to return to the neighbourhood of a point, which it has already passed through’.46 While Florensky’s anticipated discovery of reverse time has not been realized, scientists, philosophers of science, and novelists continue to be fascinated with the possibility of time travel and are intrigued by the question: ‘Is a reverse world logically possible?’. Roger Teichmann’s reply, for instance, is in the negative,47 but obviously the question is not an easy one to answer. In a sense, we still wonder with Alice at the White Queen, who remembers best ‘the things that happened the week after next’.48 What is important for the purposes of this essay is, first of all, the very attempt by the Russian writer to discover a temporal dimension underlying Eastern Orthodox art. Moreover, Florensky does so in view of a presupposed interconnectedness between pictorial time and space. His idea of the spatial construct of the Eastern Orthodox image is largely responsible for his terminology and occasional passages, which tend to see categories in terms of the reversal of existing ones. The main idea 43 ‘The Knowledge of the Future’, in M. Maeterlinck, The Unknown Guest (London: Methuen & Co, 1914), p. 124. 44 Ibid., pp. 124–25. 45 See J. Barrow, Impossibility: The Limits of Science and the Science of Limits (London: Vintage, 1998), pp. 24–25. 46 H. Weyl, Space, Time, and Matter (London: Methuen, 1922). 47 R. Teichmann, The Concept of Time (Macmillan Press, 1995), p. 168. The same and related issues are the subject of Hans Reichenbach’s book The Direction of Time (1956) and of a chapter of the same title in William Newton-Smith’s of The Structure of Time (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1980). 48 L. Carroll, ‘Through the Looking Glass’, in The Penguin Complete Lewis Carroll (London: Penguin Books, 1982), p. 181.


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was to propose a concept of the time at the border-line between the two worlds, which realizes the transformation from the profane to the sacred, from the visible to the invisible. Reversibility in this case should be understood as genuine, qualitative difference and not just a reversal in the direction of linear time. The problem of pictorial time — the implications of Bakhtin’s ‘Chronotope’ One of the most persuasive arguments for the spatial–temporal interconnectedness of works of art is Mikhail Bakhtin’s, who introduced the term chronotope in his essay ‘Forms of Time and of the Chronotope in the Novel’ (1937–38, in Russian).49 The Russian author defines the term chronotope (literally time–space) as ‘the intrinsic connectedness of temporal and spatial relationships that are artistically expressed in literature’.50 Bakhtin acknowledges that the term derives from Einstein, but he says that ‘the special meaning it has in relativity theory is not important for our purposes’, as it is borrowed by literary criticism ‘almost as a metaphor (almost but not entirely)’.51 He emphasizes that the main importance of Einstein and his use of space–time terminology is, for aesthetics, the notion of ‘the inseparability of space and time (time as the fourth dimension of space)’.52 While Bakhtin employs the chronotope exclusively as a category of literary criticism and states that he will not be applying it to other spheres of culture, his descriptions of it often carry more general overtones as in: In the literary artistic chronotope, spatial and temporal indicators are fused into one carefully thought-out, concrete whole. Time, as it were, thickens, takes on flesh, becomes artistically visible; likewise, space becomes charged and responsive to movements of time, plot and history.53

Put in those terms, the category of the chronotope could be stretched out to cover a larger field and it would make sense to apply it to painting as well. It is surprising that there have been no serious attempts to do so. Deborah Haynes’s Bakhtin and the Visual Arts stands largely on its own in attempting to assess the relevance of Bakhtin’s ideas in the field of painting and sculpture. Haynes, however, concentrates mainly on Bakhtin’s theory of creativity and related issues and only mentions the concept of the chronotope in passing.54 Boris Vipper’s essay ‘Problemi vremeni v izobrazitelnom iskusstve’ (The Problem of Time in the Visual Arts) maintains that images in the plastic arts ‘have the ability to express absolutely concrete ideas of time’.55 There is also a recent article by Jay Ladin, which considers the usefulness of 49 M. Bakhtin, ‘Forms of Time and of the Chronotope in the Novel’, in The Dialogical Imagination: Four Essays by M. M. Bakhtin, ed. by M. Holquist (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981). 50 Ibid., p. 84. 51 Bakhtin has been often attacked for his, sometimes, imprecise use of terminology. Describing his own term as ‘almost but not entirely (a metaphor)’ is surely quite confusing. 52 M. Bakhtin, ‘Forms of Time and of the Chronotope in the Novel’, in The Dialogical Imagination: Four Essays by M. M. Bakhtin, ed. by M. Holquist (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981), p. 84. 53 Ibid. 54 See D. Haynes, Bakhtin and the Visual Arts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995). 55 B. Vipper, ‘Problema vremeni v izobrazitejlnom iskusstve’, in 50 let Gosudarstvennomu muzeiu izobrazitejlnnih izkusstv imeni A.S.Pushkina. Sbornik statei (Moscow: Izkusstvo, 1962), pp. 134–50; B. Vipper, Statii ob izkusstve (Moscow: Izkusstvo, 1970), p. 313.



the chronotope in the analyses of the other arts outside literature. The author believes that ‘the formal language of the chronotope could be significantly enriched by surveying the existing criticism of other media for insights regarding the construction of space and time’.56 Ladin pays particular attention to the relevance of the chronotope as a critical tool in the sphere of film, while Laurin Porter’s article ‘Bakhtin’s Chronotope: Time and Space in “A Touch of the Poet” and “More Stately Mansion”’57 is a concrete instance of its application in theatre studies. Ladin’s thesis is that as the relations between chronotopes are graphically demonstrable they would yield much more easily to identification in non-verbal media. Thus, while the application of the chronotope to pictorial art might be a challenging task it could be very rewarding on at least two grounds. Firstly, the chronotope as ‘a powerful but underdeveloped critical tool’58 might be better explained and further developed by such an application, addressing its natural propensity for visualization. Furthermore, the chronotope might help to illustrate a fundamental aspect of pictorial art, as pertains to its temporal characteristics.59 Much critical attention, on the other hand, has been devoted to a footnote in ‘Forms of Time and the Chronotope in the Novel’, which, for this reason, deserves a full quote: In his ‘Transcendental Aesthetics’ (one of the main sections of the Critique of Pure Reason) Kant defines space and time as indispensable forms of any cognition, beginning with elementary perceptions and representations. Here we employ the Kantian evaluation of the importance of these forms in the cognitive process, but differ from Kant in taking them not as ‘transcendental’ but as forms of the most immediate reality. We shall attempt to show the role these forms play in the process of concrete artistic cognition (artistic visualization) under conditions obtaining in the genre of the novel.60


J. Ladin, ‘Fleshing out the Chronotope’, in Critical Essays on Mikhail Bakhtin, ed. by C. Emerson (New York: G. K. Hall and Co., 1999), p. 228. 57 L. Porter, ‘Bakhtin’s Chronotope: Time and Space in A Touch of the Poet and More Stately Mansions’, Modern Drama, 43.3 (1991), 369–82. 58 J. Ladin, ‘Fleshing out the Chronotope’ in Critical Essays on Mikhail Bakhtin, ed. by C. Emerson (New York: G. K. Hall and Co., 1999), p. 230. 59 Important recent works on Bakhtin, his place in intellectual history and in particular the chronotope, as well as the Kantian and Neo-Kantian connections of the Russian philosopher are: K. Hirschkop, Mikhail Bakhtin: An Aesthetics for Democracy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), G. Tihanov, The Master and the Slave: Lukács, Bakhtin, and the Ideas of Their Time (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000), C. Brandist, The Bakhtin Circle: Philosophy, Culture and Politics (London and Sterling, VA: Pluto Press, 2002). 60 M. Bakhtin, ‘Forms of Time and the Chronotope in the Novel’, in The Dialogical Imagination: Four Essays by M. M. Bakhtin, ed. by M. Holquist (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981), p. 85. On this, see M. Holquist and K. Clark, ‘The Influence of Kant in the Early Works of M. M. Bakhtin’, in Literary Theory and Criticism: Festschrift for René Wellek, ed. by J. Strelka (Berne and Frankfurt: Peter Lang, c. 1984), pp. 299–313; G. Morson and C. Emerson, Mikhail Bakhtin: The Creation of a Prosaic (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990), pp. 367–69; M. Holquist, ‘Introduction: The Archetectonics of Answerability’, in Art and Aswerability: Early Philosophical Essays by M.M.Bakhtin, ed. by M. Holquist and V. Liapunov (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990), pp. ix–xix; B. Scholz, ‘Bakhtin’s Concept of Chronotope: The Kantian Connection’, in The Contexts of Bakhtin: Philosophy, Authorship, Aesthetics, ed. by D. Shepherd (Australia–Canada: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1998), pp. 141–73.


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Already in his main text, when Bakhtin defines the chronotope as a ‘formally constitutive category of literature’, he implies a point of departure from Kant. As it is known, Kant did not include time and space in his table of categories. For Kant, just as for Aristotle, a category is something coming about as a result of thought rather than perception. On the other hand, time and space, Kant tells us in the ‘Transcendental Aesthetics’, are a priori forms of perception, i.e. they precede, are prior to experience. It should be noted, that with all his differences from Kant, Bakhtin’s approach owes a great deal to the German philosopher. As Bernhard Scholtz says in his article ‘Bakhtin’s Concept of ‘Chronotope’: The Kantian Connection’: ‘Bakhtin was considering the possibility of talking about varying forms of experiencing an object within the context of the conceptual framework of (Neo-) Kantian transcendental analysis, rather than rejecting transcendental analysis’.61 For the practical purposes of literary — and I should add, art historical — criticism, Scholz describes the main difference between Kant and Bakhtin in their field of concern. While Bakhtin analyses chronotopes reflected in art, Kant, it could be said, concentrated on actual chronotopes, i.e. prior to their artistic assimilation.62 From a strictly philosophical perspective, Bakhtin gives grounds for the belief that he confuses the empirical and transcendental analyses.63 It should be born in mind that he was dealing with one of the notoriously difficult passages by Kant, where Kant himself left ample grounds for misunderstanding. However, apart from this, Bakhtin was forcing an application of Kant to serve his own ends. According to Gary Morson and Caryl Emerson, the point he was making ‘is that time and space vary in qualities: different social activities and representations of those activities presume different kinds of time and space’.64 To what an extent the application of Kant’s transcendental forms in an empirical context is philosophically defensible is a question that oversteps our immediate concerns. Bakhtin’s own definition of philosophy is rather loose, as in the following: ‘our analysis must be called philosophical mainly because of what it is not: it is not a linguistic, philological, literary or any other particular kind of analysis [. . .] (it moves) in spheres that are liminal, i.e. on the borders of the aforementioned disciplines’.65 What is important is that Kant was referred to in order to stress the significance of time and space as the coordinates of a world (here of an artistic world). Einstein’s authority was evoked to insist on the inseparability of the spatiotemporal construct. Bakhtin’s idea was to creatively rework these two strands of thought in the concept of the chronotope, which is meant to describe the mutual 61 B. Scholz, ‘Bakhtin’s Concept of Chronotope: The Kantian Connection’, in The Contexts of Bakhtin: Philosophy, Authorship, Aesthetics, ed. by D. Shepherd (Australia–Canada: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1998), p. 149. 62 Ibid., p. 151. 63 See M. Holquist, and K. Clark, ‘The Influence of Kant in the Early Works of M. M. Bakhtin’, in Literary Theory and Criticism: Festschrift for René Wellek, ed. by J. Strelka (Berne and Frankfurt: Peter Lang, c. 1984). 64 G. Morson and C. Emerson, Mikhail Bakhtin: Creation of a Prosaic (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1990), p. 367. 65 M. Bakhtin, ‘Problema teksta v lingvistike, filologii, i drugih gumanitarnih naukah. Opit filosofskogo analiza’ in Estetika svovesnogo tvorchestvo (Moscow: Isskustvo, 1979).



interdependence of artistic time and space in the work of art. As Tzvetan Todorov mentions, Bakhtin’s works are about the relation between text and world, where the text puts forward a model of the world, the constitutive elements of which are time and space.66 Thus, each literary genre that Bakhtin analyses, from the classical Greek novel to Rabelais, represents a specific spatio-temporal configuration, i.e. a specific chronotope. In this sense, in Bakhtin’s genre theory, a genre becomes synonymous with chronotope. It seems that while Bakhtin uses the chronotope as a category of literary criticism, his definition of the term itself makes it possible to understand it as a more general aesthetic category. His analyses of literary works show not only the role of time, but also the role of space in the overall structure of the work. For instance, in Rabelais and His World, the Russian critic discusses the chronotope particularly in relation to images in Rabelais. Ideas of time and space are closely fused in the interpretation of the grotesque human body. The body’s spatial positionings built an image of the defeat of time and death.67 Thus, when Joseph Frank, for instance, suggested that spatial form was a central category of literary modernism68 he refers, even if implicitly, to a major theme of Bakhtin’s writings. Thus, the field was left open to see the visual arts in terms of the chronotope and so explore their usually neglected temporal dimension. Conclusion In this essay I have discussed notions and ideas worked out by two Russian scholars in the first half of the twentieth century. Mikhail Bakhtin is an internationally recognized name, while Pavel Florensky is only recently becoming known to English-speaking readers. I have attempted to see Florensky’s reverse time and Bakhtin’s chronotope on the background of the development of art criticism. I hope to have brought across my belief, that the two Russian authors offer a genuine contribution to this field by drawing attention to a largely neglected problem. At the same time, both texts bear witness to the huge impact of Einstein’s theory of relativity on all spheres of culture, alongside the change of the modern worldview. Even without being familiar with the scientific intricacies of Einstein’s theory, modern man has accepted the general idea that we live in a space–time continuum. All objects we encounter, artistic or otherwise, exist in a unity of spatial and temporal characteristics. Thus, it is no longer possible to think of an artwork exclusively in terms of either spatial or temporal features. As Mitchell says, the use of the terms space and time separately in connection to the arts is ‘a concealed synecdoche’,69 which reduces the whole to a part. The work of art is a spatial–temporal construction, just like any other object of human experience. 66

T. Todorov, ‘From Mikhail Bakhtin: The Dialogical Principle’, in Critical Essays on Mikhail Bakhtin, ed. by C. Emerson (New York: G. K. Hall and Co., 1999), p. 193. 67 M. Bakhtin, Rabelais and His World (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984). 68 J. Frank, Spatial Form in Narrative, ed. by J. Smitten and A. Daghistany (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1981), p. 13. 69 W. T. Mitchell, Iconology: Image, Text, Ideology (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1986), p. 103.


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Biographical Note Clemena Antonova is a DPhil candidate in the History of Art at Oxford University, Somerville College. The topic of her research is ‘The Role of Time in the Organization of Pictorial Unity: the Case of Eastern Orthodox Art’, supervised by Professors P. Crowther and M. Kemp. She received her MSc in 1997 in the History of Art from the University of Edinburgh, and an MA in English Language and Literature and in Cultural Studies from Sofia University, Bulgaria.

Slovo, Vol. 15, No. 2, Autumn 2003

Romanian Law and Journalism: Impacts on Civil Society David Berry Southampton Institute Some of the more important theoretical issues attached to the development of the press in Romania since 1989 are journalistic ideals such as freedom of movement, access to information, and consequently the right to exert freedom of speech. The obvious justification for these ideals is that information should be mediated in the public interest, based on the public right to know principle so important in liberal and ethical conceptions of press freedom. This ideal is either premised on the complete negation of censorship by state authorities or at least minimal state interference to restrict press freedom. The present Romanian Penal Code, along with the introduction in 2002 of the ‘Romanian Law for the Protection of Classified Information’, unnecessarily and excessively prohibits journalistic rights to access and freely distribute information, which in turn has had serious consequences for the development of a democratic society. In doing so, the state, by sanctioning and justifying oppressive laws, has essentially questioned the legitimacy and authority of the press as an independent institution, which under normal conditions should be both critical and confrontational of state power. The intention of this article is to analyse the role of the state and to critically assess its impact on press development and civil society in post-Communist Romania. Introduction: Historical context In general terms, 1989 was one of the most important historical periods in world history with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the end of the cold war, and the dominance of capitalist ideology that would affect the development of Central and Eastern Europe. In all the former communist states it ushered in a new post-communist phase, which would be largely characterized by the introduction of free-market principles, on which new media systems would be built. Francis Fukuyama, a leading commentator attached to the American political establishment, had claimed that 1989 was so significant as an historical event that it represented the End of History and ultimately the victory of a capitalist order based on liberal theory.1 For Romania, and indeed all former communist states, this of course translated into a vision of a modernized society based on the complete break 1 ‘Of the different types of regimes that have emerged in the course of human history [. . .] the only form of government that has survived intact to the end of the twentieth century has been liberal democracy. What is emerging victorious [. . .] is not so much liberal practice, as the liberal idea’, in Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1992), p. 45.

© School of Slavonic & East European Studies, University College London, 2003


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from the all-embracing, authoritative past, and the development as a mirror image of leading Western industrialized nations. Fukuyama’s thoughts are influenced by modernization theory,2 based on the thoughts of Max Weber, but also, according to Fukuyama, present in the writings of Karl Marx.3 Modernization theorists argue that in order to modernize effectively, undeveloped or even underdeveloped societies must produce a new value system that would bring about fundamental change to the structures of society. It follows that for Romania, once the barriers of Stalinism had been removed, with the revolution in 1989 being a major catalyst of this, then the process of development towards a democratic society could begin. Although modernization theory has its critics,4 one important element underlying its theoretical foundations in the developmental process, forcefully advocated by Daniel Lerner, which is central to this discussion, is that a new system of communications is a necessary prerequisite for the establishment and consolidation of a new modernized system. Reflecting modernization theory, Wilbur Schramm5 has argued that the function of the mass media was to co-ordinate national development. Schramm argued that Western ‘social systems’ based on particular ‘philosophical and political rationales or theories’6 were good examples of how a democratic press functioned and thus were models for others to follow. In this context, Schramm was forwarding an ethical perspective of media development and one which governments were morally obliged to recognize and support for the greater good of society. In general terms, Romania is currently associated with new political, economic, social, and cultural structures that reflect current Western societies, such as a multiparty system with free elections, a new entrepreneurial spirit of capitalism, new freedoms of public association, a new commercialized press system, and new forms of broadcasting including the rise of popular culture, both of which have produced distinct readerships. In order for change to occur and consolidate, development would depend on new ways of thinking and social interaction in society. In essence, the idea of individuality with a new system of rights would have to emerge to displace the state control associated with past practice. 2 Two influential books concerning modernization theory are Daniel Lerner, The Passing of Traditional Society (New York: Free Press, 1958), and Walt W. Rostow, The Stages of Economic Growth (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1960). 3 Fukuyama, p. 68. 4 Most notably, André Gunder Frank, ‘The development of underdevelopment’, in Dependence and Underdevelopment — Latin America’s Political Economy, ed. by James D. Cockcroft, André Gunder Frank, and Dale Johnson (Garden City, NJ: Doubleday Anchor, 1972), and Kenneth B. Griffen, The Political Economy of Agrarian Change (London: Macmillan, 1974). In a critique of the theoretical foundations of modernization theory, both writers had argued that any attempt by less economically developed nations to emulate Western systems was no guarantee that similar patterns of development would inevitably occur. 5 Wilbur Schramm wrote the third chapter, ‘The Soviet Communist Theory’, in Frederick Siebert, Theodore Peterson, and Wilbur Schramm, Four Theories of the Press (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1963). 6 Ibid., p. 2.



The important issue here is associated with the development of democracy according to liberal theory. Any consideration of the development of a democratic system in Romania depends on the emergence of civil society based on relative autonomy from the state and the development of a new system of rights guaranteed by a constitutional government. Considering the degree of control and surveillance over Romanians by the regime before 1989, it became imperative for a new democratic public sphere or public space to emerge within civil society, a space where citizenship could develop, based on the freedom to form public opinion. This would partly depend on the development of a new press system that would seek to inform and educate the people of Romania towards a greater understanding of their immediate environment. The press then, in broad terms, would need to enlighten and empower the citizen by providing access to information, which would entail the development of an unfettered and critically engaging investigative journalism, which is a prerequisite for a democratic society to function properly. The question is then, has this happened in any profound way? One aspect of the historical condition that we can confidently assert is that the revolution in 1989 and the subsequent collapse of the Stalinist regime signified a new phase in Romanian development and the period of post-Communism began. One important consequence of those tumultuous events was the introduction of a new press system and what appeared to be the beginning of a pluralistic network of communication. The expansion and development of the new press system with relative autonomy from the state became a dominant feature of the post-Communist period. In pure quantitative terms, we can characterize the expansion of both the press, and broadcast media for that matter, as revolutionary, which has produced a new social condition that can be broadly characterized as an information society. This condition, however, is measured in pure numerical terms and is contrasted with the limited distribution of information before 1989. The importance of this condition, considering Romania’s highly centralized system and tight control over the flow and distribution of information, is that the expansion and distribution of informational goods and the mass communication system can be viewed as a vehicle for the development of an informational system and consequently the emergence of a civil society based on relative autonomy from the state. However, there are doubts as to whether the structural transformation has qualitatively transformed the Romanian information landscape. There are essentially two reasons for this. First, is what we can characterize as ‘internal press restraints’, which, besides a few variations, are common to all commercialized press systems based on the free-market model, and this is primarily conditioned by the commercial and political self-interest of owners that take precedent over public interest. Perceived as such, the free-market model provides guiding principles for the press, which in turn, become ‘organizational imperatives’ that can restrict a journalist’s work if the commercial and political interests are not seen to be satisfied and thus becomes a priority, effectively competing with journalistic ideals and standards, such as free speech and the right to express an opinion free from organizational ideology.


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The second, which we are primarily concerned with here, are ‘external press restraints’ and these, at least in the first instance, are conditioned by the continuation of the Romanian Penal Code (Law) and the introduction of new laws that seek to deny journalistic rights of access to information and these are governed by the Romanian state. Press development The Romanian media are both product and cause of the tainted and fragile character of Romania’s young democracy. Undoubtedly, the most significant accomplishment in the post-Ceauscescu media has been the establishment of a sizeable component of the press that is free from state control.7

So begins Richard A. Hall’s assessment concerning the state of the Romanian newspaper industry in the ‘post-Ceausc escu’ era. But is this account a fair reflection of the contemporary condition? Undoubtedly, there has been progress, which we can measure in positive terms, such as the growth of newspaper titles since 1989 that in numerical terms has been impressive.8 The growth in newspapers during the early 1990s was also accompanied by a degree of trust in journalistic practice hitherto unknown under the former regime. Subsequently, however, there has been a steady decline in numbers.9 It is not always clear what the reasons are for the decline in public interest in the national press, whether it is financial reasons, the re-emergence of distrust due to the omnipotence of law and its impact on news gathering or because journalistic practice and news discourse continues to remain firmly rooted in a blend of fact and opinion that reflect the self-interest of owners.10 Perhaps it is a combination of these. There is, however, one notable fact concerning the development of the press since the revolution, which has a bearing on its structural development in postCommunist Romania; that is, the development of a privatized press that is commercially structured and which has a semblance of editorial independence over content in the market place that is not directly controlled by the state. Within this context, the press operates within a new institutional framework and new organizational norms concerning practice have followed. The underlying principle for structural change was the shift from a centrally based press system towards a system based on the free market. This shift brought with it the beginning of a Romanian informational 7

Richard A. Hall, ‘The Dynamics of Media Independence in post-Ceausc escu Romania’, in PostCommunism and the Media in Eastern-Central Europe, ed. by Patrick H. O’Neill, (London: Frank Cass, 1997), p. 102. 8 Mihai Coman says that ‘[. . .] in 1989 there were 36 daily newspapers [. . .] In 1990, 65 daily papers [. . .] 1993 there were 100 [. . .] and in 1995 it reached [. . .] 75’, in ‘Romanian Media in Post-Communist Era: 1990-1997’, The Global Network, 9–10 (1998), 12. 9 Christina Simion states: ‘The demand for the print media has continuously decreased since 1992, affecting the newspapers circulation’, in ‘Media Concentrations in Romania: An overview of the current situation’, The Global Network, 9–10 (1998), 29. 10 See Peter Gross, ‘The first nine years — a reappraisal of Romania’s media’, The Global Network, 9–10 (1998), 5–10.



space, hitherto unknown in Romanian history in this form. This has led to a second condition, the freedom of public choice over copy. However, freedom of choice is only completely satisfied if it is premised on freedom of access to information and freedom of speech at the point of production, and in this sense the relationship between news production and consumption is reciprocal; the latter trusting the former to produce truthful accounts of news. This condition is a symbiotic relationship, what Michel Pecheux has referred to as a ‘discursive formation’,11 a principle that is central to democracy. For civil society to operate efficiently, it relies partly on the mediation of information by the press. This is contingent on what is being spoken, or more to the point, what is not being spoken, which is either wittingly omitted by self-censorship or more worryingly by the imposition of state regulation and control through law over journalistic practice. Romanian law: Obstacle to press development The positive side of press development, particularly in terms of expansion has been accompanied by a negative side, which in philosophical terms constitutes a dialectical struggle concerning the shape or empirical form of the newspaper industry. One particular negative aspect of press development is clearly defined by Romanian law and state interference in journalistic practice, which is a defining characteristic of post-Communist Romania. The Penal Code, for example, contains provisions that permit the state to restrict journalistic practice. Under the broad heading of ‘defamation’ are two important legal provisions that restrict investigative journalism and the rights of access, and thus restricts the public right to know principle; the first is the law of ‘insult’ and the second is ‘calumny’: Article 205 of the Penal Code provides that intentionally insulting a person constitutes a crime and is subject to a fine or up to two years imprisonment. . . Calumny is defined in Article 206 of the Penal Code as the ‘public statement or accusation regarding a certain fact’, which ‘if true, would expose that person to criminal, administrative, or disciplinary punishment, or to public contempt.’ The penalty is a fine or between three months and three years imprisonment.12

Article 206 rose to notoriety on 28 September 1999, when the European Court of Human Rights sat in judgement on the case between Ionel Dalban and the Romanian state in accordance with Article 27 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Dalban was a journalist on a local weekly magazine called Cronica Româneascà in the town of Roman, who, on 23 September 1992, published a story headlined: ‘Roman IAS defrauded of tens of millions’. The article alleged that the Chief Executive of FASTROM (known previously as Roman IAS), the state-owned agricultural company, had been 11 See Michel Pecheux, ‘Les Verites de la Palice’, Language, Semantics and Ideology: Stating the Obvious, trans. by Henry Nagpul (London: Macmillan, 1982). 12 Monica Macovei and Ed Rekosh, Romania: An Analysis of Media Law and Practice (XIX Article 19, International Centre Against Censorship, 1997), pp. 16–17.


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responsible for committing fraud of over 23,000,000 lei. The main source of Dalban’s information was accessed from the Romanian Fraud Squad. The accused decided to prosecute Dalban under Article 206 of the Criminal Code, arguing that what had been publicly stated was defamatory. On two separate occasions Dalban was found to be guilty of criminal libel. On 24 June 1994, the Roman Court of First Instance (Judecatoria Roman) ordered Dalban to serve a suspended sentence of three months imprisonment and ordered him to pay 300,000 lei. As if that was not enough, the Court prevented Dalban from practicing journalism for an indefinite period, a prohibition that he vehemently resisted. On 20 April 1995, Dalban applied to the European Commission on Human Rights, arguing that his freedom of expression had been curtailed. The Commission upheld Dalban’s claim on 9 September 1996, stating that Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights had been violated, which categorically states: ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority’. Subsequently, The European Court of Human Rights upheld the application by the Commission that Article 10 had been violated, because the conviction was disproportionate to the actions of Ionel Dalban. However, perhaps the most important judgement the Court made during this time was the importance they attached to the function of the press in a democratic society: its duty is. . . to impart — in a manner consistent with its obligations and responsibilities — information and ideas on all matters of the public interest. . . the Court is mindful of the fact that journalistic freedom also covers possible recourse to a degree of exaggeration. . . In cases such as the present one, the national margin of appreciation is circumscribed by the interest of democratic society in enabling the press to exercise its rightful role of ‘public watchdog’ in imparting information of serious public concern.13

The European Court of Human Rights issued a series of damning judgements against the persistence of the Romanian state and the Penal Code for the suppression of information so vital for a democratic civil society to exist.14 The European Court of Human Rights ruling is highly significant for outlining a theoretical framework in which the press ought to be freely able to operate. The ultimate goal is to achieve a social and cultural condition for the good of society, and one which brings tangible benefits to the public based on the right to know principle. 13 See the European Court of Human Rights, the Case of Dalban v. Romania (Application no. 28114/95), p. 9. 14 It is also worth noting that on 30 November 1999 the United Nations released a press statement concerning the development of civil society, the function of the press, and freedom of expression for the good of society: ‘We recall that freedom of expression is a fundamental international human right and a basic component of civil society based on democratic principles. An independent and pluralistic media is essential to a free and open society [. . .] Respect for freedom of the media in our Member States [. . .] leaves much to be desired [. . .] Certain States have continued to exert and allow impermissible pressure on the media in their respective countries. The levels of harassment might be different but the general aim is the same: to suppress open debate on issues of concern to citizens’ < html/menu2/6/hrc.htm>.



The foundations on which this perspective is grounded is in the liberal belief in a harmonious society that can be achieved through tolerance of other individual/ collective beliefs and critical debate through disagreement in which consensus is successfully arrived at, or at the very least, it is agreed to disagree. Perhaps more crucially, it relies on public access to information that can empower the citizen, which is an essential element of civil society. The central point of this debate is not solely concerned with the quantity of information that should be freely distributed in an unfettered manner and conversely, freely accessed, but also, and perhaps more importantly, with the quality of information that provides it with status and value; this is its essential aura in the process of development! However, the decision by the European Court of Human Rights has had little impact in convincing the Romanian state not to intensify its political and ideological interference into the working practices of the newspaper industry. This was clearly demonstrated in February 2001, when the Romanian government introduced ‘The Romanian Draft Law on State and Professional Secrets’. The underlying principle of the draft law was to further encroach upon journalistic freedom of expression and to seriously restrict the flow of information in civil society. Eugen Vasiliu, chairman of the Senate Committee on Arts, Culture, and Mass Media was one of the strongest opponents of the draft law which would give unprecedented power to ‘. . .executives of private enterprises, partially or state owned businesses and industries’15 who, according to the draft law ‘. . .shall determine professional secrets and rules to protect them, as well as coordinate and control measures aimed at protecting professional secrets’.16 A culture of secrecy Although the Constitutional Court rejected the Law on State and Professional Secrets on a technicality, it was, nevertheless, the first step towards the reintroduction of a second, comparable law, based on the draft and passed under a different title by the Romanian Senate on 8 April 2002. The new title is the ‘Romanian Law for the Protection of Classified Information’, which includes the law concerning obligations of professional and state secrets. It was passed without any consideration of amendments that were proposed by two parliamentary committees. More worryingly, an underlying reason for the adoption of the Law on Classified Information was partly introduced on the basis of Romania’s desire to join NATO. This is partly dictated by Western interests and by the reinvention of NATO itself, away from its traditional militaristic command and control role, to becoming a global political institution, and consequently: ‘Pressure to satisfy NATO’s accession requirements has resulted in a law which undermines the right to know and fails to meet international standards on freedom of expression’.17 The Romanian Senate adopted the new Law only three days after the Supreme Council for the Defence of the Country approved the Action Plan for NATO 15 ‘WPFC opposes new State Secrets Act’, World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC), 29 March 2001, <>. 16 Ibid. 17 See ‘02-010 Romania Adopts Secrecy Law Under NATO Pressure’, Article 19, 24 April 2002.


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accession. The introduction of the Law on Classified Information has effectively intensified Romania’s ‘culture of secrecy’, and is one that journalists will find increasingly difficult to operate effectively within. This is despite the fact that the ‘Law Regarding Access to Public Information’ came into effect in December 2001, which allows for greater access to information. The problem, however, lies with the strong possibility that the Law on Classified Information will seriously undermine the Law on Access to Public Information. Undoubtedly, NATO accession was given priority over proper democratic deliberation regarding the political processes concerning the ascension and final passing of the Law on Classified Information by the Senate. This was clearly evidenced when Senate committees ignored various amendments to the proposed Law prior to the vote in the Romanian Senate. Article 15(c) of the law provides two definitions of secrets, which are state and professional secrets. The latter is defined in Article 15(e) as information if publicly distributed causes ‘. . .prejudices of another kind to a public or private legal person’. Articles 31–33, state that there are ‘. . .legal obligations’ to protect ‘professional secrets’ that are to be determined by Government Decision, under Chapter III of the law. The overall problem with the above provisions are that the definitions are vague and open to interpretation and abuse, as are the punishments for revealing professional secrets. Article 33 does allow for certain types of information that can be legally exposed, but once again, it is too vague to compete with the restrictions outlined in the new law. As the human rights group on censorship, Article 19 states: ‘A journalist, faced with a choice between relying on Article 33 and therefore risking possible undefined sanctions or not publishing may well choose the latter’.18 Furthermore, the government has also taken measures to reduce ‘leaks’ from professional organizations by providing the National Security Agency with the power to check on professional bodies. Under Article 15(b), classified information is defined as ‘information, which is not addressed to the public’ and in Article 15(d) state secrets specifically relate to the protection of national security. Once again, the main problem lay with the scope, which is broadly rather than narrowly defined, and is open to interpretation and political manipulation. As in all cases, national interest defined broadly or otherwise by government automatically creates a conflict of interest with the public right to know and public interest principles. The development of a free press and civil society has been further compounded with the introduction on 4 January 2001 of The Ministry of Information whose remit is to co-ordinate ‘public communications’. Furthermore, in September 2001 the Romanian government in resolution No. 866 set out its plans to subordinate the independent Rompres news agency to the control of the Ministry further consolidating Romania’s ‘culture of secrecy’. Journalists who wish to criticize and condemn the idea of secrecy and concealment must do so in the public interest. However, besides the legal difficulties, there is an ethical problem with this ideal, namely that the state can equally make a claim 18 See ‘Memorandum on the Romanian Law for the Protection of Classified Information’, <http://>.



that attempts to justify controlling and withholding information also in the public interest. In doing so, both are staking a claim to the moral high ground for either disclosing or denying rights of access and both do so according to the consequentialist theory of philosophy, which is a utilitarian principle. Essentially, and at its most basic, it aims to produce the best outcomes for the greatest number of people. It is, however, important to distinguish secrecy from privacy, and journalists who wish to reveal information which is kept secret can do so without invading the privacy of government officials. Secrecy is about the deliberate concealment of information by one group to another.19 It is therefore, and in this context, a means to control the distribution of information. Privacy does not necessarily involve concealment and is a self-protective condition, commonly asserted as a right, which may be protected by law. Ultimately, the theoretical and practical struggle between secrecy and publication revolve around a conflict of interest between two opposing ideals. What the Romanian state can claim, is not to conceal, i.e. to reveal based on the public right to know principle, would result or have the consequence of causing harm to both Romania’s present and future economic and political interests. In this context, it can also claim that it is the embodiment of a society that is working for the long-term benefits of Romanians, and that this effectively outweighs a journalist’s claim to freedom of speech based on the public interest principle. Of course, all of this can be offset by a counterclaim that to conceal is to essentially deprive the public of their ‘informational needs’, which are fundamental requirements in a democratic system and that the numerous laws in place unnecessarily restrict the distribution of information particularly when laws are so broadly defined. Perceived this way, information can be equated with food, and to deny sustenance is to cause harm to public welfare. Information empowers the political citizen, who creates the checks and balances so vital to political accountability to the public, which is democratically exercised at the ballot box: The democratic form of society. . . assumes that [the public] are sufficiently informed. . . to be able to form the broad judgements required by an election, and to maintain between elections the vigilance necessary in those whose governors are their servants and not their masters. . . Democratic society, therefore, needs a clear and truthful account of events, of their background and their causes.20

Accordingly, journalists should be free to ‘confront’, not ‘consort’ with power, and are duty bound to do so: Journalists ought not to stand outside the closed doors of the powerful waiting to be lied to. They are not functionaries, and they should not be charlatans. . . They ought to be sceptical about the assumed and the acceptable, especially the legitimate and the

19 See Sissela Bok, Secrets: On the Ethics of Concealment and Revelation (New York: Vintage Books, 1989), p. 6. 20 The Royal Commission on the Press (UK) quoted from David G. T. Williams, Not in the Public Interest (London: Hutchinson, 1965), p. 93.


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respectable. Their job is to not stand idly by, but to speak for ‘the true witnesses, those in full possession of the terrible truth’.21

In this context, truth is perceived of as subversive, and the Romanian government’s claim to conceal is more to do with self-interest, state expansion and control; to continue to be the ‘masters’, rather than the ‘servants’ with complete accountability to the people. The value of information and civil society The ability to freely access and distribute information, to enlighten and empower the public is central to the existence of civil society, but as Colin Sparks has argued, post-communist systems are confronted by a specific historical past, which has a bearing on the present and future development of civil society: the problem with communist societies is that the state has swallowed the family and civil society. The programme that follows from this is simple: the sphere of the state must be reduced and the family and civil society must be resurrected in opposition to the state’.22

The duty of the Romanian press, particularly in relation to confronting state authority in the information sector, is central in defining both civil society and in developing a critical public sphere in which resistance to the state can be effectively coordinated and organized. In this context, there is a question to consider: what effect has state interference into the working practices of journalism had on the development of civil society? It is largely believed that an essential element of civil society is what Jürgen Habermas referred to as a public sphere, which can be summarized as: the sum total of information and communication ‘spaces’ that people use when they exchange views and formulate opinions. It is upon and with these ‘spaces’ that a democratic society is created and maintained. Without a thriving ‘public sphere’ the people’s ability to manage their affairs equitably and effectively is impossible.23

Nicholas Garnham, with reference to Max Weber, has claimed that the public sphere is an ‘Ideal-Type against which we can judge existing social arrangements’.24 In this context we may develop an ideal-type or model of a public sphere in the abstract and measure it against the actual empirical Romanian form so that we may gain some understanding of the development of a Romanian public sphere. Ultimately, public sphere rests on the actual structure of the press in terms of ownership and access to the means of communication. The more limited the access to the means of communication, the less diverse the information at source. This ultimately means that the representation of diverse interests, is limited because ownership and access to the means of communication are equally limited to a small number of social groups. This limitation in terms of diverse informational output at the point 21

See John Pilger, Hidden Agendas (London: Vintage, 1998), p. 544. Colin Sparks, Communism, Capitalism and the Mass Media (London: Sage, 1998), p. 113. 23 See <>. 24 Nicholas Garnham, ‘The Media and the Public Sphere’, in Communication Politics: Mass Communications and the Political Process, ed. by Peter Golding, Graham Murdock and Phillip Schlesinger (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1986), p. 43. 22



of production limits the scope and character of the public sphere because the objective of information is to empower the public to make informed criticisms and judgements on existing power relations; information in which they too should be free to participate to make the sphere truly public! It is clear that this is completely absent in Romania and what I prefer to refer to as the Romanian informational space, rather than a public sphere, is more applicable in this context. The informational space is a product of the limited ownership of the press by a small number of elites, plus the state’s ability to interfere in the process of communication, which undoubtedly affects the context of civil society. The theory concerning civil society has a long history in liberal thought and featured particularly in part two of John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government. Locke developed a theory of political philosophy and referred to the ‘state of nature’ where man was free and equal and God through the laws of nature would regulate the activity of men. However, Locke argued that the state of nature was inherently unstable because men would infringe upon the natural rights of others. So Locke proposed his ‘social contract’ theory that would force men to recognize the rights of all. The overall purpose of the social contract was to form a civil society where government would enforce the rule of law to ensure the rights of men; one of which was the right to private property. Locke’s theory of civil society, or political society as he also referred to it was not of a space detached from government. It was not an autonomous space but rather included government. As Locke claimed ‘men [. . .] enter into society to make one people one body politic under one supreme government’.25 However, governments were the servants of the people and the function of civil society was for government to protect the natural rights of men [sic] by the establishment of the social contract: ‘For hereby he authorises the society [. . .] which is all one, the legislative thereof, to make laws for him as the public good of society shall require’.26 Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s theory of civil society or as Hegel referred to it in The Philosophy of Right as the ‘external state’ contrasts with Locke’s view of civil society. Hegel perceived the degree of autonomy held within civil society as detrimental to the overall objectives of the liberal state of which civil society should be united with. Accordingly, civil society cannot guarantee the moral virtue of the individual as long as it remains divorced from the state and in this context the state must contain civil society. Perceived as such the attachment of one form to another becomes a transcending force of movement from society to state, which in essence is a rightful product of mind based on the rationalization of man. As Norberto Bobbio argues ‘the state is conceived as a positive moment in contrast to a pre-state or anti-state society, which is relegated to a negative moment’.27 Hegel built on previous theories of the development of the state and its relationship to the state of nature, which preceded the state. Although there are variations on this theme, the common denominator was rationalization and by definition 25

John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (London: J. M. Dent and Sons, 1990), p. 160. Ibid. 27 Norberto Bobbio, Which Socialism?, trans. by Roger Griffin, ed. and introd. by Richard Bellamy (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1987), p. 140. 26


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an argument for both naturalizing and making legitimate the state as a moral and political authority over other aspects of society. Attaining the rational state is central to Hegel’s theory of the dialectic and civil society is but one stage in the logical process in achieving this higher and more profound goal that reflects the true nature of humans. For Hegel, civil society is a site of struggle in terms of education (bildung) which is a force for liberation. He claims that ‘subjective will [. . .] attains objectivity within’ and through ‘education struggle’.28 This for Hegel is a vital aspect of movement because civil society is the site where the relationship between master and slave are reproduced. One such struggle within civil society is the fight for attaining ‘personality’ which for Hegel formed the framework of recognition, the basis of Fukuyama’s End of History thesis and the celebration of the universal liberal ‘idea’. The ownership of property was the means to fulfilling ‘personality’ claims, an essential characteristic of the capitalist, but not of the worker. Both of course formed the business class who although at one moment stood opposite to each other nevertheless shared a commonality of feeling based on a common interest. Ultimately, resolution of conflict within civil society would be instigated by the state who after all held a greater political and moral authority to rule and control agents within civil society. Hegel argued that both workers and capitalists, the two groups that constituted the business class, had limitations and were essentially concerned with their own material interests and this constituted an obstacle to the overall interests of society. Hegel resolves this conflict by arguing that it is the universal class (civil servants) who are ultimately tied to the government and therefore the overall interests of society. To a certain degree their role is to arbitrate between the competing interests but ultimately they represent the interests of the state, a political space in which the universal class are its natural representatives; there to monitor and control other sections of society to the will of the state which acts in the interest of others. As Slavko Splichal states, the concept of civil society has undergone substantial changes throughout history: ‘From Hegel onward, civil society by and large came to mean the domain in which. . . civil rights and freedoms protected from state interference and legally guaranteed by the same state were executed’.29 In this context, Antonio Gramsci’s theory of civil society reflected this shift, which was based on, ‘a set of social relations “mediating” between the economy and the state and linked to, rather than separated from, both of them’.30 Habermas’s theory of Lebenswelt or life-world is a notion of civil society that is similar to Gramsci’s theory, albeit expressed in more explicit normative terms. Habermas argues that society is posed in terms of a dichotomy between ‘system’ and ‘lifeworld’. Borrowing from both Max Weber and Talcott Parsons,31 Habermas 28 Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, trans. by Thomas M. Knox (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1967), pp. 124–25. 29 Slavko Splichal, Media Beyond Socialism (Boulder: Westview Press, 1994), p. 11. 30 Ibid. 31 See Jürgen Habermas, The Theory of Communicative Action, Volume Two, Lifeworld and system: a critique of functionalist reason (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1995), pp. 209–13.



argues that the former is constitutive of ‘purposive-rational action’. The category ‘system’ contains the state and the economy and is concerned with the material production of society. Whilst both system and lifeworld are two distinct forms of rationalization, the latter is distinguished from the former in that it is constitutive of ‘communicative action’, of attaining understanding between people in a space normatively separate from system. The rationality of system is defined by bureaucratic necessity that characterizes its essential form, whilst lifeworld includes the production of cultural forms and the wider category of socialization. Although Habermas claimed that civil society is a third realm or domain ‘uncoupled’ from the state and economy in terms of its logical performance, civil society is equally connected to state and economy; tied interdependently and co-existing with each other. The normative aspect of Habermas’s argument is based on the recognition of the increasing intervention and bureaucratization of civil society and consequently purposive–rational action begins to dominate the realm of lifeworld corrupting its moral practice. The way to combat this process is through the mobilization of movements in civil society to retrieve lost ground by addressing the balance of power through the re-emergence of communicative action as a counter-balance to increasing bureaucratic intrusion. Interestingly, this latter perspective reflects Locke’s theory that civil society must tame the excesses of government, although the vital difference is that Habermas awards a greater degree of autonomy from government and state apparatuses in which forces within civil society can activate resistance to the state. In this context, Habermas claims that purposive–rational action, whilst not destructive to civil society nevertheless needs to be kept in check by a space with relative autonomy and what is more the rights associated with democratic civil society must be guaranteed by government. Under present capitalist structures governed by liberal ideology, the most one can envisage as a liberal civil society is a realm in which the state formally protects the rights of citizens to perform their duties democratically, one of which is the right to stand in opposition to state structures, such as the right to form non-state organizations. This realm is not totally separate from the state because it is governed and monitored by governmental legislation. Therefore, in broad terms, under liberalism the key issue is the degree of state involvement in the realm of civil society, whether it is positive (protecting rights of citizens) or negative (protecting state interests). Whilst it is widely acknowledged that under such circumstances the state exists, the logical conclusion is how best to keep its excesses in check. It is in this context that the press, acting as a ‘fourth estate’ whose ‘function’ or ‘role’ in achieving a democratic condition, attempts to make-up for the anomalies and contradictions concerning the relationship between state and civil society. As Andrew Edgar has commented: ‘The notion of the press as a fourth estate, that provides a check on the abuse of government power, is a cornerstone of liberal accounts of the press’.32 32 Andrew Edgar, ‘The “fourth estate” and moral responsibilities’, in Ethics and Media Culture: Practices and Representations, ed. by David Berry (Focal Press: Oxford, 2000), p. 73.


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So what can we deduce from this discussion in relation to press development, particularly its normative aspect and the present Romanian empirical form regarding civil society? Undoubtedly, the issue concerning state legislation that seeks to deny rights of access has reduced the press’s ability to function properly according to liberal norms, which has had an important bearing on the present form and structure of Romanian civil society, which is not in its current form democratically defined. This is important to bear in mind, because the form, size, and degree of autonomy from the state is a clear indication of the levels of progress or regression that condition Romanian society in the post-communist developmental stage. Quite clearly there are unjustified restrictions upon the cultivation of civil society and when we apply Immanuel Kant’s principle of ‘publicity’33 to the Romanian empirical form, we can appreciate the consequences of limiting access to information. Kant argued for expanding public participation in the communications process to progressively more citizens, whilst defining the limits of legitimate state interference. We may deduce that information is inherently limited because the Romanian state engages in restrictive practices evidenced by the continuation of the provisions in the Penal Code and the introduction of the Law on Classified Information, which in turn affects subjective cultural development on which civil society rests. Habermas34 utilized the principle of ‘publicity’ and formulated a view that it was the basis for the political and ideological ethic that underscored and shaped the actual structure of the public realm. Perceived as such, the principle of ‘publicity’ is a heuristic device by which to measure the legitimacy of communication regulation and thus the definitions of civil society. For our purposes we need to begin to critically assess the form, shape, function and levels of state regulation and control over news discourse as an essential component of the Romanian post-communist condition. In this context we can use Habermas’s theory of ‘juridification’ to understand the continued intrusion of the Romanian state into the realm of civil society. As Habermas states: ‘The expression “juridification” [Verrechtlichung] refers quite generally to the tendency toward an increase in formal (or positive, written) law that can be observed in modern society’.35 Consequently, Habermas claims that increased bureaucratic administration in civil society is evidenced by the ‘colonization of the lifeworld’36 that affects ‘symbolic reproduction of the lifeworld’.37 In this context, we can argue that the Romanian Penal Code along with the Law on Classified Information and the increase in surveillance by numerous security forces in Romania, are clear evidence of the bureaucratization and control over civil society, subsequently transforming social relations within that space. There are some issues we need to address at this point of the discussion in relation to the phases in development of a Romanian civil society. The period prior to 1989 can be characterized as a state society in which civil society was absent. Post-1989 33

See Kant: Political Writings, ed. by Hans Reiss, trans. by Barry Nesbit (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991). 34 See Jürgen Habermas, Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action, trans. by Christian Lenhardt and Shierry W. Nicholsen, (Cambridge, ma: MIT Press, 1990). 35 Habermas (1995), p. 357. 36 Ibid., p. 356. 37 Ibid.



can be characterized as the development of a liberal concept of civil society with the introduction of civil institutions not directly under the control of the state, two of which were the press and broadcast media. Thus we see the development of an embryonic phase, a ‘nascent liberal civil society’. It is liberal in context because it acknowledges the continuing presence of the state as guarantor of a number of rights relating to press freedom, which are outlined in the Penal Code. In essence, the state has set out its view of how the press should function in society by outlining the role of the press. For instance, in Title II of the Constitution, Article 30 guarantees the right to free expression and that ‘censorship shall be prohibited’ and ‘no publication may be suppressed’. However, the rights and freedoms expressed in Article 30 are offset by a number of restrictions in subsequent paragraphs, particularly paragraph 7 that begins by stating that: ‘Any defamation of the country and nation [. . .] shall be prohibited by law’. Curiously, under Title II of the Constitution, Article 31 then appears to offset any restrictions by guaranteeing rights to information: ‘A person’s right of access to any information of public interest cannot be restricted’. The freedoms outlined in Articles 30 and 31 are to a large extent misleading when we consider other provisions contained within the Penal Code such as the law of insult and calumny, both of which can carry a greater weight in any given deliberation because of the wide scope of the interpretation towards the law. The Penal Code together with the introduction of the Law on Classified Information, are state interventions into the development of a Romanian civil society. In essence the intrusions help to shape and characterize the empirical form. This signals a worrying reversal of the advances Romania had made from the previous state governed system mutating the embryonic form of the ‘nascent civil society’. There are three important issues related to this discussion thus far in which a resolution can be found. Firstly, in the short-term, the state can play an interventionist role (Locke and Habermas) to extend and maximize rights and entitlements held within civil society by allowing the press to function by minimizing prior restraint. To achieve this phase of development the government must reform by amending the provisions in the Penal Code that under broad interpretation effectively restrict journalistic activity. This applies equally to the Law on Classified Information that mostly serves to direct the press gaze away from state and business abuse. Secondly, there is the overall aim concerning the reduction of state interference from the realm of civil society, which is a direct result of the first phase, which minimizes state entitlements in terms of its relationship vis-à-vis civil society. Both of these phases can only be achieved in conjunction with a third phase of press development on which civil society partly rests. Press autonomy and independence from state intrusions rests upon the active development of responsible journalism by creating an agreed upon Code of Practice based on ethical journalism. An independent body38 or, following Sweden’s example, an ombudsman and 38 An independent press body could be made up of lay people unconnected with the press, business or any of the state apparatus such as politicians, the judiciary, police, secret services or armed forces. It would have journalists and lawyers who could advise on what action to take, and be similar in form to a jury.


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deputy-ombudsman could be created who would have the power to monitor press activity and be able to sanction unethical forms of journalism either by fining, forcing the press to retract an article or allowing citizens a ‘right to reply’ through access to the means of communication. The absence of an agreed upon Code of Practice that expresses universalized ethical standards is of concern and this absence continues despite the fact that there have been a number of codes adopted by various organizations. For example, in September 1990 the ‘Charter of Press Freedom’ was adopted by various media organizations at the request of the Romanian Society of Journalists. A year later in May 1991 the Romanian Society of Journalists adopted the ‘Deontology Principles of the Journalist’, which, with a few minor alterations, was also adopted at the National Convention of Journalists in Romania. The daily newspaper Adevàrul refers to ethical conduct and the professionalism of the journalist in its statute and the exclusive Romanian Press Club adopted the ‘Ethical Code for Journalists’. All of these are ineffective. Journalism and Romanian post-Communism: a conclusion The issue concerning the press and its relationship towards developing a civil society in post-communist Romania since 1989 has been under the spotlight of many commentators, one of whom is Peter Gross, who has been optimistic regarding Romania’s ability to construct a media system that would positively aid the development of civil society. At the beginning of Mass Media in Revolution and National Development, Gross states that: ‘A civil society is barely mushrooming, and the legal system is slowly reforming but is by no means independent’,40 and in a reference to Ralf Dahrendorf’s theory of ‘open society’,41 he optimistically states: ‘In my opinion, it will take 40 to 60 years for the country to arrive at that exalted stage of a truly open society, now in utero’.42 Under the heading, ‘The Future’ Gross claims: ‘As civil society continues to grow, the diversity of the mass media should receive considerable sustenance. And as political life continues to be lively and extreme, the number of diverse media outlets will remain relatively high.’43 Even though Romania’s recent past is one that was brutally oppressive, Gross is unequivocal about its ability to shake off, what are in essence cultural traditions embedded in Romanian identity: I am optimistic about Romania’s chance to eventually evolve as a democratic nation. Its potential is certainly great when the available human and material resources are taken into consideration. Furthermore, I am optimistic about 39 For a discussion on the Swedish model see Philip Dring, ‘Codes and Cultures’, in Ethics and Media Culture: Practices and Representations, ed. by David Berry (Oxford: Focal Press), pp. 311–24. 40 Peter Gross, Mass Media in Revolution (Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press, 1996), p. xi. 41 Ralf Dahrendorf claimed that the collapse of the communist system would not automatically produce a capitalist system, but rather would provide a framework of possibilities. See ‘Has the East joined the West?’, New Perspectives Quarterly, 7.2 (1990), 41–43. 42 Gross, p. x. 43 Ibid., p. 168.



Romanian mass media’s positive evolution in the next decade or two. In my view, they have the potential of reaching the same advanced level as the strongest and best of Western European mass media.44

These statements are both subjectively based and speculative, and in light of the regressive laws concerning journalism and further bureaucratic encroachments into civil society, perhaps Peter Gross was too hasty in his deliberation that Romania is or can achieve a fully developed democratic civil society. Of course there are contradictions within the developmental process between democratic and anti-democratic forces. For example, the structural development of the press is democratic in form and this certainly represents a degree of ‘discontinuity’ with the past. On the other hand, external restraints such as state intervention into the practices of the press constitute ‘continuity’ with the past and the tension between the two polarities is an essential feature concerning the shape of press development and civil society. In this context, George Schöpflin has correctly claimed that post-communism is a historical period largely characterized by contradictory moments, ‘postcommunism. . . is marked by some democratic practices. . .[and]. . . anti-democratic ideas and practices are also current and have some roots in society’.45 We can see that in the Romanian context this is partly represented by structural changes to the press, providing greater copy based on the mediation of information in a nascent civil society with relative freedom from the state, whilst at the same time it is the state that continues to bureaucratize and control the context of civil society with the continuation of the Penal Code, the introduction a new law along with the Ministry of Information to oversee and control the process of public communication. Despite state attempts to curtail the activities of the press, it remains a fact that some of those structural changes in the development of the press are extremely positive and even though Henderson and Robinson have claimed that ‘socioeconomic change’ does not necessarily ‘guarantee [. . .] democratic development’,46 equally it does not necessarily mean its complete negation and it is important that we do not ignore other elements of the print industry that can be perceived as positive moments in the development process. One such organ is the weekly Academia Cat¸avencu that serves as an oppositional, confrontational and alternative paper with its satirical swipe against the political and business establishment and the unethical practice of many of the mainstream press. There are also Dilema and Revista 22 to consider: journals that offer alternative accounts of cultural information to the public.47 Furthermore, there are moments when elements of the mainstream press can launch attacks on immoral behaviour by uncovering political and business scandals, which represent an ideological struggle over the shape and character of post-Communist development. 44

Ibid., p. xiii. See George Schöpflin, ‘Post-Communism: A Profile’, Javnost/The Public, 2.1 (1993), 63–72. 46 Karen Henderson and Neil Robinson, Post-Communist Politics: An Introduction (London: Prentice Hall, 1997), p. 9. 47 To this we may add the Centre for Independent Journalism and the Romanian Helsinki Committee (APADOR-CH), as independent elements in civil society who are concerned with journalistic freedom. 45


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However, there is no doubt that undemocratic forces are in the ascendancy and although Romanian post-communism is characterized as a ‘rejection’ of Stalinist ideology, it is not a total ‘rejection’ of undemocratic practices. We can see that a prevailing characteristic of the Romanian post-communist condition is the continuing legal interference into journalistic practice, but perhaps more worryingly are the contradictions concerning positions of ‘principle’ between NATO, with its emphasis on national security, which created the framework and justification for the government’s Law on Classified Information and the counter-position by the European Court of Human Rights, who insisted that journalistic rights of access to information are pivotal to democracy. Quite clearly, the development of a nascent civil society represents an important shift in power relations in Romania towards public control concerning the decision making process, particularly at election time. To a large extent this democratic movement explains the increased regulation of information to protect the state from criticism by a fully informed public. If the Romanian state continues to hinder the process of press development, then civil society will not fully develop and in its place will be a communicative system more akin to a ‘misinformation society’ and one that legitimizes both the concealment and omissions of facts concerning authority in news discourse. It is therefore incumbent upon the Romanian government to amend the laws that affect journalistic activity by one: narrowly defining legal provisions rather than leaving them open to interpretation and abuse; and two: moving liability for defamatory statements from criminal to civil law. These demands should serve as part-criteria for membership into the European Union. Biographical Note Dr David Berry is Senior Lecturer at Southampton Institute. He is due to publish Romanian Mass Media and Cultural Development in February 2004 with Ashgate.

Slovo, Vol. 15, No. 2, Autumn 2003

Elites’ Resistance to Social Capital Building in Uzbekistan Kai Wegerich School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London This paper argues that even though the Uzbek Farm Organizations and Water User Associations were and are supposed to be democratic and participatory — and therefore an enabling factor for privatization, local water management, and agricultural production — the old local elite was able to take control and hinder social capital building. The paper focuses on institutional and organizational changes during the land reform in Uzbekistan after independence in 1991. These changes included the creation of Farm Organizations (FOs) and Water User Associations (WUAs), which were thought as social and institutional enabling factors for the land reforms. Two phases of the land reform are identified. During the first reform only parts of the land of former state and collective farms were privatized. In the second reform these farms were abolished, their land privatized, and local water management was decentralized. Particular attention is given to the role of the collective farm managers and the hydro-technicians of the collective farms. It is shown how they controlled the land allocation and dominated the newly established farmers after independence. The paper reveals how the collective farm managers not only secured agricultural land, but also how they together with the hydro-technicians hold on to their power positions through the establishment of Farm Organisations and Water User Associations. This paper focuses on institutional and organizational changes which were to be implemented during the land reforms in Uzbekistan, and were thought of as enabling factors for these reforms. These changes included the creation of Farm Organizations (FOs) and Water User Associations (WUAs). These were established in order to continue agricultural production and to maintain the infrastructure of irrigation canals. However, they were also responsible for enhancing participation in decision-making processes in terms of water allocation and management, as well as for the creation of institutional support for the newly privatized farms. This paper argues that a local elite manipulated the land reforms to their own advantage. Such manipulation calls into question whether the goals of these reforms can be attained. Uzbekistan gained independence in 1991 along with the other Central Asian states. Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan opted for an agrarian reform towards a marketoriented economic trajectory. Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan chose a path of tight governmental control, regulating supply and demand for agricultural inputs and products. © School of Slavonic & East European Studies, University College London, 2003


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After gaining independence, Uzbekistan changed its policy on food security. It aimed to achieve food self-sufficiency and chose different strategies to attain this goal. One step to achieve food security was based on a reform of the cropping structures. Areas allocated to cotton were reallocated to grain. The cotton area decreased from 1,666,700 ha to 1,425,000 ha between 1992 and 2000, whilst the area allocated to grain increased from 626,990 ha to 1,108,000 ha in the same period. These figures show that in the post-independence period the main focus of agricultural production was still cotton. The emphasis on cotton was rigorously enforced even during the drought years 2000 and 2001. Uzbekistan succeeded in stabilizing cotton production as well as achieving food self-sufficiency. These policies form the basis for the ongoing land reforms. Even though land reforms started shortly after independence, Kropp et al. state that the rural enterprise restructuring in Uzbekistan gained momentum only after the passage of the Land Code, the Law on Agricultural Co-operatives (‘Shirkats’), the Law on Private Farmers and the Law on Dehqan Farmers in mid-1998. The goals of the programme are three-fold: • to maintain the present human and physical infrastructure of the largest collective farms: (a) to permit continued large-scale cultivation of cotton and wheat; and (b) to ensure continued employment, minimum living standards and social stability until other sources of employment have been developed; • to improve the incentive and institutional framework for increased output by these collective farms by ‘restructuring’ them into cooperative firms, enterprises, or shirkats; • to strengthen the legal and enabling environment for private farms (larger than 10 ha) and for the small household plots (dehqan).1 The land reform process can be divided into two phases. The first reform saw the privatization of parts of the land of former state and collective farms. In the second reform these farms were abolished, their land privatized, and local water management was decentralized. This paper gives particular attention to the role of the collective farm managers and the hydro-technicians of the collective farms, and shows how collective farm managers controlled land allocation and dominated the newly established farmers after independence. It also exposes how collective farm managers not only secured agricultural land, but also maintained together with the hydro-technicians their positions through the establishment of Farm Organizations and Water User Associations. It is argued that even though these organizations were supposed to be democratic and participatory, and therefore enable privatization, local water management and agricultural production, the old local elite was able to take control and hinder social capital building. The old elites prevented participation and the development of horizontal trust and reciprocity. The research in Uzbekistan was carried out in two field visits. The first, in July 2000, was conducted under the umbrella of the International Water Management 1 B. Kropp, M. Lundell, J. Lampietti and B. Shamsiev, ‘Rural Welfare Chapter — Concept Summary and Outline Living Standards Assessment, Uzbekistan’ (draft version 2002).



Institute (IWMI). The second, during July and August 2001, had institutional support from the Institute of Water Resources, Academy of Science, Nukus Branch, Uzbekistan. The method of data collection was based on semi-structured interviews with key informants, individual in-depth interviews, passive observation of group discussions and active participation in group discussions.2 Elites and social capital This paper defines stakeholders as individuals or groups ‘that have an interest, or are active players in a system’.3 The term ‘elites’ is defined as individuals or groups dominating a system or parts of a system. Welsh argues that ‘elites participate in, or influence the making of decisions that allocate resources within and among social units’.4 Hence the term stakeholder is wider and could be used for all active participants in a system, with or without influence and power. Elites on the other hand are not necessarily stakeholders but active participants with influence, and therefore can be considered a form of a stakeholder. Putnam defines elites ‘in terms of power over outcome’.5 Elites have influence in terms of information flow, resource allocation, and decision-making power over outcome. Marcus defines elites in industrializing and industrialized societies as ‘creatures of institutions [organizations] in which they have defined functions, offices, or controlling interests’.6 This is based on the argument that these societies ‘demand technical expertise as well as functional specialisation’.7 Knowledge and skills are structured into different areas with functional and official boundaries and arranged into different types of organizations. Elites are actors within organizations and not outsiders separated from organizations. In non-political organizations the legitimization of elites is based on professionalism. Marcus states that professionals ‘claim to serve the institutions [organizations] of society in disinterested and rational ways’.8 The claim of disinterest and rationality is central to the legitimacy of elites in modern societies. In the context of this case study, the legitimization of old elites through professionalism is particularly strong and enabled the elites to retain their positions and therefore to take advantage of the reform process. The professionalism of the elites gave them an advantage over the inexperienced and untrained newly private farmers. Organizations are structured into different levels, each level with its own elites. Changes within the organization will have varied effects on the elites at the different levels. The elites at each organizational level will perceive changes threatening the status quo either as positive, negative, or neutral. The attitude of the elites can therefore be either supportive, neutral or obstructive towards changes seen as coming from below, above, or horizontally. 2 Further research from October to November 2002 and March to May 2003 confirm the data of previous fieldtrips. 3 R. Ramirez, ‘Stakeholder analysis and conflict management’, in Cultivating Peace: Conflict and Collaboration in Natural Resource Management, by D. Buckles (Ottawa, 1999), pp. 101–26 (p. 102). 4 W. A. Welsh, Leaders and elites (London, 1979), p. 1. 5 R. D. Putnam, The comparative study of political elites (London, 1976), p. 5. 6 G. E. Marcus, Elites, Ethnographic issues (Albuquerque 1983), p. 16. 7 Welsh, Leaders and elites, p. 124. 8 Marcus, Elites, Ethnographic issues, p. 52.


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The key idea behind social capital is that a high level of social capital enables change and reduces transaction costs. Social capital improves the capacity to deal with political, economic, or environmental crises and uncertainties. But what is social capital? Putnam argues that ‘a society that relies on generalised reciprocity is more efficient than a distrustful society. Trust lubricates social life’.9 Edward confirms this by arguing that ‘the most important areas of social capital are [. . .] attributes of trust, tolerance and non-discrimination’.10 According to Putnam successful communities have high social capital and ‘social and political networks are organised horizontally, not hierarchically’.11 However, Edwards points out that the norms and behaviour of a community’s social capital ‘can disempower poor people where the wider political setting is not supportive, and political and economic inequalities are not addressed’.12 Putnam confirms this view by arguing that ‘social inequalities may be embedded in social capital. Norms and networks that serve some groups may obstruct others, particularly if the norms are discriminatory or the networks socially segregated’.13 If the society is already unequal, then trust might lead to further exploitation of the poor by the rich and influential. Hence the notion and extent of trust are scale-related, or as Edwards argues, ‘generally, poor people do best when they are cautious reciprocators’.14 Poor people should be cautious of those in power. Overall the literature review on social capital suggests that inflexible hierarchies within society prevent the development of social capital. The case study on the local elites in Uzbekistan confirms these findings. Even though organizations were created that were supposed to enable ‘social capital building’, the inflexibility of the elites hindered the creation of an enabling environment for social capital, and even furthered mistrust and potential conflict over water resources at a local level. How can we build social capital? Edwards argues that the easiest areas to influence in the short run — like the number of NGOs and other civic organizations — may not be especially important in the grand scheme of things.15 He states that ‘social enrichment is a matter of behaving differently toward each other, not just adding on more social contacts.’16 Putnam argues that ‘stocks of social capital, such as trust, norms, and networks, tend to be self-reinforcing and cumulative’.17 This implies that collaboration on the achievement of tasks builds connections and trust, which facilitate future collaboration when performing other unrelated tasks. Hence, social capital building ‘must often be a by-product of other social activities’.18 This is particularly important in the case of WUAs. One of the main goals of the reform 9

R. D. Putnam, ‘The Prosperous Community’, American Prospect, 4.13 (1993), 3. M. Edwards, ‘Enthusiasts, tacticians and sceptics: the world bank, civil society and social capital’, 2001, <>, p. 8. 11 Putnam, ‘The Prosperous Community’, p. 2. 12 Edwards, ‘Enthusiasts’, p. 5. 13 Putnam, ‘The Prosperous Community’, p. 8. 14 Edwards, ‘Enthusiasts’, p. 6. 15 Ibid., p. 8. 16 Ibid., p. 5 17 Putnam, The comparative study, p. 3. 18 Ibid., p. 3 10



process was to maintain the physical environment (such as the irrigation system, but also sustainable water use and the salinity of the irrigated area). The WUAs could be used for this purpose. However, the key concept of WUAs is the participation of its members in decision-making for water distribution, operation and maintenance of the irrigation system. Collaboration on these issues could increase trust in the community. Land reforms in Uzbekistan In 1991 two different types of farm existed in Uzbekistan: 971 collective farms and 1137 state farms. Together they covered 4.2 million ha of irrigated land. In 1992 and 1993 the first privatization of land took place. 500,000 ha (around twelve per cent of cultivated land) were distributed among former state or collective farm employees as household plots. A further 100,000 ha of land were allocated to establish livestock farms in 1994. These farms could receive 0.3 and 2.0 ha per head of cattle.19 The distribution of land was as follows: households plots occupied 530,000 ha, peasant farms 350,000 ha and collectives and co-operatives 3,500,000 ha. However, the evaluation of available data indicates that the government’s main emphasis was the transformation of the state farms into different economic institutions. In 1993 nearly all of the state farms (ninety-five per cent) were transformed into joint stock companies, co-operatives or collectives. These different economic units continued to function like the former collective farms and the government continued to control them through a command administrative system. By 1996, the number of collective farms had increased from 971 to 1374. The data show that the state farms’ transformation did not decrease the influence of the national and local authorities. As the table below suggests, the privatization of state and collective farms gained momentum in 1998. The second reform started in 1996 when the government contracted the Central Asian Irrigation Research Institute (SANIIRI) to establish a framework for WUAs in Uzbekistan. In addition to this, the European Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States (TACIS) together with the Uzbek government established a first WUA pilot project in the Syr Dar’ya oblast in 1998. At the end of 1999 SANIIRI completed its research. In early 2000 a second wave of land distribution took place. Unprofitable collective farms were privatized, and the land was distributed amongst their former employees. Privatization of the land went along with irrigation management transfer (IMT) and the introduction of farm organizations (FOs) and WUAs on these farms. Both organizations were established with a top-down approach. SANIIRI experts anticipated that collective farms would be privatized and that FOs and WUAs would be established on their territory by 2000. As of 2001, only twelve collective farms in the north-western regions of Uzbekistan, close to the Aral Sea, were in fact privatized: six in Khorezm and six in Karakalpakstan. FOs and WUAs were established on these territories. The process of introducing WUAs was slow because WUA establishment was connected to the 19 M. Spoor, ‘Agrarian transition in former Soviet Central Asia: A comparative study of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan’, The Journal of Peasant Studies, 23 .1 (October, 1995), 46–63 (p. 51).


SLOVO, 15.2, AUTUMN 2003

Figure 1. Source: Ministry of Macroeconomics and Statistics (MMS)20

privatization of collective farms. Moreover, it seems that those WUAs which were adopted were not authentic, but rather a continuation of the old water management units of the former collective farms. The next section will attempt to explain this slow adoption process by examining the role of local power structures. Power and dependence during and after the first reform Farm employees who wanted to be independent farmers in this period had to apply for collective farm land. The process of application was complicated and involved different collective farm and state bureaucracies, such as the economic council and the collective farm council, the commune, a surveyor and an ‘architect’ of the commune, the Commission for the Realisation of Economic reforms, and the district governor.21 The collective farm manager decided on land allocation, and the district governor finalized the application. On the other hand, Lerman points out, ‘the village council and the district authorities will not move on a new applicant for land without the consent of the farm manager, who is expected to allocate a physical tract of irrigated land to the new peasant farm out of the lands that his farm manages’.22 However, 20

B. Kropp et al., ‘Rural Welfare Chapter’, p. 9. Cf. J. Eckert and G. Elwert, ‘Land tenure in Uzbekistan’, FU-Berlin, Socialanthropologische Arbeitspapiere, 86 (2000), 18. 22 Z. Lerman, J. Garcia-Garcia and D. Wichels, ‘Land and water policies in Uzbekistan’, Post-Soviet Geography and Economics, 37.3 (1996), 145–74 (p. 163). 21



Renger states ‘the President appoints the Hokims (governor) and Deputy-Hokims who are directly subordinated to him’.23 Eckert confirms this by stating that the governors ‘are nominated by the president’.24 Because of the direct link from President to province and district governor, the governors are much higher in the hierarchy and therefore the farm manger is subordinated to their authority.25 Even though the agricultural land was allocated by the collective farm manager, the district governor influenced the land allocation process. During and after the first reform, farmers complained about their allocated plots. Eckert emphasizes that farmers were receiving low-quality land. Farmers were not only forced to farm the most unproductive land, ‘they also had to travel up to 15 km to reach their plots’.26 Eckert’s statement is confirmed by Egamberdi, who argues that collective farms managers ‘have also used their clout to push most private farmers onto less desirable, unirrigated lands’.27 Putnam’s description of elites’ ‘power over outcome’ makes it possible to identify the collective farm managers and hokims as elites. In interpreting the behaviour of the collective farm managers and hokims during the land allocation, one could argue that they felt threatened by the land reforms. The threat came from losing control and power over agricultural production, and therefore ‘bad’ land was allocated to the farmers so that the productivity of the collective farms did not suffer. The newly independent farmer was not only dependent on the collective farm manager for land, but also for water. The district water organization was responsible for the delivery of water to the border of the collective farm. The collective farm was responsible for the on-farm irrigation system, that is ‘the distribution of water and the maintenance of the irrigation canals on its land’. Therefore, ‘private farmers have so far no individual contracts with district water organisation but depend on the collective farm’.28 This implies that private farmers depended on the hydro-technical units of the collective farm, which controlled water distribution. Egamberdi states that even though ‘on-farm irrigation management is supposed to be the responsibility of the farmer [. . .] collective farms have retained responsibility for distributing water’.29 Even though most of the peasant farmers of the first land reform period specialized in livestock, their water dependency was high. Eckert points out that ‘there were farmers who refrained from applying for a lease because they said it was too difficult to obtain water from the collective farm or directly from 23 J. Renger, ‘The institutional framework of water management in the Aral Sea Basin and Uzbekistan’, European Union — TACIS Programme, 1998, p. 17. 24 Eckert and Elwert, ‘Land tenure’, p. 12. 25 For an analysis on informal network structures between Hokims and collective farm managers, see K. Wegerich, ‘Analysis of network structures in Khanak and Yangiarik district, Khorezm/Uzbekistan’, forthcoming. 26 Eckert and Elwert, ‘Land tenure’, p. 18. 27 N. Egamberdi, P. Gordon, A. Ilkhamov, D. Kandiyoti, and J. Schoeberlein, ‘Uzbekistan Agriculture Enterprise Restructuring and Development Program’, World Bank: Best Practice Social Assessments, < /3e728b8b77815a7185256832005484c3/$FILE/chapter6a.pdf>, p. 241. 28 Eckert and Elwert, ‘Land tenure’, p. 31. 29 Egamberdi et al., ‘Uzbekistan Agriculture’, pp. 240–41.


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the district water organisation’. Furthermore, the ‘great majority of irrigated lands belong to collective farms, which utilize most of the water’.31 Hence, there was a direct interest on the part of the collective farms to deprive the independent farmers of water. Egamberdi confirms this, arguing that collective farms ‘take advantage of their control over the current shortage of water. They use their distribution power to impose their will on [. . .] farmers by withholding water’.32 In this regard, water was used to uphold the collective farms’ monopoly over power and management. The collective farm managers were not only empowered to allocate land to the newly independent farmers. The newly private farms also relied on the farm manager for ‘input supply, product marketing and even lobbying at the district government level’.33 Pomfret and Ilkhamov confirmed this view. Pomfret argued ‘the collective often control other inputs, such as fertilizers and sometimes the marketing of outputs’. Thus, when the collectives’ administrators ‘recommended’ to peasant farmers what they should produce, their advice was heeded.34 Ilkhamov states that peasant farmers were completely dependent on collective farm managers for the organization of economic and administrative services. The peasant farmers’ dependence on the former organizational hierarchy was also reflected in the attitude of the collective farm managers to the newly independent peasants. Ilkhamov argues that many collective farm managers ‘consider peasant farmers as their own subdivisions and dictate to them what to sow and to whom to sell their products’.35 Officially, land reforms established the possibility of independent farming; however, the system’s formal institutional and organizational changes did not coincide with informal institutional changes. Hence the behaviour of the collective farm manager towards the farmers did not change and the farm manager dominated and controlled the independent farmers. The former elites, collective farm managers and their management team — in this case the hydro-technician — retained their influential positions throughout the reform process. It seems that the implementation of the second and third objectives of the reform contradicted each other. On the one hand, the collective farm managers held on to their positions of power in order to stabilize the output of the collective farms. On the other hand, the power position of the collective manager and the dependency of private farms after the reform did not create an enabling environment for the private farms, but hindered their development. The Second Land Reform land distribution The process of land distribution did not change during the second reform. Land should have been distributed on a competitive but equal basis. However, evidence 30

Eckert and Elwert, ‘Land tenure’, p. 32. Egamberdi et al., ‘Uzbekistan Agriculture’, pp. 240–41. 32 Ibid., p. 241. 33 Lerman et al., ‘Land and water’, p. 163. 34 R. Pomfret, ‘Agrarian reform in Uzbekistan: Why has the Chinese model failed to deliver?’, Economic Development and Cultural Change, 48.2 (January 2000), 272. 35 A. Ilkhamov, ‘Shirkats, Dekhqon farmers and others: farm restructuring in Uzbekistan’, Central Asian Survey, 17.4 (1998), 539–60 (p. 550). 31


Figure 2. Power and Influence of the stakeholders during the first land reform



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from field visits indicates that the competitive application process was not the main reason for land allocation; rather, informal networks between the applicant to the district and local elites were the dominant factor. Spoor argues that ‘with the system of allotting land through the powerful [collective farm managers and governors], vested private interests in the public sector promote land to the benefit of the nomenclatura’.36 Bektemirov argued that prior to the land reforms, land in favourable conditions belonged informally to the governor; the land reform formalized the informal arrangements and created security for the people in power positions.37 An example from a WUA in the Kegeili district indicated that the former collective farm managers took over land in favourable positions, here in terms of access to water. The field visit to the WUA in Kegeili showed that the former collective farm manager was one of the few farmers who had access to water during the drought in 2001. While he had access to the main irrigation canal, the other farmers only had access to the secondary canal, which was without water. establishment of top-down organizations The visited WUAs were integrated into a larger organizational framework, the Farm Organization (FO). A FO was established on every former collective farm in order to take over its duties. Eckert states that ‘the associations of [peasant] farmers were founded by [the district governors] apparently on demand of the farmers order to advise them’.38 However, Pomfret argues that these organizations ‘were introduced on a top-down basis and were not regarded by peasant farmers as their organisations’.39 Eckert states that the FOs ‘are headed by members of the local administration nominated by the [governors]’.40 Her statement confirms Pomfret’s argument of top-down introduction. However, top-down introduction gives no indication as to whether the farmers identified the new organizations as their own. Eckert argues that the FOs ‘are supposed to (a) advise the private farmers on farming questions, e.g. when and what should be planted; and (b) to assist them in organizing transport and marketing, e.g. procurement of the contracts with the canning factory, the grain mill or the cotton plant’.41 However, giving advice and assistance to the farmers did not change the farmers’ perception of the organizational structure and the way the organization was introduced. Pomfret states that farmers did not perceive the FOs as organizations that ‘could be mobilised in support of their interests’.42 Hence, the organizations were still perceived of as reflections of the old style top-down system. Furthermore, as stated above, the former management ‘ordered’ the farmers what to produce and where to market their products. It seems unlikely that the behaviour of the local elites changed with the change from collective farm to FO. Most of the tasks stayed the same, but instead 36 37 38 39 40 41 42

Spoor, ‘Agrarian transition’, p. 53. Informal interview with Bektemirov on 27 July 2001. Eckert and Elwert, ‘Land tenure’, p. 13. Pomfret, ‘Agrarian reform’, p. 281 (footnote 9). Eckert and Elwert, ‘Land tenure’, p. 13. Ibid., p. 13. Pomfret, ‘Agrarian reform’, p. 281 (footnote 9).



of being ordered the FO managers gave advice. Because the structure of commandadministration for cotton, grain, and rice production did not change, the advice had to be followed. In this case the wider political and economic setting is not supportive and does not address the inequalities between FO managers and private farmers. The formation of WUAs was similarly ordered from the national level. The initiative to establish WUAs came from above, and was not a grass-roots movement. Farmers did not demand the establishment of WUAs, but they did not have any other choice than to become members. Information and guidelines for WUAs were distributed through the FO managers. They had to organize elections and inform the farmers about WUAs and the duties and responsibilities of WUA members. Because WUAs were established from above and within a hierarchical structure, they did not represent local movements or initiatives. The introduction of the FOs did not change the former structure of the collective farm but reconfirmed the old structure; this was also the case for the WUAs. While at the collective farm the hydro-technicians were responsible for water distribution, the head of the WUA took over these responsibilities. In all the WUAs visited, the former head of the hydro-technical unit became the manager of the WUA. The hydro-technicians were former employees of the collective farm and directly subordinate to the collective farm manager. It was argued that the hydro-technicians were chosen to be the new managers of the WUAs because of their technical skills and experience. The third goal of the reform programme was to strengthen a legal and enabling environment for private farms. Clearly, the creation of Farm Organizations and Water User Associations was supposed to facilitate this goal. However, the evidence suggests that the structure of the collective farms did not change and the old organizations stayed the same, but with new names. The new organizations were supposed to strengthen farmers’ independence and facilitate their participation in decision-making processes. The next section evaluates whether these organizations ‘enrich’ the social structure. Enrichment implies changing the established behaviour and facilitating trust through participation in decision-making processes. non-participatory wuas According to WUAs’ rules, water has to be distributed between the members on an equal and fair basis. All members should share the available resources. This would imply the establishment of an irrigation plan, which would determine which farmers would receive the water, how much they would be allocated, and how and when such distribution would take place. The rules of WUAs determine that information should be shared and that members should be involved in the decisionmaking process. In the visited WUAs there was no bottom-up flow of information and no participation in decision-making. According to the rules, the actions of a WUA manager should be transparent for the community of farmers and he should be accountable to the members. However, in the visited WUAs neither transparency nor accountability were observable. Farmers lacked knowledge of the duties and rights of WUA members and their representatives.


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Figure 3. Power and Influence relationships of the stakeholders during the second land reform



Even though the water distribution varied among the different WUAs in Karakalpakstan, the managers consistently applied a top-down approach to water delivery. The manager, rather than the community of farmers, decided who received water, when, and how much. The WUA managers stated that the fields of the former collective farm were inspected on a day-to-day basis. The field to be irrigated was based on the WUA managers’ estimation. The decision-making process did not involve the farmers, and it was not evident whether all the farmers received the same amount of water or whether former elites, such as the former collective farm mangers, could use their status within the community to obtain more water. The field visits showed that the old organizational hierarchy, as well as the topdown approach learned during the time of collective farming, was still in place. There was no attempt to make water distribution more participatory. ‘Most farmers have spent their lives as employees of large farms and were allocated specific tasks. Consequently, they took no part in irrigation and even when they did, decisions on when and how much to irrigate land were often made by others or by committee’.43 Hence, newly independent farmers would have required training, not only for irrigation, but for all aspects of farming. Eckert points out that during interviews farmers expressed ‘a lack of experience in management, accounting, generally in small scale agriculture and specific agricultural questions which formerly were delegated to specialists employed’44 by the collective farms. She states that farmers were aware of the deficits and expressed ‘a great interest in overcoming it through training’.45 However, FO managers as well as district governors argued that farmers were already agricultural experts through living and working on the land. FO managers stated that farmers did not need training even though they demanded it; as a result of the top-down decision-making process no training was given to them. The demand for training could be interpreted as a sign that farmers were aware of the top-down structure of information control. Farmers knew that information and training was one way to make the structure participatory and therefore flexible. The presented evidence suggests that the managers of new organizations did not facilitate any changes which would have enabled farmers to make informed decisions on irrigation or agriculture. Hence the old hierarchical structures obstructed changes which could have led to greater independence for the farmers and therefore a greater number of horizontal structures. Evaluation of land reforms The previous section demonstrates that the old power structures at a local level survived ‘reform’: the names were altered, but neither the role nor the management structure of the organizations were changed. The decision-making processes continued to be top-down. During the reform period the influence of the former elites did not decrease. In the transition period the collective farm administration secured 43 S. L. O’Hara, ‘Lessons from the past: water management in Central Asia’, Water Policy, 2 (2000), 365–84 (p. 368). 44 Eckert and Elwert, ‘Land tenure’, p. 16. 45 Ibid., p. 16.


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its status and position. The self-securitizing behaviour of the local elite did not interrupt or delay the agricultural reform, but prevented real change. Democratization and participation in the decision-making process did not take place, and the local elites prevented these shifts. Instead of democratization the old top-down approach was reproduced. Even though the organizations changed their names and are now supposed to represent farmersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; interests, they continued to be undemocratic and legitimized the old structures. In the newly established FOs and WUAs, participation and empowerment could not take place. The legal framework of the FOs and WUAs allowed the farmers to make collective decisions on FO and WUA managers and water distribution. However, the old local elite prevented the development of participation and democratization. The manifested habits of the local level, such as the avoidance of responsibility and the absence of criticism of authority, constrain any bottomup initiative to change. Social norms would have to change before the newly independent farmers will take the initiative to demand changes of the management. Future studies of the WUAs in Uzbekistan will show whether the FO and WUA managers will be able to meet the challenges of their new roles. The evidence collected in Khorezm and Karakalpakstan suggests that the interests of the farmers were not represented. The positions of the FO and WUAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s managers have been taken by former collective farm managers and hydro-technicians to secure their social status and influence. Consequently, the newly introduced organizations were unsustainable and doomed to fail as participatory organizations. Uzbekistan managed to stabilize cotton production and achieve food selfsufficiency during the transition period, and therefore fulfilled one of the reformâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s identified goals. The other goal, namely the creation of a supporting environment for private farms, was not achieved. The short-term costs of the failure to establish functioning FOs and WUAs are evident. Farmers are still dependent on hierarchical structures, lack training and are not allowed to make informed decisions in farming and water management. The long-term consequences will be damaging not only for the local but also for regional, national, and international levels. A glimpse at these potential costs became evident during the drought years 2000 and 2001 when the lack of functioning WUAs led to conflicts between water users on the local and the district levels in Karakalpakstan and Khorezm. In addition, the failing WUAs might lead to a continuation of water over-exploitation on the local level, and to decreasing water flows reaching the Aral Sea. Strengthening FOs and WUAs means strengthening civil society The introduction of FOs and WUAs was ordered from the national level. Farmers did not have a choice other than to comply with top-down decisions. No effective participation took place during the creation or in the daily functioning of the organizations. The new structures were merely the same organizations with new names. The created WUAs were not sustainable in terms of water sharing and the operation and maintenance of the irrigation and drainage system. Moreover, water scarcity and the ill-functioning organizations may lead to the out-break of local conflicts over water. However, the establishment of sustainable FOs and WUAs could have been a step in the direction of local empowerment, participation, and the management of water as a common good.



The evidence of this case study suggests that privatization and irrigation management transfer were driven by Central Asian governments to reduce the burden of their budgets. The emphasis was not on local people taking control of their situation but on cost reduction. However, irrigation management transfer and the creation of WUAs opens the possibility of building and enhancing social capital and civil institutions. Participatory and sustainable WUAs are a potential key to the enhancement of social capital and the reduction of the conflict over scarce resources. When local people start seeing their neighbours as partners and not as rivals over a scarce resource, equal and efficient distribution of water may be more likely. As a result of top-down approaches to organizational change and the failure to consider the needs and capabilities of the lower levels, bottom levels of the hierarchy are ill-prepared for the changes. Newly independent farmers were specialized agricultural employees, but not independent farmers. Information and training is needed on every aspect of farming, such as farm management, operation and maintenance of the irrigation and drainage system so that formerly specialized farm employees will be able to carry out all the duties of a farmer. In addition to the practical issues, farming awareness and knowledge will empower the farmers and could function as a control mechanism to the local elites. The realization of the interdependencies of water management upstream and downstream and of agriculture and environment could ease tension and lead to more sustainable resource use. As argued above, trust as a constituent element of social capital can have negative effects. In the case of the land reforms in Uzbekistan the trust of the lower sectors of society that the local elite will act selflessly when allocating land and distributing water and change their system of management from top-down to bottom-up has indeed had negative consequences. Blind trust will lead in this case to further dependence and exploitation of the powerless by the rich and influential. The Uzbekistan case study confirms that the notion and extent of trust are scale-related. Abbreviations FO Farm Organization IMT Irrigation Management Transfer IWMI International Water Management Institute MMS Ministry of Macroeconomics and Statistics SANIIRI Central Asian Irrigation Research Institute TACIS European Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States WUA Water User Association Biographical Note Dr Kai Wegerich obtained his PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies [SOAS] London. The focus of his research was water management and institutional change in Central Asia. Dr Wegerich worked as a consultant for the International Water Management Institute [IWMI] on Water User Associations in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan in 2000, as a consultant for the British Geological Survey [BGS] on Common Pool Resources in 2002, and from 2002â&#x20AC;&#x201C;03 as a consultant for UNESCO/Centre for Development Research [ZEF] on water management and water and agricultural organizations in Khorezm/Uzbekistan.

Slovo, Vol. 15, No. 2, Autumn 2003

The Shalaputs: the Beginning of the Radical Reformation in Imperial Russia, 1830s–1890s SERGEI I. ZHUK Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, Woodrow Wilson International Centre The Shalaputs were the largest and most controversial religious group among the postEmancipation peasantry of the southern Russian frontier. Their name derives from a Russian and Ukrainian word that referred to those who lost their way and took a wrong track in life. Contemporaries applied this word to the very broad religious movement among peasants linked with the traditional indigenous sects of the Molokans, Khlysty, and Skoptsy in central Russia. Eventually this movement became the largest and most popular on the southern frontier. It included all those who were disappointed with the formalism of the Russian Orthodox Church. By the 1860s, Shalaput communities made up the majority in the villages of the provinces of Tavrida, Ekaterinoslav, and Stavropol’. The Shalaput movement absorbed various elements of Russian religious dissent on the southern frontier. During its evolution in the 1860s–90s it became a mass evangelical movement of pious peasants who attempted to recreate their own version of Christianity in opposition to Russian Orthodoxy. During the late-18th and 19th centuries, a huge territory from Bessarabia in the West to the Northern Caucasus in the East, from Kiev province in the North to Tavrida in the South, became a moving frontier. This shifting borderland shaped new human characters and created peculiar conditions for new settlers, much as the American frontier was shaping new identities across the Atlantic Ocean. During the colonization of the Southern frontier, various groups of foreign colonists, Russian and Ukrainian peasants, and Cossacks brought with them different cultural and religious traditions. They contributed to the development of a more diversified and pluralistic society, which became a fertile environment for new non-Orthodox sects. The first of these mass indigenous Christian sects in imperial Russia was that of the Shalaputs. Under the influence of the Shalaputs and the pietistic movement among the German and Mennonite colonists, a second sect, the predecessors of Russian Baptists, known as ‘Stundists’, started their activities during the 1850s and 1860s. From a hundred Shalaputs in the 1830s in the provinces of Tavrida and Bessarabia, the Shalaputs and Stundists grew to more than 100,000 in the 1870s and to 400,000 by 1883, spreading all over southern Russia. In the Kherson and Kiev provinces, three fourths of the rural population joined these © School of Slavonic & East European Studies, University College London, 2003


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radical sects. Their adherents developed a theology, ethos, and rituals reminiscent of the Western Protestant Reformation. This paper will use George Williams’ concept of the Radical Reformation1 to concentrate on the Shalaput religious revival as part of a broader ‘cultural revitalization’ of post-Emancipation peasant society that undermined the traditional social and cultural infrastructure of southern Russia and sparked new cultural values and social relations. The Shalaputs were the most controversial and numerous religious group among the post-Emancipation peasantry of the southern Russian frontier. Their name was derived from a Russian and Ukrainian word that referred to those who lost their way and took a wrong path in life (they ‘took the shal’noi put’ [wrong path to a ‘sinful way of life’]). The Russian verb shalit’ means ‘to sin’, ‘to be deviant’. Contemporaries applied this word to the very broad religious movements among peasants linked with the traditional indigenous sects of the Molokans, Khlysty, and Skoptsy in central Russia. Eventually this movement became the largest and most popular on the southern frontier. It included all those who were disappointed with the formalism of the Russian Orthodox Church. By the 1860s, Shalaput communities formed a majority in the Berdiansk and Melitopol’ district villages in Tavrida province, and in the Novomoskovsk and Pavlograd districts in Ekaterinoslav province. In Stavropol’ province they occupied whole villages. Orthodox missionaries estimated the number of the most organized Shalaputs, the so-called ‘Perfilovtsy’, or ‘Katasonovtsy’, as 25,000 at the beginning of the 1880s.2 In 1897, according to the official calculations, no less than 615,000 sectarians (more than thirty per cent of all Russian religious dissidents, and more than half of the new Russian sectarians) belonged to the Shalaput-Khlyst movement.3 The overwhelming majority lived in or came from the southern provinces. The Shalaput movement absorbed various elements of Russian religious dissent on the southern frontier. During its evolution in the 1860s–90s, it became a mass evangelical movement of pious peasants who attempted to recreate their own version of Christianity in opposition to official Russian Orthodoxy. Many historians of Russian religion have given the Shalaputs short shrift.4 Some have followed the official Orthodox tradition and portrayed them as Khlysty or 1

George Huntston Williams, The Radical Reformation (Philadelphia, 1962). S. D. Bondar’, Sekty khlystov, shelaputov, dukhovnykh khristian, Staryi I Novyi Izrail’ I subbotnikov I iudeistvuiushchikh (Petrograd, 1916), p. 25. 3 According to the calculations by A. Klibanov who used the reports of the Ober-Procurator of the Holy Synod, by 1909 in Russia the dissidents of the Khlyst tradition [‘khristovery’] made up more than 100,000 people. Alexander I. Klibanov, Istoria religioznogo sektantstva v Rossii (60-e gody XIX v. – 1917 g.) (Moscow, 1965), pp. 83–84. 4 The pre-revolutionary historians were led astray either by these sectarians’ commitment or opposition to Orthodoxy. Soviet historians were understandably inclined to simplify and ignore peasant religious beliefs. Western historians of Protestantism were generally unsympathetic to innovation among Russia’s native Protestants. The holding power of these previous misreadings is not difficult to understand. Nevertheless, relatively open archives have made it possible to redress this misunderstanding and give these forgotten, but important, Russian and Ukrainian dissidents their due. Russian religious dissent was not simply the barbaric exoticism with which its critics stigmatized it; it was a grand mass movement of serious social criticism, political activism, and spiritual exploration. See the Western historian’s approach to Russian culture and religion as ‘abnormality’ and exoticism in: Ewa M. Thompson, Understanding Russia: The Holy Fool in Russian Culture (Lanham, MD, 1987), 18ff. 2



Skoptsy. The Shalaput movement did not fit this theoretical division because its practitioners incorporated such varied elements as Skopets castration, Khlyst dancing, and worshipping ‘living Christs’, as well as rational elements of the Protestant sects. At the same time, the Shalaputs variously combined these practices with their own indigenous theology, reminiscent of the Radical Reformation. As ‘sincere seekers of Divine Truth’ and the ‘apostolic church’, the Shalaputs followed Reformation principles that included the separation of churches from the national or territorial state, the doctrine of the ‘imitatio Christi’, and the doctrine of the inwardly disciplined but externally free ‘apostolic’ church with a prophetic or inspired vocation.5 From the outset, the Shalaput movement was very broad. Its diversity was such that contemporaries and Russian religious historians were confused about its character and evolution, and presented the Shalaputs either as a mystic sect of the Khlyst type or as a rationalist evangelic group of proto-Baptists.6 Since their first publications about the Shalaputs in August–December 1873, observers and historians linked the origins of this sect to the activities of the Bogomols (‘those who pray to God’), or Tambov Postniks (‘those who fast’), the small non-Orthodox sect of the Christ-Faith movement from Tambov province in central Russia.7 According to Orthodox historiography, the Shalaputs were a version of the Tambov Postniks called the Katasonovtsy, or the sect of Katasonov. By the 1830s, a serf from the village of Perevoz (Kirsanov district, Tambov province), Avvakum (or Abakum Ivanovich) Kopylov, had established special meetings for ‘reading and explaining’ Holy Scripture in his house. Kopylov taught his neighbors to follow the

5 See George Williams’ classical study on the Radical Reformation and compare with an analysis by Clarke Garrett, Lawrence Foster, and Stephen Marini of the radical sects in Europe and North America. See, especially: Stephen A. Marini, Radical Sects in Revolutionary New England (Cambridge, Mass., 1982). 6 See for example: T., ‘Sekta shaloputov’, Kievlianin, 98 (18 Aug. 1873), 1–3; O. Levitskii, ‘Shaloputy na granites Poltavskoi I Ekaterinoslavskoi gubernii’, Kievskii telegraf, 41 (1875), 1, 2; 42, 2–3; 43, 2–3; 48, 4. ‘Zametka iz Ekaterinoslava’, Zaria, 13 (1881), 4. In the Orthodox magazine the first publication about the Shalaputs appeared in 1873, and such information was published on regular basis during the 1870s and 1890s, especially in ‘Materialy dlia izuchenia sekty shaloputov’, Kavkazskie eparkhial’nye vedomosti, 23 (1873), 752–63, and in other issues of this journal. See also ‘Shaloputy’, Ekaterinoslavskie eparkhial’nye vedomosti, 14 (1877), 217 (this article was reprinted from Kavkazskie eparkhial’nye vedomosti); ‘O shaloputakh sela Vasil’kovki, Pavlogradskogo uezda, Ekaterinoslavskoi gubernii’, Ekaterinoslavskie eparkhial’nye vedomosti, 18 (1886), 456–63, and other issues of this journal. The most serious interpretations of the Shalaput history were presented in: Ia. Abramov, ‘Sekta shalaputov’, Otechestvennye zapiski, 9 (1882), 35–58, 10 (1882), 157–93; A. Dorodnitsyn, ‘Sekta shalaputov’, Chtenia v obshchestve liubitelei dukhovnogo prosveshchenia, March 1889, 275–301, and June 1889, 646–712; idem, ‘Shelaputskaia obshchina’, Russkii vestnik (October 1904) 705–39 (November 1904) 126–85. See also a book written by the Orthodox missionary: S. D. Bondar’, Sekty khlystov, shelaputov, dukhovnykh khristian . . . (Petrograd, 1916), 14–49. 7 Orthodox scholars and priests called such groups the Khlysts or ‘Old Israel’ because some of their rituals and theology reminded those of the mystic Khlyst sect. The basic distinctive features of the Khlysts were the worshiping of their leaders as ‘living Christs’ and ‘God-mothers’, and the replacement of ‘carnal’ marriage and sexual intercourse with the ‘spiritual bondage’ of the Christians, which eventually resulted, according to the Orthodox authors, in the sexual orgies during the Khlyst meetings. See in Bondar’, Klibanov and A. Etkind, Khlyst. Sekty, literatura I revoliutsia (Moscow, 1998).


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Gospels as the main principle for life. He rejected all Orthodox ecclesiastical institutions, such as priesthood, sacraments, and rituals, as contrary to the New Testament. He believed that Orthodox Christians lived according to ‘Adam of the Old Testament’ and therefore were the ‘sinful children of the Old Testament’. Man was conceived in sin and born in sin. To be absolved of this sin, a man had to renounce the sinful world and live by fasting, praying, and avoiding women. Sexual intercourse with woman was the most serious sin. To achieve salvation, pious Christians had to avoid ‘carnal’ foods such as meat, fish, onions, garlic, potatoes, and alcohol. They had to stop smoking, swearing, and wearing ‘funny dresses and decorations’. Instead of ‘carnal marriage’, he advocated ‘spiritual love’ for his adherents and replaced ‘spouses betrothed in the Orthodox Church’ with ‘spiritual wives and husbands’ (dukhovnitsa and dukhovnik — another translation is ‘confessor’]. Kopylov stopped having sexual relations with his wife and discovered among his followers his own dukhovnitsa, a peasant woman from his village, Tatiana Makarovna Chernosvistova (known as Remizova). Notwithstanding these changes, he lived with his family and supported his wife and children until his arrest. Eventually, he refused to work for landlords, refused to perform corvee, and ceased paying quit-rent to his own barin (landlord). Because of his industrious and thrifty life, Kopylov saved enough money to pay for the emancipation of his family from serfdom. The local priest denounced him as a heretic and religious dissident, and the police arrested him and Remizova. Avvakum Kopylov died in 1838 in Kirsanov prison and his dukhovnitsa was exiled to Siberia at the beginning of the 1840s. His son, Fillip Kopylov, became his successor and the new leader of the Tambov Postniks. One of Kopylov’s disciples, Perfil Petrovich Katasonov (or Kutasonov) (1808– 1885), a peasant from his village who originally came to Kopylov’s household as his servant at the beginning of the 1830s, quarreled with Kopylov’s son Fillip, split with Fillip’s adherents, and founded a new religious sect. Katasonov followed Kopylov’s teaching, and his community of ‘Old Israel’ became the successor to the Tambov Postniks, who were later called the Bogomols. Contrary to the conservatism of Fillip Kopylov’s community, Katasonov’s sect was open to various outside influences and attracted many adherents among peasants of the central Russian provinces. According to the first historians of the Shalaput movement, Bogomols and Postniks from Perfil Katasonov’s sect (the sect of “Old Israel”) laid the foundation for the Shalaputs, and the peasant Bogomols brought the ideas of Kopylov and Katasonov to the Caucasus, Tavrida, Ukraine, and Bessarabia in the 1840s.8 Orthodox and Soviet historiography has treated all Shalaputs as a version of one dissident group, the Katasonov sect of ‘Old Israel’, and ignored the other cultural 8

See ‘Materialy dlia izuchenia sekty shaloputov’, Kavkazskie eparkhial’nye vedomosti, 23 (1873), 754–55; ibid., 3 (1875), 96–100; ibid., 13 (1881), 455–60; ibid., 13 (1882), 449–50; ibid., 4 (1891), 112–13. Some of these journals reprinted the Kutepov’s essay from Pravoslavnyi sobesednik, May 1882. Abramov, Op. cit., 46–55; A. Dorodnitsyn, ‘Sekta shalaputov’, pp. 276–88; Bondar’, Op. cit., 14, 24–25. Soviet historians followed this tradition as well. See A. Klibanov about the Katasonovtsy: A. Klibanov, Op. cit., 57–62.



elements that contributed to its varied character. In reality, Katasonov’s sect was only a small fragment of the Shalaput movement.9 Another version of the Shalaputs’ origin is to be found in the archival documents. According to these documents, the police traced the beginning of the new sect back to the 1830s when state peasants from the central Russian provinces attempted to reproduce the old forms of Khlyst/Skoptsy dissent in the new environment of the southern frontier provinces of Tavrida, Bessarabia, and Stavropol’. However, because of other cultural influences, including those of Molokans and foreign colonists, they created new communities of religious dissenters who combined the Skopets model with non-Skopets religious practices. These new practices marked the beginning of the new phase of the Shalaput movement in the mid–1860s. During this phase, the Molokans, Pryguny, and Mennonites contributed to the rationalist elements in the Shalaput movement, while the Khlyst spiritualist tradition influenced and shaped religious enthusiasm among other religious dissidents. By 1875, Skopets ideas and practices were replaced with the enthusiast forms of Molokan and Mennonite evangelic traditions. Drawing on the old traditions of popular Orthodoxy and the Christ Faith, the last form of the Shalaput movement had emerged by the end of the 1860s. Contemporaries called this phase ‘the Duplii movement’, since Pavlo Duplii, a peasant from Ekaterinoslav province, was its most prominent representative. During this phase, the peasants expressed millennial eschatological expectations en masse. At the same time, a new phase in the Shalaput movement stressed inner-world asceticism and other features of rationalization. Despite the differences and the rejection of cultural dialogue between the Shalaputs and the new Stundist sects, the theology and practices of

9 Traditionally, Orthodox historiography begins the story of the Shalaputs with the migration of the peasant members of ‘Old Israel’ sect from the province of Tambov to the Northern Caucasus at the end of the 1840s. These peasant followers of Katasonov had established their sect in the village of Ladovskaia Balka (Medvezhenskii district, the province of Stavropol’) by 1850. According to the official version of the Orthodox Church, the local priest, Trophim Orlov called them ‘Shalaputy’ in a police report. He coined this name during the police investigation in 1850, because he was so confused by their rituals and theology that he could not find an appropriate name for them. ‘Materialy dlia izuchenia sekty shaloputov’, Kavakzskie eparkhial’nye vedomosti, 3 (1875), 96. According to another Orthodox author, the word ‘Shalaput’ derived from the words ‘Shilov put’ [the road, pointed by Shilov]. Alexander Shilov and Kondratii Selivanov were the founding fathers of the Russian Skopets movement in the eighteenth century. This author treated the Shalaputs as the kind of Skopets sect: ‘The Shalaputs and Skopets shared the same principle — a mortification of the human flesh and shunning of sex — they accepted only a spiritual love, under which all sexual differences between men and women would disappear.’ See: G. M., ‘Opasnost’ shaloputstva, kak perekhodnoi stupeni v Skopchestvo, I mery k predokhraneniiu ot sovrashcheniia v eti vrednye sekty’, Kavakzskie eparkhial’nye vedomosti, 6 (1882), 188–203; citation from page 188; Ekaterinoslavskie eparkhial’nye vedomosti, 10 (1884), 185–202. About Shilov and Selivanov see in: Laura Engelstein, Op. cit., 31–37, 38. During the 1850s and 1860s this sect spread from the Northern Caucasus to other provinces of the southern frontier. This interpretation of the Shalaputs’ origins became part of Russian historiography, and even serious criticism by other Orthodox authors could not change it. See, for example, A. Dorodnitsyn, ‘Shalaputskaia obshchina’, Russkii vestnik (October, 1904), 705–39; (November, 1904), 126–85. Recent historians, such as A. Etkind, still share this theory in post-Soviet historiography.


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these groups influenced each other and they shared a common foundation in the Reformation.10 The first time the Russian administration mentioned the name of Shalaputs was at the beginning of 1840, during a police investigation of ‘the Cossack woman Maria Dakhnova, who spread the Shalaput sect in Tavrida province’.11 In the spring of 1840, local peasants from the village of Mikhailovka (Melitiopol’ district, Tavrida province) informed a police officer that a Cossack woman from Poltava province, Maria Dakhnova, ‘laid the foundation for a new sect under the name of Shalaputs, with 45 members of both sexes’.12 Thus, from the beginning, the Shalaput movement demonstrated, on the one hand, the unusually active (for a patriarchic peasant society) role of peasant women among these dissidents, and, on the other, the involvement of Ukrainian Cossacks in sectarian activities. The existence of female leaders and women activists in religious movements signified a remarkable innovation not only for peasant society, but also for traditional religious dissent in Russia. Peasants told the police that the sectarians did not eat meat or drink alcohol, that married members shunned sexual relations with one another, and that young women and men did not marry. They explained that they ‘had made this commitment because of their illnesses’. At the same time, the officer reported to the police administration that ‘the present meaning, the aim of this sect, and the origin of the name Shalaput are still a mystery’. The neighbours of the sectarians confirmed that they met in the house ‘for an unknown reason’ almost every evening. One peasant woman took a peep through the window and saw that ‘during such a meeting, women were singing, and young men were whooping and slapping their thighs’.13 In May of 1840, the Melitopol’ district officer from the Ministry of State Domains reported on the Shalaput sect to his Minister. He concluded that their main leader lived in the town of Belgorod on account of the frequent visits there by elders of this sect, who came on the pretext of venerating the relics of local saints.14 Consequently, the Ministry of State Domains ordered an investigation of the possible connections between this sect and the Belgorod dissidents. Meanwhile, the investigators discovered three Skoptsy eunuchs in Belgorod. One of them, Pavel Zaitsev, was probably ‘a mentor for the Tavrida Shalaputs’.15 Because the Skopets sect was outlawed in Russia, the Minister of State Domains gave orders for the medical examination of 10 In our discussion of the Russian Radical Reformation we try to avoid the contrasting definitions of class struggle by Alexander Klibanov. For example, Klibanov portrayed the original Molokan movement as the democratic one, and contrasted it with the bourgeois-church movement of Stundo-Baptists. See: A. Klibanov, Op. cit., 183. It was the typical approach of Soviet historiography, when each conclusion was based on the oppositional dichotomies. 11 Russian State Historical Archive (hereafter –RGIA), f. 786, op.121, d.929, l.1–4. 12 On May 20, 1840, the Ministry of Justice transferred a report of Tavrida governor to the Holy Synod. See in: RGIA, f.797, op.10, d. 26637, l.2. 13 RGIA, f. 797, op.10, d. 26637, l.2ob. 14 RGIA, f. 381, op.1, d.23087, l.2, 3–4. 15 Ibid., l.14–16. The district court of Belgorod had already considered a case about Zaitsev, who was suspected in ‘seduction of a peasant Bredikhin and four more peasants to join a Sabbatarian sect (subbotniki).’



this sect’s members and the prohibition of such a sect ‘as castrated Skoptsy, which could be harmful for the people’s morality’.16 Responding to this official request, the Interior Ministry sent detailed information to the Ministry of State Domains on 30 December 1840. According to information from the police, the sect had fifty members, who followed ‘punctually the rites and rituals of the Orthodox Church’. The arrested peasants denied their membership in this sect and explained their abstinence from meat and alcohol ‘by their illnesses or old age, by their parents’ example or other reasons’. According to their wives, these peasants avoided sexual intercourse. Their secret meetings took place in the evening and during Sundays in the houses of three peasants: Nikolai Bozdyrev, Ivan Shirochkin, and Efrosinia Korneva, where they ‘did strange singing and dancing, and told each other that a marriage was against God’s will’.17 The case of the Mikhailovka Shalaputs was closed because of ‘a lack of evidence about their illegal activities’. When, a few weeks later, a supposed leader of these Shalaputs, the peasant Ivan Shirochkin, returned home and was examined by a police officer, it turned out that he had been castrated. This shocking discovery and Shirochkin’s subsequent confession, that he had been castrated ‘by unknown people more than eight years ago, when he, being drunk, was riding from the neighbouring village of Temoshevka to Mikhailovka’, changed the entire attitude of the police administration.18 They decided to reconsider the case. According to new evidence, the sect was established in the 1830s by Teet Babanin, a peasant from the village of Troitskoe (Teem district, Kursk province), who came to the Melitiopol’ district seeking employment. Though he was a nephew of the local peasant Fedor Baryshev, Teet ‘stayed in the house of the Pakhomov family, Mikhailovka peasants, rather than with his uncle.’19 All the peasants noted that Teet taught Pakhomov’s children to read, and that ‘he did not eat meat or drink alcohol, and avoided the representatives of the female sex’. After a long conversation with Baryshev, who criticized his nephew for his strange behavior, Teet was induced to marry his landlord’s daughter and then return to Troitskoe. When Baryshev visited Troitskoe in 1833, he noticed that ‘many local peasants there shunned meat, alcohol and women, which was why people called them Shalaputs’. Later on, Baryshev informed the police that ‘the main mentor of this sect lived in Belgorod, and Teet Babanin organized a branch of this sect in Pakhomov’s household in Mikhailovka’. Together with women activists such as Maria Dakhnova, Babanin propagated the ideas of the new sect among migrant Russian and Ukrainian peasants who settled in Tavrida.20 According to this evidence, this sect was established in southern Russia in Tavrida province as early as 1833. The sect soon spread all over the village of Mikhailovka and included at least fifty-six members. In 1841 the police noted new details of the Shalaput movement, 16 17 18 19 20

GIA, f. 381, op.1, d.23087, l. 4–5. RGIA, f. 381, op.1, d.23087, l.13–13ob. Ibid., l.29ob. Ibid., l.34-35. Ibid., l.35ob.


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which were reminiscent of the ‘German Reformation’. The converted peasants began to read the Bible and peasant leaders expressed notions close to Protestant ideas. Thus the Orthodox peasants who joined the Mikhailovka Shalaputs preached justification by faith alone, the priesthood of all believers, and the primacy of the Bible as the only source of revealed truth for Christians. Shirochkin’s adherents persuaded their neighbours that only their personal faith would win them their salvation, and that ‘prayers and rituals performed by a priest’ were no substitute for a personal relationship with God and their personal absolution. At the same time, sharing the ideas of his Khlyst/Skoptsy mentors, Ivan Shirochkin had publicly persuaded peasants to give up their sinning and avoid sexual intercourse. In response to the remark that this could result in the end of the human race, he said: ‘The swinish race does not need to exist for ever’. He told the peasants that Christ had not ascended to the heavens, but was alive among them, and that those who joined the Shalaputs would ‘understand this and rejoice’.21 Another case of Shalaput activities with more Khlyst than Skopets influences came from Bessarabia, when on 4 September 1841, local officials reported about a strange sect among the state peasants of the village of Diviziu (Akkerman district), whose rituals reminded them of the Melitopol’ Shalaputs.22 During the investigation, the police officer found out that all the arrested peasants ‘categorically shunned meat and alcohol’. According to the police, their prayers were reminiscent of pagan songs. During their meetings they sang: ‘Hey our merry spirit, roll in and out, make us joyful’. This singing was obviously influenced by the old Khlyst tradition, which was brought by the Diviziu peasants from Kursk province.23 Such religious songs were popular among all sects that belonged to the Christ-Faith movement. Later on police discovered similar songs and rituals among the Shalaputs in other southern provinces. However, the district court acknowledged that in their every-day life the defendants ‘performed the Orthodox Church rituals regularly and always attended church services’. Moreover, since 1838 they had participated in all confession and communion ceremonies in the church. What provoked suspicion was not only their conduct, but also the words of Ivan Kazakov that ‘in King David’s house the believers were jumping, dancing and clapping their hands’. It was a typical argument of the Russian Khlysty in defense of their type of worship with singing and dancing.24 In August 1842 the shocking discovery of castrated peasants attracted police attention to the Diviziu sectarians. One Diviziu peasant, a leader of the local sectarians called Nikolai Sagan, turned out to be a Skopets. The investigation discovered that he and few of his followers had been castrated quite recently.25 As it turned out, the beginning of castration among the pious settlers in Tavrida and Bessarabia was 21

Ibid., l.36–36 ob. RGIA, f.381, op.1, d.23136, l.2–2ob., 3. 23 In Russian it sounds like: ‘otkatnus’, otkhitnus’, veselyj nash da prikotnis’, vozveselis’, nesmutis’ vozveseli i nas vozle sebia.’ 24 In Russian original: ‘v domu Tsaria Davida skakavshi, pliasavshi, rukami pleskavshi’. 25 RGIA, f.381, op.1, d.23136, l.13. 22



related to millennial expectations of the approaching Kingdom of Jesus Christ. During the late 1830s and 1840s, these expectations spread among the various dissident groups, which had derived from the Christ-Faith tradition — Khlysty, Skoptsy, Molokans, and Dukhobors. The most radical among them, the Skoptsy, insisted on the ‘purification of the body’ [castration] as an act of preparation for the Millennium. During the southward migration of Russian peasants, Skoptsy activists brought these ideas to local dissidents. On 19 September 1842, the Bessarabian State Domains Office filed a new report about the discovery of sixteen castrated peasants among thirty arrested Shalaputs. The castrated dissidents were the most active members of the sect. The investigation discovered that one person had performed all the castration operations. After analysing the castrations in Diviziu, the police surgeon identified the influence of the Skoptsy from the Kursk and Belgorod provinces.26 At the same time, local police and clergy noted the different manner of worship, a stress on reading and interpreting the Bible, which differed from the traditional description of Russian Skoptsy. It was noteworthy that among the Diviziu peasants, only the dissidents could read. The Tavrida Shalaputs were also the only literate peasants in their villages. For police in the 1840s, the distinctive feature of the new sect, in contrast to a predominance of the oral tradition in the Christ-Faith movement, was the culture of reading.27 Therefore the local officials called the dissidents Shalaputs rather than Skoptsy.28 The spread of the ‘Shalaput Heresy’ reflected the stream of Russian colonization into the southern fertile lands of the Northern Black Sea region and the Northern Caucasus. In Stavropol’ province (the Caucasus), during the 1840s, a strong evangelical movement began among the local Molokan peasants who had previously migrated from the central Russian provinces. Eventually, this movement converged with the ‘Shalaput Heresy’. Molokans represented another version of the ‘Christ-Faith’ tradition. This version of Russian dissent developed a theology and rituals closer to the evangelical forms of worship. By the middle of the eighteenth century, as contemporary observers noted, the Russian Molokan communities resembled the Western evangelical congregations.29 During their migration to the South, the Molokans brought not only their religious experience as ‘Spiritual Christians’, but also their millennial expectations. To some extent these expectations coincided with the frustration of rank and file Molokans with a rigid hierarchy and power of ministers in their communities. As a result of these factors, a religious 26

Ibid., l.18–18ob. Ibid., l.11ob.–12. Compare with Laura Engelstein notes on literacy among the Skoptsy: Engelstein, Op.cit., 112–13, 151–54. 28 Despite the severe police repressions, the sect still existed in Bessarabia. Even on 30 September 1857, fifteen years later, the archbishop of Kishinev reported to the Holy Synod about a new discovery of ‘the dissident sect under a name of Shalaputs’ in a village Vasilievka (near Diviziu) in August of 1857. RGIA, f.796, op.138, d.1764, l.1. 29 Life of William Allen with Selections from his Correspondence, 2 vols (Philadelphia, 1847), I, 389–99; Jacob P. Bekker, Origin of the Mennonite Brethren Church, Previously Unpublished Manuscript by One of the Eighteen Founders, trans. by D. E. Pauls and A. E. Janzen (Hillsboro, Kansas, 1973), p. 97; L. G. Deich, Za polveka (Moscow, 1926), p. 128. 27


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dissent began inside the Molokan communities during their settlement in the South — in the Caucasus and Tavrida.30 The sect that was later called the ‘Caucasian Shalaputs’ also began in the Northern Caucasus during the 1840s. In 1843 the police arrested Pamfil Popov, a state peasant from the village of Medvedskoe (Stavropol’ province), for his antiOrthodox dissident activities. Popov established a religious meeting for ‘reading the Bible and worshipping God’ in his house. More than thirty peasants and Cossacks from neighbouring settlements visited Popov’s meetings and began to ‘worship their own prophets and prophetesses’. In 1850, the police discovered another religious meeting with similar beliefs in the neighbouring Cossack settlement of Aleksandrovskaia. During the 1840s and 1850s, not far from Medvedskoe, two local peasant women, Praskov’ia Larina and Tat’iana Shepeleva, declared themselves ‘prophetesses of Divine Wisdom’, asked the peasants and Cossacks to worship them as representatives of God, and criticized the Orthodox clergy as ‘Satan’s corrupted servants’.31 After 1850, local peasants and Cossacks began to read and discuss various religious books in public. The local clergy accused these peasants of anti-state dissident activities. At the same time, police informants noted the ‘obvious links’ between the spread of literacy and social activism among dissidents.32 The police investigation discovered that peasants from Tambov province, members of the Katasonov sect of ‘Old Israel’, settled in the villages of Novomikhailovka and Ladovskaia Balka (Medvezhenskii district, Stavropol’ province) and established their branch of this sect there at the end of the 1840s. By 1850, they had established contact with the group of Pamfil Popov from the village of Medvedskoe, organized mutual meetings for worship, and invited all ‘true seekers of Divine truth’ to participate in their prayers.33 In Ladovskaia Balka, local 30

About the Molokans’ migration to the Caucasus see: Nicholas B. Breyfogle, ‘Heretics and Colonizers: Religious Dissent and Russian Colonization of Transcaucasia, 1830–1890’ (doctoral thesis, University of Pennsylvania, 1998), pp. 79–145. 31 E. Kapralov, ‘Kratkii istoricheskii ocherk vozniknovenia shaloputstva na Severnom Kavkaze’, Stavropol’skie eparkhial’nye vedomosti, 21 (1900), 1213–29. 32 State Archive of Russian Federation, (hereafter- GARF), f.109, op.31, d.36, part 3, l.1–1ob., l.4–5. On 16 March 1856, the head of the gendarme division in Tiflis reported to his superiors that in February 1856 his colleague, the police officer M. Grabia-Gorskii, had submitted him a book, approved for a publication by the Moscow Theological Academy. This book was titled ‘The Human Heart is either the Divine Temple or Satan’s Dwelling’. The police officer explained that this book generated a ‘peculiar heresy’ among local peasants. This heresy, he noted, ‘was absurd in its essence, harmful for people’s morality and dangerous for the government.’ According to his investigation, the adherents of this new teaching ‘that was even lacking a name, rejected everything established by the Orthodox Church and the laws, they did not accept the Divine churches, holy icons and any authority; they did not celebrate the Orthodox holidays; they denied confession, the Holy Eucharist, the sanctity of marriage and kinship; they acknowledged only their Spiritual faith and brotherhood, and asserted that nothing existed beyond the human being.’ ibid., l.8–9, l.15–17. It is noteworthy that in 1861, the Holy Synod rejected the information about the heretical character of the book under the investigation. Nothing wrong was discovered in that book. Perhaps, some of its pictures were not properly done for such an edition, but that was its only shortcoming. 33 Kavkazskie eparkhial’nye vedomosti, 3 (1875), 95–100; Stavropol’skie eparkhial’nye vedomosti, 21 (1900), 1219–22. In 1857 Katasonov sent his representative, a ‘prophet Gabriel’ from the province of Tambov to Ladovskaia Balka. According to the Orthodox Church’s investigation, this was the beginning of the expansion of the Khlyst sect to the Caucasus and the first attempt of the Katasonov Postniks (Bogomols) to establish their Khlyst ‘ship’ (congregation) in the province of Stavropol’.



clergy, confused by these dissidents’ heterogeneous religious ideas, called them ‘Shalaputs’.34 The Caucasian diocesan administration sounded the alarm because of the mass spread of the Shalaput sect among Russian settlers in the Northern Caucasus. On 27 November 1873, Reverend German, the bishop of the Caucasus and Ekaterinodar, wrote to the Holy Synod about ‘a considerable increase of the Khlyst sect known under the local name “Shalaputs”’. He noted that this sect had appeared for the first time about 1857 in the villages of Novomikhailovka and Ladovskaia Balka in Stavropol’ province, and by 1872 was active in seven villages of the Stavropol’ province, fourteen settlements of the Kuban’ Cossack region, and seven settlements of the Terek Cossack region. The Bishop estimated that their numbers were considerable, ‘because from ten to twenty peasant families in each village or settlement visited the Shalaput meetings for worship on a regular basis’.35 According to the Bishop’s data, the number of people who visited Shalaput meetings in twenty-eight villages could be calculated. Among Russian Cossacks and peasants in the Caucasus the average household had no less then five adult members. Therefore, no less than fifty or one-hundred peasants and Cossacks participated in the dissident meetings in each village. Overall, between 1400 and 2800 peasants and Cossacks visited the meetings every month. In some localities of the Northern Caucasus, the Shalaputs comprised more than fifty per cent of the entire rural population.36 It is noteworthy that these localities were part of a colonized region, which was sparsely populated with Russian settlers. Because of the spread of the Shalaput movement, some of the Russian frontier villages in the Caucasus were settled entirely by religious dissidents.37 The rise of the Shalaput movement in the Northern Caucasus coincided with its revival in Tavrida province in 1861. This time the Shalaput revival was linked to the religious activities of Mennonite and German colonists. On 12 December 1862, a local priest reported to the ecclesiastical authorities of Tavrida that, in the Ostrikovo farmstead [khutor] in the village of Bol’shoi Tokmak (Berdiansk district), ‘a society was made up among the state peasants who were meeting during the nights, reading and interpreting the Holy Scriptures and Apostolic Epistles, without understanding their true meaning, distorting the truth and therefore departing from the rites of the Orthodox Church by their incorrect explanation of the Bible’. The priest wrote that these peasants used only the ‘Our Father’ prayer because they said that Jesus Christ had given only this prayer to the apostles. They did not make 34

Kavkazskie eparkhial’nye vedomosti, 21 (1873), 753–62; ibid., 24 (1874), 796–800. The local clergy selected this name, the meaning of which is close to the English phrase ‘mischievous deviants’, because they were not sure what kind of sect they confronted. Therefore the sect’s first Orthodox observers in the Northern Caucasus again applied the name of Shalaputs, which had already been used in the 1840s in Tavrida and Bessarabia. Thus local clergy and police appropriated this name in the Northern Caucasus in the 1860s. 35 RGIA, f.796, op.154, d.582, l.1ob–l.2. 36 RGIA, f.796, op.154, d.582, l.2. The local diocesan periodical published the detailed descriptions of the Shalaputs’ rites and customs with the lyrics of their religious hymns and songs in its every issue during 1873–79. See Kavkazskie eparkhial’nye vedomosti for 1873–79. 37 See Nicolas Breyfogle’s dissertation about the Molokans as colonizers.


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the sign of the cross, and did not follow the Orthodox calendar of fasting. Dissidents from Ostrikovo communicated with the Germans and Mennonites who lived in the colony close to the villages of Tokmak, and participated in their church rituals as early as the 1850s. According to the priest’s report, this society, ‘known as the Shalaputs’, had begun to grow in October 1862.38 The local priests and the village elder (starosta) visited the colonist Klassen from the German colony of Liebenau, who was prominent among the Germans and Mennonites. He first reported to the local administration about the revival of the Shalaput sect in the Berdiansk district. Klassen told them that the sectarians often visited German meetings of worship. At the same time, he noted that the Russian dissidents played the guitar and sang psalms during their own meetings of worship, which he had visited at the beginning of December 1862.39 In a conversation with priests who visited their religious meetings of worship, the peasants explained that they had met exclusively for reading and discussing the Gospels, and had no need of clergy ‘because they [the peasants] had learned the Divine Truth by now’.40 This revival of the Shalaputs demonstrated the new, more Western features of the Christian Reformation. Tavrida Shalaputs used the Western editions of the Bible and other religious books for their reading and discussion. What was more unusual, they sang their religious hymns accompanied by guitar during their meetings of worship. As the governor of Tavrida reported, by 1862 this sect had spread to such German colonies as Rudnerweide, and the dissidents themselves began to throw their icons away and stopped attending Orthodox ceremonies in local churches. The leader of the sect was the state peasant Damian Vasetskii, ‘who played the role of the priest among them.’ When the police arrested him, he confessed that he ‘maintained friendly relations with the true Christians’ from the German and Mennonite colonies. During his arrest, they confiscated a copy of the New Testament, printed in London, and a piece of paper with the text of ‘some prayer to someone called the Shepherd’.41 It turned out that both the book and the prayer came from the German colony. It is remarkable that purely Russian dissidents, influenced by the Khlyst/Skoptsy traditions of the Russian Orthodox Reformation, initiated a cultural dialogue with representatives of the Western Protestantism and incorporated elements of Western Protestant culture into their theology and rituals. On 9 April 1863, the bishop of Tavrida wrote to the Holy Synod that the Shalaputs still met nightly in their houses, sang the psalms, and sometimes visited the Mennonites and participated in their services. The church authorities worried particularly that these ‘literate’ dissidents had become friendly with the Mennonites and the Molokans. As one Church official observed, ‘They began to read the books of the New Testament, which they bought in the market, and they visited each other in their houses, bringing these books with them’. All of them could read. 38 39 40 41

RGIA, f.796, op. 143, d. 602, l.1–1ob. Ibid., l.2–2ob. Ibid., l.3. Ibid., l.5–5ob.



It was noteworthy that a majority of Ostrikovo Shalaputs learned how to read in their dissident community from Mennonites and Skoptsy.42 During the Shalaput revival in Tavrida, the Skopets activists of the local Shalaputs re-established connections with their co-religionists from the central Russian provinces.43 In November 1864, the bishop of Tavrida himself emphasized in his report that the Skoptsy sect had appeared, as was evident from the local police report, in the same locality (the villages of Ostrikovo, Ocheretianoe, and others) where ‘the Shalaput sect had appeared two years ago under the influence of the German colonists, who lived near these villages’.44 The Melitopol’ and Berdiansk Shalaputs, who were friendly both with the Belgorod Skoptsy and Tavrida Mennonites, considered themselves ‘true Evangelicals’ who ‘followed closely the principles of the Gospels’. In telegrams sent to the Holy Synod on 12 and 15 August 1865, 43 Skoptsy/Shalaputs from the Berdiansk district emphasized this fact and complained of unjust persecutions.45 Meanwhile, in March of 1867, the bishop of Tavrida reported further on ‘the Skopets sect with a touch of Mennonitism’. According to the testimony of the German colonist Klassen from the Liebenau colony, local peasants often visited the local colonists Reiner, Gibert, and the German miller, where they (50 people altogether, including the castrated peasants) met for worship, played the guitar, sang the psalms, and read the Gospels all night long. ‘The colonist Jacob Reiner’, Klassen testified, ‘gave a book of the Gospels to Damian Vasetskii; and the German teacher from the Liebenau colony, Grigorii Vilam, taught the Gospels to Ivan Vasetskii’.46 According to the local priest, the main initiator of the Skopets dissent was ‘the Mennonite colonist Jacob Reiner, who interpreted the Gospels, and rejected the icons, sacraments and rituals of the Orthodox Church’. Reiner, the priest wrote, ‘established specially warm relations with the Ostrikovo peasants under the pretext of helping them’.47 This revival of the Shalaput movement merged with the religious revival among the Mennonite colonists in Tavrida. The radical Molokans, who had established their separate movement of Pryguny [‘Jumpers’], discovered similarities in the Mennonite Brethren’s rituals, and invited the ‘enthusiast’ Mennonites to their Russian meetings in 1860. This was the beginning of the collaboration between the German-speaking and Russian-speaking dissidents in southern Russia. After the Molokans’ visits to the Mennonite meetings, the Mennonite Jumpers (radical Mennonites) even borrowed the new ritual of the 42

Ibid., l.10–12ob. In 1864, the peasant Parfion or (Parphenii) Babanin (a close relative of Teet Babanin, a founder of the first Shalaput group in Tavrida in 1833) added to the Shalaput sect in Ostrikovo ‘a strong Skoptsy influence’ and expanded this sect to the villages of Ocheretianoe and Bol’shoi Tokmak in the Berdiansk district. In all there were five Skoptsy and thirty non-castrated members. The prevalence of the Skoptsy was noted also among the peasants of Mikhailovskoe, Timoshevka and other villages in the Melitopol’ district. RGIA, f.796, op. 143, d. 602, l.27–27ob. Both the Shalaputs and the Skoptsy ‘considered one Akulina Ivanovna from a town of Belgorod in the province of Kursk as their tsarina Divine.’ 44 RGIA, f.796, op. 143, d. 602, l.28. 45 Ibid., l.30. The majority of these Skoptsy came from the Shalaput families connected to the Mennonite colonies. 46 Ibid., l.35–36. 47 Ibid., l.37. 43


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so-called ‘sister kiss’ from the Russian religious radicals.48 Through the radical Molokans, the Mennonite Jumpers established close connections with other Shalaput groups among the local Orthodox peasants as well. The Russian Pryguny and other Shalaputs invited the Mennonite ministers to preach for the local Russian and Ukrainian dissidents and borrowed some rituals from the Mennonite Jumpers.49 Near the Liebenau colony, local Ukrainian peasants organized their own meeting for worship in 1861 and invited the Mennonites to preach to them. One Ukrainian servant girl worked for ‘Brother [Heinrich] Huebert’, learned German, and helped the Mennonite radicals deliver their sermons to Ukrainian peasants.50 The Tavrida Shalaputs joined local Ukrainian Orthodox peasants in this movement in 1861. The local Orthodox clergy and the police noted these connections between ‘revivalist’ Mennonites and Russian dissidents as early as 1861. The memoirs of the ‘revivalist’ Mennonites not only confirm the existence of such connections, but also stress how the Skoptsy leaders of the Tavrida Shalaputs contributed to the evangelical awakening among Orthodox peasants from the neighboring villages. Jacob Bekker wrote of ‘two messengers’ [of the Shalaputs] who arrived in the villages near Liebenau in 1861.51 The Shalaput sect expanded despite various official measures. As the bishop of Tavrida reported on 31 October 1863, there were 516 male and 542 female sectarians in one Tokmak parish.52 Among 5000 parishioners, the Shalaputs comprised more than twenty per cent of the Orthodox population! They made up ten–fifteen percent of the entire district peasant population. The actual number of participants 48 As Jacob Bekker, the Mennonite minister, who became the leader of a separatist Mennonite church recalled later, ‘At farewells these brethren and sisters [Molokans] kissed each other. This manner of greeting was unusual for our Mennonite sisters, and being aware that these bearded men would also expect to kiss them farewell, some of our sisters sneaked away from the assembly. Two of the Mennonite brethren admonished the sisters who had left, saying that by doing so they had embarrassed the visiting Molokan brethren whose farewell kisses were given sincerely.’ And he continued, ‘Our brethren said that to rejoice with them in the Gospel so that our hearts melted together through prayer fellowship and then to slip away for the farewell, was embarrassingly humiliating! . . . [Afterwards,] when we received further visits from the Molokans, our women did not withdraw timidly for the welcoming salutation, but reasoned that ‘if I can greet these bearded men with a kiss, why not also our own brethren?’ Since some sisters interpreted Romans 16:16, ‘Salute one another with an holy kiss,’ as commending mixed kissing, they also began to greet our brethren with a kiss under the guise of innocence and humility. Other sisters who did not understood Romans 16:16 to mean mixed kissing, rather than applying wisdom to reason, also allowed themselves to be drawn into this practice.’ Jacob P. Bekker, Origin of the Mennonite Brethren Church, 97–98. 49 See in documents about this: RGIA, f.796, op. 143, d. 602. 50 Jacob P. Bekker, Origin of the Mennonite Brethren Church, p. 99. 51 Bekker noted, ‘They taught the same doctrines as the German Quakers, but in addition, forbade the Russian believers to eat meat, saying that if they refrained from eating meat, their urge for fleshly indulgences would gradually diminish. One of them, a eunuch from Great Tokmak, hiding from the authorities, fellowshipped [sic!] with the brethren of the Russian settlement referred to above. When it became known through some women that their husbands were avoiding the marriage bed, the Russian priesthood and the civil authorities became suspicious of the visitors from the Old Russia and presumed that there must be a number of eunuchs among them. They investigated and discovered several. These men were arrested and put into prison in Berdiansk, a city on the Sea of Azov.’ He wrote that ‘[they] had received news of the revival among the Russians [in the villages near Liebenau in 1861], arrived from Old Russia and claimed to be prophets.’ Jacob P. Bekker, Origin of the Mennonite Brethren Church, p. 100. 52 RGIA, f.796, op. 143, d. 602, l.23–23ob.



in this religious movement was greater than the figures given in the official investigation. Yet even the police data was impressive.53 According to the police and Orthodox clergy, almost a fifth part of the rural population in the Tavrida and Stavropol’ provinces belonged to the Shalaput sect in the 1860s. The evangelical culture of reading and exposure to the influences of the radical Molokans and Mennonites contributed to the creation of new religious ideals and practices, which gradually replaced the Skopets practice of castration among the Shalaputs. Moreover, during the 1860s and 1870s, the Shalaputs elaborated more efficient and sophisticated forms of worship, which allowed them to ‘sublimate’ their sexual energy to a collective religious ecstasy. Therefore, a combination of more rationalized and abstract evangelical ideals on the one hand, and more impressive religious enthusiasm on the other, created a new cultural atmosphere in the Shalaput communities which left no space for the irrational act of castration. This evolution of religious practices among the Shalaputs moved in the direction of religious enthusiasm, which was typical of all European Christian radicals, such as the first Anabaptists, early Quakers, Methodists, and Shakers. Between 1865 and 1866, the governor of Tavrida reported new influences in the Shalaput movement. One was related to a radical sect among the Molokans of the Berdiansk district in Tavrida province, the Pryguny, or ‘followers of the Holy Spirit and the Apostolic Agreement’. Another was ‘the peculiar enthusiast sect of Marianovtsy, named after a soldier’s widow Marianna’ in the Dneprovskii district. By the 1870s these sects converged with the local Shalaputs and eventually became an integral part of the Shalaput movement.54 Thus, along with Khlyst/Skoptsy traditions and Mennonite influences, the spiritualist and chiliastic forms of the new Russian indigenous sects contributed to the expansion of the Shalaputs in the southern provinces. According to police reports, ‘the first appearance of the “Prygunki” [Pryguny] heresy — a belief in a “descending of the Holy Spirit on a Christian during prayer”’ was discovered in 1833 before the appearance of the name of Shalaputs in the villages of Tavrida. The contemporaries called them the Jumpers, because these radical Molokans jumped and danced during their meetings ‘under the influence of the Holy Spirit.’ According to participants, the jumps demonstrated how ‘the Holy Spirit filled and moved the Christian soul.’ As one eyewitness wrote, the Pryguny ‘acted during their ceremonies like intoxicated people’. ‘Under their religious ecstasy’, he noted, ‘they climb on the walls, window sills, and then they jump over the benches and tables and pray to God shouting something weird and strange, and afterwards they interpret their shouts as Divine Revelation’.55 53 Abramov gave the same percentage of Shalaputs (five–fifteen per cent) among the settlers in the Northern Caucasus in the early 1880s. See Abramov, Op.cit., September 1882, 40. The arrested peasants were the heads of the richest and most prosperous peasant households in both districts. The local officials were afraid to lose the most diligent portion of the rural population because of these arrests. Eventually, they intervened and the police released the majority of the arrested peasants. GARF, f.109, 1 ekspeditsia, op.40, part 2, d.21, l.39–39ob., 41, 42–42ob., 52–52ob., 67ob. 54 GARF, f.109, 1 ekspeditsia, op.40, d.21, part 2, l.4–4ob. See a description of the ‘Pryguny’ origins in A. Klibanov, Op. cit., 131–34. 55 S. Maksimov, ‘Za Kavkazom’, Otechestvennye zapiski, 6 (1867), 493.


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By the 1880s, Shalaput peasants who had saved some money tried to escape police control in the countryside and moved to the cities. In the Ukrainian provinces of the Russian Empire, peasant dissidents began to settle in the cities as early as the 1860s. During the 1870s and 1880s this spread of the dissident movement to the cities resulted in new urban influences on the religious movement in southern Ukraine. Gradually, these influences contributed to a loss of traditional forms of peasant identity among the religious radicals. Eventually, all major Ukrainian cities attracted other peasant dissidents, including Shalaputs and Stundists. The cities were convenient places for an exchange of different ideas among various groups of dissidents. Therefore, new religious practices came into the Shalaput movement through those dissidents who moved to the cities. The urban movement posed a new problem for the authorities. Nikolaev, a port city on the Black Sea with well-known Khlyst and Old Believer communities, became another centre of the Shalaput movement in southern Russia. Among the different sects of Nikolaev, the ‘Marianovtsy’ was the most famous. In 1864, Marianna (or Mariamna) Stepanovna Timofeieva declared herself a Divine prophetess, lived like a nun, preached through all the southern provinces of Russia and eventually became a legendary figure of the Shalaput movement. Each religious holiday she made a pilgrimage to Kiev and its famous monasteries. During her travels she met with other leaders of radical sects and borrowed their ideas and rituals for her own group. Marianna became not only a prophetess for her adherents, but also a ‘Mother of God’, who simultaneously embodied the Holy Spirit and symbolized ‘Divine Wisdom’. She knew secrets of medical healing and helped many sick peasants to recover. ‘Saint Marianna’ organized a system of mutual assistance among the impoverished peasants, which helped them to survive during times of bad harvest and drought. She attracted other peasant women to her sect, where the most active and talented among them eventually became leading prophetesses.56 The Shalaputs were the first religious dissidents among the peasants of Imperial Russia who elevated the position of women in their communities. On 5 September 1865, a police officer reported that he had discovered 153 members of the Marianovtsy sect in five villages of the Dneprovskii district (in Tavrida). They called themselves the ‘Church of the Apostolic Agreement’ and behaved like Shalaputs: they did not drink alcohol or eat meat and avoided sexual relations. When a police officer asked about this, they explained that they wanted to be monks and nuns and planned to devote their lives to God. According to this report, ‘Marianovtsy’ had connections with another Shalaput group Nikolaev. The Nikolaev sect had no less than 300 members and was led by a retired official, Captain Soukhotin. The local police considered Soukhotin and his Nikolaev co-religionists, such as the sailor Vasilii Sidorenko, the main dissident leaders who inspired the widow Marianna and her ‘Shalaput sect’. According to the police investigation, Soukhotin generated the ideas for the Marianovtsy who still 56 Central State Historical Archive of Ukraine (hereafter-TsDIAU), f.356, op.1, d. 60, l.1–3. The first official complaint about the Marianovtsy’s activities was recorded in a report of the governor of Tavrida in 1866. See: RGIA, f. 1263, op.1 (1867), d.3286, l.550–550ob.



considered their ‘Nikolaev brothers’ their ‘religious mentors’.57 The theology and rituals of both the Marianovtsy and their co-religionists from Nikolaev combined elements of Molokan and Khlyst beliefs with the evangelicalism of German and Mennonite colonists. During the 1890s, the Marianovtsy participated in the activities of other Shalaput sects. Eventually they joined these sects and by 1900 the Marianovtsy ceased to exist as an independent congregation. From the outset of the movement, female ‘prophetesses’ and preachers played leading roles during the Shalaput meetings for worship. In contrast to the patriarchal peasant authority with its suppression of creativity and sexuality, the dissident communities offered peasant women new opportunities to express themselves, and develop their abilities for social activism. According to a police report, in 1863, during one such meeting of the Pryguny (the Molokan version of Shalaputs) in Novovasilievka (Tavrida province), Fiona Sizova, a peasant woman and wife of a village clerk from Astrakhanka, stretched out on a bed after a communal meal, and ‘made herself naked up to the abdomen, exposed her genitals, and said that she saw the hand of St. Paul in the ceiling’. Lisov, the local Shalaput activist, explained that she did this ‘because she was agitated by the Holy Spirit and had become ready to prophesy’. According to rumours, Lisov was said to have had unlawful relationships with another ‘prophetess’, Avdotia Mitrofanova, the wife of another dissident. Eyewitnesses noted that ‘the Spirit visited her more often than others’ during the meetings because she always jumped and moved around; for which the Pryguny called her ‘Old Sister’ and acknowledged her as their ‘prophetess’. Furthermore, she ruled the meetings as the mistress of the house.58 According to contemporary observers, women were more likely than men to respond emotionally to the ecstatic elements of Shalaput worship. Those women who had been noted for more frequent cases of spiritual possession became leaders of the meeting and living incarnations of the Holy Spirit. Following Khlyst religious practices, the Shalaputs created a dual system of power in their communities. In contrast to the traditional male-centered religious congregation, they introduced two interconnected centres of authority — a male type of ‘living Christ’ and a female type of ‘Mother of God’.59 The most ecstatic and beautiful female members of their community played the role of ‘Mother of God’ [Bogoroditsa], or ‘Virgin’ of the community. Like the ‘Virgins’ and ‘prophetesses’ of Katasonov’s sect (‘Old Israel’), the Shalaput ‘Mothers of God’ ruled the dissident communities and led their meetings together with their male, ‘living Christs’ partners.60 Katasonov’s followers from the Northern Caucasus provided 57 GARF, f.109, 1 ekspeditsia, op.40, part 2, d.21, l.68ob.–69. Later on Soukhotin group would influence even Ekaterinoslav Shalaputs. 58 RGIA, f.797, op.45, 2 otd. 3st., d.187, l.8–9ob. 59 See about the Khlyst traditions of ‘living Gods’ and ‘bogoroditsa’ [God’s Mothers] in: I. Dobrotvorskii, Liudi bozh’i. Russkaia sekta tak nazyvaemykh dukhovnykh khristian (Kazan’, 1869), 24–26ff. 60 The first observers of the Shalaputs noted the persistence of dual power of ‘the living Christ’ and ‘bogoroditsa’ in dissident communities. On the Shalaput doctrine of love see Ia. Abramov, ‘Sekta shalaputov’, Otechestvennye zapiski, 10 (1882), pp. 182–83. See also A. Dorodnitsyn, ‘Sekta shalaputov’, Chtenia v obshchestve liubitelei dukhovnogo prosveshchenia (March 1889) p. 293; idem, ‘Shelaputskaia obshchina’, Russkii vestnik (October 1904) pp. 733–34.


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the first model of dual power for the Shalaput communities. The two most famous prophets for the ‘Old Israel’ were the ‘living God’ Porfirii (Perfil) Katasonov, who was exiled to the Caucasus in the 1870s, and the ‘Mother of God’ Agafia (Gania or Gasha) Ieiskaia (Bashkatova). In 1873, after Katasonov had returned to his native village in Tambov province, ‘Matushka’ Gania Ieiskaia became the indisputable leader and arbiter of the entire Shalaput movement not only in Stavropol’ province but also in the Ekaterinoslav, Tavrida, and Kherson provinces.61 It was also common for different groups of Shalaputs to select their most beautiful and enthusiastic young co-religionists for the roles of ‘Savior’ and ‘Virgin’ for each meeting of worship. Every Shalaput meeting had a final ritual of confessions and kissing the legs (or knees) of the ‘living Christ’ and the ‘Mother of God’.62 In some Shalaput communities, such as the Marianovtsy, from the very beginning of their history the dual system of power was replaced by female authority. At the end of the 1880s, Katasonov’s sect of ‘Old Israel’, in the Northern Caucasus, split into two factions. One was called the ‘Matrionovtsy’ because the leader of these dissidents was the ‘Virgin’ Matriona, a peasant girl from the village of Lezhanka [Stavropol’ province]. In this faction the female, ‘Mother of God’ figure eventually replaced the male prophets and ‘living Christs’. It is noteworthy that the other faction, called the ‘Likhachevtsy’ after Roman Likhachev, a successor of Katasonov, was also under the influence of a woman. The first ‘Mother of God’ of Katasonov’s sect in Stavropol’ province, Gasha Ieiskaia (Bashkatova), promoted Likhachev’s career in the Shalaput community. As an influential figure among the Shalaputs, ‘Matushka Gania’ justified Likhachev’s position as the ‘living God’ by permitting him to marry her daughter Annushka and introducing him to other Shalaput leaders such as the successor of Katasonov, who died in 1885. Through Likhachev “Matushka Gasha” controlled other Shalaput communities.63 By the 1880s, women had become the centre of worship and discipline in certain Shalaput communities in Ekaterinoslav province. According to the Pavlograd district police, the ‘Mother of God’ played a more prestigious, ‘saintly’ role among the local Shalaputs than her male counterpart, the ‘prophet’.64 Describing the Shalaputs’ meetings, police officers often noted that ‘young men and women (especially women) were more excited by the novelty and variety of a new religion in their secluded household life than by the spirit of a new faith. For this reason, they (mostly women) were eager to visit these newly opened meetings for worship’. These women visited the sect’s meetings without permission from their husbands and families and presented various gifts for the sect’s community, ‘stealing something from their households’.65 61 Kavkazskie eparkhial’nye vedomosti, 8 (1874), 259–64. See also: ibid., 9, 289; ibid., 13 (1881), 455–60; RGIA, f.796, op.158, d. 154, l.1–2. 62 E. Miropol’skii, ‘Shaloputstvo v m. Petrikovke Novomoskovskogo uezda’, Ekaterinoslavskie eparkhial’nye vedomosti, 8 (1893), 197–214, esp. pp. 212–13; M., ‘O sekte prygunov ili dukhov’, ibid., 19, 502–03. 63 Stavropol’skie eparkhial’nye vedomosti, 4 (1891), 119; 5, 141–43. 64 RGIA, f. 796, op.165 (1884–85), d. 1692, l.16–16ob. 65 RGIA, f.797, op.45, 2 otd. 3st., d.187, l.11. It is noteworthy that not only old dissidents, such as Molokans, but also the local Orthodox peasants joined the Shalaput sect of Pryguny in Tavrida; at least 13 families of them were converted (approximately 100 people) for a couple of months in 1864.



The new sects offered a cultural alternative for the hundreds of peasant families who joined the Shalaputs. As the bishop of Ekaterinoslav and Taganrog reported on 18 May 1875, ‘Shalaput propaganda was organized mostly among peasant women’. The Shalaputs attracted ‘the most zealous and loyal peasants (including women), who surpassed their surrounding peasant mass in their religious knowledge and intellect’. The peasant women liked the new attitude of the Shalaput peasants, who respected the human dignity of women and treated them as equal members of the ‘Christian Brotherhood/Sisterhood’.66 Even Orthodox authors who treated peasant dissidents suspiciously acknowledged that Shalaput attitudes toward their female co-religionists attracted peasant women. Orthodox missionaries, working in Stavropol’ province, noted that the possibility of new women’s social activities in the dissident communities also attracted female believers to the Shalaputs. The new aesthetic elements — singing and dancing together with men — were likewise attractive to women. Peasant women, who were exploited and humiliated by men in their families and whose lives were limited to the peasant household, discovered new respect and humane attitudes in Shalaput communities. As one Orthodox author wrote, male and female members of the Shalaput sect called each other affectionately ‘darling’ or ‘bread-winner’ and always used pet names for each other. Such humane attitudes enticed Orthodox peasant women who were especially aware of their beauty and proud of it. It is noteworthy that the majority of women who joined the Shalaput sect were of this kind.67

Hence the Shalaput community provided an obvious alternative to the Orthodox peasant women’s lifestyle. One Dar’ia Serdiuk, a former Shalaput ‘Mother of God’ from the village of Sotnikovo in the Northern Caucasus, who repented and returned to the Orthodox Church confessed that she had ‘joined the Shalaputs because she liked her growing influence among the dissidents’. Dar’ia explained to Orthodox missionaries that it was flattering to feel how everybody worshipped her, kissed her hands and knees, and called her ‘Our Mother of God!’ She said that it was flattering to be a centre of attention for the male members of their community.68 It is clear that peasant women discovered compensation for their suppressed sexuality in the rituals of the new sects. In the typical Shalaput community, a female prophetess, who played the role of the Virgin or ‘Mother of God’, was always the centre of worship. The Shalaputs explained that Jesus Christ regarded all His female followers as equal to His Mother. Therefore they considered their female co-religionists, who were followers 66 RGIA, f.796, op.165 (1884–85), d.1692, l.1–1ob. What attracted the local peasants to the Shalaputs was their belief in an unusually long and painless life for members of this sect. The police confirmed in 1881 that they had not found any case of sickness or death among the Shirokoe Shalaputs for the last ten years. According to the police, the sect’s activists attracted peasants by promising to feed the most impoverished people and pay a bonus of 25 silver rubles to anyone converted to the sect and 100 rubles more after three years of probation as a member of their sect. 67 Kavkazskie eparkhial’nye vedomosti, 23 (1874), 766–70; a citation is from page 770. 68 Stavropol’skie eparkhial’nye vedomosti, 23 (1891), 613–21.


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of the Shalaput ‘living God’, their ‘Mothers of God’. Women, who demonstrated a knowledge of herbs and an unusual ability to cure people, became leaders as well and influenced the position of women among the Shalaputs. A peasant woman from the village of Peschanka [Stavropol’ province], Glikeria Morozova, attracted her neighbours to the Shalaput sect by her ability to heal wounds and cure diseases such as rheumatism, rather than by her preaching. Under her influence, 100 Orthodox peasants joined her sect and became the most zealous Shalaputs in the Stavropol’ province and in the Kuban’ region.70 The Shalaputs believed that God could be re-incarnated in a person who did not sin, followed biblical rules, and did only good. They also believed that God wished the followers of such figures to worship them as saints and to regard their actions as directed by God Himself. According to the Shalaputs, only women were able to reach the highest level of holiness. In the village of Dobrin’kaia (Pavlograd district, Ekaterinoslav province), local Shalaputs worshiped their beautiful ‘Mother of God’ Maria Lebed’. During ecstatic prayer, she would cast off her robe and dance naked ‘under the influence of the Holy Spirit’.71 It is noteworthy that her act of undressing contributed to mass ecstasy among the female participants of this ritual, which combined elements of apparent eroticism (Maria’s naked beautiful body), the sacred drama of resurrection (Maria imitated her death and resurrection), and maternal symbolism (she imitated giving birth to the ‘new Jesus Christ’). Most observers of such cases of mass ecstasy have noted this combination of elements. The Shalaputs, the radical Stundists (called the ‘spiritual Christians’), and the Malevantsy — all shared similar phenomena of ‘saintly hysteria’. The acts of undressing and displaying a naked female body during ecstatic dancing, always intensified emotions among these dissidents.72 The actions of the Ukrainian peasant woman Maria Lebed’, in 1886, contained the basic elements (including its erotic components) of an ecstatic ritual of resurrection, which was typical for all prophetesses of radical millennial sects. Similar behavior was displayed at the end of the seventeenth century in colonial New England. Increase Mather, a famous Puritan theologian and opponent of ‘religious enthusiasm’ wrote: One Mary Ross, falling into their company [of religious radicals called ‘singing Quakers’], was quickly possessed by the Devil, playing such frenetic and diabolical tricks, as the like has seldom been known or heard of. For she made her self naked, burning all her Clothes, and with infinite Blasphemy said that she was Christ, and gave names to her Apostles, calling Dunen by the name of Peter, another by the name of Thomas, declaring that she would be dead for 3 days, and then rise again; and accordingly seemed to die; and while she was pretendedly dead, her Apostle Dunen gave out, that they should see glorious things after her Resurrection. But that which she then did, was, she commanded Dunen to sacrifice a Dog. The man and two women Quakers danced naked together, having nothing but their shirts on.


Kavkazskie eparkhial’nye vedomosti, 4 (1881), 499. Stavropol’skie eparkhial’nye vedomosti, 4 (1891), 112–13. 71 RGIA, f. 796, op. 168 (1887), d. 1394, l.1ob.–2ob. 72 Dmitrii G. Konovalov, Psikhologia sektantskogo ekstaza (Rech’ pred zashchitoi magisterskoi dissertatsii: ‘Religioznyi ekstaz v russkom misticheskom sektantstve’) (Sergiev Posad, 1908), pp. 4–12. 70



The constable brought them before the Magistrates in Plimouth, where Ross uttered such prodigious blasphemy as is not fit to be mentioned, Dunen fell down like a dead man upon the floor, and so lay for about an hour, and then came to himself.73

Scholars such as the French psychiatrist Jean-Martin Charcot and the Russian Orthodox specialist in ‘mystic sects’, Dmitrii Konovalov have noted the pathological link between religious hysteria and eroticism in the ecstatic dancing of the religious enthusiasts. As a recent scholar has observed, through the medical model of the convulsive hysteric and the classical model of frenzied maenad, [ecstatic] dancing can be troped as a distinctively feminine activity, a way for women to discharge their excessive nervous energy, literally to let loose the ‘animal’ within them (the uterus as defined in antiquity).74

Extremes of religious ecstasy have always included elements of suppressed sexuality — from the first ecstatic sects in Christianity’s history to the medieval and Renaissance ‘religious dance epidemics’ (known as the dance of Saint Guy or of Saint Vitus). In modern history the American Shakers, Russian Khlysts, and Shalaputs have demonstrated this link between sexuality, the female body, and religious enthusiasm. Despite criminal charges and persecution, the Shalaput movement grew and spread to the Kherson and Ekaterinoslav provinces during the 1860s and 1870s. Because of its rapid growth and influence, Russian administration included a special section in the Table of Religious Dissenters, entitled ‘The Shalaputs’, from 1865 onward. Sometimes, following the recommendation of Orthodox clergy, the provincial governors united the Shalaputs with other ‘mystic sects’, such as the Khlysty and Skoptsy, in their reports.75 Mass defection of the peasants from Orthodox Christianity in the southern frontier provinces worried the Russian government. The Interior Ministry even established a special department for the investigation of cases of religious dissent among Orthodox citizens. Contemporaries usually identified the third phase of the Shalaput movement with the Duplii sect, calling them the Duplii-Shalaputs, because of Pavlo Duplii, who was the most prominent and famous figure among the religious dissidents in Ekaterinoslav province. Pavlo Duplii was an overzealous Orthodox peasant from the village of Priadivka who sought the support of Orthodox clergy for his religious zeal. Disappointed with the indifference of local clergy, he opened a meeting for worship in his house. Eventually, this meeting became the centre of the new

73 Increase Mather, An Essay for the Recording of Illustrious Providences (Boston, 1684), pp. 346–47. See also for a comparison the descriptions of such ‘enthusiastic’ scenes Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic (New York, 1971), pp. 127, 149, 153; Christopher Hill, The World Turned Upside Down: Radical Ideas during the English Revolution (New York, 1972), pp. 186–207; William G. Bittle, James Nayler, 1618–1660: The Quaker Indicted by Parliament (Richmond, Ind., 1986) 35 ff.; Clarke Garrett, Spirit Possession and Popular Religion; Phyllis Mack, Visionary Women: Ecstatic Prophesy in Seventeenth-Century England (Berkeley, CA, 1992). 74 Citation is from Cristina Mazzoni, Saint Hysteria: Neurosis, Mysticism, and Gender in European Culture (Ithaca, N.Y., 1996), p. 145. See also Jean-Martin Charcot and Paul Richer, Les demoniaques dans l’art suivi de ‘La foi qui gerit’ (Paris, 1984), pp. 34, 38. 75 The governor of Tavrida submitted the first report with a special section about the Shalaputs in 1865. See RGIA, f.1263, op.1, d.3257, vedomost’ #25.


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religious movement among the Ekaterinoslav peasants. At the outset, in contrast to the previous phases of the Shalaput movements, the Duplii adherents distanced themselves both from the mystic extremities of the Khlysty and from the Protestant rationalism of the Stundists and Mennonites. They stressed the traditionalism of Russian Orthodoxy in their preaching and rituals. Yet, by the 1890s, the DupliiShalaputs had developed the same millennial theology and enthusiastic religious practices as other Shalaput groups. They contributed to the chiliastic atmosphere of radical religious dissent among the rural population of late Imperial Russia. The predecessors of the Duplii-Shalaputs in Ekaterinoslav province were the dissidents, similar to the Tavrida and Kherson Shalaputs. After the discoveries of Skoptsy and Khlysty activity among state peasants from the Tavrida and Kherson provinces in the 1840s, the Ekaterinoslav police decided to strengthen their control over local peasants. In 1847, police discovered a sect in Pavlograd district, whose activities were reminiscent of the Tavrida Shalaputs. Their leader, Sergei Tsyba, was a peasant who traveled in the southern provinces, preaching among the locals. During a police investigation from 1847 to 1852, they discovered that in 1847, Tsyba had established a special meeting for worship in his house. ‘Father Sergei’, a ‘prophet of God’, as he called himself, prayed as a spirit-possessed preacher. During nightly sessions he fell on the floor as a dead person and afterwards imitated his own resurrection ‘under the influence of God’. The local peasants called him ‘Saint Sergei’, because he could heal wounds, cure diseases, and predict the future. He taught his neighbours to avoid alcohol, meat, tobacco, and sex. He urged his adherents to lead a peaceful life without violence. He asked his male adherents not to shave their beards. He saw no need for the Russian Orthodox clergy as intermediaries between Christians and God. In his struggle with ‘demons’ and the ‘Evil Spirit’, he practiced exorcism. The peasants considered him a ‘messenger of God’, and were told by him about his communication with angels and Christian saints. After his arrest, his followers told the police that they could not imagine life without him, since he was for them both Jesus Christ and the Mother of God.76 Such sects as Tsyba’s were predecessors of the mass Shalaput movement in Ekaterinoslav province. As early as 1847, the belief in Christ’s re-incarnation was noted among the Ekaterinoslav peasants. This trend persisted in later variations of the Shalaput movement in this region. The first Russian publication about the Shalaputs, in August 1873, located the origin of this dissident movement among Ukrainian Cossacks from the Portnianskie Khutora settlement (Mirgorod district, Poltava province). According to this article, a local Cossack, Elisei Monachinskii, went to Tavrida as an agricultural worker in 1858 and brought the ideas of the Tavrida dissidents to the Poltava countryside. He established a sect of ninety local Cossacks, who were called Shalaputs by their neighbors. By 1863, this Shalaput sect spread from Poltava province to Ekaterinoslav province.77 76 N. Varadinov, Istoria ministerstva vnutrennikh del (St Petersburg, 1863), vol. 8, 598–99. See also V. I. Iasevich-Borodaevskaia, Bor’ba za veru. Istoriko-bytovye ocherki (St Petersburg, 1912), pp. 219–20. She started her essay about the Shalaputs with Sergei Tsyba’s story. 77 The first publication about Shalaputs was an article in the Kiev newspaper. See: T., ‘Sekta shaloputov’, Kievlianin, 98 (18 August 1873), 1–3. See other local periodicals: Nedelia, 31 (1873), 1128–30; Orest Levitskii, ‘Shaloputy na granitse Poltavskoi I Ekaterinoslavskoi gub’, Kievskii telegraf, 41 (1875), 1, 2; 42 (date?), 2–3; 43 (date?), 2–3; 48 (date?), 4; Zaria, 13 (1881).



This version of the Shalaput movement in Ekaterinoslav province was initially called the sect of Bosonogie (‘the barefoot’) by local peasants. In April 1867, Father Ioanikii Vakhnin, a priest from the village of Spasskoe (Novomoskovsk district, Ekaterinoslav province), reported on the Bosonogie sect established by Nikita Ignatenko, a state peasant from the same village. Ignatenko had already been imprisoned for his ‘dissident religious views’ in 1861. After promising loyalty to the Russian Orthodox Church, he was released from jail and returned to Spasskoe. He invited local peasants to visit his house to read and discuss the Bible. Because of his piety, sobriety, and wisdom, he was popular with his neighbours. The local clergy called Ignatenko and his followers ‘bosonogie’ because Ignatenko usually walked barefoot even in the snow during the coldest winter weather.78 Under pressure from Orthodox clergy, the Novomoskovsk district police began an investigation but found no dissident sect in Spasskoe. Responding to the requests of the Holy Synod and the Interior Minister, the governor of Ekaterinoslav reported to the Interior Minister on 18 October 1867 that the main reason for concern about the Bosonogie sect was its ‘unusual piety, sobriety and charity’, which attracted the attention of their neighbors. The governor also noted that they were literate. These suspicious dissidents distributed Orthodox Christian literature bought from monasteries free of charge. During religious holidays they permitted ‘the meetings of those who shared their notions’ in their houses, where they read religious books ‘explaining what they read, and then sang the psalms’. The governor nevertheless praised the conduct of these religious people and wrote that ‘nothing wrong was found in their lifestyle and conduct’. Indeed, Platon, the bishop of Ekaterinoslav and Taganrog met Duplii and characterized him afterwards as ‘a harmless and pious Orthodox Christian’. On 27 November 1867, the bishop wrote a special report confirming ‘his Russian Orthodox faith’ to the Holy Synod. Nevertheless, the local police and clergy insisted on a discontinuance of the religious meetings in private houses.79 Later, the activities of these peasants from the Novomoskovsk district laid the foundation for the Duplii sect, in which the monastic ideal of Orthodoxy was re-enforced with evangelical practices. The activities of the Bosonogie contributed to the establishment of the first monastic communities, formed by peasant dissidents in the Novomoskovsk and Pavlograd districts. The Shalaputs attempted to emulate Orthodox monasticism on the outskirts of their villages.80 Such monastic communities among the pietist 78

RGIA, f.797, op.37, d.107, l.1–1ob. RGIA, f.797, op.37, d.107, l.4–7ob. During the 1860s many pious peasants after visits to the Orthodox monasteries tried to establish their own patterns of Orthodoxy and organized meetings for worship in their houses. For example, in 1866 the peasant Nechai organized a group analogous to Duplii’s sect in the village of Blagodatnoe in the district of Mariupol’. See ‘O shaloputakh siol Blagodatnogo, Ol’govki I Nikolaevki Mariupol’skogo uezda, Ekaterinoslavskoi gubernii’, Ekaterinoslavskie eparkhial’nye vedomosti, 23 (1886), 593–99. By 1875 the village of Shul’govka (with 13 families and 75 members of the sect) had become a new center of the Shalaputs in Novomoskovsk district. It was noteworthy that the local priests who complained about the increase of the Shalaputs in their parishes were not able to give their exact numbers. The most active and intelligent peasants joined the new movement and it was hard to tell the Shalaputs from the pious and sober Orthodox peasants. RGIA, f.796, op.165 (1884–85), d.1692, l.1–1ob. 80 Ekaterinoslavskie eparkhial’nye vedomosti, 18 (1886), 453–63. 79


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peasants contributed to the diversity of religious practices in Ekaterinoslav province. They laid the foundations for the creation of more numerous Shalaput congregations, such as Grigorii Shevchenko’s sect, whose history was recorded in detail by Orthodox scholars. In 1879, Grigorii Shevchenko, a former peasant and retired soldier from the village of Alexandropol’ [Pavlograd district], returned to his native village and, together with his brother Timofei, established a sect that was ‘hostile to the Orthodox Church’. This sect became another centre of the Shalaput movement in Ekaterinoslav province, which initiated connections not only with peasants but also with the inhabitants of such cities as Ekaterinoslav and Alexandrovsk. By 1889, no less than 268 peasants from Pavlograd district had acknowledged in public that they belonged to Grigorii Shevchenko’s sect. Even the Orthodox clergy noted that a majority of the peasants in such villages as Alexandropol’ supported Shevchenko’s sect.81 During the 1880s and 1890s, between 361 and 430 peasants in Ekaterinoslav province registered as non-Orthodox dissidents, and were designated Shalaputs in official documents. But the number of Shalaputs, who still considered themselves sincere Orthodox Christians and did not want to break their ties with the official church, was considerable. Even the local police could not provide the governor with exact figures on Shalaput numbers. The entire population of some large villages such as Priadivka, which contained more than 500 peasants, shared the ideas of Duplii. Local officials even called some of the villages in the Novomoskovsk and Pavlograd districts ‘Shalaput settlements’.82 Responding to the request of the Orthodox clergy, the police began its investigation in Ekaterinoslav province and seized books and other religious objects from Shalaput households. It turned out, however, that the Orthodox publishing houses had printed all these books, and that all other religious objects were also of Orthodox origin. The provincial administration had difficulty distinguishing religious peasants from sectarians. On 4 November 1880, during the trial of the Ekaterinoslav Shalaputs, the Odessa court vindicated the Novomoskovsk peasants, ‘not finding any serious evidence of their religious dissent’. The character of the Shalaputs from Ekaterinoslav province confused even the prosecutor and jury. The overwhelming majority of these dissidents behaved as did their most popular leader, Pavlo Duplii, strictly observing all rituals and rules of the Orthodox Church. Overall, the theology and religious practices of the Duplii-Shalaputs were so close to Russian Orthodoxy that the prosecutor considered them ‘over-pious Christians’.83 The case of Petro (Pavlo) Duplii in Ekaterinoslav province is perhaps the best demonstration of the Shalaput movement’s confusing character. Police documents and the descriptions of ethnographers and journalists reveal the heterogeneous 81 A. Dorodnitsyn, ‘Shelaputskaia obshchina’, pp. 708–10. He devoted this essay to a story of Grigorii Shevchenko’s group. 82 See Otchet Ekaterinoslavskogo gubernatora za 1883 god, p. 25; Otchet Ekaterinoslavskogo gubernatora za 1890 god, 371ob., 405–405ob. 83 RGIA, f.796, op.165 (1884–85), d.1692, l.19–26.



background of this movement and the controversial role of its most influential leader.84 At the beginning of the 1870s, the governor of Poltava reported to the Interior Minister about the spread of the Shalaput movement among the rural population of his province. His information confirmed Pavel Duplii to be the most well known Shalaput leader. On 14 December 1876, responding to the Poltava governor’s reports, the Interior Ministry requested from the Ekaterinoslav governor a special investigation into ‘the personality and dissident activities’ of Pavel Duplii. The district police of Novomoskovsk organized an investigation and reported its results on 1 March 1877.85 The police officer, who wrote the report, gave a sympathetic description of Duplii. He described him as a ‘hale and hearty’ peasant of seventy. According to the police, all peasants respected Duplii as a wise and reasonable man. He was considered to be one of the most industrious agriculturists in his village, successful in farm work and bee keeping. Peasants called him with respect and love ‘our old man’. Following his religious principles based on the Gospels; Pavlo Duplii stopped farming and began to live the life of an ascetic monk. He gave all his property to peasants who were poor and hungry, and tried to help anybody who suffered physically or spiritually. His preaching and the example of his life influenced the Priadivka peasants, who stopped ‘drinking alcohol’ and abandoned their ‘former existence of idleness’ for the new ‘diligent and productive’ life of a successful farmer. According to the police, because of Duplii’s influence, the population of Priadivka became the wealthiest in Novomoskovsk district. At the same time, all observers noted the strange changes in Priadivka, appearing gloomy and different from a typical Ukrainian village. Young people did not sing and dance in the evening any more, but spent all their time reading the Gospels and praying.86 The police report noted the unusual religious piety of Duplii, who attended all the church services and made regular pilgrimage to the Kiev-Pecherskii and Solovetskii monasteries. Moreover, Duplii sent his brother to a Kharkov monastery where he became a monk. Despite this obvious religiosity, the local priest, Father Zhitetskii, who was noted for his corruption, characterized Duplii as the worst enemy of Orthodoxy. However, the police officer vindicated Duplii and cited the local priest’s cupidity and inefficiency as the main reasons for the peasants’ defection from the Orthodox Church. As the police officer wrote, Duplii ‘has a mania to embody the monastic life, [while] living in this world’. As he and later 84 In official documents Duplii was called either Piotr or Pavel in Russian, because the Church records assigned his name to these Christian saints, his protectors. See Dniepropetrovsk State Regional Archive (hereafter-DDOA), f.11, op.1, d.61/62, l.1–3. Varvara Iasevich-Borodaevskaia used a name Piotr. See V. Iasevich-Borodaevskaia, Op. cit., 222. In 1881, the author of the first publication about Duplii used mistakenly a name Ivan. See Zaria, 13 (1881), 4. Duplii’s neighbors called him Pavlo (or Petro) in Ukrainian. I will use a name Pavel, because Duplii called himself Pavlo in Ukrainian. 85 The following portrayal of Duplii’s personality is based on the police report of 1 March 1877: DDOA, f.11, op.1, d.61/62, ll.3–7. 86 Iasevich-Borodaevskaia, Op.cit., 181–82. The Priadivka appearance was reminiscent of Geneva at the times of Calvin’s reforms.


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V. Iasevich-Borodaevskaia noted, Duplii had always wanted to be a monk and followed monastery rules ‘every day of his life’. Duplii had grown up in a typical, poor family of Ukrainian peasants. He was half-illiterate; that is, he was able to read printed text in Russian, but could not write. From early childhood he was attracted to religious books and church rituals. Yet disappointed with formality of religious service in his village church, he began to travel as a pilgrim to various Russian Orthodox holy places, monasteries, and hermitages, ‘seeking Divine truth’. The priest from Priadivka tried to persuade him to stop his travels and stay with his father, but Duplii’s father, who was always intoxicated, could not serve as a positive model for his religious son, who kept visiting monasteries and did not want to stay at home. Enraged with Pavlo’s stubbornness, his drunkard father beat him almost to death. Pavlo suffered such cruel beatings each time he returned from his travels that he eventually decided to devote all his life to God and live in a monastery. Once, during his regular pilgrimage, Pavlo decided to stay in the Kiev-Pecherskii monastery, but the local monk Job (called by peasants ‘the holy hermit Iona’) persuaded him to go back to his village and remain in the world. The monk explained to him that to live as a monk among the sinning people in this world and serve as an example of righteousness is more difficult and important than a sinless existence in an isolated monastery. When Pavlo showed the letter from this monk to the police officer, he noted that ‘real Christian work for a sincere believer was to remain a righteous man and serve God by overcoming all temptations and difficulties of this sinful world’.87 Therefore, Duplii articulated notions reminiscent of what Max Weber defined as ‘the inner worldly ascetic Protestantism’.88 Duplii taught his young adherents: ‘Remember, you do not need to flee from this world, you must overcome it and resist its temptations and strengthen your spirit in the struggle against the sins of this world’. As had thousands of religious radicals before him, Duplii insisted on a struggle for the transformation of the sinful world, living among sinners rather than living in a secluded monastery. It is noteworthy that he and his followers followed the principle that became the norm for many Protestants all over the world. At the end of the seventeenth century, another reformer of the religious tradition, William Penn, the British Quaker, one of the founders of Pennsylvania, the Quaker colony in America, defined this principle in his advice to co-religionists. In his famous treatise ‘No Cross No Crown’, William Penn urged against ‘withdrawal’ of Christians from ‘this world’ into closed religious communities: ‘The Christian Convent and Monastery are within, where the Soul is encloistered from Sin. True Godliness does not turn Men out of the World, but enables them to live


DDOA, f.11, op.1, d.61/62, l.4; Iasevich-Borodaevskaia, Op.cit., 185–86. Journalists wrote that Duplii was illiterate. See Zaria, 13 (1881), 4, and Otechestvennye zapiski, 10 (1882), 166–67. At the same time, the police officer and Iasevich-Borodaevskaia noted the Duplii’s ability to make extensive precise quotations from the Holy Scripture. They assumed that he could read the printed text at least. 88 See for example, Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, transl. by Talcott Parsons; new introduction by Randall Collins. (Los Angeles, 1998), pp. 27, 165–66, 170–71, 172, 180.



better in it, and excites their endeavors to mend it’.89 Thus an uneducated Ukrainian peasant, the leader of the Priadivka Shalaputs, formulated together with an English aristocrat, William Penn, the leader of the Anglo-American Quakers, what Max Weber called an important moral aspect of modernization — the inner worldly asceticism of Protestant Christianity.90 At the same time, Duplii emphasized humility and self-abasement as necessities for the sincere Christian believer. His self-abasement often took extreme forms; he appeared and behaved as ‘God’s fool’ in his shabby and worn dress making jokes and humorous critical comments on his own life. According to Duplii, the best remedy for human pride was self-humiliation and the self-limitation of human desires. ‘Imitatio Christi’, following Jesus Christ’s example in everyday life, was the best way to salvation. Thus, the Duplii-Shalaputs devoted themselves to the service of others. Like the typical ethical prophets described by Max Weber, the Ekaterinoslav Shalaputs tried to show their neighbours the importance of selfdenial and self-sacrifice for the Christian ethic. Therefore, they insisted on a strict dress code and encouraged rigorous fasting. They kept a ‘comprehensive fast’, avoiding any kind of food at all. During this fast, they would drink a beverage made from special healing herbs, which they picked on the steppe. Local peasants called this beverage ‘Shalaput herbs’.91 The Duplii-Shalaputs combined their radical asceticism with millenarianism, expecting the end of this world. Duplii and his co-religionists preached about the 89 Citation from William Penn, Works, 2 vols (London, 1726), I, 295, 296. Compare this with comments of the Quaker historian, ‘The Quakers adopted the New Testament ethic of the Anabaptists [who withdrew from the “wicked world” into their own communities which were regarded as oases in the midst of the wilderness of sin], but instead of rejecting the gross world of human appetites and passions, insisted that it was the material out of which the Kingdom of God was to be fashioned. This combination of the ethical position of the Anabaptists with the Calvinist attitude towards the material world was the distinctive feature of Quaker social thought.’ Frederick B. Tolles, Meeting House and Counting House: The Quaker Merchants of Colonial Philadelphia, 1682–1763, (Chapel Hill, 1948), p. 53. 90 Max Weber, Sociology of Religion, pp. 166, 167, 168, 177. He wrote about the inner-worldly Ascetism, ‘The unique concentration of human behavior on activities leading to salvation may require the participation within the world (or more precisely: within the institutions of the world but in opposition to them) of the religious individual’s idiosyncratically sacred religious mood and his qualifications as the elect instrument of god. This is inner-worldly asceticism. . . In this case the world is presented to the religious virtuoso as his responsibility. He may have the obligation to transform the world in accordance with his ascetic ideals, in which case the ascetic will become a rational reformer or revolutionary . . . The order of the world in which the ascetic is situated becomes for him a vocation, which he must fulfill rationally. As a consequence, and although the enjoyment of wealth is forbidden to the ascetic, it becomes his vocation to engage in economic activity which is faithful to rationalized ethical requirements and which conforms to strict legality. If success supervenes upon acquisitive activity, it is regarded as the manifestation of god’s blessing upon the labor of the pious man and of god’s pleasure with his economic pattern of life. This type of inner-worldly asceticism included, above all, ascetic Protestantism, which taught the principle of loyal fulfillment of obligations within the framework of the world as the sole method of proving religious merit . . . To the extent that an inner-worldly religion of salvation is determined by distinctively ascetical tendencies, the usual result is practical rationalism, in the sense of the maximization of rational action as such, the maximization of a methodical systematization of the external conduct of life, and the maximization of the rational organization and institutionalization of mundane social systems, whether monastic communities or theocracies.’ 91 Iasevich-Borodaevskaia, Op.cit., 185–86, 187; DDOA, f.11, op.1, d.61/62, l.4.


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coming of the Anti-Christ and his prophets. They, like other Shalaputs, exhausted themselves by extensive praying on their knees, with continuous reading of the Gospels, and by their comprehensive fasting in order to prepare their souls for the Holy Spirit. In their self-humiliation they exaggerated the traditional emphasis of the Orthodox Church on human suffering. According to Duplii, those who suffered in this world and denied all wealth were ready to enter the Kingdom of God. Duplii himself, formerly a wealthy peasant, gave all his money to needy and poor neighbours. Until the end of his life, he helped other people by all possible means. He taught that Christians should ‘be great by their meekness, and rich in their poverty’. For him, ‘the beginning of human pride was a defection from God’.92 By his preaching and religious practices, Duplii emphasized what was obvious from other Shalaput criminal cases — the Shalaputs’ Orthodox roots. Like other Shalaput leaders, Duplii first attempted to reform Russian Orthodox parish life. He tried to make the Holy Scripture intelligible to ordinary Ukrainian peasants who could not understand Church Slavonic. Thus he organized a special meeting for reading and explaining the Bible in his house. He opposed special ecclesiastical taxes, organizing his neighbours to oppose the decision of local clergy to introduce new taxes for the building of a new parish church. At the same time, he tried to help those monastic communities with financial problems by organizing a collection among his co-religionists. Finally, frustrated with the formalism of the Orthodox Church, Duplii tried to compensate for the ‘lack of warmth and spirituality’ in the local church by creating his own Christian community, which could help peasants to survive and prepare for the coming Kingdom of God.93 As early as the 1860s, Shalaput communities created new cultural patterns distinct from Russian Orthodox peasant culture. The Reverend Samoilov, a parish priest in the village of Shul’govka (Ekaterinoslav province) noted that, at first, ‘the Shalaputs looked like very pious and religious Orthodox peasants’. According to his description, their dress was always clean and neat. In contrast to their Orthodox neighbours, Shalaput houses were very clean and rationally organized; there were many icons, candles, and icon-lamps everywhere in their rooms. This priest was struck by the fact that all Shalaputs were literate and had many religious books, which they read every day at the family table. Other local priests reported analogous information. The local administration emphasized their diligence and industrious character. Both the police and clergy noted the well-being of Shalaput communities, the productivity of their farming and the efficiency of their 92

Iasevich-Borodaevskaia, Op.cit., 186. DDOA, f.11, op.1, d.61/62, ll.5–6, 7. Duplii was disappointed with ingratitude of the Orthodox clergy as well. Once his community helped one of the Ekaterinoslav Orthodox cloisters financially. The peasants from Priadivka sent money and food for the local nuns. But afterwards, when the cloister managed to survive using the peasants’ aid, its mother superior, being afraid of the Duplii’s influence, accused him in the dissident activities, and Duplii was arrested by the police. See also: V. IasevichBorodaevskaia, Op.cit., 186, 188, and Ia. Abramov, Op. cit., 166–67. The local Orthodox priest, Zhitetskii, who reported to the police about Duplii’s Shalaputstvo, was noted for his corruption and incompetence. Both the peasants and the local police complained about his cupidity and ignorance. But the diocesan administration was afraid to remove Zhitetskii from the Priadivka parish, because his son was an influential official in the Holy Synod in St. Petersburg. See: DDOA, f.11, op.1, d.61/62, l. 7. 93



households. Notwithstanding complaints about the Shalaputs’ dissident activities, all observers (including the Orthodox clergy) acknowledged that the Shalaput peasants displayed a higher level of literacy and knowledge of the Bible, better agricultural productivity, and greater cooperation than their Orthodox neighbours. As a rule, the Shalaput activists who followed the principles of inner-worldly asceticism in their every-day life were more prosperous and better off than the Orthodox peasants. The industrious Shalaputs were always friendly, affectionate, and cordial. They were ready to help their neighbours and instead of violence and conflicts in inter-personal relations, they sought peaceful and friendly relations with their Orthodox neighbours and offered to help everybody in need.94 In light of rumours of sexual transgressions among the Shalaputs, the ecclesiastical administration of Kherson tried to punish and exile them. Yet this was not a unanimous decision. Some local priests presented the Shalaputs as ‘harmless pious peasants’ who visited the village church and regularly participated in church services. Moreover, when, under the pressure of the ecclesiastical administration, local peasants tried to evict the Shalaputs from the village of Shirokoe, the Kherson provincial administration did not approve this decision, ‘because all the dissident peasants were noted as the most industrious and efficient farmers of the province’, and they ‘did not commit any crimes against society’. The governor highly praised the conduct of these religious people and wrote that ‘nothing wrong was found in their lifestyle and conduct’. Therefore, the secular powers of Kherson province vindicated the dissident peasants who disobeyed the local clergy.95 The Shalaputs drew on the different traditions of popular Orthodoxy and developed as a popular religious movement to reform the hierarchical and formalistic Orthodox Church. In its extreme forms, the Shalaput religious ethos emphasized the spiritual mystical side of religious morality distinct from rationalist Protestant behavior. All serious Orthodox scholars have noted how the Shalaputs appropriated and applied traditional forms of Orthodox theology and liturgy in their rituals.96 Amidst the colonization of the southern frontier, the Shalaput movement started as an extension of the old dissident movements, such as the Khlysty and Skoptsy, from the central Russian provinces in the 1830s. During the 1850s and 1860s the Shalaputs borrowed from the Molokan movement and even from the Mennonites, but their main inspiration came from the traditions of the ‘God’s Belief’ movement. These traditions had already laid the foundations for the popular Reformation of Russian Orthodox Christianity among peasants of the central Russian provinces. As a further elaboration of these traditions, the entire Shalaput movement, which influenced from five to twenty percent of the rural population in the provinces of Tavrida, Stavropol’, Bessarabia, Kherson, Poltava, and Ekaterinoslav, became a popular Radical Reformation of Russian Orthodoxy from the 1860s to 1890s. 94 RGIA, f.796, op.165 (1884-85), d.1692, ll.17, 18; f.796, op.168, d.1394, ll.3, 6. Compare with publication of Dorodnitsyn, Abramov, and Iasevich-Borodaevskaia. 95 RGIA, f.797, op.51, 2 otd. 3 st., d. 81, l.7–7ob., 10, 12–12ob. 96 See, for example, A. Dorodnitsyn, ‘Shelaputskaia obshchina’, 719–20.


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In the 1850s and 1860s, during their migration to the southern frontier, Shalaput activists created the infrastructure of a dissident movement through their travels, written correspondence, pilgrimages, and exchange of news. They also established patterns of behaviour for their successors, such as the Stundists and Malevantsy. The spirit possession and the religious ecstasy of the Shalaputs became an integral part of radical Stundism. At the same time, the persecution of the Shalaputs by the Orthodox clergy laid the foundations for future anti-dissident practices and discourses. Besides the Russian Molokans and the German-speaking Mennonites, they became the first pioneers of the Protestant ethic on the southern frontier. Beginning as Orthodox Pietists, Shalaputs nevertheless created their own patterns of rational behavior, avoiding alcohol and concentrating on the thorough realization of everyday plans. Following the monastic ideal, they demonstrated their own version of an inner-worldly asceticism, which was reminiscent of the Protestant religious ethos. The Shalaputs promoted the role of women in the life of their communities and made them leaders of their movement. They elaborated the ideas of the Radical Reformation and applied them to the Orthodox Christian traditions. They combined different cultural traditions and created a new cultural identity among the rural population of the southern frontier. The Shalaputs introduced and elaborated the new principle of kinship — Christian spirituality and a search for Divine Truth, instead of ethnic, regional, or denominational criteria in identity formation. By their activities and through their pilgrimage and travels, the Shalaputs connected various ‘charismatic’ sects of the southern frontier into one cultural framework, and set the stage for the subsequent religious dissident movements of late imperial Russia. ****

The Russian Radical Reformation underwent three chronological and typological stages in its development. These stages were interconnected and overlapped in time. The Radical Reformation on the southern frontier began during the 1830s and 1840s in the small communities of Russian migrant peasants from the central provinces, who brought the old traditions of the ‘Christ Faith’ movement and religious dissent to the new land. Different versions of this dissent, including the Molokan, Dukhobor, and Khlyst/Skopets traditions were incorporated into new religious practices on the southern frontier. These old traditions of Russian dissent converged with new Western Protestant influences, including Lutheran Pietism and the Mennonite Jumpers’ movement. During this cultural dialogue between the Shalaputs and their Protestant co-religionists from the German colonies, all participants contributed equally to the new phenomenon in the evangelical movement — Ukrainian Stundism, which appropriated various Russian and Western European traditions of religious dissent. After 1884, Ukrainian Stundism together with the Pashkovites, the intellectual evangelicals from the Russian aristocracy, and the evangelical movement among the Molokans from the Caucasus, laid the foundations for the Russian Baptist Union. The institutionalization of the evangelical movement and the spread of Baptism led to the split of Stundism into



Stundo-Baptism and the radical ‘spiritual’ version of Stundism. The new stage of the Radical Reformation began among the radical Stundists, the Malevantsy, who rejected human authorities and liturgical worship. During the 1890s, the Radical Reformation demonstrated the revitalization of the ecstatic and millennial elements of the Shalaputs within the context of the Stundist movement in the South. As a result, after 1900, these three phases of the evangelical movement — Shalaput, Stundist, and Stundist-Shalaput — determined the main framework of the entire popular Reformation not only on the southern frontier, but also in other provinces of the Russian Empire. Biographical Note Dr Sergei Ivanovich Zhuk trained as an Americanist in the Soviet Union and as a European historian in the United States. After defending his PhD dissertation ‘Russia’s Lost Reformation: Peasants and Radical Religious Sects in Southern Russia and Ukraine, 1830–1905’ at Johns Hopkins University in March 2002, he spent nine months as a Research Scholar at the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars. He began teaching Russian and East European history at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana in Summer 2003. His academic interests include the history of the Radical Reformation and colonization, religion and popular culture in imperial Russia and the Soviet Union. The title of his new research project is ‘Russian Historians and the West: Western Civilization in Russian Historical Thought from the Nineteenth Century to the Present.’

Slovo, Vol. 15, No. 2, Autumn 2003


Dostoevsky: The Mantle of the Prophet, 1871–1881. By Joseph Frank. Princeton, NJ and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2002. xv + 784 pp. £24.95. ISBN 0-691-08665-6 (hardback). With the publication of the fifth and final volume of Joseph Frank’s biography of Fyodor Dostoevskii, demand for further examination of this writer’s life must surely be sated for some time. For breadth and ambition, Frank’s biography is unmatched. The Mantle of the Prophet: 1871–1881 concludes Frank’s project, some twenty-five years in the making, with aplomb. Like the volumes that preceded it, the last is as much an account of Dostoevskii’s cultural milieu as it is a biography of the man himself. These were momentous years for Dostoevskii. He arrived back in Russia in 1871, on the very day of the trial of the Nechaev circle — the group on whom Dostoevskii based the plot of Demons. In the next ten years, Dostoevskii would finish this novel and write two others, A Raw Youth and The Brothers Karamazov. He would also write his Diary of a Writer, become editor of The Citizen, know fame in his own lifetime, develop emphysema, and suffer the death of another child — the last in a long line of personal tragedies. Frank’s previous volumes corrected many widespread myths about Dostoevskii. Likewise, in Mantle of the Prophet he adds much-needed subtlety to the picture of Dostoevskii in the 1870s. Far from being the outright reactionary (and apostate from radicalism) depicted by previous biographers, Frank shows the extent to which Dostoevskii’s politics approximated those of the radicals. His decision to publish A Raw Youth in Nekrasov’s Notes of the Fatherland was, Frank suggests, a deliberate edging away from the arch-conservatism of many in his circle (Maikov, Strakhov, Meshcherskii, Katkov, and others). But the rapprochement with the liberals also involved movement on their part. Narodnichestvo, the radical ideology that replaced the nihilism of the 1860s was not, in the end, so different from the pochvennichestvo Dostoevskii had once advocated. This convergence helped keep Dostoevskii popular, particularly among the younger generation, judging from the rapturous receptions he received at frequent public readings in the late 1870s. It also allowed him to stand somewhere between both ideological extremes, a uniquely influential position. In such a role, suggests Frank, Dostoevskii became self-consciously ‘prophetic’ — a quality many were happy to assign him. The title of the present volume acknowledges this, as does Frank’s inclusion at the beginning of the book of Pushkin’s ‘Prophet’, the poem Dostoevskii read on public occasions to great acclaim. Pushkin and Dostoevskii’s © School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, 2003


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growing Messianism ultimately combined in 1880, at the festival to celebrate the national poet. In his famous speech Dostoevskii proclaimed Russia’s mission: to bring about ‘the general unification of all people of all the tribes of the great Aryan race’. The reference to the ‘Aryan race’ revealed the influence on Dostoevskii of antiSemitic literature, says Frank. He is a fair and sensitive chronicler of Dostoevskii’s increasingly virulent anti-Semitism, particularly the chapter on the Jewish Question. But Frank also draws a distinction between Dostoevskii the artist and Dostoevskii the publicist. Thus, despite disparaging references to ‘Yids’ throughout Diary of a Writer, Dostoevskii’s greatest crime, Frank suggests, was Alesha Karamazov’s refusal, when given the chance, to refute the blood libel against the Jews. ‘[. . .] That Dostoevskii should have introduced such material at all [. . .] leaves a permanent stain on his reputation that nothing can efface’ (p. 670). Indeed, as willing as Frank is to reveal Dostoevskii’s decency, his blemishes are also obvious. Dostoevskii’s temperamental nature is evident, as is his considerable insecurity, exemplified not least by the rivalry with Turgenev. The intimacy of the account of Dostoevskii in this volume, which is more personal than the previous parts of the biography, is due to Frank’s extensive use of the memoirs of Dostoevskii’s wife, Anna Grigor´evna, and the frequent reference to Dostoevskii’s letters. But this material is also hazardous. Dostoevskii wrote his later letters when he was conscious of journalistic interest in his life, and Anna Grigor´evna’s history is often deceptive. Frank knows this, as his account of Dostoevskii’s death shows: Anna Grigor´evna’s version of the last hours is weighed for truth and rejected. But the strength of this volume, like the others, is not the depiction of Dostoevskii’s personal life, but the critical analysis of the novels and, especially, their ideological context. A Raw Youth, says Frank, was Dostoevskii’s ‘Trojan horse’, taking his religious argument unopposed into the opponents’ camp — to the radicals of Notes of the Fatherland. Dostoevskii’s Christianity was increasingly central in the last novels, says Frank, because it was on those grounds that he believed the radical populists diverged from him. Despite their admiration for the ‘people’, the radicals were ignoring the people’s Christ. The Brothers Karamazov — Dostoevskii’s attempt ‘with words to sear the hearts of men’ — is primarily assessed for polemical content, although Frank is eloquent when writing about the novel’s aesthetic strengths and religious meaning. The book’s parricide is placed in the context of assassination attempts against the tsar; psychology — such as Freudian ideas about Dostoevskii’s relationship with his father — is ignored. And while there is little originality in Frank’s interpretation — the work of V. L. Komarovich and other earlier critics is sometimes evident (and always acknowledged) — his familiarity with the source material for The Brothers Karamazov is telling, as it was in previous critiques of earlier novels. The complaint of scholars reading this book will inevitably concern the paucity of its bibliographic and reference material. The absence of even a basic bibliography for so massive a work as this is disappointing. This complaint aside, Frank must be saluted by both generalist and specialist. Mantle of the Prophet is, on its own, an



excellent examination of the last decade of a fascinating, often tragic, but always varied, life. Like the other four books in the biography, this volume rewards rereading. As part of the whole, Mantle of the Prophet concludes the most thorough biography of Dostoevskii published to date. School of Slavonic and East European Studies University College London

Derek Brower

Russia: Experiment with a People. By Robert Service. London, Basingstoke, and Oxford: Pan Macmillan and associated companies throughout the world, 2002. viii + 408 pp. £20. ISBN 0 333 72626 X (hardback). The EU & Belarus. Ed. by A. Lewis. London: The Federal Trust, 2002. 429 pp. £22.50. ISBN 1 903403 02 2 (paperback). The continuing saga of post-Communist Russia delivered yet another sensational scene in October 2002, with the Chechen hostage crisis in Moscow, resolved finally (but with many casualties) by an apparently revolutionary nerve gas attack. The Chechen crisis, and many other problems, bedevil the new Russia. It is important for us all that Russia solves many of these difficulties by democratic means. Although President Putin, securely in power since 2000, seems to project the image of world-class statesman, none of us really knows the final outcome of Russia’s democratization process in the twenty-first century. Therefore we rely on our professional Russianists to inform us about a very complex and dynamic situation. Professor Robert Service has risen to the occasion with a smartly produced hardback volume which will surely soon become available in paperback. Some years ago, an American journalist named Hedrick Smith produced an excellent series of books on both Soviet Russians and The New Russians (Sphere Books), published in the time of Gorbachev. Has Professor Service succeeded in matching Smith in this twenty-first century publication? Although a few purists will quibble about the journalistic genre, complete with trendy (and amusing) illustrations, I suggest that many postgraduate students may include some of these chapters in their larger bibliographies. I was particularly impressed with both Chapter 9 (‘Economising on Reform’) and Chapter 15 (‘The Politics of Ideas’). Service has a solid record as an historian, and this perspective serves him well in achieving balance, distance, and wisdom. Yet he is not afraid of the starkly bold statement and the racy reportage which both serve to make this book eminently readable from cover to cover. Service states baldly that ‘Dudaev’s Chechen regime was a disgrace to minimal standards of political decency’ (p. 156). He is equally tough about the reformist politician Gaidar: ‘Gaidarism is inverted vulgar Marxism . . . It is not a programme of intellectual distinction’ (p. 232). Students and specialists will appreciate a good, clean fight on the basis of such statements, and we can be sure that Service will defend his corner with gusto.


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However, I do have a few reservations about this text as it stands, and I am not quite convinced that we will see a remedial second edition of this book. There are unfortunately some typographical errors and at the top of page 168, a huge typographical muddle about Gorbachev’s East European policy is so serious as to obscure meaning. There are some grammatical errors, such as the lack of agreement between subjects and verb in the statement ‘Filthy language and uncouth behaviour is normal’ (p. 248). In addition, I found some of the language a mite colloquial, as in the phrase, ‘In the history of empires there has been nothing like it for swiftness and casualness’ (p. 168). More importantly, the crucial footnotes 20, 22, and 23 in the chapter on Chechnya (p. 162) refer to a source (Gevorkyan et al.) which does not appear in the bibliography. These footnotes relate to the origins of the second Chechen war starting in 1999 and may therefore have relevance to some very high politics indeed. Is Russia moving away from authoritarianism? Service certainly believes that a more pluralistic and relativistic attitude is emerging in the twenty-first century. However, I personally felt uneasy about deriving these conclusions from fashionable considerations of cultural history. We are told that the work of the rock balladeer, Boris Grebenshchikov (leader of the ‘Akvarium’ Group), proves that a pluralistic, non-didactic message is now emerging among the younger people of today, in contrast to the didactic authoritarianism of the older intellectual and artistic generation. In defence of this conclusion, Service quotes a verse or two from Grebenshchikov which seem like the classic statements of a practising alcoholic (p. 254). Another problem for me concerns the rather hurried conclusion (‘Future Uncertain’) and above all the surely ill-considered statement that ‘Democratisation and marketisation have spectacularly failed the Russians. The grand project promoted by the Yeltsin team in 1991–2 has fallen by the wayside’ (p. 336). In the first place, many would see it as a failure of the Russians themselves if they had indeed turned their backs on reform. It is, of course, crucial to all of us that democracy becomes consolidated in the Russian Federation, for otherwise we are looking at the possibility of an effective regime change, or at least a Third Republic. In the second place, Service does not justify his statement that the real incomes of citizens have plummeted since 1984. Although I suspect that Russians are today worse off than they were in 1984, there have certainly been improvements since the 1998 economic crash. Service has rejected determinism in this generally judicious and informative book, which is based upon a professional historian’s experience. At the same time it surely suffers from some dubious assertions and contested conclusions, which seem to be the outcome of ill-considered haste. In contrast to Russia, Belarus has not faced up to the problem of transition, and despite its strategic location it has failed to attract enough attention as compared to the giant to its east, or to its more successful western neighbours such as Poland or Lithuania. This relative neglect is surprising in view of the imminent enlargement of the EU and NATO. Happily, this many-authored, four-part volume addresses the subject of modern Belarus with professionalism.



Elizabeth Teague’s introductory overview is presented with great clarity and force, while Part One on ‘Government, Politics and Society’ tells the sorry tale of the emergence of the Lukashenko dictatorship. The papers by David Murphy, and Elena Korosteleva, are particularly useful; but somehow I found myself homing in on the chapter by Anders Aslund in Part Two, entitled ‘Is the Belarussian Economic Model Viable?’ (pp. 173–84). Aslund cites with approval the opinion of United Civic Party Chairman Lebedko, who has summarized the options facing Belarus in 2001 thus: Lukashenko/Africanisation; Oligarchies/Ukrainisation; Transition/Europeanisation. These stark choices, it is argued, are due to the inherent weakness of the present political system, which is repressive but weak, authoritarian but open to the West, and ‘soviet’ without an ideology or party apparatus. However this has not prevented the intimidation or even murder of independent journalists. Clelia Rontoyanni concludes that Belarus must look to its future ties with Russia rather than those with its future EU neighbours. This is largely because, at the time of the Lukashenko coup in 1994, all the European institutions (including the Council of Europe and the OSCE) turned their backs on Belarus. The subsequent political and economic stagnation has held the country back. Martynov and others are now calling for a ‘fresh start’ (p. 303) in the relations between the EU and Belarus. Catherine Guichard is of the opinion that the EU could explore a kind of regional ‘eastern dimension’ which would encompass Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, and Russia taken together. The consensus of opinion among these authors seems to be that the EU does not necessarily need to ‘freeze out’ Belarus, which has been the policy of Washington. The outcome of any future negotiations between Brussels and Minsk need not be a ‘zero-sum game’. Whichever policies are finally adopted, the existence of a porous border of over 1000 kilometres to the eastern end of Europe cannot be ignored. Although these papers inevitably overlap with each other, their articulate message does clearly emerge: it is, surely, time to discuss ways in which Belarus can be brought back into the European orbit. I wonder if we can expect some significant criminal proceedings as well? Whatever happens, in the trial of opinions relating to these two books, I feel that the contest is about even: Robert Service has not quite achieved the heights of Hedrick Smith; and Ann Lewis has not quite co-ordinated her promising team of contributors. London Metropolitan University

Dr S. K. Carter

Croatia: Between Europe and the Balkans. By William Bartlett. (Postcommunist States and Nations, 16). London and New York: Routledge, 2003. xiv + 176 pp. Chronology. Map. Notes. Bibliography. Index. £55.00. The editors of Routledge’s postcommunist states and nations series set their authors a tough challenge: produce an accessible, readable introduction to the politics and


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economics of the respective country in one hundred and fifty pages. William Bartlett is equal to the task. Croatia: Between Europe and the Balkans provides a clear, concise, and balanced account of contemporary Croatia. Bartlett begins by navigating the reader through the travails of Croat history from the arrival of the nomadic Slavic tribes in the seventh century, through incorporation into the Austro-Hungarian Empire, union with the Serbs, the wartime Ustashe regime, the triumph of Tito, and the Croatian Spring of 1971. After furnishing the reader with knowledge of pre-1989 Croatia, Bartlett then devotes twenty to thirty pages in turn to domestic politics, international relations, economics, and social welfare. As one might expect of an expert on social economics, the author is at his best in the latter two chapters. His accounts of privatization and the reforms of the Croatian pension and health system are informative and insightful. Despite the overall high quality of the book, a number of specific criticisms deserve to be levelled. At times Bartlett’s failure to elaborate on key events is striking, particularly when he offers no guide for further reading beyond a general bibliography. Yugoslavia’s expulsion from the Cominform, for example, is dealt with in a sentence (p. 28). Given Yugoslavia’s estrangement from the USSR was central to the country’s political and economic development and, as Valerie Bunce has argued, the resort to violence in the immediate post-1989 era in Central and Eastern Europe was largely determined by whether the country was a fully integrated member of the Warsaw Pact or not, it seems strange Bartlett does not accord the split with Moscow greater space. Moroever, Bartlett does not explain the success of Franjo Tudjman’s HZD party in the April 1990 elections beyond mentioning the ‘renewed wave of nationalist sentiment’ and the distortion of the majoritarian electoral system (p. 35). Given the dominant role the party played in 1990s Croatia this reader wanted more on why the party did so well in those elections. A few pages later, however, Bartlett does provide the reader with a detailed account of HZD’s strength throughout the decade, highlighting the party’s inclusion of nationalist groupings with links to the diaspora, a left-wing faction led by Josip Manoli and Stipe Mesi, and the enterprise managers and technocrats who composed the ‘bulk of the party’ (p. 45). Bartlett also has a tendency to slip sweeping statements into his prose. ‘Before the First World War Croatia formed part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire’, we are told, ‘and hence had a firmly Central European identity’ (p. 1), suggesting identity is derived simply by membership of a political entity. Moreover, he suggests the elections of 1992 and 1993 ‘showed that multiparty democracy had been firmly established in Croatia’ (p. 45), yet proceeds to outline examples of President Tudjman’s authoritarianism five pages later. Nonetheless, it would be churlish to focus too much on the negatives. For any reader of Slovo who feels his/her knowledge of Croatia is sparse and in need of improvement, I would advise them to spend a couple of hours reading William Bartlett’s informative new book. University of Birmingham

Dr Tim Haughton



Biographical Research in Eastern Europe Altered Lives and Broken Biographies. Edited by Robin Humphrey, Robert Miller, and Elena Zdravomyslova, Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2003. This book represents a timely and welcome reaffirmation of the biographical approach as a qualitative research tool in social and anthropological science. Life story, oral history, narrative, autobiography, biography, and other approaches have struggled to assert their credibility largely due to the predominance of scientism in social science, which criticizes their findings as purely subjective. This view has persisted, albeit with less force than in the 1960s, when the approach was completely disregarded. During the 1980s, a further criticism emanated from the anti-realist school who hold the view that whilst autobiographies generate interesting texts, they inform us only about the present state of mind of the interviewee; that external realities cannot be derived from processes which are merely an interpretation of events based on his or her world view. In defence of the ‘non-scientific’ criticism outlined above, Daniel Bertaux uses his own professional biography (in a sample at five-year intervals) to demonstrate that his experiences are ‘not only subjectively true, but objectively true’ whether based on a sample or within a narrative. He goes on to dismiss the qualitative versus quantitive data argument by pointing to the fact that answers to standardized questions in coded surveys are subjective in themselves. In response to the anti-realists, he concedes to the constructivist view that we are all participants in shaping our world, in so long as there must exist a notion of reality independent of our world view. The first chapter, co-written by the editors, underlines the correlation between historical watersheds such as the Second World War, the Holocaust, and here, Eastern Europe in transition on the one hand; and the increasing interest in biographical research to explore how people were ‘adapting and realigning’ their lives during transformation and transition. The editors and contributors in this volume are testament to this revival in biographical turn. The explanation given for this revival is that interviewees gravitate towards historical watersheds. The researcher, however, is concerned with how respondents have ‘maintained and constructed their biographical identities’ through change, thus continuity becomes a central goal of the researcher. To further examine notions of continuity of identity, Bourdieu’s concept of habitus is employed to refer to processes whereby a child’s disposition to certain patterns of behaviour are laid down by ‘socialisers’ (parents, teachers, institutions), and of the child absorbing ‘appropriate behaviour while experiencing the social milieu of its social class’. The subsequent three parts of the book, with contributions from leading researchers working on Russia and Eastern Europe, deal with the themes of: Communists (Estonia), informers (Stasi in the Former East Germany), and dissidents (Czech and Soviet) in part one; exile (Polish Intelligentsia), migration (Romania to West Germany), and adapting to social change (East Germany and Slovak families) in part two; ethnicity (Leningrad Jews) and sexuality (the representation of women’s sexuality in Russian biographies and Soviet working-class promiscuity) in part three. Without exception, there is a great quality in the treatment of texts and the reader is left in little doubt as to their authenticity. Barbara Miller’s exploration of how


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her respondents became Stasi informants and how they are coping with life in an entirely new ‘open’ society is particularly revealing. ‘Stephana’, implicated in an ‘escape to the West’ scenario later printed in a West German newspaper, may have been part of an elaborate scheme designed by those around her forcing her to work as an informer. The insight into the displacement of values and subsequent denigration of informers in the post-1989 media is made clear as she learns that Barbara Miller has seen her Stasi file — she asks, ‘What kind of person am I then?’ Biographical researchers are interested in the social context behind these stories, some of which have thrown up issues that perhaps no other form of research could. Anna Rotkirch’s two accounts of Russian male sexuality in the poor working-class milieu are used as a device for linking patterns of upward social mobility in the immediate post-Second World War environment and the opportunism of an interviewee reaching adulthood at the end of the 1950s. The latter, involved in an incestuous relationship with his mother, is told by his best teenage friend of how he ‘fucked his mother as well, and she is very content with that, and I don’t forget my sister either’. In conclusion, this book should be read by students and researchers interested in the study of lives in Eastern Europe. For my own part, I look forward to similar volumes in the not too distant future, particularly those that might also focus on the Western Balkans. As Bertaux aptly states, should any doubters remain, ‘if sociologists do not help their contemporaries to understand better the world in which they live and which they construct every day, who will do it?’ School of Slavonic and East European Studies University College London

Anthony RistiCa

Interdisciplinárne kooperácie. By Vladimír Patráš. Banská Bystrica, Slovakia: Univerzita Mateja Bela, 2002. 103 pp. No price available. ISBN 80 8055 684 9 (paperback). Linguistic studies have been based on interdisciplinary relations for several decades. It has transpired that it is both relevant and worthwhile to switch from an isolated approach to language to a more broadly conceived approach to the issues involved. Initially, Slovak sociolinguistics lagged behind Western Europe, the USA, or Russia, though this has not been detrimental to recent progress in this discipline. Various sociolinguistic research projects have been successfully completed, the conclusions and results being published in specialist journals and collected papers or presented at conferences and seminars. Several volumes in the series Sociolinguistica Slovaca (ed. by Slavomír Ondrejoviï) have already appeared and there are regular international conferences devoted to the subject (for example, conferences on issues in communication at Banská Bystrica). One problem for communicating with colleagues abroad is that of language: we lack any strong tradition of translating Slovak linguistic works into English, German, or French. This kind of exposure would certainly help to disseminate the results of research carried out in Slovakia. Of course, Slovak sociolinguistics is not in a state of isolation; linguists enjoy ample connections with colleagues abroad,



which crystallize in professional cooperation, jointly published books or major grant-aided bi- or multilateral research projects. The very title of the book under review indicates the author’s approach. Patráš is one of Slovakia’s leading contemporary linguists. In his publications he both promotes the spread of sociolinguistics in Slovak conditions and introduces new areas and topics in which he has himself a proven track record. In several of these he has been a pioneer in the Slovak linguistic milieu and they have in turn been the inspiration for other studies and analyses. In the Introduction, the author also responds to those who consider sociolinguistics to be an ‘enemy’ of system linguistics: By reference to the broader connections in inter-human communication, an active awareness is constructed — and by no means paradoxically — of the presence of the phenomenon of system, though, naturally, with more finely and more realistically configured manifestations on the individual–social axis. In other words, an interdisciplinary, say, socio-communicative or pragmatico-communicative process of discovery of a ‘higher-order system’ may, by a different, less traditional route, lead profitably to unveiling the mystery of its universality (pp. 5–6).

The material on which Patráš bases his analyses was collected during a five-year period at the end of the twentieth century and is drawn from quite disparate sources — from fiction to recordings of everyday verbal communication among different social groups; this is one of the particular merits of the work. The author focuses on one particular period, enabling his conclusions to be seen as finite in time and place. Besides the Introduction, Conclusion, bibliography, and index, the volume is divided into two parts: ‘Verbal communication in the functional sphere of fiction,’ consisting of four studies in stylistics, rhetoric, and verbal art; and ‘Sociolinguistic investigations into oral communication,’ which contains five studies in everyday spoken communication, especially urban communication. The work’s interdisciplinary nature is advanced not only in the methodology, but also in the choice of material for analysis. In the first study, ‘Stylisation of spontaneity as a support of metatextual expression in the Memoirs of A. Solzhenitsyn’, the author analyses metatextual expression — explicit and implicit — in a section of The Gulag Archipelago. He discusses the interweaving of narrative with metatext and the stylistic approximation of fiction to non-fiction. He explains the principle of negating negation as applied in the text and looks closely at metatextual devices. The study ‘Orality-colloquiality in suprasentential units in the novels of Milo Urban’ deals with expressivity in works by this Slovak writer from 1927 to 1940. The author finds that expressivity here comes not only from words, but is manifest primarily in higher, contextual units; for example, in the early phase, Urban used the paragraph for this purpose. Following on from this, the next paper, ‘Colloquial style and post-modern prose’, picks up the theoretical problem of refining the definition of ‘colloquial style’ within Slovak linguistics. Patráš takes post-modern fiction as an example of an emerging new colloquial style; there is a crisis in theoretical stylistics especially with respect to subjective styles, and the solution lies in reinforcing the status of colloquial style in written communication. The chapter ‘Relations between conventionality and creativity in oral communication’ does not really sit easily within the range of this part of the book; it


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would undoubtedly be more at home in the other section. Whatever the author’s intention, there are few common points between this and the other papers focussed on fiction. This paper deals with everyday communication, specifically the means by which the pragmatic objective of the parties in communication is achieved. The second thematic field deals with sociolinguistic research into spoken communication. Patráš’s works on urban language (the spoken form of a language in towns) are among the best in this branch of Slovak sociolinguistics; the papers herein elaborate individual issues in this area, beginning with ‘Everyday communication among contemporary urban populations in light of current sociolinguistic research’, which outlines the past and present of urban language research. The author rightly recalls that a foundation for this kind of research was already laid in works by members of The Prague Linguistic Circle; the Slovak research tradition was begun between 1963 and 1965, during which time a research project on the spoken form of standard Slovak was completed. Patráš provides a survey of Slovak research, with an appraisal of certain key projects and an overview of the core Slovak publications in this area. The essay benefits from the author’s thoughts on methodology. After an introduction on the state of play in urban language research, Patráš includes two papers on communication in the urban environment. The first deals with Banská Bystrica in the late twentieth century and essential features of its language. It describes the town’s topography and history and highlights the decades which have seen the greatest development in its language. The next study concerns code-switching in everyday speech. The broad-based study on ‘Interdisciplinary vectors of secondary names — nicknames in school (Slovak-Polish parallels)’ is original, well-observed, and based on an ample corpus, which is finely analysed into several sub-groups and compared with similar material from Poland. Comparison with adjacent languages is a major asset to the investigation. The last study concerns a conspicuously distinct area of spoken language — radio communication — with special reference to signs of commercialism in this sphere and its consequences. The collection is rounded off with an overview of the issues and a synopsis of the main conclusions. The author has an accurate image of the current issues in Slovak linguistics. His analyses enable him to offer certain solutions, but at the same time will spur others to take matters even further. The volume is unquestionably a valuable contribution by Slovak sociolinguistics to the solution of certain problems in linguistics more generally and to the interpretation of the current condition of spoken Slovak at a specific time and place. School of Slavonic and East European Studies University College London/Matej Bel University

Lujza Urbancová

New Labor History. Worker Identity and Experience in Russia, 1840–1918. Ed. by Michael Melancon and Alice K. Pate. Bloomington, Indiana: Slavica, 2002. v + 248 pp. Price Unknown. ISBN 0 89357 303 5 (paperback). This collection of essays neatly captures a period of Russian social history that is frequently overlooked by mainstream historians, an era that was no doubt



miserable for the industrial poor, but still not as horrific as Stalin’s rapid industrial revolution during the 1930s. From the historiography of post-1917 Russia, one is left with the impression that working life during the final sixty years or so of Tsarist Russia was something of a Hobbesian nightmare: short, nasty, and brutal, while the Russian worker was a coarse brute totally devoid of culture or feeling. However, the contributors to this volume would seek to differ from this commonly held opinion. As they link the harshness of working life in Tsarist Russia to the revolutions of 1917, the essayists also attempt to discover the soul of Russia. Two surprising essays by Herrlinger and Firsov concern the industrial worker and the Orthodox Church, and take opposing views. Page Herrlinger’s ‘Orthodoxy and Factory Life in St. Petersburg’ is a revealing account of how peasants left the countryside to become industrial workers and urban dwellers, but were remained close to the village in clinging to their Orthodox roots. Tradition played a role in this process, but it has to be conceded that there were other considerations such as religious laws regarding marriage, which were still obeyed. Even so, the soul of the labourer is revealed when workers report that they attended church in the cities merely to listen to the music of the ‘beautiful choirs’. In contrast to the great many assertions that workers were brutes in blue shirts, Steinberg, in ‘Worker-Poets’, records the incidents of poorly educated plebeian Russian authors who demand to be treated as men (‘chelovek’). This determination was one that ran from the 1905 Revolution to those of 1917: the worker wanted to be seen as an equal and not as a beast of burden. The demand to be seen beyond the ‘dirty blue shirt’ of the worker is illustrated in Bibik’s fantasy of the inspired musician entrancing thousands of people with his playing, only to throw off his cloak and reveal that underneath he wears the dirty shirt of the worker. The strength of this volume is indeed its breadth and depth. If Herrlinger wishes to discuss the faith of industrial workers in St Petersburg between 1881 and 1905, Hickey is content to reflect upon events in Smolensk during 1917 and examine a revolution in miniature. Melancon by contrast is quite capable of returning the whole picture to the seat of the 1917 Revolution, Petrograd, between February and June 1917, a seminal period of revolutionary history as the more radical elements of the Soviets began to stamp their authority upon Russian history. Pate meanwhile draws the two periods together with her essay upon the Liquidation Controversy. The opening essay by Gorshov concerning child labour between 1840 and 1914 leaves the reader without a doubt as to why there was social discontent within the Russian working classes as three generations were brutalized by the incompetence of Russian industrialization despite attempts to ameliorate the situation. Overall this volume is a very useful guide to the question of the Russian worker during a time of industrialization. It is well-referenced, with a helpful introduction and a conclusion which together guide one into the book and then back out the other side, leaving the reader wanting to know more. University of Leeds

Evan McGilvray

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