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Vol. 20, No. 2, Autumn 2008

ISSN 0954–6839





An Inter-disciplinary Journal of Russian, East-Central European and Eurasian Affairs




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– sanavards szó slova zvop slovo

107–118 119–147 149–154

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Why did Russia Ratify the Kyoto Protocol? Why the Wait? An Analysis of the Environmental, Economic, and Political Debates JESSICA E. TIPTON Exit, Voice, Loyalty: a Hirschmanian Research Framework for Transition Countries ZSOLT SZABÓ The Reflection of the Napoleonic Legend in Adam Mickiewicz’s Pan Tadeusz SHARON BOAK ‘Dream and Not’: The Instrumental Theatre of Boguslaw Schaeffer MAGDA ROMANSKA

Vol. 20, No. 2, Autumn 2008

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Maney Publishing for the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London

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SLOVO EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Zachary Rothstein MANAGING EDITOR: Kathryn O’Neill For editorial addresses and submissions, see inside back cover. BOOK REVIEW EDITOR: Chloe Albouze PUBLIC RELATIONS EDITOR: Andrei Tjutrin GENERAL EDITORS: Raul Carstocea Helen Jenkins Charalampos Kissanis Anna Rebmann Erin Saltman Kelley Thompson MANEY PUBLISHING: Lisa Johnstone, Editorial Executive Sabrina Barrows, Production Editor Slovo discusses and interprets Russian, Eastern and Central European, and Eurasian affairs from a number of different perspectives including, but not limited to, anthropology, art, economics, film, history, international studies, linguistics, literature, media, philosophy, politics, and sociology. Slovo is a fully refereed journal, edited and managed by postgraduates of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London. Each year a new Editorial Board is selected from the postgraduate community to produce two volumes of academic depth and rigour, considering articles, book, and film review submissions from both established and emerging academics. Indexing and Abstracting Slovo is indexed in MLA International Bibliography and the Directory of Periodicals. Slovo (ISSN 0954–6839) is published for the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, twice yearly, in the spring and autumn. Subscriptions are entered by the volume and include postage (air-speeded outside the UK). Subscriptions must be pre-paid at the rate appropriate to the location of the subscriber.

Volume 20, 2008 (2 issues) Institutional rate: £98.00; North America: US$188.00 Individual rate*: £28.00; North America: US$51.00 *Subscriptions are welcomed from individuals if prepaid by personal cheque or credit card and if the journal is to be sent to a private address. All orders must be sent to Publication Sales, Maney Publishing, Suite 1C, Joseph’s Well, Hanover Walk, Leeds LS3 1AB, UK (fax: +44 (0)113 386 8178; email: Maney Publishing North America, 875 Massachusetts Avenue, 7th Floor, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. Tel (toll-free): 866 297 5154; Fax: 617 354 6875; email: All cheques must be payable to Maney Publishing. Advertising and general enquiries should be sent to Maney Publishing. Copyright © 2008 School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the written permission of the copyright holder. Requests for such permission must be addressed to Permissions Section, Maney Publishing, at the above address. Disclaimer Statements in the journal reflect the views of the authors, and not necessarily those of the University, editors, or publisher. Photocopying For users in North America, permission is granted by the copyright owner for libraries and others registered with the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) to make copies of any article herein for the flat fee of US$ 38 per article. Payment should be sent directly to CCC, 22 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, USA. In the UK, the copyright Licensing Agency, 90 Tottenham Court Road, London WIP 9HE is mandated to grant permission to make copies. Maney Publishing is the trading name of W. S. Maney & Son Ltd, Suite 1C, Joseph's Well, Hanover Walk, Leeds LS3 1AB, UK.

Notes for Contributors Slovo welcomes original contributions that match the aims and scope of the journal (as described on the inside front cover) on the understanding that their contents have not previously been published or are currently submitted for publication elsewhere. All submissions will be sent to independent referees. It is a condition of publication that papers become the copyright of the School of Slavonic & East European Studies, University College London. All editorial correspondence should be sent to the Executive Editor, Slovo, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT. Email: Deadlines Deadlines are normally September for the spring issue and March for the autumn issue. Presentation and Style Two complete copies should be submitted printed double-spaced with ample margins and not normally exceeding 6–8000 words. All pages should be numbered: the first page should state only the title of the paper, name(s) of the author(s) and, for each author, a short institutional affiliation, and an abbreviated title (for running headlines within the article). At the bottom of the page give the full name, address and e-mail address to which all correspondence, including proofs, should be sent. The second page should contain an abstract in English of not more than 200 words. Contributions should follow the MHRA Style Guide (2002) and the house-style of the journal. Words should not be hyphenated at the end of a line. Use single inverted commas for short quotations (double for quotations within quotations), but quotations over fifty words should be indented and single-spaced without inverted commas. Translations are not generally needed for quotations from the Slavonic languages, although it is left to the author’s discretion if they wish to include the original. Where a passage presents particular difficulty, translation may be offered, either in parentheses in the text, or in an endnote. Transliterations should follow the Library of Congress system without diacritics, which must be used except where conventions for alternative transliterations exist. Quotations in languages other than Slavonic will require translation. Non-English words in the text, apart from names, should be italicized. Notes and References Contributors should adhere to MHRA and the journal’s house-style in the presentation of numbered footnotes and references. Any general note on the article (e.g. personal acknowledgements) should appear as a first unnumbered note. Within the text, references and notes should be indicated by a superscript Arabic numeral. Articles and publications cited in the text should then be listed in full in the footnotes: for books: Bernard Comrie and Gerald Stone, The Russian Language since the Revolution (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978), p. 2. for articles in books: George Schöpflin, ‘The Functions of Myth and a Taxonomy of

Myth’, in Myths and Nationhood, ed. by Geoffrey Hosking and George Schöpflin (London: C. Hurst & Company, 1997), pp. 31–33. for periodical articles: Lubomir Dolezel, ‘Poststructuralism: A View from Charles Bridge’, Poetics Today, 21 (2000), 640–41. For particular text(s) repeatedly cited, full bibliographical reference should be given in an initial footnote, with author/page references thereafter in parentheses in the text (Schöpflin, p. 31). Consistent abbreviations may be used in such references where appropriate. Authors are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of references. Tables and Illustrations These should be submitted on separate sheets, repeating on the back the title of the paper, and numbered sequentially using Arabic numerals for Figures (illustrations, i.e. photographs, diagrams, and graphs) and Tables. Each must have a caption, source, and where appropriate, a key. The position in the text must be clearly shown (e.g. Figure 1, Table 1). Black and white prints of photographs should be supplied, or TIFF or EPS files on disk (with a print-out supplied for reference). Captions should be submitted on a separate sheet. Submission on disk On notification by the Editors that a paper has been accepted, a final version of the article should be submitted on disk in Microsoft Word. Submission on disk will improve typographical accuracy and accelerate publication. The filename and software must be indicated on the disk. In preparing the disk version, there is no need to format articles: please include italics or bold type where necessary, but not style or footnote codes. Footnotes should be typed at the end of the file as part of the text, or supplied in a separate document. In the main text, numbering of notes should be indicated by superscript numbers. References and captions should be placed at the end of the file, or in separate files. Please use hard returns only at the end of paragraphs; switch auto-hyphenation off; do not justify text; and do not use automatic numbering routines. Consistency in spacing, punctuation, and spelling will be of help. Tables should be submitted as separate files and keyed horizontally from left to right using a tab between columns, not the space bar (or keyed in Table mode in Word). Proofs Proofs will be sent to the author-nominated e-mail address for correspondence. Proofs are supplied for checking and making essential typographical corrections, not for general revision, alteration, or changes to illustrations, which will not be allowed. Proofs must be returned to the editor within 5 days of receipt. Complimentary copies Contributors will receive a free copy of the journal in which their article is featured. Authors can also access a PDF of their article for distribution, obtainable from the Executive Editor at

SLOVO Volume 20

Number 2

Autumn 2008



ARTICLES Why did Russia Ratify the Kyoto Protocol? Why the Wait? An Analysis of the Environmental, Economic, and Political Debates Jessica E. Tipton


Exit, Voice, Loyalty: a Hirschmanian Research Framework for Transition Countries Zsolt Szabó


The Reflection of the Napoleonic Legend in Adam Mickiewicz’s Pan Tadeusz Sharon Boak


‘Dream and Not’: The Instrumental Theatre of Bogusław Schaeffer Magda Romanska


BOOK REVIEWS M. Michalski and J. Gow, War, Image and Legitimacy: Viewing Contemporary Conflict (Catherine Baker); P. Siani-Davies, The Romanian Revolution of December 1989 (Daniel Brett); Gilles Kepel, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam (Christopher Salmon); B. Warkocki, Homo niewiadomo. Polska proza wobec odmiennos´ci [Homo niewiadomo. Polish Prose and Queer Identity] (Ewa Stan´czyk)


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slovo, Vol. 20 No. 2, Autumn 2008, 65–66

Editorial Zachary Rothstein Executive Editor, Slovo, 2007–08 Slovo is committed to publishing high quality academic writing from both emerging and established academics from around the world. Issue 20.2 continues this tradition by presenting three original, analytic articles on topics ranging from Russia’s involvement with the Kyoto Protocol, to a new research framework in transitology, to a close analysis of Mickiewicz’s epic Pan Tadeusz. These articles, despite their diverse themes, share a common desire to understand the unique complexities and nuances of the Russian, East European, and Eurasian world. The first article, entitled ‘Why did Russia Ratify the Kyoto Protocol? Why the Wait? An Analysis of the Environmental, Economic, and Political Debates’ by Jessica E. Tipton, explores the complex process leading up to Russia’s eventual ratification of the Kyoto Protocol in 2004. Following an analysis of media reports and official statements, Tipton concludes that environmental concerns had little to do with Russia’s ratification. Instead, she argues that economic considerations after the departure of the United States from the Kyoto process were one of the primary causes of Russia’s delay in ratification. More importantly, the author asserts that political factors, such as Russia’s desire for WTO membership and desire to improve its global reputation, were responsible for the ultimate ratification. The next article, ‘Exit, Voice, Loyalty: A Hirschmanian Research Framework for Transition Countries’, presents a novel research framework in the field of transitology. In this piece, author Zsolt Szabó extrapolates Albert O. Hirshman’s ‘exit, voice, and loyalty’ trilemma of options for decision-makers to the study of transition economies in Central and Eastern Europe. By examining the dynamic of these three choice options in four types of markets (labour, capital, politicians, managers), Szabó demonstrates how a Hirschmanian research framework allows for a more robust understanding of the political economy of transition. The article ends with an informative case study of Hungary and suggests a possible empirical study as a further application of the framework. Lastly, ‘The Napoleonic Legend in Adam Mickiewicz’s Pan Tadeusz’ by Sharon Boak explores the centrality of the Napoleonic Legend in Mickiewicz’s epic tale of the gentry of Lithuania just before Napoleon’s invasion in 1812. The author describes the profound effect Napoleon had on Polish national consciousness at the turn of the nineteenth century in what she terms Mickiewicz’s ‘eulogy written in exile’: Pan Tadeusz. Drawing connections to other literature in which the Napoleonic Legend appears, Boak argues that the Legend brought both hope and the prospect of freedom to a recently partitioned Poland. Boak argues that the mysterious character of Father © School of Slavonic & East European Studies, University College London, 2008



Roback functions as the protagonist and primary medium through which the Napoleonic Legend is disseminated in Pan Tadeusz. This issue specially features an analysis and original translation by Dr Magda Romanska of Bogusław Schaeffer’s play Dream and Not: Theatrical Play in the Form of Instrumental Concerto. In her analysis, Romanska elucidates Schaeffer’s surreal play about a ‘perfect’ family imprisoned by its own rhetoric. Written by Schaeffer in 1998, Dream and Not is a play that follows the musical contours of a concerto; scenes are labeled by their Italian musical counterparts and the piece develops in three parts (acts). Romanska’s translation, praised by Schaeffer himself, honours the nuance of the original while exposing Schaeffer’s work to the English-speaking world. The Book Reviews section of Issue 20.2 highlights four notable recently published works. Catherine Baker’s review of War, Image and Legitimacy: Viewing Contemporary Conflict by Milena Michalski and James Gow explores the book’s connections with related literature. Daniel Brett highlights the academic contribution to the study of Romania of The Romanian Revolution of December 198 by Peter Siani-Davies. Christopher Salmon’s review offers an insightful commentary on the discussion of political Islam in Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam by Gilles Kepel. Ewa Stan´czyk discusses the importance for gender studies of the exploration of homosexual identity in Homo niewiadomo. Polska proza wobec odmienno ci [Homo niewiadomo. Polish Prose and Queer Identity] by Błaz¯ej Warkocki. Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank everyone who has made this issue — my last as Executive Editor — so successful. First, this issue would not have been possible without the dedication and commitment of the current Editorial Board, and in particular my extremely reliable Managing Editor Kathryn O’Neill. I would also like to thank Dr Philip Cavendish, Dr Chris Gerry, Dr Eric Gordy, Professor Malcolm Hill, Dr Jussi Jalonen, Dr Sabina Kajncˇ, Professor Benjamin Kaplan, Professor George Kolankiewicz, Dr Alena Ledeneva, Dr Richard Mole, Dr Eugene Nivorozhkin, Professor Slavo Radoševic´, and Dr Galina Yemelianova for their professional assistance during the editing process. Slovo’s Faculty Advisor, Dr Alena Ledeneva, has also provided essential knowledge and advice. Finally, I would like to thank Maney Publishing, and in particular Geetha Nair, Sabrina Barrows, and Lisa Johnstone, for their invaluable contributions to Slovo in both production and marketing.

slovo, Vol. 20 No. 2, Autumn 2008, 119–147

‘Dream and Not’: The Instrumental Theatre of Bogusław Schaeffer Magda Romanska Emerson College During the dark days of communism, theatre in Poland was the only medium that could potentially elude censorship. A wink of the eye, a skillfully accented word or a sentence communicated with the audience more than the text itself. Theatre was a subversive affair; the audience and the actors, united in their common understanding of the country’s political predicament, exercised the only possible form of resistance: intellectual distance from the oppressive ideology. Peter Sloterdijk called it ‘Kynicism’, ‘a rejection of the official culture by means of irony and sarcasm’.1 For more than four decades, the ‘kynical’ language established the lines of communication between the actors and their audience. People went to the theatre to see the wink, the smile, the small gestures that told them they were not alone in their contempt for the regime. In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell and, along with it, the censorship that had been an integral part of the Polish theatrical experience. Suddenly, one could say anything to anyone out loud, and there was no longer any reason to go to the theatre. The unexpected onslaught of political freedom, ironically, deprived the theatrical experience of what for forty years had been essential to it: its political subtext. Since along with communism the government’s financial support of the arts also collapsed, Polish theatres were suddenly left in an ideological and economic vacuum. It was at that liminal moment in Polish history, around 1990, that Bogusław Schaeffer became the number one playwright of the Polish stage. Schaeffer had been secretly writing plays since the early 1950s, and some of them have been consistently staged across Poland since the mid-1950s in various Polish venues. (Scenario for a Non-Existing, But Possible Instrumental Actor as performed by a leading Polish actor, Jan Peszek, has been off and on the stage since 1976 performed over fifteen hundred times.) Recently, Peszek handed over the performance to French actor André Erlen. Erlen performed it in the US in April 2008 at Princeton Lewis Center for the Arts). However, it wasn’t until the 1990s that Schaeffer’s plays became must-see events for the remnants of the Polish theatre-going audiences. In fact, Schaeffer became so popular that various cities started organizing so-called ‘Shaefferiads’ marathons of his plays, performed by various theatres in the space of a few days. The secret behind Schaeffer’s sudden popularity was simple: his plays avoided politics and


Slavoj Žižek, The Sublime Object of Ideology (London: Verso, 1989), p. 29.

© School of Slavonic & East European Studies, University College London, 2008



focused on themes of the moment. Indeed, struggling with the new economic and political reality of emerging capitalism, Polish audiences, trapped in the moral, political, and socioeconomic limbo of the post-communist era, found in Schaeffer the most acute commentator of their transitory existence. Reflecting the paradoxes of newly found freedom, Schaeffer’s plays probed modern power struggles, consumer culture, and the alienation of the individual trapped in their midst. At the time his plays conquered Polish stages, Schaeffer was predominantly known as a composer. Even now, many of his biographies mention none of his theatrical endeavors. Schaeffer trained as a musician and has been composing music since he was seventeen. Up to now, he has written over three hundred compositions, winning music competitions in Poland and abroad. He is the author of the first handbook of modern composition, and he holds professorships at the Salzburg School of Music and the Academy of Music in Krakow. Schaeffer is what we might call a conceptual composer, in the lineage of Mauricio Kagel, Karlheinz Stockhousen, Ernest Austin, and John Cage. His microtonal compositions are carefully structured and employ cyclical repetitions, and codes. Schaeffer’s dramas share similar characteristics: cyclical repetitions, episodal arrangements, and mathematical precision in their dramatic structure. Jerzy Popiela called the particularity of Schaeffer’s dramatic structure ‘Schaefferismo’, a term borrowed from music, and in Schaeffer’s case, delineating a specific conceptual metatheatricality.2 Justyna Zając called Schaeffer’s dramas an example of the Instrumental Theatre, a term also borrowed from musicology.3 Used interchangeably with the term ‘spatial music’, the Instrumental Theatre refers to various experiments with the moving sound. Alexander Scriabin, a turn-of-thecentury Russian symbolist composer, was the first to come up with the idea of sound movement. Scriabin’s experiments were part of a larger avant-garde trend of that time that favored experiments with movement, sound, and image, and that included Meyerhold’s bio-mechanics, Schlemmer’s mechanical ballets, and Foregger’s constructivist dance workshops. After Scriabin, Mauricio Kagel, an Argentine composer born in 1931 and working predominantly in Germany, was the one who actually defined the concept of the Instrumental Theatre and who utilized its principles in his work. According to Kagel, in Instrumental Theatre the movement of the sound must undergo constant and unexpected changes. The actions of the musicians-performers are thus as important as the sounds they make. The origins of Kagel’s work can be found in Expressionism, Surrealism, and Dadaism, but he is also influenced by Brecht’s theory of distantiation and Beckett’s theatrical experiments with sound, time, and space. Following some of Kagel’s experiments with sound movement, Schaeffer has created a unique theatrical language, in which the actor is viewed as an ‘instrumental medium’.4 The text sometimes suggests that actors can choose between different theatrical selves: ‘Text turns into an impulse for physical action. Sometimes the actor’s body is reduced to a sign


3 4

Joanna Zając, Dramaturgia Schaeffera [The Dramaturgy of Bogusław Schaeffer] (Salzburg, Austria: Collsch Edition, 1998), p. 81. Ibid., p. 86. Zając, p. 81.



or a symbol. Sometimes, one gesture or a movement can become a metaphor’.5 Thus, the actors are constantly aware of the structural framework of each play and the relationship between the text, the movement, and the sound. Zając continues: ‘The instrumental actor treats himself with a distance, like an instrument. Like an object or a medium, which can only become a work of art. The actor sees himself from the outside, like a sculptor looking at a matter at hand’.6 In this arrangement, Schaeffer conducts his actors like he does his musicians. Schaeffer’s first instrumental play included actors, musicians, and dancers. Written in 1963, TIS MW dla aktora, mima, tancerki i 5 muzykow (TIS MW for an Actor, Mime, Dancers and Five Musicians), as the title implies, combined quasi-theatrical and quasi-instrumental elements. At that time, Schaeffer was not interested in a new form of theatre, but rather in music as performed by actors and dancers. Kwartet na Czterech Aktorów (The Quartet for Four Actors) was Schaeffer’s first full-length play to combine musical form with comic content. The Quartet was so successful, that during the last decade, it was staged by practically every Polish theatre. The premise of the play is simple: the four male actors are dressed in tuxedos and mime a music quartet. The twenty five episodic scenes are written with almost mathematical precision, which is juxtaposed with the men’s double-layered personalities. As Zajac writes: The men have a strong sense of their own superiority and individuality, but they are average Joes with mediocre talents, and overblown ambitions. On the one hand, they appear to be sophisticated, but on the other, they drown in the everyday banality of their existence. They play boyish games, only to turn in the next second to adult aggression. They are obsessed with typically masculine preoccupations: football, vodka, gambling and hookers. Scene XVII focuses almost exclusively on typical male struggles.7

The play’s elegant structure of a music quartet enhances and delineates the male vulgarity. In a similar spirit, the 1992 composition Nonplusultra (Space Play) featured twelve musicians-actors, who were placed in various places in the music hall: in the balcony, in the audience, in the halls, and in passageways. The audience members were allowed to move around so that at any given moment, every member of the audience lived a different experience. Like in the Quartet, in Space Play the actors-musicians were balancing between theatre and concerto. Dream and Not was written in 1998, in Poznan, Vienna, Krakow, Warsaw, and Salzburg — all Schaeffer’s current destinations in his busy life. It is subtitled ‘Theatrical Play in the form of instrumental concerto’. The first part (the first act) consists of three scenes: moderato, inquieto and penseroso. The second part (second act) also has three scenes: veneggiando, tenebroso and misterioso. The third part (third act) has four scenes: rilassato e disordinato, gaio, capriccioso, diprezzo e determinate. In the preface to the play Schaeffer wrote:

5 6 7

Ibid., p. 138. Ibid., p. 157. Ibid., p. 129.



This play was written under the charm of the instrumental concerto. During the last few years I have written a number of such concertos, and I have to admit that it gave me great satisfaction. In instrumental concerto, there has to be a lot of action, a lot of juxtapositions and contrasts (it is more so in my music as I like multitude of moods and technical problems). The music can be filled with all kinds of material: from the pleasant to the ear melodies to mad aggression. I did the same thing in this play: multiplied the moods. Like concerto, the play has three parts, or more specific, ten scenes, which I allowed myself to label with Italian words, following the musical tradition. This play — like any good concerto — needs a virtuoso to play in it. It cannot be performed thematically; nor can it be restrained with conventional directorial tricks. The play should emerge as a vision from the vision of each scene.8

The dramatic structure of Dream and Not is complex, though like concerto it also builds from the idyllic and realistic representation of family life to the grand finale of absurdity and violence. However, like The Quartet for Four Actors, Dream and Not also has a tightly woven thematic structure: each scene, regardless how absurd, follows from the previous one, and they all evolve systematically from the overarching theme of deconstruction and degeneration. The play is a dark parody of suburban life, but also of specifically Polish lifestyle of the Old World Eastern European intelligentsia, rooted in patriarchal tradition and caught up in its own self-image and aspirations. A perfect family, with two perfect children, engaging in perfect intellectual pursuits and perfect leisure activities, becomes a victim of its own rhetoric. When forced to host a questionable guest, the family’s absurd logic of its own infallibility becomes stretched to its limits. Mentor, as he is called, is a noble and trustworthy man for no other reason than because the father says so. Indeed, for the father, adjusting his judgments is virtually impossible. His role of patriarch requires his blind conviction in his own self-righteousness. The entire existence and the status quo of all members of the family depend on the word of the father, who has no choice but to stubbornly persist in his own convictions, no matter how ridiculous they appear in the light of changing circumstances. He is incapable of adapting because doing so would mean fundamentally changing his sense of self. Even when his son becomes Napoleon and his daughter turns into an old bag lady, the father persists in his attempts to control the situation, which is clearly beyond his control. Like all of them, the father is a prisoner of his own words. When the Mentor turns into a murderer, no one can escape his violence because no one can escape the trap of his or her own rhetoric. Mentor’s murderous intentions are impossible to reconcile with the image of the mild and wise intellectual that he appeared to be. Admitting that he is a criminal and defending oneself from him as one would from a criminal means admitting that one is wrong, and none of the family members, even the skeptical daughter, can do it. As in Ionesco’s Bald Soprano, in Dream and Not language breaks down, and time, and mental spaces travel across the stage in a nightmarish vision of random, absurd violence. Framed in the context of pseudosophistication, the play is a microcosm of historical and political forces, uncontrollable and irreconcilable with the ordered, 8

Bogusław Schaeffer, Dream and Not and “Preface”, Unpublished manuscript (1998), Translation mine.



predictable life of the average bourgeois family. Unprepared to deal with anything that isn’t part of their fragile dynamic of economic and cultural safety net, the family members are killed with grotesque indifference, surprised by their utter inconsequentiality, and stunned by the nonchalant silence of the universe. In his short essay on Schaeffer, Stanisław Stabro notices that Schaeffer’s popularity in the 1990s was marked by the exhaustion of political language in drama, and the return to Witkacy’s concept of theatre of the ‘pure form’.9 Giving up traditional dramatic elements and focusing on material aspects of theatre, Schaeffer draws not only from music, but also from both commedia dell’arte as well as carnival. Moving away from theatre ‘as a high art’ towards more plebian origins of theatre, Schaeffer is interested in language as a material, used for language games and as mean to parody the grand national dramatic models (Wyspiański’s Wesele [Marriage] comes to mind).10 Deconstructing the pathos of Wyspiański’s dramas, Schaeffer is perhaps Poland’s best example of postmodernist slant, that ‘grew out of the proclamations about “the end of art” as well as the requirements of the free market. It is theatre liberated from the modernist belief in the power of art, theatre liberated from any ambitions — naturally besides the ambition of being theatre. It is theatre open to free flowing games with itself, its own theatrical nature’.11 Most of Schaeffer’s plays debuted in Krakow’s Theatre ‘Stu’, under the direction of Mikołaj Grabowski, and with such legendary actors like Mikołaj and Andrzej Grabowscy, Jan Peszek and Jan Frycz. Dream and Not debuted in 2004 in Teatr ‘Elsynor’ in Dąbrowa Górnicza, under the direction of Marek Wilk, with Magdalena Cendrzak, Ewa Reymann, Jacek Łapot, Dariusz Niebudek, and Marek Wilk. The play has never been translated to English.

Notes 1

All translations by article author.


Stanisław Stabro, Literatura Polska 1944-2000, w zarysie (Krakow: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellonskiego, 2003). Stabro, p. 179. Agata Tytkowska, ‘Dramaturgia Bogusława Schaeffera’, Bogusław Shaeffer: Composer and Playwright (Krakow: Księgarnia Akademicka, 1999) p.1973.

10 11



DREAM AND NOT WRITTEN BY BOGUSŁAW SCHAEFFER TRANSLATED BY MAGDA ROMANSKA Dramatic personae: father son mother daughter mentor (father’s friend)

SCENE ONE: MODERATO A large room, sparsely furnished. It is clean and well organized. The scene is moderately dimmed. There is an unseen kitchen in the back. A sound of a piano can be heard coming from the music room in the back. Down stage right in the light, a young man is sitting and reading a book. It is son. I don’t know who invented books, but whoever did he was a genius. Thanks to him we can read beautiful novels and romantic poetry. He should have a monument erected to his glory. Well, I am sure it was already erected. But, on the other hand, isn’t the most magnificent monument his immortality: the fact that I talk about him right now? (pause) He deserves it. father (entering) Certainly, he deserves it. He was an inventor. I don’t know if he did it for us, nobly motivated as if we were asking for it, or for himself. At least that’s what some people like to believe, those incapable to acknowledge someone else’s accomplishments. We don’t have any picture of this wonderful inventor. Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden, called Gutenberg, didn’t have an easy life. His life story would make an ideal novel. We all like well-written biographies. son I didn’t know that Gutenberg had a different name, wacky name too. What kind of combination is this: ‘goose meat on the ladder’ . . . Gutenberg sounds nicer and more appropriate. father You shouldn’t make fun of someone’s name, my son. First of all, we receive our name from our fathers. You could, for example, be called: Mr. Necessary and some idiots could always ask you: Really? We don’t choose our own names. If we could choose, we would have only Trumps and Greats. Your ancestors, father, and grandfather bestowed your name upon you. Our ancestors were often called prosaically: Smith because he was a smith; Newman because he was a newcomer; Estreicher because he was from Austria, in German, Osterreich. son



Secondly, a man, if he is cultured and sophisticated, can ennoble – with the power of his presence — any name even the most ridiculous. son Do you know, dad, that the name of our fastest runner is Valerian Slow. During the international meeting, he fainted and came in the last place. He was able to get up only after a substantial dose of Valerian drops. father You know perfectly well that I don’t know anything about sports, so you come up with the most fantastic stories, which I can’t verify. But speaking about the book, at the end of eighteen and the beginning of the nineteenth century, the world went mad about books. You could say that the world learned to read. This phenomenon had both good and bad sides. Good because illiteracy was disappearing. Bad because, instead, more and more books appeared which were completely unworthy of reading. son Exactly. When he was very old, Goethe admitted that he read every book to the very last page because his father taught him to do so. You have to finish it, he would say, even if it were the dumbest book possible . . . father Yes, yes, I read about that. It is the most idiotic advice that one can give to a young man. The world of books is populated by failures. To read all of them because of one stupid rule! Redundancy of the worst kind. daughter (entering) Could someone finally tell me what ‘redundancy’ means? Our teacher uses this word over and over again and no one knows what it means. Even Mary, whose father is a theologian, has no clue. father ‘Redundancy’ simply means too much supercilious information. In this context, I used the word to indicate the uselessness of the literary works that deserve to be called redundant. son It’s so good to have a father who knows everything. But then, when I think more about it, too much knowledge creates wonderful spiritual excess. It does impress me greatly. daughter Daddy talks about the excess of information, and information does not necessarily imply knowledge. You may know how many people live in Weimar, fine. But you don’t have to know all their names. father I have a very smart daughter. (looks at his son) My son, even though older than she is, bravely follows in her steps. Or maybe, it is the other way around. Oh well, sooner or later, I’ll find out. mother (entering) What are you talking about? son Redundancy. mother It’s not something nasty, is it? (pause) I am just kidding. I know what redundancy is, maybe even better than you do. When I meet one of my neighbours, she tells me everything, even things, which should not interest her at all. (pause) Or perhaps, she talks only about things which should not interest her at all. You know, in the town where my husband’s cousin’s brother lives, the local dentist seduced a young high school girl . . . This information is really necessary to sustain my whole existence.



Well, well, after all, redundancy can be something nasty. Mommy you were only kidding, but you didn’t foresee that you could be right. The little story about dentist is indeed a little nasty. Was she pretty at least or just young? mother The next time I see our neighbour, I’ll ask her. If I am not mistaken, dinner is ready (everyone exits). son (following others) Let’s hope the dinner does not have any redundant elements. I, for example, am not quite thrilled about having potatoes once again accidentally over salted.


SCENE TWO: INQUIETO Darkness, unfitting, ‘foreign’ music. It’s a good thing that you both came. Father is not in. He had to leave suddenly, some urgent business. I didn’t even ask. We can talk in peace. daughter But we don’t have any secrets from father. son Exactly. mother (thinking for a moment) I can’t talk to you openly in front of father. He is a noble and wise man, but he is also very tyrannical. He dominates everyone, even his best friend for whom he is also so nice. Well, it’s him, the friend, in fact, that I want to talk to you about. Who is he? Where did he come from? How did he appear so suddenly in our house? Why doesn’t he have his own? son He is the embodiment of solitude. I looked at him carefully the other day because it seemed strange to me that he is so alone. I have never seen a man so totally isolated from the rest of the world. And more so, he is so well read, like none of us will ever be. daughter Apparently being well-read doesn’t have anything to do with being well-lived. The writers and thinkers are always in a way semi-conscious. son Here, I have to disagree with you. Think about Balzac. He was writing, with all his mind and his entire consciousness, about every little detail of life. mother Let’s not talk about Balzac. To know about everything — that’s great, but to write about everything — that’s gross. Add to it his twisted life: sick ambitions, debts, idiotic plans and a stupidly snobbish lifestyle. No wonder he had to become a prolific writer and died from overdose of coffee. son He did leave great works. And he accomplished what he wanted: he is immortal. The best proof of his immortality is the fact that we’re talking about him right now. daughter If you gave an example of another writer, we would have talked about another writer. mother Don’t argue. Let’s think about our father’s dear friend. Who is our dear friend? Who is he? What right does he have to intrude in our life? mother



Because he doesn’t have his own? What is his role in our ideal square? Finally, why are we so taken in by his charm? son The best answers to those questions would come from father. Why don’t you ask him about all this? mother He doesn’t want to talk about it. He told me: find me one fault in our friend and then, I will think about it. daughter Nobody is faultless. son Is it possible that someone could pretend so well to be so great of a man? daughter I just talked about something similar with my professor. He told me that man torn away from nature pretends life more than really lives it. son But how can one pretend to be well-read, all-knowing? How to pretend to have always something interesting to say? daughter You could. If you had a good memory, you can fake others’ mannerisms, a dignified way of speaking, noble poise. You could endlessly quote others without quoting them . . . you could. . . . mother I don’t know what you could. You meet this kind of con artists all the time. Though there always comes time when they have to unmask him. son So we are dealing with an ideal act! (jokingly) daughter You were going to say ideal acting. Act implies one time deal and this is a repeated action, if not perpetual. son I didn’t want to say an ideal crime because that would be an exaggeration. We haven’t yet heard that he has hurt anyone. mother Him? Impossible. He is really the most wonderful man that one would ever wish to meet. I don’t know why we even undermine his credibility now. daughter But he is a stranger! mother Did you ever hear about adopted children? You take a child from an orphanage and after a certain time, it is the most important person in your life. You cannot imagine your life without him. Do you know that adopted children are most often kidnapped? You can get much more money for them. The adopted parents will do everything for their child. son Yes, but sometimes, the adopted child repays their parents with disrespect or even something worse. mother Well, there are many things happening in this world. You can’t predict everything. daughter You can predict only one thing, says Heidegger, your own death. son (jokingly) Hopefully, not premature. I am sorry, but I have to go now. It is horribly late. daughter I am also leaving. See you later. (they both exit) (mother stands motionlessly, starring into the space — the future. Ominous music in the background)



SCENE THREE: PENSIEROSO INTERMEZZO The same room. Music. Late afternoon. daughter and son sitting, each in his/her corner with a book. son I’m sorry to interrupt. Are you studying something? daughter No, I’m just browsing. I like to borrow a lot of books and browse them all. I’m interested in the multiplicity of subjects. One person can represent the world in one way only, so the authors compete to find out who has discovered the fancier approach. It doesn’t matter whether they are writers, essayists, or scientists. They all have their own approach and it fascinates me. son You have a case of a simple human curiosity. An average person. . . . daughter Oh, let’s not talk about an average person. I can imagine what an average person thinks. He sees the world foremost as a reflection of himself, his own image. The world is there for the sole purpose so he can be nice and cozy. son Let me finish my thought: the average person picks and chooses from the world whatever suits him. His hobbies and interests tell us all about him. They are limited to a small, stagnant circle. And you want to encompass the entire world with all of its aspects. What does that mean? Forgive me — does that mean that you want to become a philosopher? daughter I don’t know yet. Maybe. The world in the philosophical context does encompass all its aspects: nature, people, history, everything. son And this ‘everything’ interests you with an equal zeal. I am surprised. Each person intuitively or through contact with other people, usually smarter than he is, chooses one discipline for himself and he’s happy when he is able to master it. We know that even the narrowest discipline has its own mysteries, which we are unable to solve. That’s why I like the arts more than sciences. In the science, new discoveries annihilate all the previous ones. In art, the masterpieces always remain masterpieces, always unmovable and deserving our admiration. daughter Let me remind you that science has allowed man to learn something about himself, freeing him from illness, ignorance and superstitions. It has allowed him great progress in many areas. . . . son So you’re saying that there is no progress in art? That a man who creates art does not learn anything new, even about the art itself? Even about himself? Just look how devoted the artists are to their work. daughter The scientists are likely even more devoted to their work, perfecting their patience and scientific skills. They accomplish things that would seem impossible, discover the laws of nature . . . son But in art, they literally make new laws. Isn’t it even more beautiful? In music, the most absolute of all arts because it is devoid of abstraction, one creates a world that was never there before! daughter Exaltation and peace of mind, those are two poles of creative thinking. I am on the side of creative reflection. The artists don’t think. They create, that’s true, but very reluctantly think what it is they create.



So you’ll become a philosopher. That isn’t a chick’s job. . . . Could you express yourself in a more dignified way? Fact, I said it like a simpleton. Though you know that the artists, whom you admire so, do not themselves speak in a very refined tongue. God, or nature, bestows his talents equally on the smart ones and on the primitive simpletons with a surprisingly limited vocabulary. daughter And you follow in their footsteps with such wonderful mental inclinations to use simpleton’s language. Too bad because I like talking to you, even though you are only my brother . . . son And you are only my sister, but I also like talking to you. About everything, too. father (entering) You shouldn’t talk about everything. This suits those coffee house morons. They meet after breakfast and their short walks, sit by the largest table, like flies around a stinking cheese and ramble all day about God knows what. son They ramble exactly about everything. And all of them at the same time, too. They stop only to take a sip of coffee. When they eat their cakes, they still continue their conversations. What a beautiful sight it is, when the syllables crumble down all over their suits. The ties suffer the most, especially when the cake has whipped cream on it. daughter Don’t even start me on this one! I can’t go to the non-smoking section of the café without hearing less than refined remarks on my subject. But those are elder gentlemen who deserve our patience. mother (entering) It’s nice to hear, my dear. The world can be crowded with rude people, but we have to have respect for everyone. Maybe it’s a bit hypocritical or dishonest, but we were taught to use ‘sincerely’ and ‘yours truly’ for a reason. If there were no reason, we would have been taught to use . . . never mind what. (glances at her watch). I wonder where our friend is. He should be here already. He’s always on time. This is a man who deserves our respect. I’m glad he visits us so often. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that he brings with himself a wind of higher culture. O, here he is. I can hear him in the hall. (Enter mentor, father’s best friend). We were just talking about you. mentor Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. I hope you weren’t saying anything bad. father How was your day? Busy as usual. mentor It was the most difficult day of my life. I will tell you all about it in a minute. daughter Yes, please, we want to hear all about it. mentor Right after I finished my work, which by the way, went really smoothly today, I decided to run an errand, a thing not worth mentioning that has been dragging on forever. The office was located on the upper floor. I forgot, that for some reason, they had a shorter workday today. So, I went up onto the roof of the skyscraper. Someone recommended it for its beautiful view of the city. It was indeed beautiful. It reminded me of the view of my hometown, a little hill with the castle, beautiful son daughter son



winding river, church . . . I forgot about the whole world looking at it. And when I wanted to get back, the door was shut! The thought of sitting on the rooftop until Monday horrified me. I’d looked down — vertigo. In vain I fought with the doorknob. In vain I looked for the ladder that would get me down. I knew I would have to stay there till Monday. In a panic, I couldn’t put my thoughts together; I couldn’t come up with any idea that could have saved me. This hopelessness tired me out so much that I had fell asleep. And here’s what I dreamed about. . . . (touching, happy music)

PART II SCENE FOUR — VENEGGIANDO Stage in darkness. Lights fall on specific places. Slow, dreamy music following the dramatic action. mentor (dreamily) I dreamed that we all went on vacation: beautiful weather, beautiful nature, lake, mountains far away on the horizon . . . (change of lighting and music) father






My dear, how nice it was of you to find the time to come along with us. Nothing can replace the beauty of nature, gorgeous weather, and the springtime aura. In such a condition one does not want to work; or on the contrary, one wants to accomplish great things. I think you should rest. I have been carefully watching your constant attempts to make your house and your family cultivated and noble, appreciative of beauty, tradition, and the honour of the country. I know that it is not an easy job to raise children adequately educated and to keep the house on the appropriate cultural and economic level. I admire you deeply and I give you as an example to everyone I know. If it’s indeed true what you’re saying, I have to admit that I owe a lot of my success to you. My children and wife look up to you. You are their greatest role model, and I am not jealous at all that they listen to you with such attention. You’re worth listening to! Oh, let’s not talk about our merits. We both know that everything is in the hands of God . . . (long pause). And where are your loved ones right now? They went hiking up in the mountains, over there . . . (he points). You have to pass the forest . . . (pensive). I don’t know why I didn’t go with them. I don’t suppose it’s a question of age. I would love to go with all of you. I did hear something about the trip, but I was thinking that since it’s so important for them, on the first day in such a gorgeous place, I should leave everyone totally free to explore on their own.


father mentor father mentor


You just gave proof of your noble nature. You are noble, and that is why we all love you so much. Do you feel like playing chess . . . . We haven’t played for a long time. Against each other? Exactly: against each other. We both love chess and don’t realize how ambitions to beat each other grow during the game. (the chess are set up on the table) It’s an interesting oxymoron. (making a move, slowly, thinking) To beat a friend . . .

(music, a lot of changes of music, lights and mood to show a passage of time) father (pacing nervously) Where are they? Why are they not here yet? It’s night already. Well, the moon is bright, but how can you forget yourself like that. They had to get lost in the forest . . . mentor I told you . . . father Please, don’t say anything. You know as well as I do that it is not normal. (suddenly) Wait, someone’s coming. But why from the other side? (to the approaching person) Can you tell me why and where you have been for so long? I was mortified! mother (younger, rejuvenated, frisky) I don’t know what you are talking about, sir. I saw the light and I allowed myself to pass through the garden, hoping that . . . father (to the mentor) Do you understand this? Do you recognize this person? Who is this? mentor It is your wife. When she was approaching I was certain that it was some young, unknown lady, but in a better light, I can see that it is clearly your wife. Ma-am, do you know this gentleman? mother I see him for the first time in my life. He looks very much like one of my psychology professors, but my professor limps significantly, and you don’t seem to limp. (pause) Well, I should go . . . (she disappears) father Wait, please, wait. It’s impossible . . . (music, a different light. son appears, dressed up in a strange uniform) son (briskly, happy) I lost my group. I was admiring the gorgeous moon and I lost them. I called ‘hop-hop’ but in vain. What am I going to do now? mentor It’s you, my son! father Why are you dressed up like that? What silly costume is this? Where are your mother and sister? Explain it to me, please, right now. son (to mentor) Who is this? And what right does he have to make fun of my uniform? It’s the uniform of the cavalierly. Every idiot knows that. I left a horse in the barn, if you want to know . . . Out of the uniform, I am a painter. I copy famous paintings. If you’re in a mood for a little Renoir, I am all yours. The impressionists are my specialty. Renoir’s soft red and dusky blue – that’s my strong side. I don’t charge much. Here’s my card. (Gives it to the mentor) Just in case. (an old, hunchbacked woman enters)



For me too, please. I want a little card like that, too. My children are very rich and they love art. They are very cheap. They threw me out on the street, but they will pay any price for the painting they want. father (to mentor) It’s the voice of my daughter! Isn’t it? mentor No, impossible. It’s just some old lady. father (terrified) Don’t you recognize me? I am your father. daughter (to mentor) Nut? (she makes a circle with her finger on her forehead) Hmm, for a long time? father You also dressed up . . . . You never used to do it. What is happening to you? daughter (to son) Why don’t you go with me? I’ll show you where my children live. I am sure they’ll order something from you. They are very cheap. For mother, nothing, but when they see a famous painting, oh, la la, they’ll buy it right away. (daughter and son leave). mentor Sooo . . . maybe we’ll play more chess? I lost three times. I have to make it up. father You play the whites. mentor I’d prefer blacks. You can see them better at dusk, but if you say so . . . . You go first . . . daughter

(music — peaceful, serene)

PART FIVE: TENEBROSO Night, silence, quiet music father



mentor mother

I can’t fall asleep. My thoughts keep me awake. They’ve changed. Usually, when I wake up at night, for God knows what reason, I think about my family, about our troubles. What family doesn’t have them? The darkness of the night makes your troubles even larger than they really are. But now — instead of thinking about what has happened to my family, why they are not coming back, whether anything wrong has happened to them — I think about things that are completely irrelevant. For example, the essence of tragedy. (approaching slowly) And what conclusions have you reached? I also can’t fall asleep, so I’ll be happy to hear what you have to say about something I have never thought about. I have never in my life been so close to the core of tragedy. (pause) I don’t even know how I could console you. Our entire life, all of our actions, everything we accomplish — it all accounts for nothing at the very end. It cracks, like a boat on the rocks. The knowledge of our final failure — of the grand finale — is enough to be called a tragedy. You build a house, which you know will one day be destroyed. (suddenly) Quiet! Someone’s coming. (dressed like a monk) It’s a church yard, for God’s sake! What are you doing here at this time? Get out! Are you beggars? Wait till the morning by the gates, maybe we’ll find something for you then. Now, get out!



mentor (wants to say something) Wedon’tbeg . . . (pointing at father) weonlytalk . . . mother I’m substituting for the Mother Superior who went to the Tibetan Chants Festival. The group from New Zealand is the favourite. Get out, now! Get out of here! (she leaves) father What does she talk about? It was a voice of my wife. (tragically) Listen, woman . . . (mother disappears) mentor Let’s go. Let’s go back to our hut. father I am tired. I don’t know anything about Tibetan chants. See, our education is so limited. (pointing to a new figure). Who’s that? son I am Napoleon Bonaparte. I studied at schools in Brienne and Paris. I am sixteen and I just became an artillery lieutenant. It’s very unusual in so far that, as you know, I am somewhat of a foreigner in the French army. mentor Wouldn’t it be better then, my young man, to join the Foreign Legion, the famous Legion Entrangere? son Why? Among the French I don’t feel at all like a stranger. I intend to ... father We know what you intend . . . son Who’s this guy? You should respect an officer, and when you have nothing to say, you should keep quiet. mentor You see, my dear, how arrogant our young man is. (jokingly) Napoleon, Napoleon — the name does sound familiar, but I can’t locate it. father It does take up a lot of space in various Encyclopaedias. But no editor (making a reference to mentor ’s irony) ever mentioned how short this gentleman was. (ignoring the son) He’s even shorter than on David’s painting. mentor (ignoring the son) I am sorry, my dear, but how can you tell from the painting how tall the guy was if he wasn’t painted in his natural size? David would never have done it this way; he was a good painter. father A good painter, if he wants to represent truthfully the figures he is painting, should hang a measuring tape next to the figure. He could hang the tape on the hanger, which he could also paint. (as if to the son) A measuring tape, if you’d be so kind, is an instrument used by tailors. It usually is one yard long. That’s sufficient for the tailors. mentor I never understood the secrets of our language. Why do we call a measuring tape a measuring tape? mentor (to son) Tell me, young man, when exactly were you born? father Don’t start this now, my dear. (to son) My friend here, though he is enlightened in every way, is also a passionate believer in astrology. son I was born on August the 15th. mentor I thought so. Our little boy is a Leo. Vitality, authority, power, ambition, pride, independence, disgusting nepotism, compulsive womanizing that evokes trust for God knows what reason, stubbornness of an ass, vulgar sense of self-worth, primitive bravery of a moron.



father mentor




Not bad for one modest person. Thank you for reminding me. He’s definitively not modest. He does have a certain ascetic leaning, but they pass through quickly and without any problems. Can I leave? I have to study math tonight. Ballistics was never my strong side. In fact, I don’t even know why I’m in the artillery. My father wanted it this way. I am convinced that I have more things to scream to the world than just ‘Fire’! Much, much more. Dear Lieutenant, why don’t you marry richly, with Josephine de Beauharais, for example. You’ll get into the inner circles right away. Good luck! (son leaves, waving a white handkerchief) Never do that again! (to the father) Can you see what that idiot’s doing? He’s waiving a white cloth. Hasn’t accomplished anything yet and already gives up .... My dear, you can’t take everything so literally . . . . Wait, someone’s coming. No, it’s just the wind.

SCENE SIX: MISTERIOSO Friendly music; it lasts for a long while; scene becomes almost completely dark mentor stands with his back to the audience. He looks ahead. daughter passes by. She does not notice him. She is absorbed in herself. After a while, she turns and notices the mentor. daughter mentor daughter


Oh, it’s you. You scared me. In what way? I was looking at the mountains. It’s snowing there. Even the lowest peaks are covered. Everyone’s still asleep. Like you, I woke up early today and I am happy to be able to talk to you in private. We all adore you. Father is your best friend, so he has his own reasons to adore you, but we all adore you mainly because our father wishes us to. He admires your noble nature, the calmness of your mind, and your wisdom. I have a lot of vices, but I like to forget about them. Maybe that’s why I’m always balanced. Personally, I like to avoid people who make socalled good impressions. When I hear someone praising me, it occurs to me that I could be, without much effort, someone totally different – even evil perhaps, since some of our qualities are very ambiguous. I am, though I might be wrong, a good judge of human character, but I can be sometimes mistaken, like a young man in love who does not know what awaits him. We always wonder what people, who brought others so much unhappiness were thinking, while they were in the midst of the affairs they’ve orchestrated. What did the dictators think, all those overly ambitious, reaching their cruel goals without any consideration for anyone and anything. We can never totally comprehend their souls, even after many years of searching. They must have had something horrible in them. It always starts with being inconsiderate


daughter mentor

daughter mentor



just for one person, often the loved one, and it ends up with God knows what. It’s very sad what you’re telling me. Sad and enlightening. There is a little demon in every one of us. Certainly. Demon of evil. Even the thought of it itself is evil. Evil is man’s best power — Nietzsche said. But he was an exceptional cretin. Great writers and philosophers of our times would disagree with you on this one. They liked his power of persuasion, which they themselves lacked. One who is persuaded himself has no difficulties persuading others. It’s a quote from Don Carlos Schiller. If Schiller were to have lived a few years later, he certainly would have disdained Nietzsche, that surprisingly disgusting megalomaniac. (exiting) You have to know how to read Nietzsche . . . You have to know how to read every author. With distance.

PART THREE SCENE SEVEN — RILASSATO E DISORDINAT Large room like in SCENE ONE. Three different kinds of music can be heard coming from the back room. Scene is slightly darkened. Chaos as if nobody has cleaned here for a while: newspapers, boxes, torn packages, clothes hanging on the armchairs and sofa. Old, washed out, dirty underwear on the desk. The clothes line is stretched across the room. Underwear, various clothes, dirty scarves and towels hang on the line. When the lights go up, we can see at first only the part of the stage that is relatively clean and orderly. father daughter father daughter father daughter father


Did someone see my newspaper? I put it on the desk yesterday, but I see that it’s no longer there. It’s here. It fell down. (passes him a newspaper). That’s not the one. This one’s from yesterday. I’m looking for the one from before yesterday. It had the lottery winnings. Do you really think, Dad, that you will ever win anything? It’s a total rip off, thriving on people’s naiveté. You think so? And why naiveté . . . . After all . . . I know what you want to say. Someone has just won a million. Do you remember the winner from the last year? An average Joe, but he did win two million. Well, maybe he wasn’t all that average. He was a well-known pimp who catered to the likings of the members of our government. Two million! He could have taken all of his poor girls and gone to live in the Bahamas. Do you know what he has done with the money? In ‘The Scum of the World’ — that’s a new newspaper — there was an article about this winner. Dad, the pimp was satisfied with a few thousand because he had a few debts. The picture with him sitting



behind the desk and counting the big pile of money was counterfeited. ‘The Scum of the World’ called it a total rip off. father What does it mean in our language? daughter Disco in colour for colour-blind. Rip off. Con way to No way. How else should I explain it to you — a simple manipulation? father I understand. Manipulation. (pause) Do they always cheat or just with the big sums? (to approaching mother ) And you, where are you going, my beloved wife? (light on the entire room). mother (dressed particularly tastelessly) I am going to the TV, to the Department of Commercial Attaché. I have been cast in a commercial. I will decide which laundry detergent is the best. father And how do you supposed to know which one is the best if you haven’t done the laundry in months? mother (laughing) From a commercial, obviously. Our laundromat is broken, but their detergent works anyway. That’s something. They have been inserting the ads every five minutes now. All right, I am off or I’ll be late. daughter Mommy! When you’re there, ask for this new soap. They only give it to those whom they invite. mother Ok, my darling, I’ll try. (she exits). father Commercial Attaché? What does that mean? daughter You, daddy, are only interested in politics and pimps, so you don’t know that it used to be called the Department of the Commerce and Marketing, but a new CEO moved everything to a central building and renamed it the Department of Commercial Attaché. father Do you know what an attaché actually is? It is a diplomat! My uncle, my mother’s brother, was a cultural attaché in England. It was a highly prestigious and honoured position. son (entering) Where do you live, dad? Commercials are more important than culture! Besides, any moron can become a cultural attaché. (looks carefully at the father) He has to know how to read, that’s all. Advertising, that’s something . . . daughter Why are you so mad? (pause) You don’t have to advertise advertising. It is doing perfectly fine without your help. son Maybe yes, maybe not. But you know what. I really did do them a favour the other day. Some guy with the microphone stopped me on the street asking me what I think about a song of some slut. I looked at him bravely and said loudly so that everyone could hear me: Fantastic! The guy wanted to ask me about the details, but since I had no clue what slut he was talking about, I spelled it out for him again: Fanta-stic! Some old prick yelled: That’s bravery! Bravo! I thought he was being ironic and I was about to punch him in the face, but he looked at me like a child, sincerely, and he shook my hand with much awe. daughter See, dad, what a son you have. Unemployed, but honest! father I am sorry to say but I don’t share your awe over advertising. Leonardo didn’t need any advertising. The work advertised itself.



You think so? I am sure of it. Beethoven’s Fifth also does not need any advertising, or Racine’s Phedra. daughter Well, Phedra could use some advertising. Nobody wants to stage it anymore, though apparently, they say it is a masterpiece . . . son . . . about which nobody knows anything. (to father) And just look, how well it advertised itself . . . father (leaving) I am going to the Lottery Palace. After all, I have to win sometime. daughter Do you think that he’ll ever win? mother (entering) A small sum, for sure. You know how it is. daughter and son (together) It’s not the winning that’s important, but the participation in the lottery! (they laugh discretely). daughter Do you know that you are our shareholder? Oh, you don’t know anything? You are a shareholder because you participated in our program ‘how to share some change’. son (in the same tone of voice) Please, prepare some hard cash. It’s not appropriate to be a small shareholder. daughter and son (together) See you tomorrow! son father

SCENE EIGHT: GAIO Four figures, father, mother, son and daugher, appear in the darkness. They are all dressed alike. father son daughter mother

We got rid of any higher aspirations and we’re happy. We’re happy because we don’t have any demands from the world. We don’t have any demands from the world because we’re doing well. We’re doing well because we got rid of any higher aspirations.

(mentor enters. He is dressed like all the others, except he has a large yellow wheel on his chest.) mentor Hy! (silence) Hy! all (the rest) HaajahammaHy!Haajahammahy! mentor (energetically) Today in the morning, today, morning-morning; in the morning, I choked a few people out of pity. I noticed at the same time that I am not at all aggressive. I couldn’t even harm the smallest fly. I don’t even know how one harms the smallest fly. Aha, I do recall. You grab her elegantly by the leg and pull her wings out. Why does she need the wings anyway when she walks all happy all over the butter that you left on the table. all Why does she need the wings anyway when she walks happy all over the butter that you left on the table. mentor Humanity needs the plague, cholera, malaria, AIDS, and SARS. Nations should keep slaughtering each other all the time. It doesn’t even have to be on religious ground. National ground is as good. Local problems also will suffice. Trash from one side of the street shoots the



trash from the other side of the street. At night, it’s the best. Got you! Got you! This one for being uneven! all Got you! Got you! This one for being uneven! mentor I see that we understand each other well. all But of course, after all, people are happiest in prison. At our little gulag, life blossoms hula hula. mentor We should abolish all punishments. The criminal punishes himself with the pangs of his conscience. He is drawn to the place of crime. There, feeling guilty, he can commit suicide. Seppuku or hara-kiri. We let our insides fall off our belly and with a glorious smile on our faces, we forgive those that we have killed for making us feel guilty for the murders we have committed. Instead of guilt, we should have zero interests, no re-payment loans, especially for those especially deserving. all Large zero interests, no re-payment loans for the large zero interests criminals. mentor We should get rid of all films that aren’t pure advertising. For the commercials, which are the best part of our culture, we should hire the best, the most expensive actors. all Doesn’t know all of Shakespeare — let her rot alone in the hell. Doesn’t know all of Godot — let him fall from the stage into the mud. mentor For the unemployed — which percentages should constantly increase — we should organize weekly outdoor festivals. They should have loud electronic folk music coming from huge megaphones all over the place. (pause) We should . . . .we should . . . We should establish new departments: first of all . . . all (sing songy) We should first of all . . . mentor First of all, the Ministry of National Stupidifaction, then, the Ministry of Permanent Warfare and the Ministry of Football. New departments should be: the Department of Wasted Talents, the Department of Expired Canned Foods, the Department of Chopped Trees and Extinction of Fish. Fish do not say anything — said one of our great neo-ideologists. We should have New Language Academy where the professors and counsellors should be specially chosen from the elite group of convicted sex perverts, former politicians, druggies, and a various other social scum. all (singing in harmony) Sex perverts and social scum that’s what will make your education fun. mentor (also singing) The New Language . . . all Guage, guage, guage . . . mentor The New Language should have only eighteen verbs, about seventy nouns and a few most useful pronouns, such as ‘new’, ‘old’, ‘shitty’, ‘used’, and ‘plastic’. From the old language we should also leave: I, you, so what, no, ain’t, exactly, and shit-it’s-not-true. all I-you-so-what-no-ain’t-exactly-and-shit-it’s-not-true. (like echo) I-youso-what-no-ain’t-exactly-and-shit-it’s-not-true. mentor Exactly. The publishers should be allowed to supply only the very elementary comic books, cook books, and department store catalogues.



Every written sentence shouldn’t contain more than seven words, and every book should have twice as many pages with pictures and photos than with words. The newspapers . . . . all (singing) The newspapers, ach, the newspapers . . . (like echo) The newspapers, ach, the newspapers . . . mentor The newspapers shouldn’t have anything but descriptions of interesting murders, sex ads, and football scores. We should strive to prefer local newspapers above all. Every city, even the smallest village and apartment complex should have its own newspaper, in which every citizen could learn what his neighbour had for dinner yesterday night, whose bike had broken down, and who just run out of toilet paper. This way the nation would be internally and spiritually united. (silence) Hy! all HaahajahammmaHy. . . . mentor Hy! (pause) Hy! all HaahajahammmaHy. HaahajahammmaHy. mentor Eye-for-an-eye, Hy! all Eye-for-an-eye, Hy! Kill the scum! daughter Daddy, I am scared . . . father Don’t be afraid, my bebe, you’ll be all right - maybe. Hehe . . . mentor Let’s fight, let’s fight, let’s fight! all Let the manure rot! Let it stink like a shit! mentor As I do love my country, let’s kill the enemy. father Let’s muddy the mumbo jumbo. mother, son and daughter Not even Rambo can help. daughter (briskly) I am not scared, I am not scared anymore. son We’ll kill the enemy like all the good soldiers should do. mother (proud) My son is not a monster, but a patriotic model. son Every uneven digit is pure dirt and a midget. father We are the evenest pair. Something will happen here soon! mother If not today, then soon, we’ll rip off their cozy cocoon. Why are the rich even living, when we are barely breathing? daughter They always move up for telling us the same old scrap. son Let’s kill them all, all nicely, before smashing the head of their beloved chief. We’ll cut their herd proud to the bare bones and to the ground. We’ll cut their every head just like that. father Then, we’ll make peace and everyone will be pleased. (happy music)

PART III SCENE NINE — CAPRICCIOSO The set like in SCENE THREE: music, late afternoon son daughter

I’m sorry I’m interrupting you. What are you working on? I am writing a paper about Wittgenstein. He fascinates me.



He used to be very much in fashion. Whenever I saw a student engaged deeply in a book, it could be only this neo-positivist Wittgenstein, this great poser Wittgenstein. daughter Are you crazy, or what? Why are you saying such things? son Why do I call him a poser? That’s simple. In the most difficult times — 1918 — a young man, financially independent — at the times when all around him there is nothing else but poverty and despair over the killed soldiers, husbands, and fathers — what does he do? Ha! He writes Tractatus Logico-philosophicus, which consists of relatively lucid sentences and which ends with hypnotic one: Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, daruber mu man schweigen. Do you understand that cute trick? The title is supposedly in Latin — and who really knows Latin? — but it is in such Latin that every word is perfectly understood in almost any language. Every moron can figure out what it means tractatus, or logico, or finally, philosophicus. And this ‘to be silent about something’ – that’s also just a clever idea of a very good writer. daughter You simplify everything. Wittgenstein is wonderful. Do you know that after many years, he himself criticized his previous standpoint? He came to understand that any philosophy is simply a critic of the language and . . . father (entering) Critique of the language, you say, ha, did we just get rid of any higher aspirations? (pause) Oh, I am sorry, I didn’t mean anything wrong by it. daughter I don’t know what you did mean, daddy. My apologies, but I have to get back to my paper. (to the son) He criticized himself. Which philosopher would allow himself something like that? Schlick? Carnap? Or maybe Reichenach? Yeah, right. He finally figured it out that all empiric-scientific theories grow out of inductive and systematic accumulation of similar observations, and that every expression has to be verified by itself. I know what you are going to say. You want to say that Popper would disagree, but that’s exactly the point . . . mother (entering) Oh, how nice you talk to each other in the old fashioned way. Oh, to return to the old times of grand discussions and profound reflections! (suddenly, hitting a fly) Got you! Got you! This one for being uneven! (silence) Why are you looking at me like that? What did I say? I know, I know, my place is the kitchen. (she leaves crying) father (calmly) Everything is all right. Let her cry. It’s from happiness. She loves us, that’s why she cooks so well. (to daughter) So, you are saying that poor Wittgenstein himself criticized his own Tractatus. That is why he is so popular, even among high school students and politicians. Verified, you’re saying, by its own verification? I like that. I’ll prove that I am the stupidest person in the world by verifying my stupidity, but how am I supposed to be able to do it if I am the stupidest person in the world . . . son (randomly) I couldn’t even hurt the smallest fly. I don’t even know how to hurt the smallest flies. Sorry, never mind. son



daughter (Not paying any attention to him) Daddy! Wittgenstein didn’t mean his own stupidity. He was an authentic thinker and he had to admit he was wrong. But, despite all that, his philosophy expressed in the Tractatus . . . father I have to calm her down. She should not be crying like that. (he is about to leave) The criminal is drawn to the place of his crime. There, he can, feeling guilty (from far away) commit suicide. son We don’t have enough philosophers, and those that we do have write incomprehensible and worthless things. mentor (entering) We should establish a Department of Linguistic Justice. Everyone who writes or speaks in incomprehensible fashion should work in a quarry. We’ve gotten rid of all our forests. We can use stone furniture for a change. It’s only a question of proper tools. mother (happy) Oh, what are you saying! Stone furniture! What a wonderful idea! (to approaching father) Did you hear that? Hard as a rock! father I sleep like a stone when I am all-alone. (to mentor) Oh, you’re here. Finally. How was your day? Busy, as always. It’s good to have you here. son We were just talking about the concept of being well read. I believe that any moron with any memory can be any well read. daughter Dear brother! You can’t use the word ‘any’ three times in the same sentence. Any moron, any memory! Horrible. Additionally, it has exactly the same meaning. mother I ask you not to chide my son in front of everyone. With his talents, he could be a General Manager of a quarry, arry, arry, arry, arry (she coughs). son See what you have done, you bitch? father I would prefer to return to the core of our discussion. Only an intelligent man can be called well read. And what do you think, my dear? mentor That’s an obvious point, bound to disappoint. Such conversation only brings constipation. son Nonsense you talk. Best did japed and t’was good crap. daughter Why don’t you all shut up. Your conversation makes me want to throw up. mother My baby, what’s wrong? You see, what you’ve done, you son of a bitch ... son No discussion, I want action. Fire! father Noble actions must be noble. To die for one’s country, ach, pro patria mori . . . mentor Your chatter makes my stomach shatter. I didn’t come here tonight to listen to a stupid fight. mother (horrified) There is a rat on the rat in this rotten hut! father (calmly) I would like to return to the core of our thought, I repeat, to the core of our thought, not to the core of our language. son (looking at himself in the mirror, whining) My tongue is all plumped up. That’s a work of these unevens.



So go and tell them not to plump up our tongues. Who do they think they are? mother (with courage) I am mother-courage. I’ll go and shit on their tongues. I’ll stand by my wonderful children. father The damned time flies by. You don’t even notice. (to the audience) For you too, my dear audience, it does fly, yeah? mother I said it only because I was mad. Nobody in this house will shit on anyone. son Health is the most important thing you can have. (calmly) Daddy, you wanted to say something, if I am not mistaken. father (to daughter) So, you say, honey, that this Wittgenstein criticized himself, his own Tractatus. It was a genius idea! A composer or a painter when they look at their work after a while can pronounce an opinion on it. What do you think about it, my friend? mentor (idiotically) What do I think, ha! What do I think, you ask. That’s a very good question, very good! You know how I value your mind. I know that your brilliant parents didn’t want you to go to school. They talked to the teachers and decided that you should be the one who could teach them something. They went to a different college and it was all the same. The dean who was teaching mathematics didn’t know what an undefined integral was. father (fast) Undefined integral: (singing) hey, hey, come back, my beloved memory, bla, bla, bla — I know: or rather, I recall because I always knew. That’s a set of all primary functions of a particular function. How could it be otherwise? daughter How otherwise? It’s a particular function’s set of all primarily functions. father Yes, that’s sounds much better. That’s how it is in Leibniz’s book, in Doppelshpic’s translation. What did we talk about? mentor I mentioned that I admire your mind. son (pushily) Don’t suck up to my old man, or I’ll puke. mentor(to father) What the heck does he want from me? (everyone leaves. You can hear) ‘Daddy, how could you be so smart at only seven. My husband’s taken it after me. How could you, my son, say that the scene dragged into infinity when it only lasted eleven minutes? Eleven minutes that’s not infinity.’ (loudly from behind the stage) ‘We’ll show those even ones who’s really educated.’ (quieter) mentor Let’s fight, let’s fight, let’s fight! Let the manure rot, let it stink like a shit. son We’ll get to the enemy, like all good soldiers should do. father Dandruff behind the collar, I don’t believe them at all. daughter Every uneven digit is pure dirt and midget. mother Why are the rich even living, when we are barely breathing? all (louder but timidly) Let’s fight, let’s fight, let’s fight! Let the manure rot, let it stink like a shit. daughter

(suddenly everyone returns to the stage, very fast and organized.)



father (calmly to mentor) You were so kind to mention my parents. I owe them a lot. They both knew how to distinguish very important things from those less important. mother So-called value system. son (jokingly) I had a friend who always used to say: that’s very important. Even when he was explaining that every pocket should contain something different. He kept the matches in the back pocket daughter What was his name? That’s very important. (all exit) mentor It’s very important not to get caught in the company of girls with questionable reputations. mother It’s very important to wash your fruits before peeling. father The most important thing is to have peace and quiet. Second in importance is physical fitness and an ability to concentrate. I think I was pretty good in this scene. son I don’t know. Let’s say, you were not bad . . . (music, quiet, focused, subtle)

SCENE TEN — DISPREZZOE DETERMINATO Darkness, demonic, erratic music mentor (viciously) Where are they? Where is this wonderful family, this fucking model of fucking peace and fucking culture? I hate them all! Fucking Leonardo Da Vinci, this son of a bitch, said once that hate makes easier to see all those things that love conceals. I am sure that nobody in the damn audience knows what in fact that jerk Leonardo said. But I know what he meant. He knew people, their strengths and their weaknesses. The son of a bitch knew that love can turn into hate, which will be stronger than love, even though some human scum can pretend otherwise. He won’t know himself what he only pretends and what is for real. But in hate, oh, no, there is no doubt. (cries) How I hate them . . . (silence) mother (entering) Oh, why do you sit in such darkness? Can I light at least one candle? I know that you like to concentrate in the darkness, but when it is completely dark, you could hit yourself on something, and I would hate for that to happen. We all love you so much. What are you working on right now? mentor You know, I am writing a scientific book, a book about a human being. We both know — you’re also well read — that all books of that kind are absolutely worthless. The philosophers have nothing to say about the man. Man is not an abstraction. The scientists know even less. What is there scientific in a man, except the scientists’ scientific brains. Writers, that’s different. Indeed, they write this and that, but these are mere scraps from anthropo . . . Wait, how should I say it: anthrypizopic . . . I have a headache. It’s from the light, too much light. I can’t focus. I can’t find a right word . . .



mother mentor mother mentor mother mentor

. . . scraps from anthropology – yes, I do know what you wanted to say. (furious) Scraps, what scraps, which scraps, you stupid woman. You want to correct me? Me? I just wanted to help you out a bit. Sometimes we can’t find a proper word. You don’t feel well today . . . . This female monster wanted to help me! In what way? Prompting me with false words? Destroying all that’s original and special in me? I’ll leave you alone. I can see that there is no way of talking to you today. I’ll leave you alone. I’ll strangle you like a bitch. (he strangles the mother) I hate you all. I’ll strangle all of you. I’ve practiced it on the pigs. It takes me thirty, maybe forty seconds to strangle a pig. I timed it with a timer.

(mother’s gives out her last breath. mentor exits content.) daughter (entering with son) I finished my paper on Wittgenstein. I can read it to you. son You don’t have to read it to me. I can read it myself. I’m sure it’s great. daughter I don’t know. I loved working on it. The sentences seemed as if they were writing themselves, flowing one after the other. What a pleasure it is to be in top form! Wait, where did I put the final draft. My apologies, but I added a few more last minute corrections. It does not look ideally clean . . . (she exits) (son appears from the darkness) mentor son


son mentor son

mentor son

How are you doing young man? How’s your artillery? Your ballistic plans? Are the little ones coming out nicely? Why do you make fun of ballistics? I’m not interested in it, but it is a science after all. Even if it deals only with bombs and bullets; but nevertheless, it is a science, so one shouldn’t mock it. Of course, it is pathetic to make fun of something one does not understand, but besides science, the critique of science does exist. We tried to criticize Kant or Freud and we just proved that they were total morons who talked sheer nonsense. They didn’t talk sheer nonsense. I have to defend them wholeheartedly. Are you arguing with me, you little brat? You never called me that before. What has happened to you? Maybe I should ask mother to make us a good coffee. Actually, I do like harsh discussions. I challenge you to the intellectual duel! Subject: stupidity of science. Stupid subject, but maybe we can do something interesting with it. I don’t need coffee. And I don’t feel like discussing anything with Napoleon. I don’t know what are you talking about.





son mentor


Please, the stupidest audience member knows what I am talking about and what I intend to do and this moron here . . . . That’s the power of theatre: the viewer has to be smarter than some of the characters, especially such as this one here, the character of characterless, snobbish bastard. All right, I can accept this form of discussion. It’s not particularly elegant, but I feel you can’t do anything better today. Sometimes I wonder why father adores you so much. Wonder, wonder! And know that this is your last thought. You never managed to figure out who I am. You tried so hard to uncover the core of my being. I know all about it. I know about everything and what? Father’s best friend – that was the best you could do. But none of you guessed that I hate him. I hate this son of a bitch. I think I’m going to slap you. And I – in turn – will strangle you. I’ve practiced it on the pigs. Fivemonth-old piggy takes me fifty second. That’s my record. (he strangles the son)

(The stage gets darker; music is broken, decomposed. Light falls on the mentor’s face. It is changed. His hair and clothes are in disorder, torn up.) daughter (to the approaching mentor) What has happened to you? Oh my God, how awful you look! mentor I never felt better. I ate a good breakfast this morning. (he fixes up his torn jacket) Afterwards, I went to the barber to trim my hair. He’s such a typical barber . . . daughter (interrupting him) But you’re not in a very good condition. I can see that in your eyes. mentor Aha. After so many years, suddenly, you don’t like my eyes. Certainly you thought they would, one day, become all lovey-dovey for you. Unfortunately, I have to disappoint you here. Nothing lovey-dovey will come out of them, ho-ney. daughter Of what? I don’t understand. mentor I hear constantly ‘I don’t understand this’, ‘I don’t understand that’. That’s all I hear in this damn house. daughter If you don’t like our house, you don’t have to come here. I always suspected the worst of you. Nobody’s perfect. According to my father, you’re the only one. But father is so naïve and good. I love him because of it. (pause) And you don’t interest me at all, if you would like to know. (friendly) I am sorry that I interrupted you. You were saying something about the barber . . . . mentor You’re a stupid damn slut. Stupid damn slut. (charges at her) Don’t move. When I speak, you should stand still and listen to me. And wait until I finish speaking. daughter But I have to go. You’ve heard, my mommy just called me. She wants something. mentor Mommy called her. That’s what they all say. In the last family, the dear daughter said exactly the same thing.



daughter mentor

Let me go, you jerk. Let yourself go, you slut. (laughing) Show me how you let yourself go and I’ll tell you who you are.

(Darkness, horrible scream. The strangulation scene is not seen. Silence). father (entering with the manuscript in his hand) Good job, my friend. I looked through your journals, wonderful, simply wonderful. Nobody would be able to write such journals for us. I counted on you and I lived to see your triumph. mentor You think they’re good? You’re wrong. (pause) They are very good: short, telling, and concise sentences. Nobody writes like that, but I appreciate you telling me this. father I didn’t say anything like that. Your sentences are long, like Mann’s or Proust’s. I like them this way. mentor And I don’t like someone criticizing my writing. I use metaphors, symbols, personifications, and allegories. Why don’t you mention any them? You’re not an idiot so you must know that they are of the highest class. What do the other writers do? They produce shit. father Are you serious? Shit? Yes . . . mentor You’re right. Such a moron writes a ‘boat of the desert’ instead of ‘camel’ and thinks he’s a great poet. He writes ‘the silent stone’ and the critics can’t catch their breaths from awe. father You’re right, but maybe you shouldn’t compare yourself to others. You see how we all love and admire you. We respect you, so I can tell you something in honesty. When you quote large chunks of someone else’s texts, you should use quotation marks or some readers may mistake it for plagiarism. My daughter pointed it out to me. mentor Oh, yes. I don’t know if I will be able to convince her that she’s mistaken. father It’s so pleasant to talk to you, but I am a bit worried about my family. mentor Why is that? Did something happen? father No, they simply are not here. mentor They must have left. Strange, nobody told me anything about any trips. father Yes, you’re right, that’s very strange, even weird. mentor (nicely) I like all of you very much. father I know that. I know. mentor (suddenly) What do you know? What do you know? I hate you all! (furious) I hate!!! father (calmly) Do you know that you’re a wonderful actor? Nobody can transform himself so suddenly into a pure devil. You’re incomparable. mentor (furious) And you’re a cretin! father (to the audience) Is this how the pleb talks? You’re a super duper guy! No contest. mentor And you’re a coward!



Why did you say that? You offended me. Seriously, now, I am hurt. You’re a dirty, sleazy worm, and one can’t hurt a dirty, sleazy worm. All you can do with a dirty, sleazy worm is to squash it. father I don’t understand your aggression. What’s wrong? mentor Nothing. Everything’s well, but you won’t be in a minute. I’ll strangle you like a dog, like a cow, like a pig. (he charges towards father) I’ll strangle you! I’ve practiced it on the animals, on regular pigs and you are a regular pig. And I can kill a pig in twenty seconds. (darkness, sounds of struggle and deaf moan.) mentor (Gets up and fixes his clothes. He is in total disarray. He straightens up for the audience.) And you thought that nihilism was extinct . . . Nothing like that. (long silence, quiet music) If nothing can be done, then, NOTHING can be done. I am leaving. I know that they will look for me. But they won’t find me. I’ll disappear the same way I’ve appeared: invisibly. That’s a wonderful feeling: to be as if one was never there. (silence) In theatre, it’s possible. In fact, only in theatre. (with a smile) Good night, Ladies and Gentlemen! (looks at his hands spread as if he were to grab something). It was my pleasure. (quieter) Goodnight . . . father mentor

slovo, Vol. 20 No. 2, Autumn 2008, 97–106

Exit, Voice, Loyalty: A Hirschmanian Research Framework for Transition Countries Zsolt Szabó1 Corvinus University of Budapest

This article adapts Albert O. Hirschman’s conceptual framework of ‘exit, voice, and loyalty’ in order to raise questions in transition studies, such as: are there any models being developed concerning the transition countries, are there similar models in the Western European region, is there any convergence between the models of Eastern Europe and the models of Western Europe? If the answer to the last issue is yes, in which spheres? Or if not, then is it a special economic, social, and political system that is forming in Eastern Europe? Another issue concerns the strength of the growth potential of the different models. This article examines which models are most successful and which are not and analyzes the role of economic and political elite in the development of these models. On the grounds of borrowing and reforming Hirschman’s terminology, this analysis offers both a conceptual and a methodological framework that can be used to answer these questions.2

Introduction The realised version of the socialist economic and social system proved incompatible in Eastern Europe in the 20th century. Analysis of transition countries in Eastern and Central Europe3 has opened new doors in both economics and political economy. 1



Doctoral student in Multidisciplinary Doctoral School of International Relations in Budapest Corvinus University, World Economy Department, Hungary. E-mail:, szabo.zsolt@mfb. hu. The author thanks Péter Gedeon, Thomas Kloster-Jensen Macintyre, Erzsébet Kovács, Szabolcs Szajp, András Blahó, Balázs Pálvölgyi, Barbara Lovas, András Sugár and the anonymous referee for their very helpful comments and suggestions. Discussion about the border between Western and Eastern Europe and about the reality of Central Europe has a centuries-long history — see e.g. Pál Beluszky, ‘Közép-Európa — Merre vagy?’, Földrajzi Közlemények, 43 (1995), 223–232; Francis W. Carter, ‘Central Europe: Fact or Geographical Fiction?’ in Central Europe

© School of Slavonic & East European Studies, University College London, 2008



However, the economic policy lessons based on the experiences of the successful transition countries, often applied in other Central and Eastern European countries, may be unsuitable and dangerous.4 The ‘laboratory’ of Eastern Europe gives many opportunities through experiments and experience to make some gentle corrections and to enrich the study of economics and political economy. However, Eastern European countries may not just receive the benefits of new and effective economic policy lessons, but also suffer the sideeffects of economic ‘medicines’. Furthermore, fundamentally bad diagnoses and prescriptions cannot be precluded because the ‘doctors’ often have little or no experience. More than fifteen years after the collapse of the socialist system new issues are raised: are there any models being developed concerning the transition countries? Are there any similar models in the Western European region? Is there any convergence between the Eastern and Western European models and if so, in which spheres? Or if there is no convergence, could it be that a special economic, social, and political system is developing in Eastern Europe? This leads to the questions of how strong the growth potential of the different Eastern models is and which models are the most and least successful. Finally, what is the role of the economic and political elite in the development of such models? This article is the first phase of a two-stage analysis. The focus is on the above-mentioned problems of transformation showing both a conceptual and a methodological framework that enables these questions to be answered. This study is divided into four parts. First, schools of thought will be distinguished in economics and political economy relating to transitology and their basic statements and limits will be revealed. Second, a different method based on the concept of exit, voice and loyalty introduced by Albert O. Hirschman is presented.5 A short summary of the concepts and results of the book will be provided and the meaning of its categories will be reformed. A theoretical framework will be set up with the modified abstractions that will help to retrace the understanding of the process of transition up through present time. Furthermore, the background of economic performance will be revealed and the different models of transition countries will be




Continued after the Fall of Iron Curtain, ed. by Francis W. Carter, Peter Jordan, and Violette Rey (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1996). The definition of Eastern Europe is related in this analysis to every post-socialist state in order to distinguish between different development paths in the Western and Eastern parts of Europe. This also stresses that there is similarity among states which are located in the Eastern part of Europe regarding their history, economic structure, social framework, and political system. Concerning this separation and definition, this article follows the centre-periphery separation made by Immanuel Wallerstein, The Capitalist World-Economy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979). See, for example, the story of the so-called Washington concert, which was based on the experiences of the macroeconomic stabilisation programs of Latin American countries in the 1980s and was later suggested to adapt to Eastern Europe in the 1990s. The Washington concert was widely criticized because of the significant differences between Latin America and Eastern Europe. Albert O. Hirschman, Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1970) aimed to reveal the adaptability of tools and concepts from other social sciences into economics.



analysed as well. Third, a short case study of Hungary will be presented. Finally, additional research opportunities will be presented according to the model.

Concepts and results in transitology The literature of transitology will be reviewed from different perspectives because of the complexity of the theme and the interdisciplinary method utilised. This summary is not and cannot be all-inclusive because transitology has many approaches with different views and different methods. Moreover, this classification is arbitrary and only follows the structure of this analysis. The aim here is to find methods to answer the questions that were formulated in the first part of this analysis and focus on the different views in literature instead of making a full literature review. The first distinction is between evolutionist and functionalist approaches. The evolutionist school contains studies that emphasize the speciality of transition, in other words, the different characteristics of transition countries. These specialities are the result of their different development paths and adaptations compared to Western European countries and have a huge impact on subsequent periods of transition. The examples used in this article for this school of thought include: Bruszt — Stark (1998), Grabher — Stark (1997), Greskovits (1998), Kolodko (2000), Kornai (2004), Kozma (1998), Lomax (1998), Rodrik (2000), Szalai (1995), Eyal et al. (1998). The functionalist school of thought claims that the main, or only, task of transition is the adoption of democratic and capitalistic structures and the destruction of many or all of its old socialist institutions. Functionalist analysis does not consider the possibility of any homegrown economic and social structures based on the transition countries to be important. Those adhering to this concept are usually the agitators of the fast and complex adoption of Western rules, institutions, models, and structures. For example László Csaba and, according to his early works, Jeffrey Sachs can be considered members of this school. The visions of the evolutionist and functionalist approaches are very different. The economic and social models according to the first one are varied, diverse, and heterogeneous. In contrast, the second one makes a distinction between successful and unsuccessful states in adapting the Western institutions. There is another possibility in the distinction of transitology literature according to the possible casual order of democratisation and building market economy and co-existence of democracy and a market economy. The questions which distinguish the two groups are the following: is the political transition expendable temporarily for the sake of the success of economic transition and can the democratisation process be delayed in order to carry out a successful economic transition? According to Offe (1991) and Dahl (1992), democratisation works against the success of economic reforms because economic transition causes many social pains and needs strong political support.6 On the contrary, Kornai (2004) states that this cannot be an


Claus Offe, ‘Das Dilemma der Gleichzeitigkeit: Demokratisierung und Marktwirtschaft in Osteuropa’, Merkur, 45 (1991), 279–292; Robert Dahl, ‘Why Free Markets Are Not Enough?’, Journal of Democracy 3 (1992), 82–89.



argument to stop or delay democratization.7 The two processes can be reconciled during transition according to Gedeon (1992).8 Moreover, Rodrik (2000) argues that democracy stimulates the efficiency of institutions and it is favourable for economic growth.9 Finally, growth theories are also mentioned. Though they do not belong directly to transition studies, some of these methods will be used in the analysis. The Solow model, which suggests the absolute convergence of countries, has received strong competition lately with endogenous growth theories. The endogenous theories focus on the intensive factors of growth instead of the extensive elements. One approach stresses the role of human capital, the other emphasizes the importance of technical progress. The reason we pay attention to growth theories is that the use of institutions in growth models has arisen from the endogenous growth theories. The application of institutions in growth models developed approximately at the same time that the Eastern European transformation took place. Using different time series and country samples, the analysis has proven the importance of institutions in economic growth.

Hirschman’s contribution to economics Hirschman supported interdisciplinary approaches in social sciences and disliked the growing imperialistic power of economics in the twentieth century. He considered economic and political factors to have the same importance as the perfect analytical approach and pointed out the role of political methods in economics and vice versa. In his book Exit, Voice, and Loyalty he employs both political and economic tools at the same time to demonstrate the possibility of an interdisciplinary method in any analysis. To fully understand the concept of the article it is advisable to review the logic of this book. One of the main examples in Hirschman’s book depicts a firm that makes products. The performance of this company decreases and the quality of its goods decline. The consumers of the products of the firm have two options in such a situation according to the conventional economic approach: either they stop buying the product, leave the firm and choose the goods of other rival firms (called exit by Hirschman), or they continue to buy the products of the firm (loyalty). Depending on the change in demand the company decides what to do. The decision of the customers (exit versus loyalty) can be easily modelled in microeconomics. However, the consumers have a third option which cannot be analysed by classical economic methods. The buyers can choose to articulate their dislike of the product’s poorer quality while remaining customers. Their aim with this protest (voice) is to encourage the firm to




János Kornai, ‘What Can Countries Embarking on Post-Socialist Transformation Learn from the Experiences so far?’, Cuba Transition Project, Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, University of Miami (2004) <> [accessed 7 March 2008]. Péter Gedeon, ‘Demokrácia és piacgazdaság I-II.’, Közgazdasági Szemle, 39 (1992), 401–24 and (1992), 525–37. Dani Rodrik, ‘Institutions for High-Quality Growth: What They are and How to Acquire Them’, NBER Working Paper, 7540 (2000) <> [accessed 3 March 2008].



produce its original products with the original quality because they do not want to, or are not able to, choose similar products from other companies. The research on the demonstration of this phenomenon belongs to the field of political science and other social sciences, not to economics. The common use of exit, voice and loyalty is one of the essences of Hirschman’s approach, combining both political and economic methods at the same time. The customers’ decisions are based on their preferences, but are also influenced, for example, by the market structure, such as if there are other companies with similar products. Exit can be a more successful claim in a competitive market, while voice seems to be a better answer for consumers in a monopolistic market because there are no firms with similar products. Exit and voice urge the company through different channels to increase the quality of its goods. The role of the loyal costumers is to give the company trust and financial reserves. This can easily create a paradox if there are not enough loyal consumers while the firm is trying to increase production quality, since there is not enough money to finance the modernisation of the producing process. The analogy of this firm can be used in the research of other organisations, like political parties, the state, church, or family. Hirschman shows even more examples for these. This is the second value of Hirschman: his method can be used not only in economics, but also outside the firm-consumer sphere in sociology and political science.

The framework of an alternate transformation paradigm Eastern European transformation entails simultaneous economic and political transition. Economic transition means that state ownership, planned economy, and bureaucratic coordination is changed by private ownership, market coordination, and the market; political transition means strengthening civil society and that the one-party-system is transformed to a multi-party-system.10 There are many reasons to borrow Hirschman’s philosophy and methodology as analytical tools in transitology. Firstly, the common use of economic and political methods implies a more complex research method than a simply economic or political approach. This is because there are fewer limits to analysing complex processes. The common political and economic analysis is reasonable and advisable for all research on economic systems, especially for transition countries. The post-socialist countries have experience with the simultaneous transition of the economic and political systems. The exit, voice, loyalty trilemma is able to analyse both economic and political changes which is common within transitional countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Secondly, the collapse of the socialist economy is similar to a factory, party, or family, which has problems according to Hirschman’s concept,


These special characteristics of the Eastern European transition are stressed for example by Offe (1991); Michael McFaul, ‘The Fourth Wave of Democracy and Dictatorship’, World Politics, 54 (2002.1), 212–244. Offe writes about a third type of transition, which is the state building and is the problem of countries which were born or re-born during the transition.



indicating the possible use of the exit, voice, loyalty method. Thirdly, the postsocialist economies have formed a group of different countries on the forefront of economic and political development. The analytical tool made by Hirschman gives an alternate opportunity to analyse their characteristics and also to see the dynamic changes in these countries. The research method here is as follows. Different markets are chosen where the quality of products is changing. These markets are not only classical microeconomic markets, such as different car markets, but also markets for important macro products in the economic and political system of every transition economy. The focus will be on the following four dimensions: labour market, capital market, ‘market of politicians’, and ‘market of managers’. In every field the functioning and working of exit, voice, and loyalty options will be examined during transition. The three options have the following meanings in the different markets: (1) Labour market: For decisions made by employees, the exit reaction caused by the change in working conditions (decline of real wages, higher qualification requirements) can include migration or the choice to be unemployed or inactive.11 Workers and employees who want to stay in the labour market silently accept the changed working conditions (loyalty) or fight through strikes or demonstrations for higher wages and better working conditions (voice). (2) Capital market: the focus is on the international movement of capital because transition countries are relatively poor in this resource. According to conventional economic theory, foreign investors can decide to accept the new investment conditions and invest (or reinvest) in Eastern Europe (loyalty) or choose other Eastern European countries or leave Eastern Europe (exit). The third opportunity is lobbying directly to Eastern European governments and ministries for better investment conditions. This also involves trying to influence the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, among others, to encourage them to put pressure on the transition countries (voice). (3) ‘Market of politicians’: the attitude towards the political elite. If the voters are satisfied with the politics of the government, then they do not demonstrate and do not attempt to change political power (loyalty). If the society wants changes at the top of the political elite, then they vote against them in the elections or organise demonstrations that can evolve, if it is necessary, into revolutions (exit). The choice between voting and demonstrations depends on the existence of opponents, the fairness of elections, and the destructive power of the government. The peaceful method to influence the government if there is trust towards their power is lobbying (voice). (4) ‘Market of managers’: the future of the managers depends on the satisfaction of the shareholders and the state. If they are honoured with the shareholders’ confidence, than their mandate as the managers of the company is increased


It can be first assumed that leaving the labour market is voluntary, i.e. the workers decide to leave their jobs by themselves. On the contrary, it can be seen from the other side and it is considered here that the unemployed and inactive ex-workers are people who do not want to go back to the labour market.




Labour market Capital market ‘Market of politicians’ ‘Market of managers’




inactive status, unemployed status, migration staying away, exit replacement, demonstration, revolution getting fired

strike lobbying lobbying lobbying

work investment, re-investment re-vote (new) mandate

(loyalty), but if they are not they lose their positions and they are fired (exit). If the shareholders want smaller changes in the management of the company they can lobby the managers. The different alternatives are illustrated in Table 1. There are many connections among the four markets and there are some possible conclusions based on the connections. 1.



There is one element in each market that helps the ‘consumer’ in decisionmaking. This factor in the labour market is the trade union, whose power influences the opportunity to express the workers’ preferences. The privatisation and liberalisation of a country are elements that have major effects on investors and their decisions. The key to understanding the judgement of politicians is the deepness of democratic rules and institutions. Finally, the main factor in the ‘market of managers’ can be corruption. The four factors (trade unions, privatisation and liberalisation, democratisation, corruption) are elements closely observed in many institutional analyses.12 The ‘market of politicians’ has a central role in many respects, as the political elites have a major effect on the formation and re-formulation of the new institutional framework. However, the political elites are not fully independent from the other dimensions (capital market, labour market, and ‘market of managers’), since their role is judged by the voters according to their economic performance.

See for example Lucian Cernat, ‘Institutions and Economic Growth: Which Model of Capitalism for Central and Eastern Europe?’, Journal for Institutional Innovation, Development and Transition, (2002), 18–34; Martha de Melo, Cevdet Denizer, Alan Gelb, and Stoyan Tenev, ‘Circumstance and Choice: The Role of Initial Conditions and Policies in Transition Economies’, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, 1866 (1997) < Rendered/PDF/multi0page.pdf> [accessed 13 March 2008]; Helga Engerer and Mechthild Schrooten, ‘Institutions, Financial Systems and the Transition Process’, Draft copy (2002) < Engerer%20&%20Schrooten.doc> [accessed 10 March 2008]; Louise Grogan and Luc Moers, ‘Growth Empirics with Institutional Measures for Transition Countries’, Economic Systems, 25 (2001), 1–22; Oleh Havrylyshyn, Ivailo Izworski and Ron van Rooden, ‘Recovery and Growth in Transition Economies 1990–97: A Stylized Regression Analysis’, IMF Working Paper, 141 (1998) < wp98141.pdf> [accessed 9 March 2008]; and Oleh Havrylyshyn and Ron van Rooden ‘Institutions Matter in Transition, but so do Policies’, IMF Working Paper, 70 (2000), < wp0070.pdf > [accessed 9 March 2008].





There is a closer connection between the labour market and capital market, and between the ‘market of politicians’ and the ‘market of managers’. In the first case, the liaison is the production function and economic growth. In the second case, the elites are the bridge because the transit between the political and economic elite is not rare or strange.13 This means that later partial studies can focus on the economic growth and on the elites. The model here has mostly internal dimensions (labour market, ‘market of politicians’, ‘market of managers’). The only exception is the capital market where the effect of external factors can be built into the model. The common use of interior and exterior factors provides the option for a holistic analysis.

A case study: Analysis of Hungary according to Hirschman’s trilemma A short study will be presented to show the usefulness of the exit, voice, loyalty method in transition studies. Hungary will be studied in two cycles: from 1996 to 2002 and from 2003 to 2008. The labour market can be considered to be the same regarding both periods: the frequency of strikes was relatively low and the number of strikes, the activity rate, and the unemployment rate were almost the same. The number of migrant workers was relatively low as well both before and after the EU entrance of 2004. In the labour market loyalty was the typical choice. However, in the capital market more radical changes occurred. In the second part of the 1990s huge amounts of foreign direct investment arrived in Hungary, but in the later years the speed of FDI was much slower. In the later years the foreign investors were more demanding and asked for more tax relief and tax cuts from the government because of the lower tax rates in other Central European countries. Moreover, Hungarian investors began to leave the country. The political life has also experienced significant changes. By 2006 every government had lost its power in the parliamentary elections, but after the elections of 2006 the ruling coalition parties kept the power, so the government has remained constant since 2002. This year (2008) the smaller coalition party left the government, but the government is still intact. This means that according to the election results the voters began to be more loyal to the ruling parties. However, demonstrations have risen since 2006 after the elections, when the ruling socialist party admitted that they had lied in the campaign. In the ‘market of managers’, closure of the market can be noticed in Hungary. Companies are leaving the stock exchange and new companies were not introduced to the stock market, which reduces the stakeholders’ control in corporate decisions. Furthermore, the Hungarian government accepted the so-called ‘lex-MOL’ in 2007,


The conversion possibility of different kinds of capitals, see for example Pierre Bourdieu, ‘The Forms of Capital’ in Handbook of Theory and Research in the Sociology of Education, ed. by John G. Richardson (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1986), and the realisation of conversion in Eastern Europe see for example Erzsébet Szalai, ‘The Metamorphosis of the Elites’ in Lawful revolution in Hungary 1989–1994, ed. by Béla K. Király and András Bozóki (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995).




Labour market Capital market ‘Market of politicians’ ‘Market of managers’ Economic growth (average rate of annual rates)



loyalty loyalty exit exit and voice 4.0%

loyalty voice and exit loyalty and exit market failure, voice? 3.4%

Source: Economic growth data calculated from Eurostat homepage < pageid=1090,30070682,1090_33076576&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL> [accessed 29 June 2008]

which limits the power of strong stakeholders in the nomination of company leaders. It foreshadows that the role of voice (lobbying) will be more important than ever before (Table 2). The growth data shows that the Hungarian economy is slowing down. The economic growth rate was slower in the second period than in the first, while it has grown in Poland (from 4.7% to 5.1%), has doubled in Slovakia (from 3.4% to 7.1%) and has trebled in the Czech Republic (from 1.7% to 5.4%). The matrix adds some more information about the reasons for the slowing of the Hungarian economy.

Additional opportunities according to the model The next step is an empirical analysis in which the focus will be on different technical tools concerning the next questions. (1) The model gives the opportunity to identify and examine the economic growth of transition countries. Although it is known that Hirschman (1958) wrote about unbalanced growth,14 for the sake of simplicity, a method will be shown here for the application of the trilemma in growth analyses. According to the Solow model (1956),15 mainly the labour market and capital market influence the economic performance. The next relationship works via the following model: Y=F (K, L) Y is the economic output, F is the producing function, K means the amount of capital, and L equals the labour.16 The role of human capital and technology is disregarded. However, the position in transition studies is favourable because of the low quality and quantity of internal capital. The foreign investment capital means not only capital investment but also technology investment.




Albert O.Hirschman, The Strategy of Economic Development (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1958) Robert M. Solow, ‘A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth’, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 70 (1956), 65–94. The model can be expanded later with the other two dimensions (politicans and managers), as the politicans make the institutional reforms (if there is any reform) since in Eastern Europe the top-down institution building is typical because of the fast collapse of socialist system, and the market of managers influences the kind of entrepreneurs that are working in the market.



By the use of the two dimensions (capital market and labour market),17 nine economic growth models can be constructed. They are of course mostly theoretical models, for example it is not easy to classify the labour market of any states with only one of the three characteristics. However, according to the main characteristics and their changes18 it is simpler to classify the countries. Consequently, countries can change positions in the matrix every year. Using cross-tabulation analysis, one can research the classification of countries in the matrix and, by collecting data on economic growth, determine how the strength of the role of the capital and labour markets in economic growth. (2) The Eastern European states, using the characteristics in each of the four dimensions, can be sorted into groups by cluster analysis, allowing for different models for the transition countries. Calculations can also be made on Western European countries and the different models of Western and Eastern European countries can be compared, thus determining if it is any convergence amongst the models or not. (3) Finally, answers can be received on how important the role of the political and economic elite is in the formulation of models and in the economic performance.



For example any of the capital market structures can be put together with any of the labour market structures and there are three capital and three labour markets. Subsequently the matrix can be made with nine cells. For example if the number and intensity of strikes is growing from one year to the next year, or the number of unemployed persons is rising in a year.

slovo, Vol. 20 No. 2, Autumn 2008, 107–118

The Reflection of the Napoleonic Legend in Adam Mickiewicz’s Pan Tadeusz Sharon Boak School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London

The overall image of Napoleon that emerges from Adam Mickiewicz’s Pan Tadeusz is one of admiration and grandeur. Conversely, the poem does not fail to cite controversy surrounding Napoleon; his fidelity to the PolishLithuanian cause and his use of Polish troops in San Domingo (1802–1803). Though never physically present, Napoleon’s impending arrival appears to direct proceedings and influence the destinies of the characters. Through close analysis of the poem, this piece recovers some of the diverse perspectives of the Napoleonic past, contributing to the larger discourse of the Legend’s impact upon literary representations of nineteenth-century Europe.

The compounding of generational drama, romance, societal divisions, eulogies to nature, and Napoleonic history, create not only an epic in Pan Tadeusz, but also a poem of cosmic proportions. Written and published in 1834, Pan Tadeusz successfully binds the turmoil and erstwhile glory of the Napoleonic Legend with the narrative of a man’s personal development. Through specific characterization and narration within Pan Tadeusz, we witness Napoleon’s continuing potency at the time when the poem was written. The glories of the Napoleonic past in Pan Tadeusz act as a model: to promote certain ideals and provide hope within a society so recently crushed by its neighbouring nation states, as a consequence of the failed insurrection of 1830–1831. The use of the Napoleonic Legend as a tool to belabour the present and inspire future hope is by no means unique to Pan Tadeusz.1 Napoleon’s encapsulation of personal achievement from obscurity to Empire provided inspiration for subsequent generations through literary works. His lengthy memoirs, Le Mémorial de Sainte 1

Other works which emphasise components of the Napoleonic Legend include: Stendhal’s The Red and the Black (1830), Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables (1862), Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace (1865); Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment (1866), and Stefan Z˙eromski’s The Ashes (1904).

© School of Slavonic & East European Studies, University College London, 2008



Hélène (published 1821) did much to establish the positive aspects of Napoleon as ‘man-god’.2 The legend was further propagated by the depiction of Napoleon as a principle of good, one who successfully rid Europe of deep-rooted corruptions and replaced factionalism with unity.3 The contrast this skilful fashioning of the Napoleonic past posed to the mediocrity of its successors, and moreover to the oppressive circumstances of the present, was profound. While the Napoleonic Legend was deeply ingrained in Mickiewicz’s sensibilities (the poet even enrolled at Wilno University in 1815 as ‘Adam Napoleon Mickiewicz’),4 it is noteworthy that Pan Tadeusz is not explicitly polemical.5 True, Mickiewicz’s almost dream-like concoction of the past in Pan Tadeusz, as he remembered it in the Lithuanian forests of 1811–1812, is in stark contrast to his existence amidst the squabbling émigrés in Paris: To think of such things in a Paris street, Where on my ears the city’s noises beat With lies and curses, and with plans ill-fated, And fiendish quarrels and regrets belated! I longed to fly, a bird of feeble flight, [. . .] Escape in thought to happier time and tide, And muse and dream of your own countryside. . .

O tym–z˙e dumac´ na paryskim bruku Przynosza˛c z miasta uszy pełne stuku Przekle˛stw i kłamstwa, niewczesnych zamiarów, Za póz´nych z˙alów, pote˛pien´czych swarów! Chciałem pomina˛c´, ptak małego lotu, [. . .] Wyrwał sie˛ z mys´la˛ ku szcze˛s´liwym czasóm I dumał, mys´lił o swojej krainie. . .6

Yet the poem is more an act of commemoration to a departed happiness and a glorious past than a political tract.7 Napoleon’s presence in the poem is reflected foremost through reference to his military genius and as a metaphysical force, moulding the histories of the characters throughout Pan Tadeusz. Furthermore, the Napoleonic Legend is depicted as the means by which people can achieve liberty and betterment in an oppressed society, both in the time it is set and concurrent to the poem’s authorship.





6 7

This idea of Napoleon as ‘man-god’ is first mentioned in Adam Mickiewicz, Pan Tadeusz (hereafter, PT), trans. by Kenneth R. Mackenzie, 5th edn (New York: Hippocrene Books, 2007), Book I, pp. 50–51. For more information on the early depictions of Napoleon following the publication of Count de Las Cases’ Le Mémorial de Sainte Hélène (1821) see Geoffrey Ellis, ‘The Historiographical Images of Power’, in Napoleon (London: Longman, 1997), pp. 189–230, particularly pp. 197–214. Adam Zamoyski, Holy Madness: Romantics, Patriots and Revolutionaries 1776–1871 (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1999), pp. 199–202 and pp. 280–86. Zamoyski explains that Mickiewicz gave himself this name because he believed the sight of the Grand Armée marching through Lithuania on its way to Moscow in 1812 had been his ‘spiritual baptism’ (p. 201). A similar argument is made by Czesław Miłosz, ‘Romanticism’, in The History of Polish Literature (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983), pp. 195–280, particularly p. 227. PT, Epilogue, pp. 578–81. As well as the repeated references to recent Polish history and the involvement of Poland and Polish troops in the Napoleonic period, the sense of departed happiness is most prevalent in PT, Epilogue, pp. 578–85.



Pan Tadeusz is a tale of country life among the gentry of Lithuania on the eve of Napoleon’s fateful invasion of Russia in 1812. Whilst the poem is built around the person of Tadeusz Soplica, it introduces the reader to an array of characters, incarnations of all aspects of Polish-Lithuanian society at that time. Pan Tadeusz depicts a feud between two noble families, complicated through, though in turn remedied by, a love story. The enigmatic figure of Father Robak shrouds the poem in mystery; he influences the story, only to be revealed as Jacek Soplica, originator of the feud and the disguised father of Tadeusz.8 The climax of the poem comes when the gentry put aside their differences and fight together for the Napoleonic cause of freedom, albeit prematurely, against the locally billeted Russian troops.9 Tadeusz (and the majority of the local szlachta),10 fearing brutal ramifications for his involvement in the skirmish, subsequently flees to join the Napoleonic ranks.11 Napoleon is reflected in Pan Tadeusz most frequently as ‘the man of battle’, through whose military exploits ‘Poland’s fame grows loud again’ and who promises freedom to the Republic.12 No sooner has Tadeusz Soplica returned home at the beginning of the poem than the reader is propelled into the glories of Poland’s recent military past: And the same portraits hung upon the wall. There in Cracovian coat Kos´ciuszko stands, Eyes raised to heaven, a sword in his two hands; [. . .] There, too beside the alcove in its place He saw the chiming clock in wooden case; 8

9 10



I tez˙ same portrety na s´cianach wisiały. Tu Kos´ciuszko w czamarce krakowskiej, z oczyma Poniesionymi w niebo, miecz obura˛cz trzyma; [. . .] Nawet stary stoja˛cy zegar kurantowy W drewnianeù szafie poznał, u wnis´cia alkowy,

PT, VIII, pp. 349–51. Father Robak reveals his true identity to his brother Judge Soplica. Later in Book X, as Robak is dying of injuries received in the skirmish with the Russian troops, he confesses his identity to Gerwazy, who up to that point had sworn to kill Jacek Soplica for the murder of his late master, the Stolnik Horeszko, pp. 466–67. Ibid., IX, pp. 398–423. The Polish term ‘szlachta’ is assigned to those of the hereditary noble class. While possessing almost unrivalled political privileges, the szlachta could include both rich and poor nobles. PT, X, pp. 440–51, especially p. 440 — ‘Meanwhile the men who played the biggest part/From Lithuania must now depart./ So Brothers, to the Duchy you must go:/[. . .] All must fly/ Across the Niemen, where our legions lie./ We’ll throw the blame upon your absentees/[. . .] And so we’ll save your families’. (‘Tymczasem, kto miał udział najczynniejszy w bitwie,/ Ten nie moz˙ e bezpieczny zostac´ sie˛ na Litwie;/Musicie wie˛c do Ksie˛stwa uciekac´, Panowie,/[. . .] niech unosza˛ głowy/ Za Niemen, gdzie ich czeka zaste˛p narodowy;/ My na was nieobecnych cała˛ wine˛ zwalim/[. . .] tak reszte˛ rodzen´stwa ocalim’). Ibid., ‘For now Napoleon, the man of battle,/ Has put an end to fashionable prattle./ There is the sound of arms, and we old men/ Rejoice that Poland’s fame grows loud again,/ And once more the Republic will be free!’ (‘Bo teraz Napoleon, człek ma˛dry a pre˛dki,/ Nie daje czasu szukac´ mody i gawe˛dki./ Teraz grzmi ore˛z˙ , a nam starym sercz rosna˛,/z˙e znowu o Polakach tak na s´wiecie głos´no;/ Jest sława, a wie˛c be˛dzie i Rzeczpospolita!’), in Ibid., I, pp. 28–29. In reality, Napoleon gave no such guarantees as to the creation of a united Kingdom of Poland. For further reading see J. Holland Rose, ‘Napoleon and Poland’, in Cambridge History of Poland 1697–1935, ed. by W. F. Reddaway and others (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1941), pp. 208–19.



With childish joy the young man pulled the string To hear Da˛browski’s old mazurka ring.

I z dziecinna˛ rados´cia˛ pocia˛gna˛ł za snurek, By stary Da˛browskiego usłyszac´ mazurek.13

Even amid this picture of domesticity there exists a display of patriotic fervour and the ubiquitous presence of the Napoleonic Legend. The impact of Napoleon’s military exploits is likewise felt within Nature. The quiet Lithuanian countryside, painted vividly in words by Mickiewicz, heralds the beginning of war: [. . .] a comet of first size and worth, That rising in the west flew to the north. [. . .] Each night the Lithuanians with fear Beheld the heavenly prodigy appear, And there were other auguries. Too oft they heard the birds’ ill-omened cries, That in the empty fields were congregating, Whetting their beaks as though for corpses waiting. Too oft they noticed dogs scratch up the earth With piercing howl, as though they scented death, Portending war or famine.

[. . .] kometa pierwszej wielkos´ci i mocy, Zjawił sie˛ na zachodzie, leciał ku północy; [. . .] Z niewymownym przeczuciem cały lud litewski Pogla˛dał kaz˙dej nocy na ten cud niebieski, Biora˛c zła˛ wróz˙be˛ z niego tudziez˙ z innych znaków Bo zbyt cze˛sto słyszano krzyk złowieszczych ptaków Które na pustych polach gromadza¸c´ sie˛ w kupy Ostrzyły dzioby, jakby czekaja˛c na trupy. Zbyt cze˛sto postrzegano, z˙e psy ziemie˛ ryły I jak gdyby s´mierc´ wietrza˛c, przeraz´liwie wyły: Co wróz˙y głód lub wojne˛.14

The eventual arrival of Napoleon’s forces is juxtaposed with the arrival of migrating birds; the ‘strange uniforms and arms unknown’ are perceived by onlookers as ‘new flocks of pennons and bright plumes’.15 War disrupts the idyll depicted by Mickiewicz,16 yet the people greet the arrival of the Grand Armée with almost religious fervour: A battle! Where? The young men asked, which way? And seized their arms, while women turned to pray; 13 14 15


Bitwa! gdzie? w której stronie? Pytaja˛ młodzien´ce, Chwytaja˛ bron´; kobiety wznosza˛ w niebo re˛ce;

PT, I, pp. 4–7. Ibid., VIII, pp. 338–41. ‘Dziwne stroje, nie widziane bronie’ and ‘[. . .] Nowe stada[. . .]/[. . .] Stada jasnych kit i chora˛giewek’, Ibid. XI, pp. 484–85. ‘Now saw the sky with fearful fire aflame –/ And then a crash — a cannon ball had strayed/ And tearing up the trees a path had made.’ (‘Teraz widzi na niebie: dziwna łuna pała,/ W puszczy łoskot, to kula od jakiegos´ działa, /Zbła˛dziwszy z pola bitwy, dróg w lesie szukała’), Ibid., XI, pp. 486–87.


And everyone was sure of victory, With tears of joy shouting continually:


Wszyscy pewni zwycie˛stwa, wołaja˛ ze łzami: ‘Bóg jest z Napoleonem, Napoleon z nami!’

‘Napoleon shall be victorious, God with Napoleon, and he with us!’17

The supernatural component of Napoleon’s portrayal throughout the poem is surprisingly echoed by the Russian Captain Rykov. A sympathizer for the Poles in their oppression,18 Rykov rates highly Napoleon’s military capabilities, describing him as ‘a wizard’ on par with the Russian General Alexander Suvorov.19 More predictable is the confidence shown in Napoleon by Father Robak, who professes that ‘he [Napoleon] will easily defeat the Russians/Already he has crushed the nasty Prussians’.20 The fact that the events of the last two books are played out against the preparations for the 1812 invasion of Russia, and feature an array of the Legend’s most prominent protagonists, further emphasizes the reflection of Napoleon as ‘man-god of war’.21 Throughout Pan Tadeusz Napoleon is viewed not only as an archetype for betterment, but also as the means by which social promotion and advancement could be achieved. Father Robak repeatedly urges Judge Soplica to rise up against the Russians in anticipation of Napoleon’s imminent invasion to cement their status in the new order: ‘Just think: the French upon their front attack, Suppose we rouse the people at their back? [. . .] On, on we go until Napoleon sees Our rank approach and asks, “What troops are these?” “All highest Emperor,” our army cheers, “We are the Lithuanian volunteers.” “Who leads them?” he demands. “The Judge Soplica!” [. . .]While Niemen flows and while Ponary stands, Soplicas shall be famed throughout these lands.’ 17 18

19 20 21 22

‘Uwaz˙ tylko: Francuzi uderzaja˛ z przodu, A gdyby z tyłu zrobic´ powstanie narodu? [. . .] Napoleon, widza˛c nasze lance, Pyta, co to za wojsko, my krzyczym: ‘Powstan´ce, Najjas´niejszy Cesarzu! Litwa ochotnicy!’ Pyta: pod czyja˛ wodza˛?–‘Se˛dziego Soplicy!’ [. . .]Bracie, póki Ponarom stac´, Niemnowi płyna˛c´, Póty w Litwie Sopliców imieniowi słyna˛c´.’22

PT, XI, pp. 486–87. Following the skirmish with the Russians, Rykov defends himself by expressing his friendship with the Poles and his sympathy for their plight. See Ibid., X, pp. 432–37. Ibid., I, pp. 30–31. ‘pobic´ Moskalów nie sztuka. . ./ Brzydkie Prusactwo zdeptał,’ Ibid., IV, pp. 174–75. See note two above, and Ibid., XI and XII. Robak addressing Judge Soplica, Ibid., VI, pp. 272–273. See also X, pp. 476–77; ‘That the Soplicas should be first to arm/ In Lithuania — where was the harm/ In hoping that?’ (‘Ta mysł, z˙e dom Sopliców pierwszy sie˛ uzbroi,/ z˙e pierwsza˛ Pogon´ w Litwie zatkna˛ krewni moi!../ Ta mysł. . . zdaje sie˛ czysta. . .’).



Additionally it is acknowledged that Napoleon readily ‘gives principalities/ To generals from the names of victories’, suggesting that a similar favour will be bestowed on those gentry loyal to the Emperor.23 Notwithstanding the personal elevation of Father Robak in Pan Tadeusz (which shall be addressed in due course), a notable advancement of social position is achieved by the serfs. In a dramatic gesture upon their marriage, Tadeusz and Zosia liberate the serfs attached to the Soplicowo estate.24 Whilst Article IV of the Napoleonic Constitution of 1807 did assert that ‘slavery shall be abolished’, the notion of equality before the law was by no means practicable at this time.25 Despite Mickiewicz’s failings of realism at this point — in inserting a topic of controversy synchronic to the time of writing (1834) — its inclusion does demonstrate an important feature of his idealism. Throughout the early nineteenth century, the peasantry in Poland were increasingly viewed as the ‘spiritual backbone of the nation’.26 Many Poles of Romantic persuasion believed (as Tadeusz expresses) that the serfs should ‘possess the land which gave them birth,/Which by their bloody toil they have won’.27 Although written retrospectively, in full knowledge that the ‘spring of springs’ (1812)28 did not bring liberation, it is still Napoleon who is depicted as the nation’s redeemer.29 Thus it is fitting that in the euphoria of Tadeusz and Zosia’s marriage, and in the presence of the Napoleonic liberators, the serfs should be declared ‘Free Poles and equals!’, adding to the overall dramatic effect of the poem’s finale.30 The Napoleonic Legend is further prevalent in Pan Tadeusz through the deeds and characterization of the mysterious ‘Bernardine’, Father Robak. His name, meaning ‘worm’ in Polish, is tantamount to his role in the proceedings, burrowing out opposition and preparing the province for the advance of Napoleon’s armies, and eventual reunification with the Grand Duchy of Warsaw.


24 25


27 28 29


The Notary, Bolesta; ‘Tak Napoleon daje wodzom swoim ksie˛stwa/ Od miejsc, na których wielkie odnies´li zwycie˛stwa’, PT, II, pp. 102–03. Ibid., XII, pp. 554–60. For more information on the complexities regarding the abolition of serfdom in 1807, see Andrzej Nieuwaz˙ny, ‘Napoleon and Polish Identity’, History Today, 5 (1998), 50–55 (p. 52) and Alexander Grab, ‘The Grand Duchy of Warsaw’, in Napoleon and the Transformation of Europe (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), pp. 176–87 (p. 182). Donald Pirie, who continues; ‘The only hope for the political independence of Poland lay in the eradication of internal differences in favour of an all-inclusive definition of nationality’. For further discussion on this topic see Donald Pirie, ‘The Agony in the Garden: Polish Romanticism’, in Romanticism in a National Context, ed. by Roy Porter and Mikuláš Teich (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), pp. 317–343 (pp. 324–325). PT, XII, pp. 554–555. ‘O wiosno’, Ibid. XI, pp. 486–487. The implication that Napoleon and his forces are collectively seen as redeemers is implied by Jankiel following his Dulcimer concert. Addressing Da˛browski; ‘”Our Lithuania has waited long for you,’/ He said, “as Jews for ˙ ydzi Mesyjasza,”’) their Messiah do,”’ (‘”Jenerale, rzekł, Ciebie długo Litwa nasza/ Czekała — długo, jak my Z Ibid., Book XII, pp. 568–569. “Health to our masters!” shouting, tears in eyes./ “Health to our fellow citizens!” he replies,/ “Free Poles and equals!” and Da˛browski calls,/ “The People”’. (“Zdrowie Pan´stwu naszemu!” ze łzami krzykne˛li;/ Tadeusz krzykna˛ł: “Zdrowie Spółobywateli,/ Wolnych, równych Polaków!” — “Wnosze˛ Ludu zdrowie!”/ Rzekł Da˛browski’.) Ibid., XII, pp. 560–61.


‘The war has started, brother, yes a war For Poland! Now we shall be Poles one more![. . .] Napoleon collects a vast array[. . .] They’ll march upon Napoleon’s command, Across the Niemen and restore our land!”[. . .] [. . .] War will break out. Wherefore the Prince has sent me here as scout To tell the Lithuanians to prepare And, when Napoleon comes here, to declare Their will to join the Kingdom as of yore And bid him Poland’s ancient realm to restore.’31


‘Waz˙ne rzeczy, mój bracie! Wojna tuz˙ nad nami! Wojna o Polske˛! bracie! Be˛dziem Polakami! [. . .] Napoleon juz˙ zbiera armije˛ ogromna˛ [. . .] Juz˙ sa˛ w drodze, na pierwszy znak Napoleona Przedja˛ Niemen i–bracie! Ojczyzna wskrzeszona!’[. . .] ˙ e bedzie wojna. Ksia˛z˙e˛ wysłał [. . .] Z mnie na zwiady Z rozkazem, z˙eby byli Litwini gotowi Dowies´c´ przychodza˛ cemu Napoleonowi, ˙ e chca˛ zła˛czyc´ sie˛ znowu z siostra˛ swa˛ Z Korona˛, I z˙a˛daja˛ az˙eby Polske˛ przywrócono.’

The image of a travelling friar as an emissary, relaying news from the Napoleonic wars to the provinces, must have been one that remained with Mickiewicz from childhood.32 Like the wandering legionnaires ‘who had lost an arm or a leg’, telling stories ‘stranger than fable’, Robak is the main disseminator of the Napoleonic Legend throughout Pan Tadeusz.33 He even succeeds in reminiscing about his involvement in past Napoleonic glories and inspiring future hopes, through the act of offering snuff to a gathering of szlachta at Jankiel’s inn (Jankiel is a Jewish innkeeper): ‘This snuff was used by many a famous man, E’en by Da˛browski, yes, four times in all.’ “Da˛browski?” ‘Yes, himself the general, And from this box. I was in bivouac With him when he was winning Danzig back.

31 32


‘Oj, wielcy ludzie od tej tabaki kichali Czy uwierzycie Pan´stwo, z˙e z tej tabakiery Pan jenerał Da˛browski, zaz˙ył razy cztery’ “Da˛browski?” zawołali — ‘Tak, tak, on jenerał; Byłem w obozie, gdy on Gdan´sk Niemcom odbierał,

Father Robak to Judge Soplica, in Ibid. Book VI, pp. 270–271 and pp. 276–77. ‘Oft from abroad there came a begging friar,/[. . .] Showed a gazette cut from his scapular,/ The record of the legions and their war,/ Numbers of men and every captain’s name/ With an account of each one’s fate or fame.’ (Czasem do Litwy kwestarz z obcego klasztoru/[. . .] Gazete˛ im pokazał wypruta˛ z szkaplerza˛;/ Tam stała wypisana i liczba z˙ołnierza,/ I nazwisko kaz˙dego wodza legijonu,/ I kaz˙dego z nich opis zwycie˛stwa lub zgonu.’), Ibid., I, pp. 52–53. Mickiewicz describes the wandering soldiers who would disseminate the Napoleonic Legend, ‘Bez re˛ki lub bez nogi’ and ‘On za stołem siadał/I dziwniejsze od bas´ni historyje gadał’ , in Ibid., I, pp. 50–51.



He had to write, and lest he sleep, he took A pinch and sneezed, and twice my shoulder shook. “Robak,” he said “it may be we shall meet In Lithuania ere the year’s complete. So bid the Lithuanians have this snuff To welcome me; no other’s good enough”’

Miał cos´ pisac´; boja˛c sie˛, az˙eby nie zasna˛ł, Zaz˙ył, kichna˛ł, dwakroc´ mie˛ po ramieniu klasna˛ł: “Ksie˛z˙e Robaku, mówił, Ksie˛z˙e Bernardynie, Obaczymy sie˛ w Litwie, moz˙e nim rok minie; Powiedz Litwinom, niech mnie czekaja˛ z tabaka˛ Cze˛stochowska˛, nie biore˛ innej, tylko taka˛”’34

The scene ends with Robak’s enigmatic command to ‘clean the house before the feast’, implying their collective responsibility to prepare the groundwork for Napoleon’s arrival in Lithuania.35 The conjecture ‘that he’d [Robak] not always worn a cowl’36 is later revealed as fact when in his true identity as Jacek Soplica, he is posthumously reinstated into the community.37 In Book XII of Pan Tadeusz, we learn of his prolific role in the Napoleonic wars,38 which along with his ‘holy life and deeds since then/ Has wiped out all his sins ‘gainst God and men’.39 In providing the reader with a roll-call of famous battles and personalities, Mickiewicz firmly embeds the Napoleonic Legend in Robak, who is arguably the protagonist of Pan Tadeusz: ‘At Hohenlinden General Richepanse, Half-vanquished, was thrown back in his advance, Not knowing that Kniaziewicz was at hand; ‘Twas Jacek Robak who through hostile land Brought letters that Kniaziewicz was then near, That our men were striking from the rear. And later he in Spain, when our uhlans

34 35

36 37 38


‘On to pod Hohenlinden, gdy Ryszpans jenerał Na pół pobity juz˙ sie˛ do odwrotu zbierał Nie wiedza˛c, z˙e Kniaziewicz cia˛gnie ku odsieczy On to Jacek, zwan Robak, ws´ród grotów i mieczy Przeniósł od Kniaziewicza listy Ryszpansowi, Donosza˛ce, z˙e nasi biora˛ tył wrogowi. On potem w Hiszpaniji, gdy nasze ułany

Robak in PT, IV, pp. 170–71. ‘It’s not enough to send an invitation -/ The servants must make proper preparation,/ And you must clean the house before the feast,’ (‘Wie˛c nie dos´c´ gos´cia czekac´, nie dos´c´ i zaprosic´,/ Trzeba czeladke˛ zebrac´ i stoły pownosic´,/ A przed uczta˛ potrzeba dom oczys´cic´ z s´mieci.’), Robak, in Ibid., IV, pp. 174–75. ˙ e mnich ten nie zawsze w kapturze’, Ibid. I, pp. 54–55. ‘Z See Ibid. XII, pp. 496–500. As Robak is dying, he confesses a somewhat condensed version of his career in Napoleon’s army to Gerwazy as proof of his expiation, see Ibid. Book X, pp. 450–478, (particularly pp. 474–77). ‘A wszystkie przeciw Bogu i Ojczyz´nie winy/ Zgładził przez z˙ ywot s´wie˛ty i przez wielkie czyny.’, Chamberlain to the crowds, in Ibid., XII, p. 498–99.


Took Samosierra trenches with the lance, Was wounded twice at Kozietulski’s side.’


Zdobyły Samosiery grzbiet oszan´cowany, Obok Kozietulskiego był ranny dwa razy!’40

Whilst Robak lives long enough to hear the news of war declared and ‘The Kingdom and the Duchy re-united’,41 it is his death that fully exorcizes the ‘worm’ that had dislocated the world described in Pan Tadeusz.42 By killing the Stolnik, Jacek Soplica triggered a bloody feud: ‘Oh, how much blood by your one shot was shed! What evils have befallen both our kin, And all were caused by you, by Jacek’s sin!’

‘Ilez˙ ty krwi wylałes´ twoim jednym strzałem, Ilez˙ kle˛sk spadło na nas i na twa˛ rodzine˛, A wszystko to przez Wasza˛, Panie Jacku, wine˛!’43

Furthermore, as the over-zealous Father Robak, he had unintentionally provoked an assault on Soplicowo.44 Yet for all his transgressions, Jacek ‘Robak’ is further bound to the Napoleonic Legend. As promised, General Da˛browski arrives in Soplicowo; a mass is held, a feast prepared, and the news arrives that Napoleon has conferred on the late Jacek Soplica the ‘Legion d’Honneur’.45 Although the reality of defeat was all around Mickiewicz as he wrote Pan Tadeusz, existing circumstances did not affect his admiration for the Napoleonic past. However, it is noteworthy that sections of the poem acknowledge disparate views regarding Napoleon. Yet, the more uncomfortable aspects of his reign — the abuses of conscription and the financial drain of his continual campaigns — whilst mentioned, are not dwelt upon.46 However, the character Matthias Dobrzynski — revered for his swordsmanship and ‘wise and sober plans’47 — expresses doubts regarding the honourable cause of Napoleon’s march on Russia.48 Whilst Matthias defends Robak 40 41


43 44

45 46



PT, XI, p. 498–99. ‘The Emperor/ In privy council had declared the war;/ Warsaw had called a meeting of the Sejm,/ At which the delegates would then proclaim/ The Kingdom and the Duchy re-united.’ (‘[. . .]Cesarz juz˙ po całym s´wiecie/ Ogłasza ja˛; sejm walny w Warszawie zwołany,/ I skonfederowane Mazowieckie Stany/ Wyrzeka˛ uroczys´cie przyła˛czenie Litwy.’) Ibid., X, pp. 478–79. This argument is further elaborated in Roman Koropeckyj, The Poetics of Revitalisation: Adam Mickiewicz between Forefathers Eve, Part Three and Pan Tadeusz (Boulder: East European Monographs, Columbia University Press, 2001), particularly pp. 190–200. Gerwazy in Ibid., Book X, pp. 470–71. Gerwazy implies that Robak’s command to ‘Clean the house’ before the arrival of Napoleon (see note thirty-four above) necessitates the sacking of Judge Soplica’s estate, in Ibid., VII, pp. 316–17. ‘Legiji honorowej’, Ibid., XII, pp. 498–99 For more information on the aspects of Napoleon’s rule which adherents to his legend chose to ignore see Ellis, p. 217. ‘Not only since his swordsmanship was feared/ But as a man of wise and sober plans’. (‘Nie tylko jako re˛bacz Rózczka˛ wsławiony,/ Lecz jako człek ma˛drego i pewnego zdania’.) in Ibid., VI, pp. 290–91. ‘Silence! Whence comes, what kind of news is this? / Who leads the French? How far off do they lie? / Have they made war on Moscow? Where and why? / What is their route? And are they strong or weak? / What foot? What horse? Let who can answer speak!’ (‘Cicho! Ska˛dz˙ e ta cała nowina pochodzi?/ Jak daleko Francuzi? Kto nimi dowodzi?/ Czy juz˙ wojne˛ zacze˛li z Moskwa˛? Gdzie i o co?/ Które˛dy maja˛ cia˛gna˛c´? z jaka˛ ida˛ moca˛?/ Wiele piechoty, jazdy? Kto wie niechaj gada!’) Ibid., VII, pp. 302–05.



against the mockery of the petty szlachta, he simultaneously suspects him who is ‘worm in name’ of exploiting the promise of a Napoleonic victory to serve his own ends: [. . .] As the tumult died away, he said: ‘Don’t scoff at Robak, worm in name it’s true, But he has cracked a bigger nut than you. I only saw him once but I could see The sort of man he was—he turned from me As though afraid I’d ask him to confess. I won’t say more—it’s not my business [. . .] Who knows what devilish tricks the priest is at? But you know of nothing more than that.’

[. . .] Zacze˛ły cokolwiek uciszac´ sie˛ gwary. ‘Nie drwijcie, rzekł z Robaka; znam go, to c´wik klecha, Ten robaczek wie˛kszego od was zgryzł orzecha; Raz go tylko widziałem, ledwiem okiem rzucił, Poznałem, co za ptaszek; ksia˛dz oczy odwrócił Le˛kaja˛c sie˛, z˙ebym go nie zacza˛ł spowiadac´; Ale to rzecz nie moja, wiele o tym gadac´! [. . .] To kto wie, w jakim celu: bo to bies ksie˛z˙yna! Jes´li prócz tej nowiny nic wie˛cej nie wiecie.’49

While circumstances are beyond Matthias’s control, like ‘mighty happenings in the air’,50 he does successfully vent his frustrations by ridiculing the influence of French fashions upon his compatriots.51 Matthias precedes these comments by boldly declaring Napoleon and his troops to be ‘god-less’52: ‘Schismatics, atheists — I know their works. O yes, I’ve seen them raping villagers, Despoiling churches, robbing travellers.

49 50



‘Czy syzmatyki, co ni Boga, ani wiary: Sam widziałem, kobiety w wioskach napastuja˛, Przechodniów odzieraja˛, kos´cioły rabuja˛!

PT, VII, pp. 302–07. Gerwazy to the petty szlachta of Dobrzyn; ‘You know the rumour in the countryside,/ That mighty happenings are in the air./ So Robak said—are you not all aware?’ (‘Wiecie, słuch dawno choczi mie˛dzy zas´ciankami,/ z˙ e sie˛ na wielkie rzeczy zanosi na s´wiecie;/ Ksia˛dz Robak o tym gadał, wszakz˙ e wszyscy wiecie?’) Ibid. VII, pp. 314–15. The Notary, Bolesta, enters the feast dressed in a French frock-coat as Telimena’s husband. According to Mickiewicz, the adoption of French garb before marriage (at the desire of their future wives) was the rage in the provinces from 1800–1812. ‘Till then the Notary was friend to him,/ But now Matthias looked to fierce and grim,/[. . .]In fact he only shouted “Idiot!” twice;/ Disgusted by the Notary’s new guise,/ He rose at once and said goodbye to none.’ (‘Maciej dota˛d z Rejentem z˙ ył w wielkiej przyjaz´ni,/ Teraz wzrok nan´ obrócił tak ostry i dziki,/[. . .]Dobrzyn´ski tylko dwakroc´, wyrzekł głos´no: “Głupi!”/ I tak strasznie zgorszył sie˛ z Rejenta ˙ e zaraz wstał od stołu i bez poz˙egnania.’) Ibid., XII, pp. 550–51 przebrania, / Z Ibid., XII, pp. 548–49. According to the footnote of Mickiewicz’s, ‘doubtless Matthias had heard of the excommunication of Napoleon by Pius VII in 1809’.


The Emperor goes to Moscow do they say? Without God’s help he’ll find it’s long that way; I hear he has been excommunicate.’


Cesarz idzie do Moskwy! Daleka to droga, Jes´li Cesarz Jegomos´c´ wybrał sie˛ bez Boga! Słyszałem, z˙e juz˙ podpadł pod kla˛twy biskupie.’53

The notion that Napoleon is ‘godless’ is refuted earlier by Father Robak.54 Unquestionably Robak’s statement that ‘Napoleon is a Catholic and devout’ is to serve his purpose of ‘stirring up the land’ in readiness for the arrival of the Grand Armée.55 While loyal Catholics in France perceived Napoleon as impious and bent upon humiliating the Church (he imprisoned its supreme pontiff, Pius VII in 1809), the Poles welcomed him as their redeemer from oppression; for he successfully united all inhabitants of the former lands of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth into his authoritarian system, including the Jews.56 As demonstrated in the finale of Pan Tadeusz, these negative accusations regarding Napoleon’s religiosity did little to quell the enthusiasm shown for him (though he is not present) and his representatives at the betrothal feast for Tadeusz and Zosia, where numerous toasts are drunk in his honour.57 However, at the same banquet, the seemingly peripheral character of Jankiel performs a concert on the dulcimer, which alludes to certain awkward past experiences within the Napoleonic Legend;58 [. . .] Listening, they recall That dreadful hour when o’er their country’s fall They sang this song, and went to distant climes; And to their minds came memories of those times, Of wandering through frosts and burning sands And seas, when oft in camps in foreign lands

53 54


56 57 58

[. . .] Słuchaja˛, wspominaja˛ sobie Ow czas okropny, kiedy na Ojczyzny grobie Zanucili te˛ piosnke˛ i poszli w kraj s´wiata; Przywodza˛ na mys´l długie swej we˛drówki lata, Po la˛dach, morzach, piaskach gora˛cych i mrozie, Pos´rodku obcych ludów, gdzie cze˛sto w obozie

PT, XII, pp.548–49. “From Cze˛stochowa! where I once confessed,”/Cried Wilbik, “Thirty years ago I went./Is’t true the French and there and are intent/ To wreck the church and rob the treasuries?/ The Lithuanian Courier says it is”. (“Z Cze˛stochowy? Rzekł Wilbik, byłem tam w spodwiedzi,/ Kiedym na odpust chodził lat temu trzydzies´cie;/ Czy to prawda, z˙e Francuz gos´ci teraz w mies´cie,/ z˙e chce kos´ciół rozwalac´ i skarbiec zabierze,/ Bo to wszystko w Litewskim stoi Kuryjerze?”) Ibid., IV, pp. 168–69. ‘Napoleon is a Catholic and devout./ The Pope himself anointed him and with his aid/ Restores the faith in France, of late decayed.’ (“Napoleon katolik jest najprzykładniejszy;/ Wszak go papiez˙ namas´cił, z˙yja˛ a soba˛ w zgodzie/ I nawracaja˛ ludzi w francuskim narodzie,”) Ibid., IV, pp. 168–69 and Book X, pp. 476–77. See note twenty-four above. See Ibid., Book XII, pp. 574–75. The role of Jankiel and Mickiewicz’s intent in this scene is further discussed in Boz˙ena Shallcross, ‘“Wondrous Fire”: Adam Mickiewicz’s Pan Tadeusz and the Romantic Improvisation’, in East European Politics and Societies, 9.3 (1995), 523–33.



This Polish song had cheered and comforted.

Cieszył ich i rozrzewniał ten s´piew narodowy.59

The fact that Jankiel’s musical narrative refers to the disastrous San Domingo expedition (1802–1803) is proof that Mickiewicz does not recoil from citing controversy. In Book VI, as Robak is urging Judge Soplica to partake in Napoleon’s liberation of Lithuania, doubts are expressed as to the Emperor’s fidelity to the Polish cause. Often the oppressed Poles have been told ‘Napoleon marches!’ only to have ‘all our hopes cheated’.60 Although the fateful end of the Polish legions in San Domingo and the Pole’s misplaced hopes are mentioned in Pan Tadeusz, the overriding reflection of Napoleon is one of unashamed adoration and respect. Such is the impression given through the closing chorus of Jankiel’s Polonaise: And from the trumpets to the heavens sped That march of triumph: Poland is not dead! Da˛browski, march to Poland! With one accord They clapped their hands, and ‘March, Da˛browski!’ roared.61

I z tra˛b znana piosenka ku niebu wione˛ła, Marsz tryumfalny: Jeszcze Polska nie zgine˛ła!. . . Marsz Da˛browski do Polski! — I wszyscy klasne˛li, I wszyscy: ‘Marsz Da˛browski’ chórem okrzykne˛li!

Adam Mickiewicz’s Pan Tadeusz has imparted much to posterity. Whilst distinctly unpretentious in its subject matter, the poem abounds in spiritual appeals to the Napoleonic Legend as a force to eliminate the oppression afflicting Mickiewicz’s homeland. Pan Tadeusz was a eulogy written in exile. The sense of longing for home is stated unequivocally in the opening lines and is imparted throughout the poem, explaining its long-held resonance with émigrés.62 The reflection of Napoleon and his forces as messianic messengers promising national regeneration — returning every Pole to ‘the land of childhood’ — is testimony to the resilience of Napoleon’s self-propagated depiction as ‘redeemer’, which remains prominent in the Polish consciousness to this day.63


60 61 62


PT, XII, pp. 566–69. A concise history of the legions, their involvement in the expedition to San Domingo, and the Pole’s perception of Napoleon as a result, can be found in Nieuwazny, ‘Napoleon and Polish Identity’, pp. 50–51. Judge Soplica to Father Robak, Ibid., VI, pp. 270–73. Ibid., XII, pp. 568–69 ‘O Lithuania, my country, thou/ Art like good health; I never knew till now/ How precious, till I lost thee. Now I see / Thy beauty whole, because I yearn for thee.’ (‘Litwo! Ojczyzno moja! Ty jestes´ jak zdrowie;/ Ile cie˛ trzeba cenic´, ten tylko sie˛ dowie,/ Kto cie˛ stracił. Dzis´ pie˛knos´c´ twa˛ w całej ozdobie/ Widze˛ i opisuje˛, bo te˛sknie˛ po tobie.’) Ibid., I, pp. 2–3. For more details on the continuing emotions surrounding Pan Tadeusz see Vladislav Khodasevich, ‘Pan Tadeusz’, trans. Gleb Struve, in Adam Mickiewicz in World Literature — A Symposium, ed. by Wacław Lednicki (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1956), pp. 152–57. ‘Kraj lat dziecinnych’ in PT, Epilogue, pp. 580–83.

slovo, Vol. 20 No. 2, Autumn 2008, 67–96

Why did Russia Ratify the Kyoto Protocol? Why the Wait? An Analysis of the Environmental, Economic, and Political Debates Jessica E. Tipton School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London

In November 2004, after years of deliberation, Russia decided to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty designed to slow climate change by restricting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions amongst signatory countries. After the USA withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol in 2002, Russian participation was critical to the future of this global agreement. In the run-up to Russia’s eventual ratification, conflicting messages emerged from the country’s authoritative voices and there is still no consensus on what occurred in government circles prior to ratification. This article analyses possible reasons for Russia’s long-awaited decision to ratify the Protocol by looking at Russian and international sources, including media reports, statements released by the Russian government and international organizations, and academic articles. Russia’s circuitous debate over ratification of Kyoto is discussed according to three main sections: environmental, economic, and political. The possible role played by environmental concern is analysed by outlining Russia’s history on environmental policy, Putin’s attitude towards environmental protection, and public opinion vis-à-vis environmental issues. Economics-based arguments considered include: the potential revenues from carbon credit sales and Joint Implementation projects, the costs of implementing Kyoto, the impact of constraining emissions on economic growth, and the influence of Russia’s energy sector. The final section discusses the role of various domestic and international political factors.

Glossary and abbreviations Annex 1

UNFCCC list of industrialized and transition economy countries that are obliged to comply with specific commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.

© School of Slavonic & East European Studies, University College London, 2008



GHG Goskomekologiia JI



Greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide Russian State Committee for Environmental Protection Joint Implementation projects. Kyoto mechanism by which emission reduction projects can be implemented jointly by industrialized countries and economies in transition such as Russia. Acronym for non-EU group of countries (Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Switzerland, Ukraine and the USA) that formed during Kyoto negotiations. Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution control group, a precursor to the Kyoto Protocol Russian Ministry of Economic Development and Trade Russian State Ministry for Environmental Protection Russian Ministry of Natural Resources Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change United Energy Systems of Russia (private energy company) Russian Academy of Sciences Royal Institute for International Affairs (formerly Chatham House), U.K. Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring World Trade Organization World Wildlife Fund

Introduction Russia finally decided to ratify the Kyoto Protocol in November 2004. The Kyoto Protocol is a United Nations-led global environmental treaty for the period 2008 to 2012, which aims to slow climate change by setting mandatory targets in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, primarily carbon dioxide, for signatory countries. Countries that manage to keep emissions below their targets can then sell surplus carbon credits to other countries risking non-compliance, a system known as ‘carbon trading’. A country in need of credits can also invest in emissions-reducing schemes abroad known as Joint Implementation (JI) projects. Russia was obliged to keep its emissions at or below 1990 levels, an easy target considering that the post-Soviet economic collapse had caused GHG emissions to drop twenty-five percent below that level. Russia was also allowed a further five percent leeway in recognition of its vast forests known as ‘carbon sinks’ for their ability to absorb emissions. Therefore Russia initially envisaged considerable economic gains from selling surplus quotas abroad and from foreign investment via JI projects. After the USA pulled out of the Protocol in March 2001 for fear of the effect on the country’s economy, Russia’s situation became more complicated.



The first stage of the Kyoto Protocol had been to sign the Kyoto Convention, which did not entail any commitment. By 1999 most countries, including Russia and the USA, had signed the Convention. In order for the Protocol then to come into force, a sufficient number of countries to account for fifty-five percent of carbon emissions from Annex 1 (industrialized or transition economy) countries had to ratify the Protocol. After the USA (the world’s chief polluter responsible for about a quarter of global emissions) refused to ratify the Protocol, only the weight of Russia’s carbon emissions (at seventeen percent of Annex 1 emissions) could meet the fifty-five percent threshold. Never before had Russia found itself in such a dominant global position thanks to an environmental treaty. The USA’s departure, however, also meant that Russia had lost its principal purchaser of carbon credits, thus reducing the economic incentives of the Kyoto Protocol for Russia. The story of Russia’s decision to ratify Kyoto is circuitous. As early as 2001 the Duma showed support for ratification. In December 2002, by which time countries accounting for forty-one percent of Annex 1 emissions had ratified the Protocol, Russian ratification would have enabled the Kyoto Protocol to be implemented. In June 2003 the Russian regions urged the government to ratify the Protocol, at which point President Vladimir Putin announced that he wanted the government to have made a decision by September 2003. Yet Russia waited until late 2004 to ratify the Protocol, thereby stalling the Kyoto process by almost two years. While Russia prevaricated, mixed messages emerged from Putin, his government, advisers, and the media, as to the country’s stance on Kyoto. Consequently it is difficult to unravel the decision-making process and establish what finalised the deal. Nevertheless, this article attempts to extract the critical reasons for Russia’s ultimate decision to ratify the Protocol and for the lengthy delay in ratification. Much of this article concentrates on establishing President Putin’s stance on the Kyoto Protocol and how he was influenced by external factors including scientific and economic advisers, ministries, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and international pressure. On the whole he appeared to support Kyoto. As Russian observers differed sharply in their opinion of Kyoto, the onus was on Putin to make the final decision. The decision was increasingly the President’s as Putin consolidated power to form his ‘managed democracy’. Therefore Putin’s views and personal advisers played a greater role in Russia’s decision to ratify the Protocol than for most other countries involved in Kyoto. The various arguments in Russia’s debate over ratification Kyoto will be analysed from three perspectives: environmental, economic, and political. The research is based on a variety of Russian and international sources: printed and electronic media, statements by the Russian government and international organizations, and academic articles published mainly by economists or environmentalists.1 Some reports are clearly biased, while others present their arguments more evenly. Only official statements and articles by environmentalists are inclined to focus on the Protocol’s 1

When this article was researched, no extensive analysis of the reasons behind Russia’s eventual ratification of the Kyoto Protocol had been published. In March 2006 the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) published Russia and the Kyoto Protocol: Opportunities and Challenges, which focuses mainly on the future prospects for emissions trading and joint implementation projects with Russia and draws some similar conclusions to those reached in this article into what precipitated Russia’s ratification.



ecological aims. Many reports concentrate on the economic implications of ratification, while others tend to focus on the political implications. As speculation over Russia’s relationship with the Kyoto Protocol continues, and the Kyoto mechanisms only began this year, this article does not pretend to provide a final analysis.

Environmental factors Many official statements released after Russia ratified the Protocol celebrated the country’s environmental commitments. ‘Russia has now become not only an ecological donor, but also an ecological leader’; ‘our country’s ratification of Kyoto is evidence of Russia’s growing attention to environmental protection’.2 Despite the Protocol’s environmental aims, however, the idea that Russia ratified the Protocol for ecological reasons was largely dismissed by most commentators. As a rule, analysis of Russia’s decision concentrates on the economic and political incentives, with any mention of Russia’s good environmental intentions made with scepticism. For example, ‘By approving Kyoto, Mr Putin will claim to stand for stifling harmful gases, not just political freedoms’ [my italics]; ‘Is Russia simply a symbolic ratifier?’.3 This section discusses whether such sceptical commentators were correct, or whether there is any sincerity behind the official professions of environmental concern.

The precedent: Russia’s history of environmental policy The Soviet Union had an ostensibly strong history of participating in global environmental agreements from the 1960s until its fragmentation in 1991. For example, in the early 1960s the Soviet Union participated in the international series of Red Books, which listed near-extinct species. In the 1970s the USSR became an active member of the Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution control group (LRTAP), a precursor to Kyoto, and signed many global and bilateral agreements on fishing, nuclear safety, and pollution control. In 1972 the USSR and USA signed an Agreement on Cooperation in Environmental Protection, which some attribute to helping end the Cold War.4 The Soviet Union also participated in the UN Environmental Programme and hosted a UNESCO conference on environmental education in 1977. Most of this international environmental activity, however, was driven by ‘high politics’ rather than environmental concern.5 At a domestic level, a similar trend is apparent. The environment featured prominently in the Soviet Constitution and there was no lack of environmental legislation. Indeed from 1970 to 1990 the number of official nature reserves in the country doubled and a National Wildlife Law was introduced in the 2




Vera Sitnina, ‘Poleznye vybrosy’, Vremia novostei, 25 October 2004; ‘Rossiia kak predsedatel G8 predlozhit obsuzhdenie ekologicheskikh problem’, Interfax, 15 November 2005. ‘Kyoto a-go-go’, The Economist, 30 September 2004; Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom and Laura A. Henry, ‘Russia and the Kyoto Protocol: Ratification and Postratification Politics’ (conference paper: University of British Columbia, 2006), pp. 1–10 (p. 1). Philip R. Pryde, Environmental Management in the Soviet Union (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), p. 267. Geir Hønneland and Anne-Kristin Jørgensen, ‘Implementing International Environmental Agreements in Russia: Lessons from Fisheries Management, Nuclear Safety and Air Pollution Control’, Global Environmental Politics, 3 (2003), 72–98 (p. 81).



1980s. Yet ineffective implementation of environmental laws meant such moves produced little environmental improvement.6 In the years preceding the collapse of the Soviet Union the environment played a heightened role in Soviet politics. Much has been written on the link between environmentalism in the former Soviet republics and nationalist movements, which brought an end to the USSR. The combination of glasnost, which enabled citizens to discover the true state of the USSR’s ecological situation, including Lake Baikal’s plight and in particular the 1986 Chernobyl explosion, turned a generalized disquiet over the country’s environmental state into environmental activism.7 Reflecting this growing environmental awareness, Mikhail Gorbachev was the first Soviet leader to make environmental issues a national priority, seemingly out of genuine concern, culminating in 1987 with his creation of Minpriroda, a Ministry devoted to nature conservation.8 Since the Soviet Union’s collapse, however, both ordinary post-Soviet Russians and their political representatives have been preoccupied by issues seemingly more urgent than the environment. Russia showed willingness to address environmental issues with its adoption of an Energy Strategy in 1993 and in 1996 when it signed a Federal Climate Programme. However, the low budget assigned to the Programme implied that this was little more than a symbolic move.9 In the 1990s Russia also set up a successful project to save the near-extinct Amur tiger in the Far East.10 At the same time, however, the downgrading by Boris Eltsin of the aforementioned Minpriroda to a less-important Committee (Goskomekologiia) in 1996 (to be abolished subsequently by Putin) indicates Russian officials’ lack of genuine official ecological concern at the time. On an international level, post-Soviet Russia continued to sign multilateral environmental agreements, such as the 1991 Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy. However, a continuing trend from Soviet days of empty rhetoric can be identified, with the main reasons for Russia’s cooperation in environmental agreements being far from genuine environmental concern.11 In terms of Russian climate policy in the 1990s, although Russia was one of the first to sign the Rio United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992, Russia appeared to view the issue as ‘primarily a matter for economically prosperous countries’.12 In further meetings of the UNFCCC from 1995 to 1996, Russia was again defensive and ‘went almost unnoticed’.13 At this time many Russian scientists were deeply sceptical of climate change and Russian officials 6 7 8 9

10 11



Pryde, pp. 6–8. Ibid., p. xvii. Ibid., p. 3. Tatiana G. Avdeeva, ‘Russia and the Kyoto Protocol: Challenges Ahead’, RECIEL, 14 (2005), 293–302 (pp. 299–300). ‘World’s Biggest Tiger Living in Russian Woods Saved from Extinction’, Pravda, 15 July 2005. Elena Nikitina, ‘Russia: Climate Policy Formation and Implementation During the 1990s’, Climate Policy, 1 (2001), 289–308 (p. 291). Jonathan D. Oldfield, Anna Kouzmina, and Denis Shaw, ‘Russia’s Involvement in the International Environmental Process: A Research Report’, Eurasian Geography and Economics, 44 (2003), 157–168 (p. 157). Friedemann Muller, ‘Russia and Climate Change’ in International Politics of Climate Change: Key Issues and Critical Actors, ed. by Gunnar Fermann (Oslo: Scandinavian University Press, 1997), p. 296.



preferred to side with OPEC countries due to concern over Russian oil sales.14 Continuing the trend of seemingly empty gestures, Russia signed the Kyoto Convention in 1997 but remained inactive.15 However, the year 1998 seemed to represent a minor watershed in Russia’s approach to emissions reduction. That year saw Russia transform itself from reluctant party to enthusiastic supporter of ‘free market’ emissions trading and strengthened its alliance with JUSSCANNZ, an umbrella group of non-EU countries active in the Kyoto negotiations.16

Putin and environmental protection There are many indications that Putin did not rate ecological issues highly. This stance was perhaps understandable considering the scale of Russia’s problems and would have been consistent with most Russians’ views. One of his first acts after winning the presidency in 2000 was to abolish Goskomekologiia, along with other environmental committees, and put all such concerns under the Ministry for Natural Resources (MNR). This action, undertaken with the stated aim of reducing government bureaucracy, gave credence to the suggestion made by Russian and international environmentalists that ‘a process of ‘de-ecologization’ had been taking place in the Russian government since the late 1990s’.17 Another sign of Putin’s environmental indifference can be seen in his initially enthusiastic support for an oil pipeline from Southern Siberia to China, seen as key to economic development but widely criticised for the ecological ramifications (Putin’s subsequent volte face is discussed below).18 Putin also backed controversial proposals, worth billions of dollars in revenue, for Siberia to import nuclear waste for reprocessing and storage.19 He even expressed distrust of green movements, declaring in 2000 that ‘environmentalists were working as foreign spies’.20 Despite such indications of environmental indifference, Putin occasionally acted with seemingly good ecological intentions. In 2001 he developed the Ecological Doctrine of Russia and the Strategy of Sustainable Development. In 2003 he convened a State Council Presidium to discuss improving Russia’s environment. Other seemingly positive steps taken by the Putin administration include: the adoption of Russia’s 2001 Biodiversity Strategy; a Russia-China pact to monitor jointly the water quality of cross-border rivers after the Amur River chemical spill in November 2005; and Putin’s






19 20

In an interesting reversal of roles, after Russia’s accession to the Kyoto Protocol in 2004, seven OPEC countries were inspired to follow suit and ratify the Protocol, demonstrating Russia’s newfound role as catalyst for international environmental cooperation. The first stage of the Kyoto Protocol was to sign the Kyoto Convention, which did not entail any commitment. Most countries had signed by 1999. In order for the Protocol come into force, however, countries then had to commit by ratifying the Protocol. Arild Moe and Kristian Tangen, The Kyoto Mechanisms and Russian Climate Politics (London: RIIA, 2000), p. 15. Oldfield et al., p. 162.; David Hoffman, ‘Putin Abolishes Russian Environmental Agencies Without Comment’, Washington Post, 22 May 2000. D.J. Peterson and Eric K. Bielke, ‘The Reorganization of Russia’s Environmental Bureaucracy: Implications and Prospects’, Post-Soviet Geography and Economics, 42(2001), 65–76 (p. 72). Peterson and Bielke, p. 74. Vladimir Putin quoted in Hoffman.



decision in April 2006 to order the redirection of the aforementioned Siberia-China pipeline so that it would avoid Lake Baikal.21 However, some have cast doubt on whether Russia’s Ecological Doctrine was again just rhetoric.22 While the Presidium was described as the first time that environmental issues had been discussed at such a level for a decade, the forum was actually only symbolic and minimal resources were channelled to the measures proposed.23 Putin’s ambiguous stance towards the environment reflects his attitude towards the Kyoto Protocol as an environmental treaty. At times he attested to Russia’s desire to ratify the Protocol out of ecological concern, arguing that Russia should be ‘reluctant to make the decision just on financial considerations. We should be guided primarily by more noble ideas’.24 Putin also commented on the humanitarian risks from droughts and floods as a result of global warming.25 At other times he appeared openly to view Kyoto ‘from the point of view of economic advantages and greater ties with world leaders’.26 Most tellingly, in Putin’s own statement following ratification no mention was made of its ecological basis: ‘The obligations placed by the Protocol on Russia will have serious consequences for our economic and social development. The decision to ratify was based on the development of international co-operation and knowing that it will only enter into force provided that Russia participates’.27

Russian public opinion on environmental issues Many believe that Putin’s gestures towards environmental concern were just part of his foreign policy initiative to improve relations with Europe. Indeed, all of Putin’s environmental measures outlined above were eye-catching enough to be reported in the Western press. On the other hand, these environmental policies, although infrequent, could imply that Russian public concern for the environment was sufficient for the President to try and appease it on occasion. After public concern reached its height in the late 1980s, polls have since indicated that while many ordinary postSoviet Russians are passively worried by environmental issues, most have neither the time, willingness, nor resources to take action.28 Not one environmental party stood in the 2003 State Duma elections. And yet Putin’s abolition of Goskomekologiia provoked outcries from environmentalists, scientists, the Russian Orthodox Church, 21

22 23

24 25




‘Russia: Putin Orders Baikal Pipeline Rerouted’, RFE/RL Newsline, (27 April 2006) < featuresarticle/2006/04/d8dcab87-37cf-4bd6-9af6-aef0c5c8bb8a.html> [accessed 31 April 2006]. Oldfield et al., p. 162–63. ’Putin Chairs Meeting to Consider Russian Ecology Doctrine, Fines for Polluters’, BBC Monitoring (Source: Radio Maiak, Moscow), (5 June 2003) <> [accessed 1 March 2006]. Sundstrom and Henry, p. 8. Anna Korppoo, Jacqueline Karas, and Michael Grubb, Russia and the Kyoto Protocol: Opportunities and Challenges (London: RIIA, 2006), p. 5. Michael Grubb, Breer, Benito Müller et al., Strategicheskii analiz Kioto-Marrakeshskoi Sistemy (London: RIIA, 2003), p. 10. ‘Spravka k federalnomy zakonu “O ratifikatsii Kiotskogo Protokola k Ramochnoi konventsii Organizatsii Obedinennykh Natsii ob izmenenii klimata”, Russian government decree, 4 November 2004. L.A. Presniakova, ‘Problemy ekologii’, Opinion Poll, 22 November 2001; Liudmila Presniakova, ‘Ekologicheskaia situatsiia v regionakh’, Opinion Poll, 7 July 2005, dom0527/domt0527_2/d052724/printable/> [accessed 10 February 2006] (last paragraph).



NGOs, and the general public, with polls showing that over eighty-seven percent of Russians disagreed with the measure.29 This discontent perturbed the President to the extent that he attempted to quell outcries with such assurances as ‘environmental protection will remain a priority for Russia’.30 Therefore it seems that Putin’s abolition of Goskomekologiia, followed by the debate about the Kyoto Protocol, galvanised more (if only at a low level) environmental concern in Russia than had been seen for quite some time. It is important to emphasise the lack of awareness of most Russians regarding climate change and the Kyoto Protocol compared with other signatory countries. Although there are reports that Russians may have shown their support for Kyoto were they more aware of the issue, domestic public opinion did little to influence Putin’s decision.31 According to a 1999 survey, although seventy-seven percent of Russians were conscious of sharp abnormalities in their region’s climate, these changes worried few respondents.32 In a 2003 survey of a thousand Russian citizens by Greenpeace Russia, eighty-one percent of respondents had never heard of the Kyoto Protocol, and seventy-four percent did not know whether Russian ratification of it would help resolve climate change.33 This compares with a survey commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 2001, which revealed that nearly eighty percent of the British public wanted the UK government to ratify Kyoto whether or not the USA were involved, and nearly ninety percent were in favour of the UK government doing more to reduce the UK’s contribution to climate change.34 As a result of the lack of public awareness in Russia, the phrase ‘global warming’ triggered many Russians, including scientists, to respond that such a phenomenon would surely benefit their country’s overall cold climate. Many Kyoto proponents put the Russian public’s ambivalence down to the absence of media coverage on climate change and the Kyoto process. The subject failed to reach the press until 2001, long after the topic had reached the Western media. In addition, some have asserted that eighty percent of the few media reports to emerge on the subject were either negative or incorrect.35 Another reason for the lack of public awareness was Putin’s aforementioned marginalization of environmental organizations as ‘foreign agents’. The absence of environmental NGOs from the political process, the groups most knowledgeable about global warming, was offset by the overwhelming presence of uninformed advisers and politicians.

The influence of Russian scientists Scientific opinion in Russia was divided on the issue of climate change and the Kyoto Protocol and this undoubtedly caused delay in decision-making. By the time 29 30 31 32

33 34


Peterson and Bielke, p. 70. Vladimir Putin quoted in Peterson and Bielke, p. 72. Sundstrom and Henry, p. 6. Anna Petrova, Anatolii Cherniakov, Svetlana Klimova, and Ekaterina Iadova, ‘Russians Are Not Concerned about Climate Change’, Russian survey of urban and rural populations (1500 respondents), (5 June 1999) <1999.> [accessed 10 February 2006]. Sundstrom and Henry, p. 6. ‘British Public Supports the Kyoto Protocol’, WWF-UK, (12 June 2001) < 0000000292.asp> [accessed 22 February 2001]. Sundstrom and Henry, p. 6.



of ratification, most Russian climate scientists, ecologists, and environmental economists supported ratification agreeing that a) carbon emissions accelerate globally warming, and b) Russia’s predicted pace and carbon intensity of economic growth meant that the country could comply with Kyoto at no economic cost. A small but particularly vocal set of Russian scientists, however, continued to contest the Kyoto Protocol on several fronts. Of these, some believed that global warming would benefit a cold country like Russia. This view was dismissed by even the most conservative Western European assessment of the effect of climate change on Russia, carried out by the World Bank, which concluded that ‘it is not clear that Russia belongs to the camp of the ‘winners’ of climate change [. . .]. There is sufficient uncertainty on the scale and direction of different impacts that it would be a big risk to assume that, net, Russia could be better off’.36 The report continued by saying that Russia would be affected by damage to other countries from climate change, triggering changes in world markets, migration, and conflict over natural resources.37 Other Russian scientists contested that anthropogenic actions were responsible for global warming, while others doubted the existence of climate change. Indeed, the most respected and visible climatologist in Russia, Iurii Izrael, who chaired the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) council-seminar on Kyoto, was one of the most powerful Russian opponents of the Protocol. He headed a report, presented to Putin in 2003, which concluded that the Protocol ‘lacks scientific validity and would not be effective’.38 Consequently, many thought this was the view of the whole of the RAS, prompting over 250 RAS members to respond by signing a petition in support of ratification. Despite such support, there were too many vocal scientific doubts in Russia over climate change for Putin to be influenced positively by the scientific grounds for ratification.

Economic factors Since the Kyoto Protocol is market based, the possible economic benefits and drawbacks of Russia’s participation proved critical in the debate over ratification. The importance of economic factors is shown by the appointment of the Ministry of Trade and Economic Development to co-chair the Russian Government’s Interdepartmental Committee on Climate Change. Indeed, the strongest objections to Kyoto, as in the USA, were economics-based. It is not difficult to understand why Putin’s advisers took a long time to analyse the economic situation, especially after the US withdrawal, which reduced the economic incentives of ratification. Firstly, as Russia was still in a state of economic flux it was hard to predict how the Protocol would affect the economy. Secondly, Russia’s government and other policy-making bodies were still in a transient, disorganised phase, which made it difficult for them to reach a consensus. Thirdly, Russia is such 36

37 38

Franck Lecocq and Zmarak Shalizi, ‘Will the Kyoto Protocol Affect Growth in Russia?’, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, 3454 (2004), p. 22–23. Ibid. Sundstrom and Henry, p. 3.



a unique country that it was easy to find flaws in any comparative economic analyses made between Russia and other countries, making it hard to detect possible trends in terms of economic growth, energy efficiency, and carbon emissions. Finally, Russia relies to such a great extent on the energy sector for revenue that economists had to be certain that Kyoto would not detrimentally affect this critical industry. At the same time, the US withdrawal from Kyoto left Russia in an ideal bargaining position to secure economic concessions as compensation, which many believe explains the extensive delay in ratifying the Protocol.

The role of economists As in much of Russia’s decision making, certain individuals featured prominently in the various economic debates over ratification. Although the fate of the Protocol was primarily in the hands of Putin, his lack of expertise in economics meant that he relied on economists to reach a decision on the financial impact of ratification. Probably the most vocal Russian economists to back Kyoto were Igor Bashmakov (Director of Russia’s Centre for Energy Efficiency), Tatiana Avdeeva (Senior Researcher at the Russian Foreign Ministry), and Iurii Safonov (Moscow’s Higher School of Economics). Yet none of the economic supporters were as influential or as brash as the Kyoto opponent and economic adviser to Putin, Andrei Illarionov, who spoke frequently at international Kyoto Protocol meetings. He made such hyperbolic statements as ‘[the agreement would] doom Russia to poverty, weakness and backwardness’; ‘like fascism and communism, Kyotoism is an attack on basic human freedoms behind a smokescreen of propaganda’.39 Illarionov’s public opposition to the Protocol apparently caused many government officials either to oppose ratification or fall silent. As a close aide to Putin, Illarionov usually held sway over the President in economic areas. However, Illarionov’s negative analysis of the financial implications of Kyoto did not stop ratification. Consequently, rumours emerged that he had simply been bargaining for the best deal for Russia, whilst knowing that Putin would ratify the Protocol all along. Yet Illarionov did appear to react with genuine disillusionment to Russia’s eventual ratification: ‘it is not a decision which we have made with pleasure’;‘[Kyoto implementation] is for most of the world bad news’.40 It seems that there were disagreements between Illarionov and the President on many issues, as demonstrated by Illarionov’s subsequent resignation in December 2005. It was reported that ‘one of the reasons [for his resignation was] that he did not agree with ratification of the Kyoto Protocol’.41 Although Illarionov did not ultimately succeed in halting the process, almost unaided he managed to delay Russia’s ratification of the Protocol. Whatever his motive, this delay did nonetheless secure economic 39



Andrei Illarionov quoted in Tim Hirsch, ‘Climate Talks End Without Result [Illarionov at World Climate Change Conference in Moscow]’, BBC News (3 October 2003) < stm> [accessed 2 February 2006]; Andrei Illarionov, ‘Kyoto’s Smoke Screen Imperils Us All’, Financial Times, 15 November 2004. Andrei Illarionov quoted in Sergei Leskov, ‘Politekologiia. Rossiia Prisoediniaetsia k Kiotskomy Protokolu’, Izvestiia, 1 October 2004.; Illarionov. ‘Illarionov Resigns as Presidential Aide’, Interfax, (27 December 2005) <> [accessed 12 February 2006].



concessions for Russia. Many diplomats, however, were convinced that any further delay ‘would have resulted in [. . .] economic losses for the country’.42

Income from carbon credit sales Initially prospects for selling carbon emission credits were believed to be Russia’s main incentive for participating in Kyoto. The American departure, however, ‘removed a major financial attraction’, as the market for carbon quotas was reduced and so the value of these credits dropped.43 Without the USA’s participation, Russia wanted to ensure that it would still find sufficient demand for its likely credits. This lack of guaranteed income precipitated Russia’s wary attitude towards the possible economic gains. Kyoto opponents painted worst-case scenarios regarding Russia’s opportunities for selling quotas. lllarionov called Russia’s opportunities ‘completely illusory’, declaring that in the period from 2008 to 2012, Japan and the European Union (EU) together would not demand the supply of quotas generated by Russia, Ukraine, Central and Eastern Europe. He predicted that by 2013 or 2014 Russia would become a consumer, rather than a supplier of quotas, since economic growth would generate higher carbon emissions.44 Another Russian Kyoto sceptic predicted a drop in income from $10 billion to a mere $1 billion without the USA’s involvement, and doubted whether EU countries would rush to buy credits from Russia rather than from EU member Central and Eastern European countries.45 Indeed this was a valid concern, as acknowledged by the World Bank in the following statement: ‘Ukraine and other transition economies could in theory supply all the 2,500 [CO²] required by countries in need of allowances [. . .although] this scenario has a low probability of occurrence for several reasons’.46 Some also feared Japan, a key potential purchaser of Russian credits, would be reluctant to make deals with Russia due to historical antagonisms.47 Kyoto proponents predicted that Russia could still earn significant revenue without US involvement but differed greatly over how much. Oleg Pluzhnikov, Deputy Head of the Energy Ministry’s Ecological Department, put potential earnings at only one to two billion dollars;48 the World Bank expected a minimum of six billion dollars;49 Greenpeace Russia reckoned the country could earn at least twenty billion dollars.50 This income would derive from Russia selling its carbon surplus to the remaining high emission countries signed up to Kyoto, including western EU countries, Japan, and Canada. Japan especially, in response to aforementioned worries that historical hostilities with Russia would hinder carbon trading, showed enthusiasm for buying Russian credits.51 Russian Kyoto supporters also pointed out the potential for Russia 42

43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51

E. Fedotov, ‘Russia Stands to Lose from the Refusal to Ratify the Kyoto Protocol’, Rambler Mass Media, 30 September 2004. Oldfield et al., p. 164. ‘Illarionov’s Remarks at Press Conference on Climate Change’, Federal News Service, Moscow, 8 July 2004. Iulia Tutina, ‘Priroda i mi: idkiotskii protokol’, Argumenti i Fakti, 20 October 2004. Lecocq, p. 22–23. Michael Grubb, ‘The Economics of the Kyoto Protocol’, World Economics, 4 (2003), 143–189 (p. 172–23). Greg Walters, ‘Russia Still Hesitant on Ratifying Kyoto’, St. Petersburg Times, 5 August 2003. Lecocq, pp. 22–23. Walters, ‘Russia Still Hesitant’. ‘Japan Eager to Buy Russian Emission Credits’, Asahi Shimbun, 17 January 2003.



to push up prices by banking credits instead of selling them immediately.52 As a counter to Illarionov’s prediction that Russia would become a net buyer of credits by 2013, Kyoto supporters pointed out that the current document only refers to the period 2008 to 2012, at which point new criteria would be agreed by all signatories. They added that since Russia had secured a good deal this time, it was likely that it could do so again.53

Russia’s ‘hot air’ In his bid to decry Russia’s possible economic gains from Kyoto, Illarionov often mentioned the contentious issue of ‘hot air’, a term used to refer to the carbon credit surplus accrued as a result of post-Soviet industrial collapse rather than through specific environmental measures. Illarionov warned that Russia may be prohibited from trading ‘hot air’ credits under the Kyoto agreements, substantially reducing the country’s potential income.54 Indeed Canada, home to many environmental NGOs and a relatively environmentally-aware public, openly voiced its dissatisfaction at the idea of buying ‘hot air’ credits from Russia for ‘doing nothing’.55 As the only Russian to take part in drafting the Kyoto Protocol’s clauses, Igor Bashmakov, a Russian economist and Kyoto-supporter, was in a position to resolve the legal aspect of Russia’s ‘hot air’. He argued that since even advanced EU countries have accrued emissions reductions by default rather than through purposeful ecological measures, it should not matter exactly how emissions have been reduced, especially since the planet itself is not concerned by the reason. Bashmakov also maintained that potential income generated by the fallout in Russian industry would serve as compensation for a difficult period for Russia and could be invested in future energy-efficiency projects. These points were accepted, leaving Russia legally able to trade credits from its ‘accidental’ emissions reduction.56 Nevertheless, since the Kyoto Protocol mechanisms are market based, countries can still decide that they do not wish to purchase units from Russia. Such reservations on the part of potential purchasers were seemingly quelled by Russia’s provisions for Green Investment Schemes, in which profit from carbon credit sales would be spent on environmental projects, an idea first proposed in 2001 by the Russian government.57

Joint Implementation projects Perhaps the most lucrative benefit on offer to Russia through Kyoto was the Joint Implementation scheme. This scheme would allow high emission Kyoto participants to earn carbon credits by investing in emissions-reducing projects in foreign, often less developed, countries such as Russia. Many observers predicted that for Russia this much needed investment held significantly more long-term value than the 52 53

54 55 56


Grubb et al., p. 8. Michael Grubb, Russian Energy and CO2 Emission Prospects: Evidence from Domestic Analyses and International Comparisons (London: RIIA, 2004), p. 6. ‘Illarionov’s Remarks’. Grubb, ‘The Economics’, p. 173. I. Bashmakov, ‘Skol’ko stoit smiagchenie antropogennogo vozdeistviia na izmenenie klimata?’, Voprosi ekonomiki, 1 (2003), 104–16. Avdeeva, p. 297.



direct monetary revenue provided by carbon credit sales, especially after the US withdrawal from the Protocol. Russia’s energy industry, after quickly realising the benefit of cheap modernization and energy efficiency improvements from JI projects, urged Putin to ratify the Protocol. Many proponents suggested that Canada, as it faces similar climate and energy problems to Russia, would be in a good position to use its expertise in Russian JI projects. Despite the historical bilateral antagonisms, neighbouring Japan has already invested in Russian JI projects. The British government and UK-based companies have also invested in them.58 As the JI projects are market based like carbon trading, however, there is still no guarantee that countries will invest in emissions-abatement schemes in Russia. Furthermore, the more Russia prevaricated over its decision to ratify the Protocol, the more it was losing out on potential investment, especially to Ukraine, thus giving stronger ammunition to the Kyoto cynics.59

Effect of compliance on economic growth Many Kyoto sceptics were worried about the direct cost of implementing Kyoto mechanisms resulting from data collection and new technology requirements. One critic warned that ‘global warming restraining programs are evaluated at up to fortyseven trillion dollars’.60 It is true that in many areas Russia was far behind other Kyoto signatories in terms of data collection and had even considered purchasing a registry from abroad.61 There are many Russian and Western studies, however, which set out to disprove such concerns. One British study revealed that many Russian private companies, such as Gazprom and United Energy Systems (RAO UES), had already implemented inventories and many regions had compiled statistics. The study concluded that although there were many inadequate areas, ‘these problems should be easy to solve if there is a real political will to do so’.62 In an attempt to quell any remaining fears, the EU pledged 3.5 million dollars to help Russia meet its Kyoto commitments, although many Russians derided this sum.63 An even more critical economic question was whether Russia could raise living standards while constraining emissions. Many Russian Kyoto sceptics, such as the Russian Institute of Economic Analysis, cast doubt on the possibility of realising Putin’s promise of doubling GDP in a decade if Russia were obliged to keep emissions







Grubb, ‘The Economics’, p. 173; ‘Shell zainteresovana v realizatsii v RF proektov v ramkakh Kiotskogo Protokola’, Interfax, 23 November 2005; Defra, UK-Russia Cooperation: Working Together for a Sustainable Future (London: Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and Foreign & Commonwealth Office, 2005). Michael Grubb, ‘Kyoto and the Future of International Climate Change Responses: From Here to Where?’, International Review for Environmental Strategies, 5 (2004), xx–xxx. Sergei Malinin, ‘Kyoto Protocol to Destroy Russian Economy with Unnecessary Payments’, Pravda, (5 July 2005) <> [accessed 15 January 2006]. ‘Summary Report: EU-Russia Workshop on Climate Investments under Kyoto Protocol’, European Union, (November 2004) <> [accessed 22 January 2006]. Anna Korppoo, Russia and Compliance under Kyoto: An Institutional Approach (London: RIIA, 2004), pp. 6–9. Anne Egelston, ‘Will Russia Save the Kyoto Protocol?’, Environmental Finance, (2003), (p. 21).



at or below 1990 levels.64 Pravda published the most drastic prognosis: ‘economic activity on the territory of [Russia] is supposed to drop by seventy to eighty percent’.65 Some critics were also concerned that Kyoto would impede Russia’s economic growth further into the twenty-first century, a worry frequently cited with emotion in the Russian press. In opposition to this negativity, Kyoto proponents asserted that Russia’s future prosperity would not be hindered by the emissions caps. Influential figures and organizations from within and outside Russia, including Igor Bashmakov, DanilovDanilian (former Minister of Ecology), Iuri Safonov (Moscow’s Higher School of Economics), Russia’s State Duma, members of the Russian Academy of Sciences, London’s Royal Institute for International Affairs (RIIA), the World Bank, many foreign and Russian journalists, and crucially, Russia’s energy industry disagreed with the view that Russia would have any difficulty complying with the Protocol or that the economy would be hindered. Such backers firstly emphasised the generous compliance targets allocated to Russia. They argued that, unlike EU countries and the USA, which were set stringent targets, even if Russia made no effort to reduce emissions, thus avoiding the costs of modernisation, it would still meet the requirements. In a paper published by London’s RIIA, Michael Grubb remarked that since emissions correlate with population growth, Russia’s current population decline would actually cause the country’s emissions to fall.66 In any case, there are no financial penalties built into the Protocol for non-compliance, and so ‘the worst case “sanction” would be a ban on taking part in international emissions trading [and earning] the reputation of an international outcast’.67 The second plank of the Kyoto supporters’ argument was the several pro-Kyoto studies arguing that reducing emissions could only be compatible with economic growth, since unsustainable energy use itself is costly. Grubb stated that ‘Russia couldn’t physically double GDP if energy-efficiency did not improve’ and used international evidence from richer OECD countries and former Soviet bloc countries to show that GDP growth actually correlates with decreased emissions through greater energy-efficiency.68 A World Bank paper pointed out that since Russia had modernised its industry less than many other former Soviet countries, it had more room for improvement and thus more opportunity to earn carbon credits.69 A further argument put forward by supporters was that reducing emissions would have a beneficial effect on air pollution, which currently presents a real threat to Russians’ health.70 The Centre for Russian Ecology Policy stated that 40,000 Russians 64

65 66 67

68 69 70

Russian Institute of Economic Analysis, ‘Possible Ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by the Russian Federation and its Economic Implications’, Moscow, 2004. Malinin. Grubb, Russian Energy, p. 4. V. Berdin, S.Vasiliev, V.Danilov-Danilian, A.Kokorin, and S.Kuraev, The Kyoto Protocol: Questions & Answers, Russian Regional Environment Center, National Carbon Union, WWF Russia, (2004), <http://www.> [accessed 27 January 2006] (p. 5). Grubb, Russian Energy, p. 4. Lecocq, p. 11. Bashmakov, pp. 104–16.



died because of air pollution (although without mentioning a time span) and an article in Russkii Kurer asserted that pollution is responsible for seven percent of all Russian deaths.71 Since Russia is suffering from a demographic crisis, in part caused by high mortality from illness, lowering air pollution should be an important task for Russia regardless of Kyoto. Furthermore, Kyoto would lower the cost of improving Russia’s air quality, thanks to JI projects and Green Investment Schemes. To counter the argument that Kyoto would affect Russia’s long-term prosperity, the pro-Kyoto media and organizations stressed that the current Protocol is only for 2008 to 2012. The aforementioned World Bank paper derided a vehemently antiKyoto study by the Russian Institute for Economic Analysis72 as ‘wrong’ in implying that Russia would be accepting targets likely to restrict severely the country’s longterm emissions and growth.73 Moreover, proponents argued that ‘it is much easier to influence decisions on a post-2012 Kyoto regime when you are not an outsider, but a fully fledged party to the process’.74 Other observers also pointed out that the USA may rejoin Kyoto, especially if the process were proven to be successful. The practice of correlating reduced emissions and economic growth reflects a more Western European approach to the Kyoto Protocol, although it is shared by some Russians. Michael Grubb referred to the problem of many Russians’ outdated thinking: ‘[the European view that prosperity is compatible with reduced emissions] can be counter-intuitive for many Russian observers who tend to believe, similar to the conventional wisdom in the OECD in the 1970s, that increased economic growth required a roughly equivalent increase in energy use’.75 Such divergence between Western and Russian points of view reflects the differing opinions over the science of climate change, with some Russian observers assuming their country would benefit from some warming and some studies concluding that Antarctica was becoming colder.76 Since many of the Russian economic objections were not based on facts, it seems that such arguments were either uninformed, or were used simply as bargaining tactics.

Russia’s energy sector Russia’s national budget is buoyed heavily by the energy sector, which comprises about twenty-five percent of GDP and forty-two percent of total export income.77 Consequently, Russia’s energy industry played a considerable role in the debate about the Kyoto Protocol. Although the industry was initially sceptical about Kyoto, reportedly by 2000 there were not any Russian enterprises that argued against the adoption of the Protocol. Several big Russian corporations, namely Gazprom and RAO UES, 71


73 74 75 76 77

‘Press-reliz rabochei vstrechi v ramkakh sotsial’nogo foruma po izmeneniiu klimata’, Russian Centre for Ecological Policy website, (16 September 2004) <> [accessed 22 December 2005]; Konstantin Frumkin, ‘Rossiia Reshila Spasti Mir’, Russkii kur’er, 27 September 2004. Russian Institute of Economic Analysis, ‘Possible Ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by the Russian Federation and its Economic Implications’, Moscow, 2004. Lecocq, p. 21. Avdeeva, p. 301. Grubb, Russian Energy, p. 4. Malinin. CEPA, Costs and Benefits to the Russian Federation of the Kyoto Protocol (Cambridge: Cambridge Economic Policy Associates, 2004), p. 109.



actively lobbied in favour. In the words of Oleg Pluzhnikov, Deputy Head of the Ministry of Economics’ Environmental Department, ‘business pressure played a positive role in the ratification process’.78 Some now believe that many Russian businesses remained silent, not because they opposed Kyoto, but because they worried about finding themselves at odds with the government’s eventual decision on ratification.79 The energy sector desired ratification of Kyoto for a number of reasons. Firstly, energy companies saw JI projects as a cheap way of rehabilitating the energy industry, with some industry insiders predicting an imminent and severe energy crisis without modernization.80 Secondly, the industry believed they could make profits from carbon trading due to Russia’s generous emissions targets, especially with the help of improvements in energy efficiency from JI investment. Since Russia’s energy sector is notoriously carbon intensive, it has vast potential for energy-saving and emissionsreducing improvements.81 Thirdly, the energy sector looked forward to an increase in natural gas sales because, as an emissions-friendly energy resource, it would be in demand from other Kyoto signatories.82 Since Russia is already the world’s largest exporter of natural gas, this increased demand represented an important source of revenue. As reported in a German journal, the Russian company RAO UES argued that Russia could maximise profits by burning more coal for its own needs (reflecting the generosity of the country’s Kyoto emissions targets) while reserving natural gas for the envisaged increased demand from other Kyoto participants.83 Even in the face of the cynics who argued that despite these sizeable gains the Russian economy would suffer from reduced sales of carbon-intensive natural resources to Kyoto Protocol countries trying to reduce emissions, Russian energy companies still felt that the mentioned benefits from Kyoto would outweigh any potential losses. In any case, Russia could expect to sell oil to the Americans after their withdrawal from Kyoto, while at the same time benefiting from increased natural gas sales to signatory countries. Furthermore, after the EU announced its intention to proceed with emissions trading regardless of the ratification of Kyoto, Russia would nonetheless expect reduced demand for coal and oil even if it stalled the treaty by not ratifying. The active involvement of key Russian businesses in supporting ratification would have been critical to Putin’s stance on the issue, since the country was in many ways still in the hands of the energy corporations, despite attempts to reduce the oligarchs’ power. Long before ratification Gazprom and RAO UES had set up their own GHG inventories in preparation for the Kyoto Protocol. Early on RAO UES announced proposals to set up more than thirty JI projects over the coming years aimed at securing at least twenty million tons of emissions reductions.84 This early zeal for the 78 79 80 81 82 83


Oleg Pluzhnikov quoted in Sundstrom and Henry, pp. 5–6. Sundstrom and Henry, p. 5. CEPA, p. 113. Grubb, Russian Energy, p. 3. Ibid., p. 6. Axel Michaelowa and Tobias Koch, ‘Russland: der passende Schlüssel zum Inkrafttreten des Kioto-Protokolls?’, Wirtschaftsdienst, (2002), 561–64 (p. 562). ‘RAO UES of Russia to Implement Over 30 Projects Within the Kyoto Protocol in the Next Few Years’, RAO UES Press Release, Moscow, 16 February 2005.



Kyoto Protocol mechanisms may imply that these companies knew Russia would ratify the Protocol from the outset. The power of the business sector in Kyoto politics is also demonstrated by Russia’s focus on using Kyoto as a means of boosting industrial profits through JI projects, while overlooking environmentalists’ pleas for measures to secure significant emissions reductions. Interestingly, there is an irony in big business’s support for Kyoto. It is widely believed that Putin was personally interested in using the Kyoto process as a negotiating tool for Russia to gain membership of the World Trade Organization. Reportedly, he wanted Russia to join the WTO order to place the oligarchs under international rules and thereby reduce their dominance. It could be argued that the enthusiasm from Russian big business for Kyoto indicates the ineffectiveness of such generous emissions caps and the extent to which the energy industry would gain. Kyoto could prove reminiscent of post-Soviet privatization deals, which saw a few oligarchs benefit astonishingly from state assets, rather than the State Treasury and the overall population. Nevertheless, even if companies like Gazprom and RAO UES simply see Kyoto as an economic, or even lucrative, method of modernising their industries, this would still benefit Russians through the positive impact on pollution, health, market energy costs, and potential tax revenue.

Political factors In assessing the part played by politics in Russia’s decision to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, this section first deals with domestic entities followed by international bodies and issues.

Government ministries, advisers, State Duma and the regions There was considerable uncertainty amongst Russian ministries and government advisers over the issue of ratification. As Figure 1 (below) shows, not one Russian ministry consistently supported ratification. The Energy Ministry appeared to offer enthusiastic support for Kyoto until it merged with the Ministry for Industry in March 2004, at which point the enlarged Ministry argued that Russia needed more time before ratifying the Protocol. In September 2004 the Ministry finally came out in favour of the Protocol, while warning of the detrimental effect if Russia acted too quickly to realise its Kyoto commitments. Meanwhile the only political figures to back Kyoto openly have been Deputy Economic Minister Mukhamed Tsikhanov, then Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov, Vice Premier Viktor Khristenko, and most importantly, President Vladimir Putin. The only two close presidential advisers who doggedly opposed ratification were economist Andrei Illarionov and climatologist Iurii Izrael. Meanwhile many other scientists from the Russian Academy of Science (RAS), an organization in which Izrael held a prominent position, supported Kyoto. Other ministries and politicians either remained reticent or else produced conflicting messages. The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) opposed Kyoto until spring 2003, when two deputy ministers came out in favour. The Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring (Rosgidromet) was also prey to equivocation. Having consistently backed Kyoto until September 2004, it performed

ďŹ gure 1 Supporters and opponents of Kyoto within Russiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s political circles. Arrows indicate contradictions and changes in stance.




a volte-face by linking up with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and RAS to campaign against ratification. To add to the confusion, when Rosgidromet decided to lobby against ratification, it was essentially opposing its superior since MNR, by then supportive of ratification, had taken over Rosgidromet in 2000. The then Minister for Foreign Affairs, Igor Ivanov, was also indecisive given that in May 2003, prior to his Ministry joining the anti-ratification lobby with Rosgidromet and RAS in September 2004, he actually showed his support. Meanwhile the Minister for Economic Development and Trade (MEDT), Germann Gref, initially a backer of the Protocol, turned against it in spring 2002, but then rejoined the proponents’ camp in September 2004. One explanation for the prolonged delay in Russia’s assessment of the implications of Kyoto, and for the mixed messages emerging on the international scene from the Russian authorities, has been that the country’s policymakers were ‘at daggers drawn over the issue’.85 It seems that much of the confusion and antagonism stemmed from advisers making policy recommendations without much knowledge of the Kyoto process.86 In addition, Russia’s notoriously inefficient bureaucratic system did little to speed up the process.87 It does appear, however, that the government was divided. It has been argued that the splits resulted from various ministries vying with one another for stakes in implementing the Kyoto Protocol mechanisms, which would bring additional income to their budgets and career opportunities for ‘progressive bureaucrats’.88 In the end, it was decided to spread the responsibility of implementing the Kyoto Protocol mechanisms for the 2008 to 2012 period between five ministries: Rosgidromet, Industry and Energy, Agriculture, MNR, and MEDT. An alternative view is that Russia was purposefully dithering in order to blackmail the EU into releasing further concessions. Even during the week that Russia announced its verdict on whether it would ratify the Protocol in late October 2004, mixed messages were still emerging from various authoritative voices. By this time, most of the parameters for Russia’s participation in the Kyoto process had been set and the authorities had already decided which ministries would implement each part of the Protocol. Therefore the continued antagonism between ministries and politicians right up until this stage implies that there were genuine communication difficulties and opposition within the Russian administration, which could explain much of the reason for the delay in ratification. It is equally hard to establish the role of the Duma in Russia’s decision to ratify. In July 2001, after the USA had withdrawn from Kyoto, the Duma showed its full support: [the State Duma] expresses its confidence that Russia can fulfill the Kyoto Protocol’s GHG reduction commitments [. . .] the Protocol is economically reasonable for Russia

85 86 87 88

‘Is Kyoto Dead?’, Economist, 4 December 2003. Michaelowa and Koch, p. 561. Walters, ‘Russia Still Hesitant’. Michaelowa and Koch, p. 562.



[. . . The Duma] encourages Russia to play a key role in resolving the current logjam in negotiations and addressing the global climate problem.89

Yet in late 2003, by which time the economic and political benefits of ratifying the Kyoto Protocol to Russia had improved further, Putin said that ‘it would be difficult for the Russian authorities to persuade the State Duma to ratify the document’.90 Some observers even said that debates amongst a number of small parties in the parliament played a role in delaying ratification of the Protocol. It seems strange for Putin to have worried about Duma approval as the ‘party of power’, Unified Russia, was by then the largest party.91 According to a BBC report written after ratification, ‘the Russian Duma was never expected to resist ratification as it is filled with Vladimir Putin’s allies and the powerful President made his support for Kyoto clear last month’.92 Indeed, at the point of ratification the Duma appeared wholeheartedly to support the Protocol, as the Duma’s vice-speaker attested: ‘ratifying the protocol will strengthen Russia’s international weight’.93 In October 2004 the State Duma ratified the Protocol by 334 votes to 73, ridiculing any fears that it would not have been supported. Perhaps Putin’s comment on possible Duma opposition was posturing for international spectators, an attempt to show that Russia had a working parliament with the strength to veto legislative proposals. The Russian regions also played a role in climate politics. In early June 2003 the State Council, an advisory board to the President comprised of Russia’s eighty-nine regional governors, urged Putin to ratify the Protocol.94 Since the regions would be partly responsible for overseeing JI projects and compiling emissions logs (vital to Russia’s participation in international carbon credit trading), their support would facilitate the implementation of Kyoto. Despite Putin’s recent attempts to recentralise the country and reduce the regions’ power, the support of the regions would still have added to the President’s reasons for proceeding with ratification.

Russian non-governmental organizations Although Putin’s regime is often described as a ‘managed democracy’, Putin actually created numerous advisory institutes and committees. Although it would be naïve to assume that these organizations are wholly transparent and independent of the government, their impact on Russia’s decision to ratify must be considered. Unlike




92 93 94

International Institute for Sustainable Development/ UNFCCC Secretariat, ‘Special Report on Selected Side Events at UNFCCC COP-6 Part 11: Kyoto Protocol ratification, View of Russian Parliamentarians’, Earth Negotiations Bulletin, (July 2001) <> [accessed 8 January 2006] Vladimir Putin quoted in ‘Putin: Russia Won’t be Milk Cow’,, (21 October 2003) <http://www.> [accessed 11 January 2007] In fact the number of representatives supportive of Putin was much higher as many independents and smaller parties were also Putin supporters. Hirsch. Vladimir Pekhtin, Duma vice-speaker, quoted in Sitnina. ‘Some of the History of the Long Wait for Russian Ratification until 2003’, CAN-Europe website <http://> [accessed 2 February 2006].



the equivocation shown by many of the above ministries, the stance of pressure groups was seemingly more straightforward. Many sectors of Russian society campaigned intensively in favour of Kyoto. However they lacked the support of the general populace, mostly due to lack of awareness as mentioned in the environmental factors section of this article. The Russian Orthodox Church strongly backed Kyoto.95 As would be expected, Russian environmental groups consistently urged Putin to ratify the Protocol. WWF Russia published over one hundred articles in favour of Kyoto and set up an interactive webpage called ‘Kyoto, yes!’.96 Despite their campaigning, however, Putin’s crackdown on NGOs indicates that such groups could not play much of a role in influencing government policy. Furthermore, bearing in mind Putin’s negative appraisal of environmentalists, NGO activities could actually have had a stalling effect on government decision-making. As well as these groups, there were many Russian individuals outside of government but with some level of political visibility, who actively campaigned for Russian ratification of the Protocol. The most prominent were Viktor Danilov-Danilian (former Minister of Ecology), Igor Bashmakov (Director of Russia’s Center for Energy Efficiency), Alexander Golub (senior economist for the US-based NGO Environmental Defense), Georgii Safonov (Moscow’s Higher School of Economics), Iurii Osipov (President of RAS), and Aleksei Iablokov (Eltsin’s environmental advisor and now president of Moscow’s Center for Ecological Policy). These figures all lobbied Putin through papers and via their respective organizations. In sharp contrast to the disarray of Putin’s ministers, these analysts consistently supported the Protocol. At times they coordinated their efforts by publishing seemingly well-researched documents, some of which have been mentioned in this article. As Russia participated in, and indeed hosted, various global conferences on Kyoto and climate change, such proponents had many chances to air their views, as did their opponents. Regarding the latter, however, one British observer97 noted after the 2003 World Conference on Climate in Moscow, organised by Kyoto opponents, that ‘the climate sceptics were allowed full rein and utterly destroyed their own case’.98 It is worth noting that all of the above Kyoto backers hold eminent positions in Russian institutions. Since Russians hold academic prowess in particularly high regard, it seems likely that Putin, especially considering his lack of expertise in economics and science, will have taken into account their arguments in reaching a decision.

Putin’s stance Unlike his ministries, Putin appeared for a long time to support the Kyoto process, despite not agreeing with some aspects of the process. One explanation for his support in the face of many negative assessments from advisers, ministries, and scientists, or at other times his reticence, could have been simple bargaining tactics. 95

96 97 98

The World Council of Churches, including the Russian Orthodox Church, supported the publication of the document by Michael Grubb, Breer, Benito Müller et al., Strategicheskii analiz Kioto-Marrakeshskoi Sistemy (London: RIIA, 2003). ‘Kyoto, yes!’, WWF Russia, <> [accessed 24 May 2005]. Comment made by John Lanchbery of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Hirsch.



Perhaps the government secretly urged these figures to criticise Kyoto publicly in order to clinch the best possible deal for Russia, particularly after the US withdrawal put Russia in a powerful negotiating position. Much of the Western press agreed with the explanation that Russia delayed ratification in order to blackmail the EU.99 Working from the assumption that those advisers and Ministries that lobbied against ratification were sincere, then even Putin’s closest advisers were unable to convince him to reject Kyoto. Negative media and science reports also failed to prevent Russian ratification. As established previously, environmental groups’ positive assessment of Kyoto could not have had much clout with the Putin administration. The remaining group within Russia which may have held sway over Putin was big business, namely the energy industry. Since Russia’s energy industry was strongly in favour of Kyoto, the eventual ratification could indicate which lone domestic sector was still in a position to influence the President.

Outside influences: The European Union and World Trade Organization Many observers agree that the EU played a decisive role in the run-up to Russia’s ratification of the protocol. Since the EU was highly invested in the success of Kyoto, Russia would have done considerable damage to its political and economic relations with the EU and other developed countries by stalling the entire 2008 to 2012 Kyoto process. Consequently, Russia was in a good position to improve, or at least maintain, EU-Russian relations. As Duma Deputy Aleksandr Kosarikov said: ‘primarily it was Putin’s desire not to lose contact, not to move away from a common European politics’.100 Illarionov agreed on the importance of the EU: ‘Russian officials do not believe in the treaty’s scientific or economic merits but will ratify it anyway in a political gesture toward the European Union’.101 European politicians’ statements of gratitude towards Russia after its ratification show the benefits made in terms of Russian-EU diplomacy.102 But despite Russia’s apparent desire to curry favour with the EU by ratifying the Protocol, it seems that the situation was more complicated than a case of simple acquiescence, which could in part explain the lengthy delay in ratification. Indeed, EU pressure on Russia to ratify the Protocol possibly backfired as it was clearly resented by Russia. Illarionov likened it to colonial pressure: ‘an approach to Russia as a kind of banana republic [. . .] that is not a colony yet but about to become it [. . .] this is a total war against our country’.103 During the final international negotiations on climate change, there were frequent interruptions due to Russians’ complaints over the lack of simultaneous translation, moves motivated either by strategy or insecurity vis-à-vis the West.104 A particular impediment to Russian support for ratification 99 100 101 102

103 104

Ibid. Aleksandr Kosarikov quoted in Sundstrom and Henry, p. 9. Greg Walters, ‘Illarionov Says Kyoto Will Be Ratified’, Moscow Times, 29 September 2004. ‘Summary of the 11th Conference of the Convention on Climate Change Parties’, Earth Negotiations Bulletin, 12.291, (November to December 2005) <> [accessed 2 January 2006]; Ivan Ivanov, ‘Podrobnosti. Rossiia Pouchastvuet v Bor’be s Poteplenium’, Ekho Planety, 8 October 2004. ‘Illarionov’s Remarks’. Opportunities and Challenges, p. 1.



was the realization that Kyoto signatories were eager for Russian participation since it would make Kyoto cheaper for them. Putin indicated that ‘Russia will not turn into a milk cow, at whose expense other countries [implying European] will solve their problems’.105 So while being prepared to go along with the Europeans, Russia also wanted to demonstrate its authority by taking time to decide whether to ratify and extracting the best possible concessions. Consequently, domestic, rather than foreign, scientists and economists may have carried more weight in the Putin administration. To complicate matters further, the view that the EU was anxious for Russian participation in Kyoto was not shared by Igor Leshukov, Director of St. Petersburg’s Institute for International Affairs. ‘Kyoto is suspiciously lacking from the EU-Russia energy dialogue [. . .] this means that the EU doesn’t consider Kyoto a priority, contradictory to its official declarations. Otherwise it would press Russia harder’.106 Perhaps by this time, however, the EU was simply heeding Putin’s desire for less interference in the Russian ratification process of Kyoto. Linked with Putin’s aim of strengthening EU relations was his desire for Russia to gain membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which was one of the greatest aims of his Presidency. Thanks to Russia’s newfound role as potential Kyoto saviour, Putin was able to use Kyoto as a bargaining tool with the EU to clinch a deal on WTO membership. Every article on the subject of the Kyoto Protocol and Russia, whether written by a Westerner or a Russian, suggests that this was one of the President’s main incentives for ratification of the Protocol. For example,‘the Kremlin is only interested in ratification on grounds of partnership with EU about joining WTO’;107 ‘the stake is Russia’s entry into the WTO’.108 Despite this common belief, ‘Illarionov flatly denied a WTO link to [Russia’s] position’.109 Igor Ivanov, Foreign Minister, and Igor Iusofov, Energy Minister, were also adamant that the ratification of Kyoto was not linked to WTO membership.110 Putin likewise attested that he had not considered Kyoto in terms of WTO membership. However at an EU-Russia Summit in 2004 he announced that ‘the EU has made concessions on some points during the negotiations on the WTO. This will inevitably have an impact on our positive attitude to the Kyoto process’.111 So it seems clear that the lure of WTO membership triggered Russia’s final decision in 2004 to ratify the Protocol. However, it does not follow that this was one of Russia’s foreseen incentives for ratifying the Protocol or its primary reason for delaying its decision on ratification.

105 106 107 108 109 110 111

Vladimir Putin quoted in ‘Milk Cow’. Walters, ‘Russia Still Hesitant’. ‘Kyoto a-go-go’. Leskov. Walters, ‘Illarionov Says’. Benito Müller, The Kyoto Protocol: Russian Opportunities (London: RIIA, March 2004), p. 11. John Vogler, ‘The European contribution to global environmental governance’, International Affairs, 81 (2005), (p. 850).



The impact of USA’s withdrawal The USA’s withdrawal from Kyoto in March 2001 undoubtedly had a significant impact on Russia’s attitude towards Kyoto. As discussed earlier, Russia’s potential income was severely reduced by the USA’s refusal to ratify the Protocol, which required Russia to reassess the economic incentives for participating in Kyoto. Russia was also affected politically by America’s departure. While rumours circulated that the US administration put direct pressure on the Russians not to ratify the Protocol, such an accusation appears to have been unfounded.112 Bearing in mind Russia’s negative reaction to EU interference, heavy-handed tactics from the USA to force Russia to pull out of the Kyoto process may have produced the reverse effect anyway. Even if the USA did not directly try to influence Russia, American abandonment of Kyoto did affect Russians’ views. Crudely speaking, the USA’s withdrawal split Russians into two camps: anti-US Kyoto supporters and pro-US Kyoto opponents. There were also those Kyoto backers who believed that the USA might rejoin the climate change process at a later stage, and that Russia’s participation would encourage the Americans to do so.113 The above stances are present in the Russian media and Russian academic articles. Pro-Kyoto writers tried to drum up support by playing on traditional Russian-American antagonisms: ‘the American position is the product of quite egoistic economic interests’; ‘[the] USA has put a greater burden on less developed countries’.114 For these writers, Russia’s ratification of the Protocol would show superiority over the selfish Americans, reflecting traditional anti-US feelings and sending out an anti-capitalist message, reminiscent of Cold War times. Mikhail Kokeev, Russia’s representative on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and a Kyoto supporter, takes the anti-US sentiments further by arguing that the Japan-EU-Canada-Russia club of Kyoto participants would ‘act as a defence against the interests of large American companies’.115 Kyoto opponents used the reverse argument, suggesting that Russia should follow the American example. Interestingly, there are similarities between many of the doubts held by Kyoto sceptics in Russia and the USA, mainly over the lack of firm scientific evidence for climate change and over the arguable economic costs of complying with the Kyoto mechanisms.116 Some commentators have accounted for Russia’s equivocation over Kyoto as symptomatic of its difficulty in balancing US and EU relations, with the ultimate decision to ratify the Protocol indicating that Putin’s foreign policy is more geared towards Europe than the USA. This is doubted by Mikhail Kokeev on the grounds that Kyoto is a multilateral, not a bilateral, treaty, and that the USA may rejoin the Protocol at a later date.117 In any case, US-Russian environmental cooperation had

112 113


115 116 117

Korppoo et al., p. 16. Mikhail Kokeev, ‘Problemi. Kioto. Spasti belikh medvedei’, Mezhdunarodnaia zhizn’, 31 December 2004, p. 136.; Eduard Gushchin, ‘Ekologiia. Klimat ‘za’, a kto ‘protiv’?’, Parlamentskaia gazeta, 27 October 2004. Ivanov; V.D. Pisarev, ‘Mezhdunarodnii terrorizm i global’nie ekologizheskie ugrozi’, Kanada. Ekonomika, politika, kul’tura, 30 November 2005. Kokeev, p. 137. Malinin; Tutina. Kokeev, p. 136.



already waned before the Kyoto issue arose due to US frustration at Russia’s lack of enforcement of joint ecological projects.118 This implies that, apart from the significant economic implications of the US withdrawal, Putin was probably not overly concerned by the political implications of not toeing the American line. Siding with the EU and the UN was of more immediate political concern. From an economic point of view, as Russia sold more to the EU than to any other market, good relations with the EU were vital.119 Furthermore, given that the EU was more desperate to push Kyoto Protocol’s ratification than the US was to block it, ‘there is little chance that improved relations with the USA would “compensate” for this loss’.120

Russia’s image abroad The implications for Russia’s international image played a vital role in Russia’s decision to ratify the Protocol. Much was made of the fact that Russia held the keys to the whole global process once the USA had withdrawn: ‘without Russian consent it simply wouldn’t have come into force’; ‘it is hard to remember the last time when our voice has proved so decisive’. 121 This critical position was wielded to the benefit of both the country’s image as a whole and that of Putin as leader. Russia was anxious to use the now high-profile status of Kyoto to show the rest of the world that it was again an important international player. Post-Soviet Russia’s loss of superpower status explains this eagerness to be in a dominant position. Russia strives to be considered a democratic and developed country, as demonstrated by its enthusiasm to participate in ‘clubs’ of industrialised nations, such as the G8 and the WTO. Many Western observers therefore believed that by cooperating with a global environmental treaty Putin was hoping to improve a worsening image abroad which portrayed him as an increasingly authoritarian, isolationist leader.122 Russia’s role as central player in the international climate change scene, however, also presented problems symptomatic of the country’s tricky position in between the developed and developing groups of countries. While many Russians were desirous to appear an advanced country by ratifying the Protocol, others resented the fact that developing countries had no obligations at all when post-Communist Russia was also struggling economically.123 In other words, Russia wanted the glory of compliance while at the same time asking for economic concessions such as low targets and lenience over the ‘hot air’ issue. Perhaps it was once more this dichotomy between developed and developing, East and West, responsible for so many of Russia’s foreign policy dilemmas, that underlay the controversy and lengthy delay over Kyoto ratification.

118 119

120 121

122 123

Peterson and Bielke, p. 69. Russia is the EU’s fifth trading partner (after the US, Switzerland, China and Japan), while the EU is Russia’s main trading partner accounting for above fifty percent of its total trade. Berdin, p. 8. Sitnina; ‘Rossiia kak predsedatel G8 predlozhit obsuzhdenie ekologicheskikh problem’, Interfax, 15 November 2005; Leskov. ‘Kyoto a-go-go’. ‘11th Conference’.



Conclusion This article’s analysis has provided a glimpse into the complexities surrounding Russia’s decision to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Most Western observers believed, even after the USA withdrew, that Russia still had much to gain from joining Kyoto both economically and politically. Yet Russia stalled the ratification process by nearly two years. Observers developed a variety of theories both about the delay in ratification and the decision to ratify the Protocol. As is often the case with Russian politics, it is difficult to establish what actually occurred within government circles. This conclusion will attempt to determine which explanations of why Russia finally ratified Kyoto appear most plausible. On the environmental side, the combination of Russians’ preoccupation with everyday concerns rather than environmental issues, lack of awareness of climate change, some scientists’ doubts over climate change, and others’ belief that global warming would benefit Russia, as well as Putin’s overall environmental disregard, indicates that Russia did not ratify the Protocol for the global environmental good. While there were several top scientists and environmentalists who enthusiastically supported Kyoto, lack of media coverage and marginalization of NGOs meant that Iurii Izrael, the country’s foremost climate scientist and virulent Kyoto critic, overshadowed much of the Kyoto supporters’ environmental campaigning. Although Putin was aware of the advantage to his, and Russia’s, image by appearing ecologically conscious, Russia required more tangible incentives. As one analyst wrote, ‘Russia’s recalcitrance [was seen] as a rebuff to the way the EU generally, and its environment ministers specifically, have treated the [Russian] Federation in their narrow focus on environment in the context of what the Federation considers an economic issue’.124 Russia’s attitude towards Kyoto appears to follow a trend visible since Soviet times, when much of the USSR’s participation in international environmental treaties was little more than empty rhetoric.125 Progress in Russia’s attempts to reduce carbon emissions will confirm to what extent any sincere belief in the environmental aims of Kyoto played a part in Russia’s ratification. There were some positive signs after ratification: ‘in spring 2005, the Russian Government approved a comprehensive plan of action regarding the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol’.126 However since then moves to reduce Russia’s emissions have been slow. Not until January 2008, after Putin’s departure from the Presidency, did the Russian Ministry of Economic Development and Trade announce the long awaited completion of Russian regulation and procedures to allow the operation of the JI mechanism in Russia. Although 61 Russian JI projects are already registered with the UNFCCC Secretariat offering reductions in GHG emissions totalling 125 MtCO2E (about twenty percent the of UK’s total annual GHG emissions), the belated implementation of the JI mechanism threatens the opportunity for even more substantial reductions in GHG emissions. A report published in December 2007


125 126

Tom Jacob, ‘Reflections on Milan . . . and the Current State of the Global Climate Response’, International Emissions Trading Association, (13 January 2004) <> [accessed 28 February 2006] Oldfield et al., p. 166. Avdeeva, p. 300.



states that ‘[in] Russia, appropriate climate protection has not been exercised yet’ and ranks Russia bottom of the ten largest CO2 emitters, behind the USA and China, in terms of the rate of reduction in emissions levels.127 This comment on the 2006 G8 Summit held in St. Petersburg, for which Putin was in a position to select important topics, is telling: At the 2005 summit in Gleneagles Tony Blair highlighted climate change and Africa as the two most important issues for the heads of state and government to discuss. A year on [in St. Petersburg], the top item on the summit agenda is energy, but from a security rather than climate change perspective. The sense of a retreat is palpable.128

Another revealing sign is that Russia, along with the USA and China, objected to the UN Security Council’s decision to hold a debate on climate change in April 2007.129 Turning to the economic issues, a critical reason for the delay was the repercussion of the US departure. The loss of US demand for Russia’s carbon credits meant that this aspect of Kyoto would no longer bring Russia a guaranteed economic boon, although the energy sector’s enthusiasm for JI projects showed how much was still to be gained financially. The vehement opposition of Andrei Illarionov, Putin’s close economic adviser, encouraged the most doubt over the economic benefits of adopting Kyoto, principally that compliance would jeopardise Russia’s economic growth. As a result of such scepticism, Putin said Russia needed more time for economic analysis of the implications of ratification. However, most Western critics, and many Russians, believed that Russia was in a ‘win-win’ situation all along. In the words of Igor Leshukov, Director of St. Petersburg’s Institute for International Affairs, ‘Russia already got the maximum, I can hardly imagine what type of better deal you could get’.130 Kyoto appeared particularly economically viable for Russia since energy efficiency improvements were already part of Russia’s development strategy before Kyoto became an issue. Therefore the more Russia delayed ratification, the more these critics believed that the country was employing bargaining tactics. Despite all the heated discussions over the economic aspects of ratification, there are many signs that these were secondary to the political issues, as Illarionov stated: ‘nobody sees any sense in the economic [or] scientific advantages for Russia in this document. It is just purely politics’.131 Viktor Danilov-Danilian, former Head of the State Committee on Ecology felt similarly: ‘The money that could be earned thanks to the Kyoto Protocol through selling allowances and receiving investments in Joint Implementation projects is of no interest to the authorities’.132 Indeed the long delay in ratifying the Protocol, to the detriment of Russia’s potential economic gains, 127


129 130 131 132

‘The Climate Change Performance Index: A Comparison of Emissions Trends and Climate Protection of the Top 56 CO2 Emitting Nations’, Germanwatch, (2007), pp. 6, 12. Saleemul Huq and Camilla Toulmin, ‘The G8 Summit: Don’t Forget Climate Change’, Open Democracy, (12 July 2006) <> [accessed 6 August 2006]. ‘Written in Mercury’, Guardian, 27 April 2007. Walters, ‘Russia Still Hesitant’. Andrei Illarionov quoted in Walters, ‘Illarionov Says’. Viktor Danilov-Danilian, ‘What Can Russia Expect from the Kyoto Protocol?’, Towards a Sustainable Russia, 27 (2004), 11–13.



revealed the lesser significance of these monetary benefits for the Russian government.133 Meanwhile big business complained about the government’s inactivity in pushing through the necessary legislation to implement procedures for JI projects and emissions trading, which the Co-Director of RAO UES predicted had already lost the country fifty million dollars by September 2005.134 As previously discussed, nearly every publication mentions the importance of the WTO deal with the EU in Russia’s decision to ratify the Protocol. Other political incentives were the boost to Russia’s international image as Kyoto saviour, although the combination of enjoying this dominant position while resenting Western pressure caused confusion in Russia’s stance on the issue. Some commentators believed that Russia’s decision to ratify reflected a preference for closer ties with the EU than with the USA. However, as Europe was more desperate for Kyoto to succeed than the US administration was for its failure, Russia’s decision to ratify the Protocol was probably made more out of necessity than out of preference. As the above discourse indicates, some factors influenced Russia’s ratification more than others. The following contributed to the delay in ratification: economic doubts over Kyoto spearheaded by Illarionov, extracting economic concessions to assuage these doubts, disorganization within the Russian government, lack of sense of urgency regarding climate change, and international pressure confusing Russia’s position. The eventual decision to ratify the Protocol can be explained primarily by the WTO membership deal with the EU, ease of compliance with the Protocol, support from Russia’s energy sector, improved ties with the EU, and benefits to Russia’s international image. Out of these factors, two of the strongest underlying explanations for ratifying the Protocol seem to have been the consistent pressure from the energy industry and from the EU, perhaps indicating two groups that still had a hold over Putin. The timing of Russia’s ratification of the Protocol, only four months after the WTO deal, implies that the bait of WTO membership triggered the final decision to proceed.

Postscript After Russia ratified the Kyoto Protocol in November 2004, the global treaty entered into force in February 2005. Participant countries now have from 2008 until 2012 to meet their respective targets. As international negotiations for the post-2012 climate deal at the 2009 UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen draw near, it seems that again it will be difficult to foresee what stance Russia will take. A scan of the Russian press since 2007 indicates that Russians are now more concerned about environmental issues, including climate change, than at the time of the debate about whether to ratify Kyoto. According to a survey conducted by the WWF in 2007, Russian companies show ‘considerable commitment to the introduction of environmental management systems and standards such as ISO 14001’.135 Meanwhile Pravda, which referred to the ‘myth of global warming’ in 2005, recently

133 134 135

Müller, p. 11. Sergei Konstantinov, Ekonomika. Effect Kioto. Rossiiskaia gazeta, 22 September 2005. Brook Horowitz, ‘Stemming Climate Change’, St. Petersburg Times, 18 December 2007.



reported that ‘two thirds of Russians believe in global warming’.136 Similarly Argumenti i Fakti, which in 2004 doubted the existence of climate change and referred to Kyoto as the ‘idkiotskii protokol’,137 is now publishing articles saying that climate change could wipe out fish living in coral reefs and that climate change will affect women across the world most severely as they are more reliant on natural resources for their livelihoods.138 Nevertheless, there are still virulent sceptics, such as Dr Oleg Sorokhtin (fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences) who argues: [The] Earth is now at the peak of one of its passing warm spells. It started in the 17th century when there was no industrial influence on the climate to speak of and no such thing as the hothouse effect [. . .] The real reasons for climate changes are uneven solar radiation, terrestrial precession (that is, axis gyration), instability of oceanic currents, regular salinity fluctuations of the Arctic Ocean surface waters, etc.139

It is interesting to note, however, that below this article RIA Novosti printed the following text, which does not appear after other items: ‘the opinions expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti’. There are other significant changes in the backdrop to the post-2012 climate deal negotiations that will affect Russia’s stance. Both John McCain and Barack Obama, who are currently vying for the US presidential seat from 2009, favour tougher emissions caps. Greater American cooperation in the post-2012 negotiations could affect Russia in two ways: either US participation in the deal will allow Russia to take a back seat and therefore opt out of the post-Kyoto framework, or the Russians could follow the American example. The other key difference will be the role of the new Russian president, Dmitrii Medvedev. As discussed, Vladimir Putin was equivocal on the subject of the environment and Kyoto. Reports suggest that Medvedev is more pro-environment than his predecessor, reputedly driving the environment to the forefront of the political agenda with such declarations as ‘if we fail to deal with the ecological situation now, then in ten, twenty, thirty years large parts of Russia will be unfit for living’.140 The new President also issued a decree in June 2008 instructing the Russian government to introduce measures to improve Russia’s energy efficiency by forty percent by 2020.141 The leader of the upper house of Parliament, Sergei Mironov, has gone further by declaring that he is ‘absolutely convinced that both the Kyoto Protocol and the post-Kyoto process are vitally important’.142 136 137


139 140



‘Rossiiane veriat v global’noe poteplenie’, Pravda, 23 June 2008. In Russian ‘Kyoto Protocol’ translates as Kiotskii protokol. The addition of ‘id’ (i.e. Idkiotskii Protokol) is a play on words as idiotskii means ‘idiotic’ in Russian. [Argumenti i Fakti] 2008, ‘Obitaiushchie v korallovykh rifakh ryby mogut ischeznut’, Argumenti i Fakti, 18 June 2008; ‘Ot globalnogo potepleniia bolshe postradaiut zhenshchiny’, Argumenti i Fakti, 7 May 2008. Oleg Sorokhtin, ‘A cold spell soon to replace global warming’, RIA Novosti, 1 March 2008. Dmitrii Medvedev quoted in Reuters, ‘Russia Must Act Now on Environment — Medvedev’, Planet Ark, (23 June 2008) <> [accessed 30 June 2008]. Konstantin Garibov, ‘Russia Supports G8 Efforts to Insure [sic] Energy Efficiency for Tackling Climate Change’, Voice of Russia, (5 June 2008) < 6.2008> [accessed 30 June 2008]. Reuters, ‘Russia Warms to Kyoto and Emissions Cuts’, Carbon Positive, (5 June 2008) <> [accessed 30 June 2008].



As in the early 2000s, though, there are conflicting messages emerging from the Russian authorities on climate policy. Despite the positive utterances outlined above, Medvedev has also commented that Kyoto offered Russia not only advantages but also significant disadvantages, despite predictions that Russia’s emissions are unlikely to exceed 1990 levels until 2020.143 In April 2008 Russia threatened not to cooperate in a new climate deal. The official in charge of Russia’s Kyoto obligations, Vsevolod Gavrilov, who supported Kyoto in November 2004 (see Figure 1), said ‘Moscow would oppose cuts for the “foreseeable future”, arguing that the emerging middle class and industry needed to use more energy’.144 Such inconsistent messages indicate that Russia will play as elusive a role in negotiations for a post-2012 climate deal as for the Kyoto Protocol. This time, however, the more cooperative position of the Americans will take the spotlight and bargaining power away from the Russians. Crucially, ordinary Russians look set to become more involved in the debate.



[RIA Novosti] 2008, ‘Russia Won’t Exceed 1990 Level in CO2 Emissions Until 2020’, RIA Novosti, 14 January 2008 <> [accessed 1 July 2008]. Alister Doyle, ‘Russian Climate Plans Show Tough Path to UN Treaty’, Reuters, (30 April 2008) <http://> [accessed 30 June 2008].

slovo, Vol. 20 No. 2, Autumn 2008, 149–154

BOOK REVIEWS War, Image and Legitimacy: Viewing Contemporary Conflict. By MILENA MICHALSKI AND JAMES GOW. London and New York: Routledge, 2007. 268pp. Hardback. ISBN 0-415-401011. This study of how moving images can produce or undermine the legitimacy of war is the product of several previous research projects by the authors on transnational news reporting following 11 September, news coverage of the war in Iraq after 2003, and cinematic representations of the Yugoslav wars. As such, it offers a potential bridge between the growing body of work on the media and war in former Yugoslavia and the tradition of research into the same topics in British and North American cultural studies. Michalski and Gow begin their analysis with the contention that ‘[i]mages are the key weapons of contemporary war’ (p. 14). Their argument addresses the opportunities and limitations of representing war in fictional feature films, documentaries, and television news, and applies their findings to long-running debates in war studies over the meaning of legitimacy. The empirical chapters, which make up the bulk of the book, are preceded by an overview of the narrative strategies available to the creators of moving images (although the empirical chapters themselves deliberately avoid film theory). Based on film’s ‘needs for character and identification, and narrative and structure’ (p. 29), the authors consider that the most successful cinematic treatment of war is the representation of human experience on the battlefront or home front. Strategy, by contrast, is notoriously difficult to convey through the film medium — with one honourable exception, the beginning of Independence Day, unlikely as it might seem at first glance. This narratological excursion provides the context for four empirical chapters. Chapter 3 deals with fiction films about the Yugoslav wars, Russian military involvement in Chechnya, and US intervention in Iraq/Somalia. Chapter 4 discusses documentaries that represent the same three conflicts. Chapter 5 covers news reporting of the Yugoslav conflict, 9/11, and US military activity thereafter. (Chechnya does not figure into the chapter.) The internal logic of chapter 6 is less obvious, but it picks up several themes which could not be accommodated in earlier chapters, such as conflict and famine in Africa, mobile image devices, and network news anchors. Perhaps more coherence could have been provided by a tighter focus on what is not present in images of conflict — this thread already connects the beginning of chapter 6 with a section of chapter 5 pointing to the lack of any images of weapons of mass destruction. These empirical chapters do not systematically relate their conclusions to what is supposed to be the overarching theme of the book: legitimacy. Instead, the synthesis occurs in the final chapter that brings the previous analysis of images to bear on the concept of ‘legitimacy’ as understood in war studies. The authors present current thinking on the changing character of war — including a chilling look ahead to a ‘Big Brother Battlefield’ scenario of strategic decisions taken by ‘viewer vote’ on the basis of real-time video feeds from the battlefield (pp. 220–21) — and take issue with assertions that Clausewitz’s classic understanding of warfare has become outdated. In defence of Clausewitz they put up the book’s main theoretical innovation, the initially impenetrable ‘Multidimensional Trinity Cubed-Plus’ or ‘Trinity3 (+)’ (p. 202) — formatting and superscript sic — which turns out to be a typographically overdetermined expansion of Clausewitz’s famous ‘trinity’ of the government, the armed forces, and the people. The three components are updated to ‘political leaders, an armed element and communities’ to suit the less state-centric nature of contemporary warfare. The authors then argue that strategy needs to take into account the interaction of these three © School of Slavonic & East European Studies, University College London, 2008


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components on the home front, the opponent’s front, and ‘multiple global audiences’ (pp. 201–22) — presumably, the ‘cubing’ of the original trinity. The conception of the home front, the opponent’s front, and other global stakeholders as unstable fields recalls Rogers Brubaker’s approach to competing nationalisms in Nationalism Reframed — although Michalski and Gow do not take the argument this far. Unfortunately, the final chapter’s advances in thinking about legitimacy are not used to reflect back upon the empirical material in any systematic fashion although more empirical findings are introduced to show how images were used as strategy by different sides in the Yugoslav wars. We are sometimes shown how particular films/reports supported a certain interpretation of their conflict, but not what, for instance, No Man’s Land or Fahrenheit 9/11 can tell us about the operation of the ‘Trinity3 (+)’. This is perhaps a consequence of the scope of the book, which starts from an interest in images as instruments of strategy rather than a drive to explain the particular case studies raised in the empirical chapters. Indeed, they have been chosen primarily because they are readily available on DVD and thus accessible to the reader. It would nonetheless have been interesting to see how the multi-dimensional trinity of legitimacy could be tested against some of the empirical examples used earlier in the book. For an area studies audience, this book is of added interest for its viewpoint on ex-Yugoslav and Russian film and media. The authors contribute to perhaps the major cause célèbre of south-east European film studies — the controversy over Emir Kusturica’s Underground — with a categorical case that Kusturica’s chaotic interpretation of the conflict suited ‘an audience which would prefer to be absolved of particular responsibility’ (p. 35). A brief discussion of how Croatian television reported 9/11 — largely by rebroadcasting images from CNN — could be extended to raise the same issues of representation encountered by recent research at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College London into eastern European travel writing and its depictions of the West. Furthermore, there is surely a work of its own to be written on the potential comparisons between mediated war memory in former Yugoslavia and the contemporary USA. Whoever takes up the task will surely need to take into account the perspective on conflict and legitimacy presented in War, Image and Legitimacy. UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies

Catherine Baker

The Romanian Revolution of December 1989. By Peter Siani-Davies. Ithica: Cornell University Press, 2007. 315pp. Paperback. ISBN 0801442451. Of all the states in Central and Eastern Europe the end of Communism in Romania was the most revolutionary in form but the least revolutionary in terms of outcome. The Frontul Salva˘rii Nat‚ionale (FSN: National Salvation Front) emerged from elements of the Partidul Comunist Român (PCR: Romanian Communist Party), to become the dominant actor in post-Communist Romanian politics. The subsequent slow, uneven development of democracy and the spread of corruption since 1989 is popularly attributed to the undemocratic tendencies of the FSN, which in turn is put down to its Communist heritage. The perception of many Romanians is that the revolution was ‘stolen’ from them by elements of the old regime. There is thus a strong desire to establish the ‘truth’ about the events of 1989, not only to explain the revolution but also to explain subsequent political development in Romania. The task of establishing what happened and why is made difficult by both the confusion of the revolution itself and by the ensuing revisionist interpretations of events given by many key actors seeking to aggrandise and alternatively minimise their own individual role in the revolution (or that of others) for political and personal reasons. The task of the historian or political scientist seeking to unravel 1989 presupposes a number of problems: firstly, to clearly establish the events of 1989 and secondly, to analyse those events. As Peter Siani-Davies notes in his introduction to The Romanian Revolution of December 1989, the desired pure ‘truth’ is an unobtainable goal, but alternatively an acceptance of the



multiple and conflicting narratives subsequently established by many actors involved is to cast the events of 1989 into a sea of post-modern relativism, which would not advance our understanding. Against this backdrop Siani-Davies sets himself three objectives: 1) to establish certain factual elements of the revolution, 2) to show how they became confused and how they related to the many myths and conspiracy theories of the revolution, 3) to place the events of December 1989 within the wider study of the nature of revolutions. To explore the Romanian Revolution, Siani-Davies breaks his analysis into six phases. The first examines the breakdown of the regime of Nicolae Ceaus‚escu and the (non-)mobilization of the Romanian population during the 1980s. In this context, he notes that, although there was economic and social deprivation, this was not enough to cause a revolution to bring down the regime. Although Ceaus‚escu looms large in this section of the book, the narrative concentrates instead on the relationship between Ceaus‚escu and the institutions of the PCR and the security forces of both the army and secret police (Securitate). This is particularly significant as it explains who and from where within the PCR the anti-Ceaus‚escu elements emerged that were to form the core of the FSN. To this end, Siani-Davies identifies two groups with whom relations with Ceaus‚escu had broken down. The first were traditionalist authoritarian communists, including Ion Iliescu and Silviu Brucan, who objected to Ceaus‚escu’s betrayal of socialism. The second were members of the young, technocratic, educated elite, often secondgeneration Communists including Petre Roman and Adrian Na˘stase. The second section provides a narrative account of events between 15 December and the flight of Ceaus‚escu on 22 December, concentrating on events in Timis‚oara and Bucharest. In exploring the responses of the authorities to growing unrest in Timis‚oara the leitmotifs of the revolution emerge: confusion and paralysis by local and national actors. The situation was compounded by Ceaus‚escu’s growing divorce from reality. His predecessor Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej had been able to reject de-Stalinisation in 1954 by presenting it as a vehicle for Soviet imperialism. Similarly Ceaus‚escu believed that the reformists in the region supported by Gorbachev were just another vehicle for Soviet hegemony. Furthermore, he believed that just as the Romanian people had rallied around him in 1968, when he had refused to take part in the crushing of the Prague Spring, they would respond, the same way again to this latest Soviet threat to Romanian national independence. The third and fourth sections of the book explore the period from 22 December, when Ceaus‚escu fled Bucharest, to his execution on 25 December, focussing on two issues. Firstly, the author analyzes the way in which the FSN seized and then consolidated power. Secondly, he examines the violence that erupted in Romania during this period, which constitutes the most controversial subject in Romanian historiography, with many alleging that the violence was orchestrated by the FSN and the Security forces as a way of gaining and consolidating their hold on power. The author deftly deals with the internecine violence that broke out and the issue of the ‘terrorists’ firing upon protestors. Siani-Davies separates fact from fiction and demonstrates that although many of the stories do have a grain of truth to them, in a rumourbased community such as Ceaus‚escu’s Romania, and in the confusion and paranoia of the revolution, such stories quickly gained credence, and exacerbated an already tense situation causing further violence, confusion, and paranoia. Thus the situation in both the towns and the countryside spread quickly out of control. Moreover, the repetition of a number of myths post-facto by Brucan and others within the FSN, and by opponents of the FSN, served to both legitimate the stories and to further muddy the waters. The fifth section explores the politics and ideology of the FSN, and how they initially saw post-Ceaus‚escu politics. Here, Siani-Davies draws upon the short-lived project of ‘consensus’ advanced by the FSN. It becomes clear that the FSN envisaged itself retaining the monopoly of power, but as an umbrella organisation under which differing factions and parties would compete. Thus one-party rule would be maintained. This shows that unlike the democratic movements elsewhere in Eastern Europe, the leading movements of the Romanian revolution were closer ideologically to the reform socialism of the 1950s and 1960s. Furthermore, the


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articulation of a discourse of ‘competence’ and ‘dialogue’, as identified by Siani-Davies, demonstrate an attempt by the FSN to recruit the Romanian technocratic and intellectual elite by raising their social status. Ultimately this did not materialise because of the re-emergence of the re-activated pre-1947 parties including the Peasant and National Liberal parties, which forced the FSN to abandon its strategy and to accept multi-party democracy. However, it is clear from subsequent decisions taken by the FSN leadership, that they neither accepted nor embraced democracy, something which has in the long term hampered Romania’s development. Lastly Siani-Davis returns to the themes he raised in the introduction, exploring whether the events of 1989 can be considered a revolution, coup d’état, or a popular uprising, and how narratives about 1989 shaped both events and perceptions of its outcome. The author concludes that, ultimately, what occurred was a revolution because it produced a clear shift in power to a younger generation as well as profound social, economic, political changes, and the broad acceptance of west European models. However, at a symbolic level whether or not the events were a revolution remains debatable. It is in the last section that the book is weakest. While concentrating on the revolution itself and the immediate aftermath, the author neglects to fully explore the long-term impact upon Romanian political life after the revolution and specifically how the ‘unresolved’ nature of the revolution has to a large part stunted the subsequent development of Romanian politics and society. The book is a vital contribution to the study of Romania, of the events of 1989 in Eastern Europe, and of revolutions in general. The study of Romania and the revolution has been scandalously neglected by political scientists and historians in English and Romanian. Given the confusion, murkiness, and subsequent obfuscation surrounding the events of 1989, Siani-Davies’s achievement lies not only in his interpretation of 1989 but also in clearly establishing a coherent narrative of events, demonstrating what happened, as well as examining how confusion arose both during the revolution and subsequently. School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London

Daniel Brett

Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam. By GILLES KEPEL. London: Tauris, 2006. 454 pp. ISBN 1845112571 First published as Jihad: Expansion et Decline de l’Islamisme, Gilles Kepel’s book traces the course of political Islam through the last century. Unlike many, however, he sees in the terrorism of the 1990s and 2000s the failure, not the triumph of Islamism. He lays that failure at the feet of the Islamic radicals themselves. Their inability to mobilize mass movements doomed their attempts to challenge authoritarian regimes. This failure produced a frustration that found its outlet in chaotic acts of spectacular violence. In Iran, where Islamists achieved some success, the revolution failed to live up to its promise. Instead it consumed its children in a murderous eight-year war with another Muslim country. Gilles Kepel is a Professor at the Institute for Political Studies in Paris and a leading expert on the Middle East. His book offers a fresh, non-Anglo Saxon view of political Islam in terms of ideological and social movements from 1950s Egypt to 2000s Europe. Kepel argues that the turning point in radical Islam’s fortunes became evident in the 1990s. He puts Bosnia at the centre of a three-way struggle for Islam. Iran and Saudi Arabia, the two ideological poles of the Muslim world, compete in a low intensity contest via nongovernmental organizations and aid networks. Jihadists from Peshawar chose set about purging local Islam with beheadings and intimidation (p. 251). During the war up to 4,000 arrived from the training camps in Northern Pakistan, but left in 1995 surrounded by failure (p. 250). Incidentally, Peshawar emerges as possibly the most important centre in globalized militant Islam; the other contender is London. The camps here formed the launching point of the 1980s



anti-Soviet campaign. As they developed they became the conduit through which a generation of young men rejected by their societies, usually in the Middle East, absorbed a fierce and fundamentalist ideology. For these rootless warriors Bosnia offered the prospect of an Islamic state in godless Europe, hence the significance of their failure. Saudi Arabia and Iran, meanwhile, sought to proselytize their cause (dawa) by attaching religious obligations to aid distribution (p. 249). The thrust of Kepel’s argument centres on this moment. By clumsily associating aid with dawa Saudi Arabia and Iran ultimately discredited their involvement. Simultaneously, Bosnians reject the jihadist campaign, which in 1992 appeared to have international momentum. ‘By 1995, the high season of Jihad was drawing to a close […]’ writes Kepel. ‘Its discomfiture in Bosnia was only a prelude to its fiascos in Algeria and Egypt a couple of years later’ (p. 253). The country’s Islamic party, the SDA, and its leader Alija Izetbegovic both had their intellectual roots in the same soil as the Islamists from Peshawar. In Bosnia, however, political Islam adapted to the constraints of civil society. In Peshawar, the jihadists’ isolation from normal society produced a brutality and inability to compromise that doomed their efforts to failure. In Kepel’s view, Bosnia was the first concerted attempt at exporting this ideology into the global Umma. It failed, but it nevertheless aided bin Laden and his ilk by forming a further grievance to be held against the West. As we know, that mix of isolation, fanaticism, and military experience produced a trail of destruction across the world, most notably in America in 2001. Kepel’s book offers an excellent guide to the sweep of history that gave rise to this phenomenon. He takes Islamism from its roots in the thinking of Ayatollah Khomeini, Mawlana Mawdudi, and Sayyid Qutb through to its manifestation today in the actions of young Muslims in London, Palestine, the Caucasus, and the East. Bosnia forms a relatively small part of the total volume of the book, whose scope is much broader. Significantly, despite, or perhaps because of, jihadist efforts, an indigenous Muslim society ended up firmly established within the European sphere. One is tempted to see lessons in this experience, although Kepel does not offer them. He turns instead to expressions of doubt among leading Islamist intellectuals at the turn of the century as evidence of the crisis within Islamism. In the aftermath of 11 September 2001 he holds to this thesis, cautioning only of the difficulties facing the West in combating such a nebulous foe. These are sound judgements, although in the light of continuing violence, sustaining such optimism will take some doing. School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London

Christopher Salmon

Homo niewiadomo. Polska proza wobec odmiennos´ci [Homo niewiadomo. Polish Prose and Queer Identity]. By BŁAZ˙ EJ WARKOCKI. Warsaw: Sic!, 2007. 198pp. Paperback. 34,90 zł. ISBN 978-83-60457-34-4. Błaz˙ ej Warkocki’s doctoral thesis, published last year by Sic!, is not a standard scholarly publication. It has a provocative title and is a seemingly accessible book. Moreover, it lacks the external markers of academe, such as an index or alphabetical bibliography, and may easily attract a popular readership. Nevertheless, it would be an exaggeration to describe it as a mass publication for two reasons. Firstly, it is an academic account of literature, and literary publications are rarely favoured in the market-place. Secondly, it is an examination of homosexual identity in post-1989 Polish prose which, given the heteronormative paradigm of Polish culture, will probably end up unacknowledged by the general public, particularly as the author invariably challenges Polish stereotypes. Warkocki begins his polemics by including Polish homophobia in the very title, which brings apparent associations with discriminatory descriptions of homosexuality. Although to a certain extent euphemistic, homo niewiadomo is in fact an abusive term that is usually used to describe


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a homosexual man (p. 10). As the author points out in the introduction, entitled Sta˛d. Zamiast Wste˛pu [From Here: Instead of the Introduction], his use of the term homo niewiadomo subverts the stereotypical notion of a gay person and serves as an affirmative expression of anger. The phrase also sums up the book’s aim: to examine the problem of queerness, broadly understood as odmieniec, identity formation. In this way Warkocki steers away from an obvious categorisation of his work as a study of Polish homosexual literature. He goes one step further and positions it within the general discourse of otherness (p. 13). The first chapter introduces the methodology to be used in the study. The author discusses selected works by Judith Butler, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Slavoj Žižek, and others which contextualise his later debate on homosexual emancipation in post-1989 Polish literature within queer and gender studies. Chapter two investigates the hidden and suppressed images of homosexual desire in the oeuvre of Grzegorz Musiał (b. 1952). Its last part, namely the discussion of Musiał’s book of poetry Kraj wzbronionej miłos´ ci [The Country of Forbidden Love] (2001), is worth special attention. Warkocki argues that the volume replicates the modernist attitude to language and its tendency to illustrate homosexuality through the notions of beauty and art. He demands revision of the modernism-inspired figures of homoerotic desire and describes Musiał’s poetic style as a ‘prison of beautiful, yet unsurprising supplementations’ (p. 88). In chapter three, Warkocki looks at the ‘male’ prose of Andrzej Stasiuk (b. 1960), focusing chiefly on two novels: Mury Hebronu [The Walls of Hebron] (1992) and Biały kruk [The White Raven] (1995). In the analysis of the representation of a ‘prison pansy’ in Mury Hebronu, the author argues that Stasiuk’s masculinity wears a mask of homophobia (p. 116), while the homosexual yearning in Biały kruk is hidden behind the male homosocial desire (p. 124). Although he is at times balancing on the verge of over-interpretation, Warkocki provides a consistent argument for the ambivalence within male-male relationships in Stasiuk’s prose. Chapter four investigates the representations of queerness in Izabela Filipiak’s work. The analytical sections on literature are preceded by an extended discussion of Filipiak’s public coming-out, her scholarly work on gender, and finally the reception of her writing. Although those sections provide a necessary context for the further examination of Filipiak’s prose and drama, they comprise half of the overall chapter content. This makes the remaining half, based on Warkocki’s original research, merely an addition. Even though the concluding chapter loosely relates to the literary works discussed in the book, it provides an interesting account of the position of homosexuality in Polish literature, which the author compares to Poe’s ‘purloined letter’, hidden right in the centre of the cultural canon. Despite its flaws, such as the imbalance between the theoretical and analytical parts of the book, or the use of methodology, not always accurate, (e.g. the analysis of Stasiuk’s Zula Egipt [Zula Egypt] would probably benefit from a post-colonial reading), the study is an important contribution to scholarship on gender and queerness in post-1989 Polish literature and a must-read for all scholars working in the field of Polish studies. University of Manchester

Ewa Stan´czyk

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Slovo vol. 20.2