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A Journal for Eastern European and Eurasian Studies | 2013

Culture & Politics • Literary Criticism • Creative Writing • Translations • Photography


The Birch

A Letter from the Editor We RT’d Pussy Riot and watched dashcam footage of a meteorite lighting up the Russian sky. Dissenting blogger Alexander Nevalny kept us up to date with  the latest trespasses of the Russian government with his anti-corruption blog, and now we hit refresh again to learn about the charges recently pressed against him. Carried by the internet, voices and images from Eastern Europe have never seemed closer. Yet, still divided by culture and language, this new information requires expert analysis now more than ever.             Among the many excellent essays about Eastern Europe, this issue of The Birch brings several pieces focused on communication and social change—now and in the past, politically and aesthetically: Zuzana Giertlova and I examine the roots and shoots of feminism in Eastern Europe, while Elizabeth Taylor investigates the role of gender in stories of collectivization on either side of the Russian revoltuion. Annabel Bacon and Jack Klempay look at the revolutionary aesthetics of the early 20th century. I am especially excited to present Misha Semenov’s excellent poetry translations, including one of Dmitry Kuzmin, the emerging Russian poet and LBTQ advocate, who was kind enough to visit us at Columbia this past fall. After a year of hard work and thrilling events, I am pleased to present this year’s edition of The Birch. I hope you enjoy the impressive scholarly pieces that lie within.

Sincerly,

Matthew Schantz Editor-in-Chief

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Contents This Year in Eastern Europe TRANSLATING PUSSY RIOT — Matthew Schantz UNFORSEEN MANEUVERS — Abigail Marshall A SECOND CHANCE AT AFRICA — Jordan Valentine

4 7 9

Culture And Politics WALKING UNDER A PARANJI — Zuzana Giertlova IMPLICATING THE AUDIENCE — Anabel Bacon HOW THE ORTHODOX CHURCH SHAPED DEFINITIONS OF RUSSIANNESS — Jorja Knauer OVERTHROW OF milošević — Alexandra Lisonek

11 15 19 25

Literary Criticism INEVITABLE CHAOS: THE ABSENCE OF ORDER IN “WAR AND PEACE” — Hannah White NOT YOUR MOTHER’S DARLING — Elizabeth Taylor A LYRICAL APPROACH TO A NATIONAL CRISIS — Annabel We MAD MUSINGS: INSANITY, ALIENATION, AND SOCIAL CRITIQUE— Eva Derzic STANISLAVSKY, MEYERHOLD, AND THE DUALITY OF RUSSIAN THEATER — Jack Klempay

28 33 42 46 50

Photography Samuel Hanuščin , Matthew Schantz, Anastasia Vartsaba,Anna Sharova, Matej Lukac Creative Writing POST OFFICE — Christopher Brennan MASHA — Esther Araya

60 62

Translations “A FOREST WALZ” BY BULAT OKUDZHAVA — Olga Korobova “THE FISH MARKET” BY NIKOLAY ZABOLOTSKY— Misha Semenov “LIVES OF THE UN-ANIMALS” BY LINOR GORALIK— Misha Semenov ­— 2­ —

67 69 71


The Birch Special Thanks

Matthew Schantz , CC ‘13 Editor-in-Chief Zuzana Giertlova, BC ‘14 Managing Editor Aisling Hunt, BC ‘14 Layout Editor Jordan Valentine, CC ‘13 Culture and Politics Editor

We would like to express our enormous gratitude for the help and support of the Slavic Department and Harriman Institute, in particular to Lydia Hamilton for all her encouragement. We would also like to thank the Activities Board Council of Columbia and our advisor at the Office of Student Development and Activities at Columbia, David Milch, for his pa tience and support in helping us grow as a small but vibrant publication. Finally, we thank [Chad Miller] and CU Arts for their assistance, support, and confidence in our work.

Cody Nager, CC ‘16 Deputy Culture and Politics Editor Abigail Marshall, BC ‘14 Literary Criticism Editor Alla Khodykin, CC ‘14 Deputy Literary Criticism Editor

Sponsored [in part] by the Arts Initiative at Columbia University. This funding is made possible through a generous gift from The Gatsby Charitable Foundation.

Check Out Our Blog To read more from The Birch Staff!

Sasha Henriques, BC ‘15 Creative Writing Editor Ben Rashkovich, CC ‘15 Deputy Creative Writing Editor Sophia Skupien, CC ‘14 Jordan Lewis, CC ‘15 Copy Editors Esther Shin , BC ‘13 This Year In Eastern Europe Editor

Kathertine Floess, CC ‘15 Blog Editor Daniela Lapidous , CC ‘16 Jack Klempay, CC ‘15 Georgia Lipkin, BC ‘15 Takeshi Atwater-Kaji, CC ‘13 Valued Staff

birchjournal.tumblr.com &

thebirchonline.org Cover Photo Credit: Anna Sharova,

Jessica Tyler, CC ‘13 Business Manager

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Washington and Lee University Special thanks to Ross Ufberg for the Polish proverbs throughout the journal


This Year in Eastern Europe

Translating Pussy Riot Matthew Schantz

Columbia College, Columbia University The image was surreal: A group of radical feminists rocked dayglo balaclavas only slightly less garish than their name, Pussy Riot. A month after Putin won reelection in the face of widespread protests, the 3-person punk group mounted the steps of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, busted out their guitars, and sang “Virgin Mary, Mother of God, put Putin away.” After only 40 seconds Pussy Riot was arrested. The Russian Orthodox Church denounced the band, and the West giggled as ornately dressed church officials struggled to pronounce Pussy Riot’s vulgar moniker. Following a much-publicized showtrial, Pussy Riot was found guilty of trumpedup charges of “hooliganism” and sentenced to two years at a prison colony. This was the perfect example of the state suppressing dissent; this was the tale of genuine artistic freedom being stifled by the philistine powersthat-be. When Pussy Riot’s story exploded in the Western media this past August, it seemed too good to be true, and, given the way their narrative was distorted by the Western imagination, it wasn’t. In their enthusiasm, the Western media did a disservice to both Pussy Riot’s own radical philosophy and the Russian feminist movement on a whole. Members of Pussy Riot belong to a culture-jamming performance art collective

named Voina (Russian for “war”) whose feats include tossing handfuls of cats onto the counter of a MacDonald’s and tracing a 65-meter-long penis onto one of Saint Petersburg’s bridges. In her closing statement, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, one of the three women of Pussy Riot, declared that the group sees themselves as heirs to the OBERIU poets, a group of avant-garde, absurdist writers who were oppressed during the late 1920s by the Soviet Government. They, like Pussy Riot, were not protesting the Russian government because they dreamed of an American styledemocracy. But when Madonna performs with Pussy Riot scrawled across her back and Amnesty International publicly adopts Pussy Riot’s cause, many project a mission statement of liberal human rights onto Pussy Riot. As Vadim Nikitin wrote in the New York Times, the human rights narrative surrounding the Pussy Riot coverage dulled their message: “The members of Pussy Riot are not liberals looking for self-expression. They are selfconfessed descendants of the surrealists and the Russian futurists, determined to radically, even violently, change society.” What Pussy Riot wants, according to Nikitin, is “freedom from patriarchy, capitalism, religion, conventional morality, inequality and the entire corporate state system. We should only

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The Birch support these brave women if we, too, are brave enough to go all the way.” Or, as Katya Samutsevich, a member of Pussy Riot, said in an interview with Rolling Stone, “Any person can put on a balaclava, it’s all very good, but it’s important that the ideas are not warped.” Why, if their message was so extreme, did Pussy Riot become as popular as it did in the West, and how did the roots of their popularity lead to the distortion of their message? I spoke to a journalist who covered the Pussy Riot story this past summer for a popular news blog, and she offered some insight into why the band made the impact that it did:

 

I think there’s also a lot of nostalgia here in the States for a time when riot grrrls were in vogue—and for a time when being part of a feminist movement was more accessible. I mean, I didn’t live through third-wave feminism as a teenager or an adult, but I found myself gravitating to those sounds and ideas anyway. You also have to keep in mind that women’s rights have been under serious attack over the past few years with the rise of arch-conservatism, and I think that there was a lot of righteous anger over state legislatures that kept trying to reverse Roe v. Wade. I think that was another reason why Pussy Riot became so popular here—they were accessing a righteous anger and punk attitude that had been suppressed or sullied in the United States (you know, with the whole stereotype of an annoying radical feminist), when that’s probably what many wish they could express in response to all this political nonsense.

This statement partially illustrates Nikitin’s point—if voicing support for Pussy Riot is an innocuous way to defend against attacks on Roe v. Wade, then Pussy Riot’s platform is surely being conflated with the ideals of a liberal democracy in a way that is lazy philosophically and practically. Pledging solidarity with Pussy Riot is a safe, harmless way to participate in a movement that is more difficult to take part in at home because punk is now “suppressed or sullied.” It is to exercise freedom of speech vicariously because blaring one’s own punkrock protest might attract derision or require taking direct rather than symbolic actions. But this passage also highlights something deeper—a conflation of the Western and Russian feminist movements.   “Feminist” is still a dirty word for many women in Russia. The young and educated in Petersburg and Moscow rarely identify themselves as feminists, even if they support what the West would identify as feminist values. Though it is difficult to find a comprehensive study on the topic—anecdotal evidence asserts that Russian women feel they already have the rights of men and consider feminists to be “annoying radical[s]” dissatisfied in their love life. Such a caricature is crude and offensive, but it goes to show that while it is safe to applaud riot grrrls in the United States, it is much more complicated to do so in Russia.   Members of Pussy Riot themselves are well aware of incongruities between the beliefs of their American supporters and their own political stance. In her article, “Reading the Pussy Riot Act,” Sara Marcus writes, “Most of the group’s songs include some mention of feminism, but this isn’t feminism as Americans have learned to see it, as a focus on ‘women’s issues’; rather, what shows up here is a focus on the repressive ideas about sexism, sex, and

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This Year in Eastern Europe revolutionary proportions.” Just as the human rights narrative dulled Pussy Riot’s edge, so did that of Western feminism.   This is not to say that Western attempts to converse with Pussy Riot were completely lost in translation. Without first reading a flattened narrative, those who followed the Pussy Riot case could not have seen the incongruities between Russian and Western politics that were made visible in the many reactions to Pussy Riot. The number of essays responding to the peculiar popularity of Pussy Riot in the West nearly equaled those about their arrest and trial. Additionally, the intense Western media attention on Pussy Riot increased the focus on the group in Russia. In this sense, though their message

was garbled on both sides of the Atlantic, Pussy Riot was a great success—they spurred conversations about activism and feminism in the United States and Russia.   Ultimately, the correspondent with whom I spoke put it best: “I think you’ll find that a lot of the problems you have with coverage of Pussy Riot by the Western media are also problems with, you know, Western media in general. […] There’s a lot of oversimplification in service of basic understanding, internet ‘outrage!’ you could write a book about the reception of Pussy Riot in Russia, reception of Pussy Riot in the United States, and the common clashes between Russian anti-Putinists and pro-Pussy Rioters. I had a few thousand words.”

Anna Sharova, Washington and Lee University

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The Birch

Unforeseen Maneuvers The Sudden Resurrection of former world Chess Champion Boris Spassky

Abigail Marshall

Barnard College, Columbia University Although he has not played serious chess in over twenty-five years Boris Spassky still finds ways to make surprising moves. Last year on August 16th, Spassky went missing from his house in Paris where he had been living for nearly two years after suffering a stroke. But long before disappearing into the Parisian night, Spassky had vanished from the world of chess. For those that don’t know, Spassky is best known for losing the world chess championship title to his American opponent Bobby Fischer in a 1972 match that received worldwide attention. Played at the height of the Cold War, the match provided a lighthearted microcosm of the international conflict unfolding between the two superpowers whom the Fisher and Spassky represented. The media firestorm around the match helped popularize chess in the United States, and Spassky’s defeat showed that the Soviet Union, world-champions in chess until this point, could be defeated. However, by the mid-nineties, few people mentioned Fischer, who had long retired from playing chess and now garnered notoriety for broadcasting delusional rants from his home in Iceland, and fewer still talked about Spassky. While other world chess champions are frequently quoted, and their ideas continue to advance the study of chess, Spassky’s contributions

to chess knowledge have been nearly erased. Two days after disappearing, Spassky had a brief conversation with Frederic Friedel, editor of the worldwide chess news site Chessbase and a close personal friend. Spassky explained that for the past two years after his stroke his wife Marina Shcherbacheva put him under house arrest, where he had no phone or internet access. He passed the time writing his chess autobiography, My Chess Path (Мой шахматный путь), until August 17th, when friends smuggled him out of the house and took him half way across the globe to a hospital in Moscow. He planned to stay in Russia for good. This was a homecoming for Spassky, who was born in Leningrad in 1937 and, at age nineteen, held his own in the Candidates Tournament against famous grandmasters such as Vassily Smyslov, Paul Keres, and David Bronstein. In 1956, the heyday of Soviet chess domination, Spassky rose to fame. Spassky beat Tigran Petrosian in 1969 to become the tenth chess world champion. After his defeat to Fischer in 1972, Spassky continued to play chess, but the new Soviet prodigy, Anatoly Karpov, soon surpassed him. It seemed, for a moment, that Spassky had fled Europe to rekindle his historical roots, to spend time in the place that had produced him as a chess champion. Yet what first appeared like straight-

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This Year in Eastern Europe forward story of escape soon became less clear: Five days after Spassky’s conversation with Friedel, Spassky’s sister gave a conflicting account of Spassky’s journey to Moscow. According to her, these so-called “friends” had kidnapped Spassky with the help of a maid. Complicating Spassky’s report that he was in Moscow, Spassky’s sister had no idea where he was. Spassky’s son told reporters that his father was indeed in Mosocw, but was unaware how he had arrived there. Two months later, Spassky surfaced and gave a short interview on Russian TV. There, he decried the words of his sister, claiming he travelled to Moscow voluntarily. The interview ended with Spassky comparing the trajectory of his life to that of Bobby Fischer’s years after winning the world title. Spassky talked about the inner struggles he believes the two of them faced. During the interview, Spassky appeared sickly and not quite himself, only raising further questions. It was not until the following year, January 26, 2013, that the story of Spassky’s mysterious flight gained some resolution. It was the 75th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Semyonovich

Vysotsky, an enormously influential Russian singer and songwriter who had written a song for the 1972 match. In honor of the 75th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Semyonovich Vysotsky, an enormously influential Russian singer and songwriter who had written a song for the 1972 match the Russian Tonight Show (Сегодня Вечером) invited Spassky to appear. On screen, he seemed lively and content, reaffirming his love for Russia and his respect for Bobby Fischer. Though his return to Moscow was never addressed on air, Spassky’s good health laid to rest the earlier rumors that his move had been forced. With no new articles popping up on Chessbase, for now, this bizarre tale has a happy ending. This is good news for Spassky’s close friends and family. It is also good news for chess players, who can look forward to the publication of Spassky’s book, which will provide more insight on the match that changed chess throughout the world. More importantly, Spassky’s book will, like his last televised appearance, allow him to give his own story, which has been so long forgotten or told by others.

Anna Sharova, Washington and Lee University

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The Birch

A Second Chance at Africa Jordan Valentine

Columbia College, Columbia University Thirty years ago, 70% of all tanks, 40% of combat planes, and 35% of helicopters on the African continent were exports of the Soviet Union. Twenty-five years ago, on the eve of its collapse, the Soviet Union provided economic assistance to 37 African states and held formal trade agreements with 42. Today, having abandoned foreign aid programs in its troubled nascent years, the Russia Federation generates less than 1% of GDP from trade with all of Africa. While the U.S., China, and Europe have made large strides to explore and develop Africa’s resources, the Russian government has moved slowly on this front, and often in the opposite direction. Russia now stands alone as the only world power without a serious state-led initiative to bolster its relations with African countries. South Africa’s 2010 accession to the BRIC (now BRICS) group, however, has served to reopen conversation on what appeared to be a long forgotten issue. The association of emerging economies, which also comprises Brazil, Russia, India, and China, has convened annually since 2009 with the aim of crafting an economic agenda representative of the concerns of developing countries. In 2012, waves made by the group’s recent expansion saw policy makers in various African countries and Russia reevaluating their nations’ frosty relations.

Although the level of cooperative dialogue falls far short of that of the Soviet era, there has been a substantive boom in official interaction. In the past year, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda visited Moscow1, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov toured subSaharan Africa,2 and the first Russia-Africa business forum convened in Ethiopia3. This burst of activity stands in sharp contrast to the very recent past; over the course of his first eight years in the Kremlin, President Vladimir Putin appeared in Africa a mere two times4. In reviving old ties, new arms deals may serve as an entry point to broader cooperation. Across the continent, nations are once again looking to modernize their arsenals. Here it is easy to envision a creditdebt exchange similar to that which built the current African stockpiles-- however, the terms are likely to differ this time around. Russia is poised to reenter this market not only as the world’s second largest arms dealer, but also as a nation speeding towards a large natural resource deficiency.5 Seeing this need, some states have proposed alternative payment methods – for example, authorizing Russian firms to administer the development of plentiful African mineral wealth.6 Meetings between officials have identified energy as another critical area of overlapping needs. New global oil forecasts

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This Year in Eastern Europe predict that drilling patterns will soon shift to give Africa up to a one-quarter share of the world’s total production7. As many host countries lack the technical ability to realize this figure, already embedded Russian firms like Gazprom and Alrosa can expect to be called upon for their continued expertise.8 If the cooperative activity on energy issues of 2012 portends more of the same, there exists an even greater economic incentive to join hands over the advancement of nuclear power. Again, where Russia has a need, Africa has an untapped resource. While Russia has made a name for itself as an international provider of nuclear fuel, its profits are cut severely by the expenses inherent to enriching its own low-quality uranium.9 Namibia, Niger, and South Africa offer a solution: alone, these three states command over 15% of the world’s uranium reserves. Already Russia has expressed interest in aiding the burgeoning South African nuclear power industry. On the table thus far are a potential $50 billion in

construction projects, for which China is the only viably skilled competitor.10 Moving forward in this direction, Russia will meet a myriad of similar economic opportunities, but to establish more permanent relationships it will be necessary for the state to also explore political and cultural avenues to combat a widely perceived business-first mentality in cross-national interaction. Because African nations, as a voting bloc, have traditionally supported Russia in international institutions, it is likely that some will grow weary of a diplomatic effort primarily led by private interests. From this point on, the direction of Russian-African relations will be largely decided in Moscow. South Africa’s entrance into the BRICS group prompted a flood of calls on Russia from African politicians, businessmen, and even human rights groups. However, a superior economy and dominant military, afford Russia ultimate discretion on which, if any, it will answer.

Anna Sharova, Washington and Lee University

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The Birch

Walking under a Paranji: The Jadid Approach to Women Zuzana Giertlova

Barnard College, Columbia University

Before Russian feminism reached the peripheries of the empire in the early 1920s, the Jadid, or the “new” Muslim movement, aimed to overturn the time-encrusted traditions in the Central Asian republics, here defined as the current Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. While the Jadid reform movement closely resembled many of its corresponding, modernist, Islamic movements, the Jadidist reform is notable for its inclusion of women’s rights as a prominent part of its agenda. Many of the Jadids, the Muslim “intelligentsia” in Central Asia, saw the emancipation of women as a means to create a better educated and more modern society. Just what a women’s emancipation meant, however, varied greatly for those involved: some pointed to the startling growth in the West; others professed a need for more educated mothers; still others were concerned with the lack of equity in suffrage. Just as the Jadids could not settle on a fixed definition of women’s liberation, nor could they decide on one means of achieving their goals—approaches ranged from basic education for women to the right to vote. Taking into consideration the Jadid Ismal Bey Gasprinskii’s educational reforms,which

included the until-then neglected issue of women’s education, this paper will examine the philosophical reasoning behind the Jadidist support for women’s rights. Jadidist feminist arguments center on three broad topics: education, the suffering of women, and the relative ignorance of political figures on the plight of women. These themes will be examined in their cultural context, and attention will be focused on how the Jadid philosophy emphasized a more unified, religious view of modernist Islam with respect to women and was thus particularly fitting as the philosophy driving the reform of women’s rights in Central Asia. The feminist component of the Jadid ideology was fully developed at the beginning of the 20th century, when the three journals aimed at women, Alem-i-Nisvan in Crimea, Ishigh in Baku, and Suyumbike in Kazan, opened themselves as fora to express and develop Jadid philosophy on women’s issues. Of these three, Alem-i-Nisvan, edited by Shafika hanim, the daughter of Ismail Bey Gasprinskii, was the most prominent and long-lasting, while Ishigh and Suyumbilke best represented the liberal and the more conservative views, respectively. As the

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Culture & Politcs Muslim sholars, Abida Samiuddin and Rashida Khanam have argued, in the Jadidist feminist articles there are three main themes: 1. The importance of education for women. 2. The plight of Muslim women in Russia and elsewhere, as well as news about women in non-Muslim countries. 3. The need to educate Muslim men in general and those in politics in particular about the urgency of the tasks aimed at the emancipation of women. (Samiuddin and Khanam 150)

The education of women stood at the core of these writers’ agenda, while lesser, but still significant attention was afforded to the plight of Muslim women, including polygamy, the right to divorce, underage marriage, venereal diseases, bride price, and prostitution. These latter issues were held up as education for “[men] in politics in particular.” As the first and foremost issue on the minds of the Jadids, the subject of women’s education reform often appeared on the pages of these magazines and, as a result, became the most fully developed Jadidist argument. Although some writers explored other women’s issues, they did so infrequently and inconsistently. The emphasis on some political action as a means to formal recognition of women’s rights was such an issue, which at first materialized as the call for the education of Muslim men involved in politics on women’s issues, but later manifested most prominently in the declaration by the First Congress of MuslimTurkic Women and the First Congress of Russia’s Muslims in 1917. The earliest Jadidist writing on women concentrated on education, positing that the lack of female education served as the

root of all female and even larger societal suffering. To remedy these ills, the Jadids prescribed educational reforms. Treading the line between the progressive ideas and the old values, Alimat-ul-Banat hanim, a female Jadidist writer, argued that women should be educated in order to become better mothers and “gender mates.”1 Her argument, as described by the feminist Muslim scholars, Samiuddin and Khanam, rationalized “women’s worth [within] the framework of traditional institutions such as motherhood, but link[ed] the future of the nation to the contributions that enlightened [, educated] mothers can make to raise the future generation” (Samiuddin and Khanam 147). In her book, The Foundations of Good Behavior, Alimat-ul-Banat hanim made a common argument: that women should be educated to become better mothers. She focused on the utilitarian function of women, thus promoting the education of women not as a good in and of itself but to as a means to “raise a future generation.” As such, her argument rests on the biological function of women as “mothers,” which relegates women to a very specific and in some ways, limited role. This conservative approach failed to deviate far from traditional views and ultimately relied on established values instead of proposing a real reform. Still, despite the conservative approach, Alimat-ul-Banat hanim’s work was significant in that it helped to establish an environment in which other arguments promoting legitimate education of women could develop. In this vein, the Jadid Abdurauf Fitratn did a great deal to place the subject of women’s education rights within the context of Central Asian religious thought. He famously noted that the Qur’an’s treatment of men and women differs in no more than “two or three

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The Birch commands.” His reasoning, like that of Alimatul-Banat hanim, is grounded in utilitarian understanding: He professes that “[w]omen who are knowledgeable and educated fulfill [household] tasks excellently, and make their husbands content. But husbands who marr[y] uneducated and ignorant wives are deprived of this blessing from God” (Kemp: Fitrat, Oila, 97). As he formulates a close connection to the material benefits resulting from higher female literacy, Fitrat’s argument resembled that of Alimat-ul-Bahat hanim in that his scope of identifiable benefits does not see benefits beyond the household. Fitrat, however, deviated from Alimat-ul-Bahat hanim by calling the benefits of women “blessings from God,” a move through which he linked what enlightened women can produce to Islamic religious language. This phrasing resonated with his male Muslim audience. Fitrat’s logic, whether intended to or not, more effectively influenced those at the helm of the patriarchal political power structure in Central Asia. Similarly alarmed by the state of women’s education, a Tajik woman Xa’Qandli Ashraf Ul-Banat Tajie wrote to Alem-i Nisvan to express her unhappiness with both the lack of female education and the overall suffering of women in Turkmenistan. Tajie centered her argument on a comparison of Turkmen Muslim women with Crimean and Volga Tatar women, and follows with the dire statement that “in [her] days scarcely one of a hundred [Turkmen] women [knew] how to read and write; and the other ninetynine [knew] no other skill than how to look at strangers while walking under a paranji” (Kemp 37). With this contrast, she condenses the relationship between education and women’s emancipation into one succinct example, setting a precedent for their joint discussion in popular discourse.

Tajie’s letter further explored this relationship between education and emancipation in her letter, going on to assert that: …in this world, there are no Muslim women so deprived of rights as we are... We have no free choice in anything. Many of us live without seeing our spouse for months, even half a year or a year, and some of us, whose husbands oppress us by not providing enough for food and drink, cannot survive unless we turn to prostitution, ruining this life and the next. We, evidently being so despicable, base, deprived of rights, and ignorant, are causing our children to continue as equally uneducated and deprived for everything. It seems that we want to make our boys and girls, the light of our eyes, our hearts and souls, as weak as ourselves. (Kemp 37) Tajie clearly blamed the plight of women in Turkmenistan on the patriarchal society, since it was “men” who “treat[ed women] with such oppression.” In this way, Tajie’s letter was a discussion of politics in gendered terms, since the patriarchal society took away women’s agency by controlling women’s basic human rights. Tajie singled out the lack of “free choice in anything,” to show that as a result of their state, Turkmen women had no control over their life, even the means to try to improve it. Yet, the fact that Tajie wrote this letter to Shafika hanim casts her as a woman outside of this powerless class — one striving for change in her society and one at the very least, in control over her own opinion. When she called women “despicable, base, deprived of rights and ignorant,” she herself contradicted this stereotype. Thus, her argument aimed to eliminate opposition in a

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Culture & Politcs different way than Fitrat: She represented the type of woman she wished to see in Central Asia, and her writing demonstrated to her audience that such a woman could exist. Furthermore, instead of propagating the argument that the education of women would better the society as a whole, Tajie advanced the emancipation of women for the sake of women. Her reasoning subjugated societal benefits of women’s education to that of their recipient. The desired resolution to the problem came in the form of various calls for political change that eventually resulted in a number of resolutions after the fall of the Russian Empire. As the support for women’s emancipation grew and proliferated in Central Asia, the women themselves began to organize. Using the lines of communication which had been established through Jadidist magazines, Halima hanim Akhundova urged women to organize. In her 1911 article, “The Rights of Muslim Women,” she writes, “It is time already, it is time to show your determination!!! Those times when we made no headway are gone! We need knowledge! We have to know that alone we cannot do anything; unity and common action have played an important role in everything” (Ishigh #3 1911: S. Mammadov). Akhundova’s rallying call went beyond outlining Jadid feminist philosophy or lamenting the state of Central Asian women; instead, she emphasized the need for “unity and common action” in order to affect change in the society. As such, her writing adhered to Samiuddin and Khanan’s final category, the call for political change through the education of political figures. To an extent, Akhundova’s writing foreshadowed the resolutions passed by the First Congress of Russia’s Muslims in May, 1917, which hastened the emancipation of

women in Central Asia2. The Women Action Plan created by the First Congress addressed most of the women’s issues that were present in Central Asia, including suffrage, polygamy, the right to divorce, underage marriage, venereal diseases, bride price, prostitution and equality “in all political and social rights.” This plan enacted the arguments of the Jadids politically. While the First Congress of Muslim-Turkic Women propagated a similar resolution, the First Congress of Russia’s Muslims carried more political clout due to the Congress’s membership, largely composed of Central Asian delegates, and the breadth of issues covered. Because many of the central Jadidist reforms were legitimized, the resolutions put forth by The Women Action Plan were monumental because they symbolized a Jadid achievement. Regardless of whether or not this Plan was put into practice, a meaningful reform of the treatment of women in Central Asia showed that the Jadid feminists carried enough political momentum to create real change. The Jadid philosophers in Central Asia developed feminist arguments applicable to the religion and culture of the region in order to improve their society and women’s position within it. Eventually, these philosophical arguments became more widespread, finding their way into magazine articles and poetry alike and usually addressing the education of women, the plight of women or the need for political action. The various arguments that the Jadids formulated materialized in resolutions put forth by the First Congress of Russia’s Muslims in 1917, which showed that their philosophical reasoning could successfully motivate change in society.

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The Birch

Implicating the Audience Shock and Awe in Ballets Russes’s Parade , 1917

Anabel Bacon

Columbia College, Columbia University

Parade. Ballet réaliste. The scene represents the houses of Paris on a Sunday. Street theatre. Three music hall numbers serve as the free show. Chinese magician. American girl. Acrobats.

which blurred the dichotomy between “low” and “high” art and questioned the status quo of traditional elite entertainment. This elevation of popular entertainment mirrored social changes occurring during the Russian Revolution. Just as revolutionaries demanded a change in the relationship between elites and the working classes, Parade forced wealthy ballet-goers to confront societal inequalities through an abrupt change in the content Three managers organize the publicity. of their entertainment. However, a closer In their illiterate manner, they explain examination of Parade shows it to be not to the crowd that it is confusing the free only a biting critique of high-brow culture show with the spectacle inside. Nobody is but also a love letter to the beauty of popular convinced. After the final number, supreme entertainment and, as Massine wrote, “an effort of the managers. The Chinaman, attempt to translate it into a totally new form.”2 the acrobats, and the girl come out of the The plot of Parade is a simple one. empty theatre. Aware of the failure of the Over the course of the short production, acts managers, they exert their own charms, from an imaginary variety show, introduced but it is too late.1 by a pair of “managers” desperate for business, present a preview of their performance to These words, from the original imaginary passersby on the street. Despite program of Parade, describe the premise of Jean their best efforts, however, the conclusion Cocteau’s 1917 project with Pablo Picasso, of the ballet sees their failure to attract Erik Satie, Léonide Massine, and Sergei spectators, and they are left to retreat back Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. The production into the theatre in artistic disgrace. Originally shocked (and enraged) its first audiences conceived in 1914, Parade was a production with its portrayal of street entertainment,

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Culture & Politcs design, and Massine’s first commission as a choreographer.”3 Cocteau, in his preparatory notes to Massine for the production, wrote “try to be vulgar,” and “long live sleaze!”4 As opposed to past risqué productions that had been termed succés de scandales, Cocteau’s Parade provoked genuine outrage amongst its premiere audience. This scandal stemmed from its attempts to parody famous street acts that would have been recognizable to audience members at its premiere in May 1917, including those that could be found in the music halls, cabarets, and vaudevilles of Parisian, low-brow culture. Some, like the Chinese conjurer and the Little American Girl, were modeled directly on contemporary celebrities and acts with which audience members would have been familiar. Others, like the Acrobats and the Managers, were caricatured archetypes of street entertainment figures. The unorthodox thematic material of Parade was reflected in the design of the production’s various artistic elements. Satie’s musical suite, while structurally similar to those of other traditional ballets, was unorthodox in its sound. From the use of complete silence in one variation to the inclusion of household instruments, such as “movie bells, steam engines, airplanes, dynamos, typewriters, telegraphs, sirens and revolvers” in another, Satie’s score was the soundtrack of innovation and modernism, intended to culminate in a cacophony of industrial noises.5 He also adapted (or, in some instances, directly plagiarized) popular tunes. Music from the Little American Girl’s dance was almost identical to an Irving Berlin tune called “That Mysterious Rag”6 and allusions to both Debussy and Stravinsky could be heard in other episodes.7 The aesthetics of Picasso’s set

and costumes were similarly disjointed, modern, and industrial. Designed in his trademark cubist style, the set depicted a nondescript Parisian street corner, the focal point of which was a central doorway through which characters entered to perform. The asymmetrical doorframe and the disproportionate “buildings” painted on freestanding set pieces around the door created a disoriented, unrealistic landscape against which the dancers performed their similarly nontraditional variations. The Managers were less dancers than puppets, wearing bulky costumes constructed from cardboard that had been found in the theatre’s basement and standing well over ten feet high. Picasso completed over 40 sketches for these costumes, and in the end settled on a design for the American Manager that included images of American stereotypes such as Western movies and a skyscraper and a design for the French Manager that was foppish and dandyish, in some subtle ways a tongue-in-cheek parody of the founder of Ballets Russes, Diaghilev himself.8 Just as architectural as the managers’ costumes was the cheval jupon costume of the horse, a traditional style of costume derived from folk theatre and street fairs which required two dancers to manipulate - one, the front half of the costume, and the other, the back. In the costumes of both the Managers and the horse, the uncertain perspective and mask-like quality of many of Picasso’s more familiar paintings are evident, animated in three dimensions by the Ballets Russes. For the costume of the Little American Girl, Picasso followed a different route and simply bought a schoolgirl’s outfit off the rack in Paris, with the only part of her costume created specially for the production being her oversized hair bow (Rothschild, 59). Parade not only depicted a less elite form of art but also incorporated

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The Birch the props of the lower classes in the across the stage like crabs, stomping and production elements themselves. From the banging their canes in an aural component of cardboard used to create the Managers to the the choreography that blurred the distinction commercially produced costume of the Little between the production’s movement and American Girl, the popular could be found not its music. Through the bulky awkwardness only in the themes of the production but also of the Managers’ costumes and the abrasive in its materials. sounds of their stomps, the audience was This production’s similarity to catapulted from the romantic tradition of popular art, however, was most manifest in ballet and forced not only to confront their the choreography itself. The “unrefined” thwarted expectations of what dance “should” movements of the dancers stood in stark be but also to see their own reactions as part contrast to the extravagant, traditional venues of the production’s plot. Perhaps fittingly, in which the production would be staged. their outrage at the show was similar to the Managers’ failure to By blending elements of attract any viewers to classical ballet with the the fictional parade. influences of street art, The elevation cinema, and the circus, However, the dance of popular along with the collageof the Little American like quality of the sets, Girl enraged audiences entertainment costumes, and music, the most. Her character by a respected Massine’s choreography was based on familiar truly turned the film stars such as company like production of Parade into, Mary Pickford, and Ballets Russes as Guillaume Apollinaire her movements were overturned the borrowed and copied wrote in the program notes, “an alliance of from the gestural hierarchy of painting and dance, of pantomime found in elite taste and the plastic and the mimic, silent films. The variation that obviously signals required her to pretend exclusive art the arrival of a more to take photographs, 9 forms .... nearly complete art.” An peddle a bicycle, swim, especially clear example and crank up a Model 10 of this “complete art” came in the performance T. These pedestrian and contemporary of the Managers, in which Massine’s actions reframed as “ballet” shocked the choreography was severely restricted by audience and seemed blasphemous in light the structural and architectural design of of the more traditional productions Ballets Picasso’s ten-foot-high costumes. Massine Russes had in its repertoire, three of which was limited to choreographing from the waist (Les Sylphides, Petrouchka, and the modern, down, and even in that case was restricted to yet still conservative Le Soleil de Nuit) had small movements that symbolically parodied been performed that same evening before the the fussiness and greed of artistic business grand finale of Parade.11 management. The two managers scuttled The combination of the ballet’s

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Culture & Politcs audience’s shock was the reaction of an elite in decline. The elevation of popular entertainment by a respected company like Ballets Russes overturned the hierarchy of elite taste and exclusive art forms that had defined the traditional perception of “culture” for years. In a world upset by World War I, from a company whose home country was in the nascent stages of a revolution that aimed to upset the established order and empower the working masses, it is no wonder that Parade’s “audience booed and attempted to attack the ballet’s collaborators with everything from hat-pins to cries of ‘salle boche’, ‘embusqués’, and ‘météques’-- references to the war and the so-called unpatriotic, Teutonic/Bolshevik nature of the production.”14 Parade was more than a threat to traditional art forms and the preeminence of a particular brand of ballet, set design, and music; it was also a direct challenge to elite lifestyles and a symbolic elevation and endorsement of popular entertainment and values. A second discomfort-inducing feature of the production was its implication of the audience in the performance. The various acts of the parade were, quite literally, performing for the audience in a kind of advertisement. The presentational nature of the performers’ acts invites the audience’s participation, but that audience is simultaneously implicated in

Parade’s failure to attract a crowd. Indeed, in Cocteau’s original scenario, the director had included a set of painted, shadowy, pointillist “audience members” that would have borne some of the responsibility for the failure of the show-within-a- show.15 Picasso’s deliberate decision to transform these shadowy spectators into bushes in the final execution of the set shows that he intended for this role to instead be filled by audience members themselves. By breaking the fourth wall of the proscenium and thus forcing the audience to actually play a role in the production itself, he not only violated theatrical and balletic convention but also pointed an accusatory finger at elites unwilling to recognize the plight of impoverished artists everywhere. An examination of Parade’s development from the minds of its creators to its final production on stage provides not only a snapshot of some of the greatest artistic talents of the early twentieth century, but also of the era’s broader social conservatism. The willingness of Parade’s creative team to push the boundaries of the conventional definition of “art” and to make a statement about the legitimacy of folk and street entertainment reflected the contemporary social atmosphere of the time, which strove through various revolutions and movements to empower the lower classes and debunk the myth of the elite.

A Slavic Proverb to Ponder You must in Russia. In Poland, as you wish. Musi to na Rusi, a w Polsce jak kto chce.

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The Birch

How the Orthodox Church Shaped Definitions of Russianness Jorja Knauer

Barnard College, Columbia University

To the Russian people, religion was a defining element of national identity. The Russian Empire, in its sprawl from the Baltic regions through Eastern Europe and across the Asian continent, encountered dozens of ethnic groups, each different in language, culture, and religion. Centuries of flexible and practical state policy meant that “numerous aspects of foreign social, economic, and administrative structures and independent non-Orthodox and non-Russian cultures survived within the framework of the Russian empire.”1 The growth of non-Russian national movements in the nineteenth century, however, led to the introduction of active programs for cultural russification. Further, a close link between specific groups and professed faith resulted in the conflation of religious and ethnic identity. By the late-nineteenth century, this confusion was most prominent in the case of the Poles, who, in both official and unofficial definitions, were considered inseparable from Catholics. By analyzing the role Orthodoxy played in defining the pre-modern Russian

state, it becomes apparent that the Catholic profession became a marker of disloyalty to the tsar, pushing the limits of the Russian state’s religious tolerance. A further analysis of the roles nationalist groups played in the Empire, especially the perceived threat of Polish nationalist groups, will show that as Russian nationalism developed in the nineteenth century, the conflation of religious identity with ethno-linguistic identity permanently prevented Russian acceptance of Catholic groups as “Russians,” even those which had been linguistically assimilated. Since Kievan Rus, Orthodox Christianity played a substantial role in the development of Russian ethnic consciousness, often as the factor which distinguished the Russians from their enemies. Antagonisms between Russians and the various Muslim, Catholic, and animist groups contributed to the shaping of Russian national identity throughout the Middle Ages.2 The threat from the non-Orthodox other intensified with the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople,

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Culture & Politcs

about five hundred years after Vladimir the hierarchy, a fact that demonstrates that Great’s conversion to Orthodoxy in the participation in the Russian Orthodox faith Primary Chronicle. In The Russian Empire, was not a strictly Russian privilege.5 However, Andreas Kappeler explains that the Byzantine there remained a national distinction between Empire’s collapse tightened the link between Russian and non-Russian Orthodox clergy. the Russians and Orthodoxy. After the fall Orthodoxy was “central to the consciousness of Constantinople, Moscow was “the only of the dynasty and the nation,” but nonbulwark of the Orthodox church.”3 When Russian Orthodox groups were not considered Ivan IV pronounced himself the first Russian Russian on the merit of their religion. Even when East Slavic territories tsar at his coronation in were claimed by Russian 1547, he created a new image of Russia with the ..Russians tsars, the people populating these territories were not support of “legends that considered to be Russians.6 traced claims to legitimacy saw the Granted, as Bushkovitch back to Kiev, Byzantium and points out, this distinction even Rome.”4 Orthodoxy’s Greeks and may have arisen because symbolic importance is some Russians saw the apparent in the specific Ukrainians Greeks and Ukrainians to official and unofficial be “imperfectly Orthodox”; privileges enjoyed by and therefore, not of the Russian culture and religion to be same faith as the Russians. within the multiethnic empire. Russian was the ‘imperfectly However, this concern was neither widespread nor official language, and the influential enough to shape tsar and his family had to Orthodox....’ basic understandings of be Orthodox. However, the Russian national identity.7 practice of non-Christian faiths was permitted. And, notably, the Despite the significance of Orthodoxy in Orthodox Church was used to control newly the formation of Russian national identity, religion alone was not and could not be a strong conquered territories. Despite the Church’s symbolic enough factor to bring non-Russian Orthodox importance, Orthodoxy alone was less of a link groups into a shared sense of Russian national to a distinctly Russian national consciousness consciousness. The Russian empire’s rapid than it was a means to subvert other ethnic expansion brought a striking heterogeneity and cultural sources of differentiation. It is to the ethno-linguistic and religious makeup peculiar that, though non-Russian Orthodox of the empire, thus making assimilation by Christians were not considered “Russians,” any forceful means an impractically immense the Russian Orthodox Church allowed non- project. The spread of Orthodoxy rarely Russian ethnic groups to permeate its ranks. Non-Russians, including Greeks, Serbs, preempted imperial expansion. In “Patterns and Romanians from the Ottoman Empire, of the Russian Imperial Policy toward played an important role in Orthodox Church Nationalities,” Marc Raeff argues that

“.

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The Birch the spread of Orthodoxy came second to economic and security concerns as a reason to expand. “There was no attempt before conquest on the part of the Russian imperial government to spread Orthodoxy,” he insists, and there were only a few cases where attempts at conquest stemmed initially from intervention to protect the Russian clergy in a region.8 Even when Orthodox churches were built in newly acquired territories, this was due to diplomatic rather than spiritual concerns. The establishment of monasteries and convents in Kazan “provided bastions of Russian control, since all lands and people controlled by religious foundations enjoyed immunity from local, [and] nonRussian juridical authorities.”9 In such cases, the Church was used to impress on newly conquered peoples the superiority of the Russian state, not to spread the faith. And, as Geoffrey Hosking explains, “Any full assessment of the role of Orthodox Christianity in Russia’s imperial strategy must acknowledge the numerous measures by which the Russian state restricted its own proselytizing.”10 An analysis of state-control in missionary activity demonstrates that the state subordinated religious homogeneity to sociopolitical stability. The Russian state’s willingness to assimilate cooperative ethnic groups was increasingly challenged by the rise of nationalist groups, resulting in the adoption of official policies of russification in the nineteenth century. Administrative russification included “creating a civil, legal, and military bureaucracy following unitary laws and regulation, and of course using the Russian language.”11 Thus, the emergence of non-Russian national resistance culminated in radically different attitudes about the sociopolitical stability of a religiously and

culturally diverse empire. National resistance, both potential and realized, proved a destabilizing factor in the eighteenth century.12 Russian authorities responded to insurrections with brutal force, and complaints about the abuses ethnic groups suffered at the hands of Russian administrators are enumerated in the 1767 Commission for a New Legal Code.13 Despite the loosening under Catherine II, the nineteenth century proved a troubling time for the estate structure. Following the national movements of various non-Russian ethnic groups in the nineteenth century, Nicholas I instated reactionary policies to culturally russify these growing nationalist groups. Orthodoxy thus “regained its status as a pillar of state policy” under the reigns of Nicholas I and Alexander III.14 Nicholas I reasserted Orthodoxy’s role as the defining mark of Russianness. Increasingly, religious identity was linked to ethnic identity for problematic nationalist groups. Though the Russian empire never used nationality as a legal category, “Every subject of the Romanov tsar had a religion, be it Russian Orthodoxy (pravoslavie), Roman Catholicism, 15 Buddhism, or Shamanism.” With this came a tendency to pair specific religions with specific national groups: Orthodoxy was equated with Russians, Ukrainians, and Belorussians; whereas Protestantism was linked to northern European groups such as the Germans, Finns, Swedes, and Latvians. Orthodox Christians were bound “more closely than the other ethnic groups to ruler, dynasty and empire, and pravoslavie was officially proclaimed one of Russia’s three basic principles.16 As Orthodoxy rose in importance to Russian national consciousness, Orthodox ethnic groups faced stronger pressure to russify than did the non-Orthodox groups. As Kappeler

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Culture & Politcs points out, the tsarist state established Russian schools for the Georgians and other Orthodox non-Slavs. “In the case of the Christianized Animists, however, native-language schools were encouraged in order to strengthen them in their own faith before any attempt at Russification.”17 The strongest perceived link was between Catholicism and the Poles. In the January uprising of 1863, Polish nobles, intellectuals, and sections of the urban and peasant populations rebelled against Alexander II’s reforms, and this conflict exacerbated perceptions of a “Polish threat” in the northwest provinces. Official records counted Poles throughout the Russian empire, including the Polish Kingdom, as the second largest national group after Russians. More disturbing to Russian officials than the size of the Polish population, however, was the economic and social dominance the Poles employed in the northwestern territories, or present-day Belarus and Lithuania.18 Even after the introduction of Russian troops into Polish areas in 1831, the Polish nobility remained socially dominant in both the Congress of Poland and in the northwestern provinces. The majority of Ukrainian, Belorussian, and Lithuanian peasants were Catholic serfs dependent on Polish nobles, which meant “the influence of Polish language and culture continued to predominate in the reign of Nicholas I.”19 To the tsarist state, the Poles, as a culturally and economically strong demographic, posed a danger to Russian control of the region. This destabilizing factor demanded a response from St. Petersburg and the policies employed attacked the strongest institution in the region: the Catholic Church. The Poles’ Catholic faith brought them under particular scrutiny due to historic understandings of the Pope as anathema to

the Tsar. From the late sixteenth century, the Uniates, Orthodox Christians who recognized the Catholic Pope, uncomfortably “smudged the distinction between Orthodoxy and Catholicism.”20 Though the practice of other faiths was permitted in the empire, the Catholic and Uniate churches were inherently at odds with the tsar’s demands of absolute loyalty, since in both religions loyalties should be to the Pope. Thus, these congregations were taken as threats to the sovereignty of the tsar. Under Nicholas I, pressure placed on the Uniates culminated in their mass conversion to Orthodoxy in 1839; thus, “already a generation before the 1863 insurrection,” Christians in the northwest provinces were sharply divided between the loyal Orthodox Christians and the suspicious Catholics.21 Meanwhile, in the 1860s, concerns about the “cultural strength of the Catholic church, which until quite late in the century was overwhelmingly dominated by Polish priests and bishops,” permeated official discussions of the problem region.22 Fear of the Polish threat, combined with a deep-seated and prevailing Russian mistrust of Catholicism, culminated in a series of measures to prevent the rise of Polish nationalist groups by attacking the Catholic Church. As Theodore Weeks describes: The uprising of 1863 was followed by a series of repressive measures against the Catholic clergy and the closing of many Catholic monasteries in the western provinces. Catholic clergy, from parish priests to bishops, were kept under government surveillance and were required to seek permission before leaving their parishes or dioceses. Such common Catholic customs as religious processions (krestnyekhody) and the

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The Birch erection of roadside shrines were often forbidden by local authorities… Most disturbing of all from the point of view of Polish Catholic sensibilities was the program initiated in the late 1860s to introduce the Russian (or Belarussian) language into Catholic churches in the northwest provinces.23

In addition, “All of the Belorussians and Ukrainians in the ‘western provinces’ who had been in communion with the Catholic Church were now incorporated into the Orthodox Church.”24 Similar attempts were made to prevent nationalist uprisings among the Catholic Lithuanian and Belorussian peasants. State-led attempts to stifle the emergence of Polish national movements simultaneously curtailed religious autonomy in the region. Any successful attack on nationalist movements would be difficult, however, given the ambiguous national distinctions as they were seen at the official level. In both St. Petersburg and the Polish areas, bureaucrats and administrators were confused by the differentiation between Russian and Polish national identity. Strangely, as Weeks points out, there was no legal definition of “Pole” and “Russian” in use at this time. As Orthodoxy increasingly outweighed other factors in determining Russian national identity in the nineteenth century, officials often linked “Orthodox” with “Russian,” especially since the two terms were often included together in official documents and laws.25 In an 1855 decree, Weeks argues, “The precedent for the equation of ‘Russian’ and ‘Orthodox’ had been set” when the minister of internal affairs “ordered that all local officials be replaced by ‘Russians’ (russkie), a term that is reinforced

some paragraphs later by the phrase ‘those professing the Orthodox faith.’”26 The same problem arose with Catholics and Poles, though instructions from St. Petersburg repeatedly insisted to the local administrators that restrictions placed on the Poles were to be directed solely at the Poles and not to all Catholics in the area.27 Despite these orders from St. Petersburg, in practice any rules directed against Poles were de facto placed on non-Polish Catholics as well, meaning “there was no distinction made between national and religious traditions and circumstances in the western provinces.”28 Ultimately, this inefficiency undermined russification policies. In practice, equating “Poles” with “Catholics” alienated the non-Polish Catholic groups, such as the Catholic Belarusians. This, in turn, strengthened the development of an already articulated Polish national consciousness; as the Russians lumped all non-Orthodox, nonRussian groups into one imagined enemy, the Poles felt a stronger need to distinguish themselves, not just in opposition to the Russians but in opposition to the other ethnic groups in the region. As Polish nationalism developed in the Northwest Provinces in the nineteenth century, Russian nationalists in response often rejected ideas of “Catholic Russians” in response. Conservative nationalist intellectuals such as Nikolai Strakhov often articulated reactionary views on Russian nationalism. Regarding the confused identity of “Russian Catholics,” Strakhov says: A man who finds himself between two nationalities is not in a normal situation. It is understood that he will strive to get out of it and, sooner or later, he does get out of it, having completely attached himself to one of the nationalities…

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Culture & Politcs In these cases we, as Russians, not only can but also must desire that our nonRussian groups should be Russified; in their Russification we should see for them the pledge of a more normal spiritual life, see their fusion with our great national organism, and, in consequence, their own welfare.29

Thaden notes that, at the time Strakhov articulated these views, he was most certainly oblivious to the harsh policies of Russification employed by the state in subsequent decades. Philosophically, Strakhov’s concern is in preserving and maintaining a unique Russianness, distinct from Western or other influences. These ideas were felt within tsarist administration as well. In the latter part of the nineteenth century, Minister of Internal Affairs D.S. Sipiagin expressed sentiments that “in the absence of a spiritual link with the Russian people, which is a precondition for a communality of national interests, [nonOrthodox peoples] cannot be considered a trustworthy element [in state service].”30 A Catholic, though perhaps linguistically and culturally assimilated to Imperial Russian society, remained outside of the Russian national spirit. As shown by this exclusion of Catholics from idealized “Russianness,” Orthodoxy played an important symbolic role in the development and articulation of Russian national consciousness. Imperial expansion, however, meant that tsars from Ivan IV onward were confronted with drastically different cultural groups. To maintain these territorial conquests, tsarist administration in most cases subordinated religious homogeneity to internal stability; non-Orthodox religions could be practiced so long as the people demonstrated loyalty to the

tsar, and attempts at russification were mainly confined to groups such as the Ukrainians, who, as Orthodox Slavs, were perceived as most similar to the Russians. At the same time, loyalty to the Pope undermined absolute loyalty to the tsar, and so Catholicism as a religion was considered subversive, though its practice was for the most part tolerated. Increasingly violent nationalist rebellions in the nineteenth century, however, prompted reactionary, severe russification policies from the state. In the case of the Poles, the prominent role the Catholic Church played in their culture enflamed existing Russian anxiety about Catholicism. Meanwhile, the inefficiencies of these russification attempts combined with paranoia about the “Polish threat” fused both official and unofficial definitions of “Pole” with “Catholic,” a fusion that mirrored and thereby exacerbated, in the public mind, the historic links between Kievan Rus and Orthodoxy. This in turn had lasting repercussions for the acceptance of any Catholic groups as “Russians,” and, by the height of nationalist fervorat the end of the nineteenth century, the Catholics were still barred from complete acceptance.

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A Slavic Proverb to Ponder If the goat hadn’t jumped, it wouldn’t have broken her leg. Gdyby kózka nie skakała, to by nóżki nie złamała.


The Birch

The Overthrow of Milošević The Multiple Faces of Opposition in the 2000 Yugoslav Presidential Election

Alexandra Lisonek

Barnard College, Columbia University

The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia experienced a momentous change in regime in their 2000 presidential election. After ten years of his corrupt leadership, Slobodan Milošević, who had remained in power through the Bosnian and Kosovo Wars, was ousted by Vojislav Koštunica. This election stood as a major turning point for the Serbian government, as it wrested power from the hands of the Communist Party for the first time since the end of World War II. The formation of a strong domestic opposition was one of the key factors in defeating Milošević, but ultimately the overthrow would not have been successful without foreign, specifically American, intervention. Milošević rose to power in the late 1980s and set himself up to win over the public and subsequently seize political power. His success came first as the head of Beobanka in Serbia, but he transitioned to politics and quickly rose to become the leader of the Serbian Communist Party in 1986. At that point in time, most of the former Yugoslavia had seceded, and by the mid-90s, the “new” Yugoslavia was made up

of the regions of Serbia and Montenegro. Each of these regions had its own president, along with the president of Yugoslavia. Milošević successfully entrenched himself in this political structure by eliminating his opposition, renaming his party, forming a strong backbone of patronage, and giving people substantial reasons to support him through his new economic and social policies. As a result, Milošević-- President of Serbia from 1989 to 1997 and President of Yugoslavia from 1997 to 2000-- made it nearly impossible for any opposition to form, even when he began losing popularity in the mid-90s. While he was popular in the late 80s, Milošević was able to maintain the control of the state fairly easily. Later, even without this popularity, he retained his position by rigging elections, controlling the public media, and forming an elitist inner circle of supporters (Cohen). When he was elected President of Serbia in 1989, the election was clearly staged. Several other members of the Communist Party, who were actually his supporters, were specifically chosen to run against with the

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Culture & Politcs knowledge that their lack of popularity would well-developed funding resources. not gain them enough votes to challenge Despite Milošević’s powerful him. Milošević won the 80% of votes in that position and history of support, a powerful election (Cohen 454). Beyond the election, resistance movement formed through the he worked to eliminate liberalism from the coalition of opposition groups, a successful media and controlled all major television student movement, and international support channels and newspapers (Cohen 436). In of these groups. While it was consistently addition, he maintained alliances with high- difficult for many political opposition groups level supporters from other political parties, as to join forces due to ideological differences well as high-ranking elites and the inability to unify that controlled most of the their goals (CNN), 19 Millions of economic sector. His reign smaller parties were also dominated the police eventually able to put dollars, mostly force and the justice system. their differences aside from the In sum, Milošević’s control when faced with the of the political, economic prospect of continued American and and social spheres in the Communist Party rule German country allowed him to (electionguide.org). It comfortably retain his was only because of this governments, were position for over a decade. strength in numbers In 2000, following provided for the that the opposition was the the NATO bombings successful. In the past, of Serbia in 1999, Milošević opposition groups Milošević was all but began losing popularity & for Koštunica’s guaranteed his victories quickly. In a move to quell because the opposition campaign. growing public criticism had been so fractured. In of his administration, he addition, the opposition advanced the Yugoslav presidential election groups expanded through their link to student to September, six months ahead of his movements. term’s scheduled expiration. In addition to Such group was OTPOR, calling delegitimizing claims of transparency, the itself after the Serbian word for “resistance,” announcement preempted the efforts of an which formed in 1998 in response to the opposition rally scheduled to take place in repressive media and university legislation. Belgrade the following day (BBC). Early At the time of the 2000 election, the group elections also had the effect of reducing the was over 70,000 supporters strong and thus preparation time available to his challengers, could provide critical representation of the and because each candidate had less time to masses in the events surrounding the election organize himself following the announcement (Nikolayenko). By organizing protests, for early elections, their respective campaigns holding rallies and pulling young people in were notably much more rushed and lacked the political atmosphere, there was a higher

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The Birch voter turnout for the election. The work of movements like OTPOR was crucial in combating the widespread political apathy that had come to characterize the Serbian people during the 90s and advertise the need for participation in order to overthrow Milošević. After the initial ballot returns on September 24, 2000, Milošević immediately called for a run-off election, claiming that neither party had gained the 50% majority required under Serbian electoral law (St. Petersburg Times). OTPOR members were among the main participants of a major protest on October 5, 2000, following the call for run-off elections, as their claim was that Koštunica had undoubtedly won a majority. They stormed the Parliament building and demanded that Milošević step down. All of these efforts, including campaigning, rallying and protesting, dramatically impacted the result of the election. Moreover, whereas these oppositional measures may have been strongly negated in the past elections, a novel investment in the election by international actors augmented the significance of the opposition’s efforts. Millions of dollars, mostly from the American and German governments, were provided for the opposition groups and for Koštunica’s campaign. In a little under three years leading up to the election, the United States alone provided almost $77 million (Lancaster). In addition to providing Koštunica with the financial means to win, these Western countries also extended generous advising support. Many U.S. officials worked to build foreign backing for the opposition. For example, Madeline Albright, former

Secretary of State, who traveled to Rome and Montenegro in order to help consolidate the opposition forces (Israel). International observers went to great lengths to aid the opposition; some went as far as to travel to Hungary and other nearby countries in order to circumvent bans on foreign participation so that they could offer their expertise and train the activists involved in the rising political movement (Lancaster). Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) along with international officials was not allowed in Serbia during the election, but domestic monitors had quite a bit of international training by the time of the election to effectively monitor it. “Domestic” monitors were heavily influenced by the American government. By receiving training from American officials, being supplied with equipment funded by the American government, and imbibing American advice, the line between domestic and international monitoring became very blurred. The international training and funds were essentially a way for the United States to bypass restrictions put in place by the Milošević government. With the help of the international community, a consolidated and youthsupported opposition finally forced Milošević to concede his loss in the election in October of 2000. As Serbs and the international community rejoiced, a new government was formed, which inherited severe economic, political and social problems that had been mounting throughout the previous decade. Despite the plethora of problems facing the newly elected government, the 2000 Yugoslav election became known as a major turning point for the Serbian government.

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Literary Criticism

Inevitable Chaos: The Absence of Order in War and Peace Hannah White

University of Pennsylvania In history and in war, Tolstoy writes, there are no singular causes, no systematic patterns, and no great men — only “the coincidence of conditions in which all vital organic and elemental events occur.”1 War and Peace rejects such diagrammatic thinking, or what Gary Saul Morson calls “semiotic totalitarianism,” in all its forms: science, medicine, military planning, hero worship, conventional understanding of the past and of the future.2 The novel’s depictions of the Napoleonic Wars of 1805 and 1812 not only dismantle Napoleon’s superhuman image, but also assert that no individual has the power to change history, or even to interpret it at all. Tolstoy builds his case through the explicit edification of the narrator and Prince Andrei as well as the more implicit defamiliarization of war through the eyes of Pierre. Prince Andrei, having failed his attempt at Napoleonic greatness on the fields of Austerlitz, becomes convinced of the insignificance of the individual, and by the Battle of Borodino he is a vocal critic of the German brand of unemotional, overconfident military planning. Pierre’s childlike perspective, meanwhile, proves just as formidable, if less intentional, an adversary of semiotic totalitarianism, as

his disorientation at Borodino peels back the reader’s conventional conception of battle to reveal the chaos that prevails beneath. War functions in Tolstoy’s world as “a microcosm of the historical process,” and the experiences of Prince Andrei at Austerlitz and Pierre at Borodino thus proclaim the disorder, complexity, and unpredictability not only of war but of life itself.3 Semiotic totalitarianism, as Morson defines it, is the assertion that “behind the multiplicity of apparently accidental or random facts of historical life, there is really a set of rules, a system, or a pattern that can explain everything.”4 Under this umbrella term fall Freudian psychology, Newtonian physics, Darwinian evolution, Marxian economics, and, most significantly for War and Peace, any historical theories that claim to explain the course of history as an ordered series of significant events. For Tolstoy, such explanations are erroneous because they run counter to the way life works. “The world fits no orderly pattern,” and to construct a narrative the historian must inevitably pick and choose, leaving out incongruous details and projecting causal significance on a group of his choice.5 In the novel, such historians are portrayed rather

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The Birch like Pierre as he assigns a numerical pattern to the prophecies of Revelations: “carried away by the process of research,” puffed up with “naive assurance,” “straining” the truth and churning out “cunningly devised evidence” to fit a preconceived scheme.6 As Tolstoy sees it, history as a discipline is hence unnatural and untrue. The battleground provides a particularly apt stage for this attack on semiotic totalitarianism, because battle formations and military training are an attempt to impose order and discipline on an activity that is, like the world itself, inherently chaotic, unpredictable, and irrational. “If battle is a metaphor for history,” Morson writes, “then the decisive moments are those when social codes and explanatory systems fail — precisely those instants we least understand and whose existence many do not even suspect.”7 At Austerlitz, the system does nothing but fail. The Russian leaders believe they have ensured their victory with scientific precision, yet their best laid plans collapse for not one but a countless number of reasons. A recurring metaphor throughout the novel is that of the chessboard. “A good chess-player having lost a game is,” according to Tolstoy, “sincerely convinced that his loss resulted from a mistake he made, and looks for that mistake in the opening, but forgets that at each stage of the game there were similar mistakes.”8 War, he concludes, is like a game of chess with the added pressure of time and the replacement of thirty-two “lifeless objects” by millions of free-willed human players.9 In other words, planning is fruitless and hindsight is deceiving. Equally insignificant to the grand scheme of human events is the totalitarian notion of the “great man”: the Napoleon by whose genius alone battles can be won and empires conquered. As illustrated at Austerlitz and

Borodino, military leaders have but the smallest tangential relation to the victories or losses with which they are credited. The action of one man is insufficient to decide the outcome of an event, because there are so many other actions occurring at the same time; it is only by “coinciding in time with the actions of millions of other men” that a single action can “[assume] an historic significance.”10 Prince Andrei’s disillusionment with Napoleon illustrates his realization of this fact. Andrei initially idolizes Napoleon, even as he goes to war against him; he “[fears] that Bonaparte’s genius might outweigh all the courage of the Russian troops, and at the same time [can] not admit the idea of his hero being disgraced.”11 As he leaves for battle, he is swept up in his vision of a war that can be won by one man at one “decisive moment,” and he moves even beyond his adoration of Napoleon to imagine that he himself might become that hero.12 Among the ranks, he becomes fixated on this ambition, waiting for the instant when he can prove his worth and, as he puts it bluntly, “save the army.”13 Fostered in the offices of military strategists and the salons of St. Petersburg, Prince Andrei’s confidence in the ability of a single action to change everything is, as Tolstoy goes on to demonstrate, a fallacy that collapses upon itself on the battlefield. “Here it is!” Andrei thinks as the French army comes into view on the field of Austerlitz. “The decisive moment has arrived. My turn has come.”14 Hoisting the staff of the standard, he breaks through the mass of confused soldiers and leads the battalion forward with a triumphant “Hurrah!”15 In a semiotic-totalitarian world, this heroic gesture would be the heroic gesture that rallies the troops to beat the odds and beat the French. In Tolstoy’s world, it is just one futile action among many in a conflict that is both the

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Literary Criticism product of chance and “predestined from eternity.”16 Just as the course of the battle does not conform to the Russian army’s intricate plans, so does Andrei’s experience fail to meet his expectations. The struggle between the red-haired gunner and the French soldier that Andrei witnesses during the charge is emblematic of his confusion. “What are they doing?” he wonders. “Why doesn’t the redhaired gunner run away since he is unarmed? Why doesn’t the Frenchman stab him?”17 For innumerable, unintelligible reasons, this encounter has strayed from the outcome that military tactics would dictate. Andrei’s own fate is similarly incomprehensible. Hit with a bludgeon, he reacts with incredulity: “What’s this? Am I falling?”18 His dreams of saving the army are dashed, but he is suddenly distracted, and humbled, by the sight of the sky, compared to which his own affairs and even the battle itself are so wholly insignificant. “All is vanity, all falsehood,” he thinks, “except that infinite sky.”19 When Prince Andrei regains consciousness, his helpless position underscores the inefficacy of his efforts at heroism. Not only does he lie “on his back with the flagstaff that had been dropped beside him,” but the flag, which he had thrust into the air so symbolically just minutes prior, “had already been taken by the French as a trophy.”20 The remaining Russian troops, meanwhile, have been defeated unequivocally and retreat in “disorderly confused masses.”21 If the tactics of the Russian army lose their credibility in Andrei’s eyes, however, so too does the myth of the enemy. When Napoleon makes his way past him, Andrei is not cowed by his idol’s greatness as he might once have been; rather, he is indifferent, for he now sees the world on a scale in which all men are inconsequential. “So insignificant at that

moment seemed to him all the interests that engrossed Napoleon, so mean did his hero himself with his paltry vanity and joy in victory appear,” that he does not even respond to the Emperor’s address.22 Andrei hears his words only “as he might have heard the buzzing of a fly.”23 Napoleon has been demoted, for both Andrei and the reader, from a “genius” with the authority of the Antichrist to just another insect among many in the “unconscious, general, swarm-life of mankind.”24 After his brush with death at Austerlitz, Andrei adopts the core of Tolstoy’s philosophy. “There is nothing certain, nothing at all,” he concludes, “except the unimportance of everything I understand, and the greatness of something incomprehensible but all-important.”25 The outcome of the battle is both unforeseeable and inevitable, the consequence of neither meticulous military maneuvers nor the heroism of a single man but of “all the complicated human activities of 160,000 Russians and French — all their passions, desires, remorse, humiliations, sufferings, outbursts of pride, fear, and enthusiasm.”26 Prince Andrei carries the essential elements of his new convictions with him to Borodino, seven years later, and singles out Kutuzov as one of few who views the world on his — and Tolstoy’s — terms. As Morson writes, “The difference between a good and a poor officer in War and Peace is that the former knows that he cannot understand battle and knows how to behave in a situation of uncertainty.”27 Kutuzov is that good officer. “He understands,” Andrei explains, “that there is something stronger and more important than his own will — the inevitable course of events,” and so he is able to “refrain from meddling” and rely on “patience and time.”28 The self-assured, emphatically German approach to military strategy is anathema

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The Birch to Andrei and for the most part ignored by Kutuzov. The imposition of order persists on the battlefield, however, and to underline its ineffectiveness Tolstoy brings in an outsider. Pierre is “the work’s threshold figure,” a perpetual “tourist,” and through his eyes a battle scene well known to many readers of the time is defamiliarized and rendered indecipherable.29 Pierre comes to Borodino with the purpose of witnessing the war for himself, but his efforts to understand the army’s strategy are continually frustrated. Listening to Bennigsen’s explanation of the position of the troops, Pierre “[strains] each faculty to understand the essential points of the impending battle, but was mortified to feel that his mental capacity was inadequate for the task. He could make nothing of it.”30 The implication, of course, is not that Pierre is deficient but rather that Russia’s military tactics are neither logical nor effective; “even minimal understanding is impossible.”31 This notion, that tactical planning is incompatible with capricious human behavior, is substantiated by Bennigsen’s misunderstanding of the position of the left flank. Finding with surprise that the troops defending the flank have not occupied the highest ground, he declares that it is “madness to leave a height which commanded the country around unoccupied and to place troops below it,” and he swiftly orders them to relocate.32 Pierre, observing the scene, is convinced that Bennigsen must be correct and wonders “how the man who put [the troops] there behind the hill could have made so gross and palpable a blunder.”33 As Tolstoy then reveals, however, the situation is not that simple: the position that Bennigsen criticizes as incapable of defending the flank is actually meant to conceal the troops and orchestrate

an ambush. By “[moving] the troops forward according to his own ideas without mentioning the matter to the commander-inchief,” Bennigsen unintentionally undermines the plan and endangers the troops (824).34 The strategy on the left flank, and the larger strategy of the army as a whole, cannot succeed because the individual wills of men run divergently and counter to one another and because semiotic totalitarianism — in this case, Bennigsen’s belief that victory is always contingent on the higher ground — cannot account for the intricacies, exceptions, and contradictions of life. Prince Andrei reacts so strongly against this kind of strategy because he believes in its futility and because he understands the stakes. By treating battle as a kind of complex mental challenge that can be won or lost with the proper position or the proper sacrifice of men, military strategists become so detached that they understand war as a game rather than what it really is: “murder.”35 Appropriating Tolstoy’s chess metaphor, Andrei first contends that war cannot logically be played like a game, because unlike the pieces on a chessboard, “the relative strength of bodies of troops can never be known to anyone.”36 Beyond this, however, he asserts that war should not, morally, be played like a game. When German officers in the camp declare that “the only aim is to weaken the enemy, so of course one cannot take into account the loss of private individuals,” they are treating war as chess and human beings as pawns.37 This indifference is repugnant to Andrei. “War is not courtesy but the most horrible thing in life,” he tells Pierre, “and we ought to understand that, and not play at war.”38 Military theorists affect to foresee “all contingencies” just as historians affect to interpret all past events — but while semiotic

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Literary Criticism

study of war. The question, then, becomes how one should act in war, and in peace, “in a universe whose governing principles change from moment to moment in response to a hundred million diverse chances.”40 According to Prince Andrei, battles depend not on “equipment, or even on numbers, and least of all on position,” but rather “on the feeling that is in me...and in each soldier.”41 Tolstoy corroborates this view, illustrating in every facet of Russian society the moral triumph of heart over mind and natural emotion over contrived schemes. Youth and spirituality are invigorating, modern medicine useless; the Russian peasant dance liberating, the opera exploitative; Moscow society 39

sincere, St. Petersburg’s stifling. It is on the battlefield, however, that the various aspects of semiotic totalitarianism — complacency, inflexibility, emotional detachment, delusions of grandeur, reliance on artificial plans at the expense of human spontaneity — are most vividly broken down. Here, with the lives of thousands of men at stake, the innumerable motives and chance occurrences of history collide most memorably to “upset all plans for the future and disconfirm all accounts of the past.”42 Through Prince Andrei’s disillusioned eyes and Pierre’s naive ones, Tolstoy portrays war as irrational, incomprehensible, and incompatible with any vision of a systematic universe.

Samuel Hanuščin Photos, 2012

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The Birch

Not Your Mother’s Darling: A Comparison of Gender and Collectivization in Chekhov’s The Darling and Platonov’s Fro

Elizabeth Taylor Rutgers University

Andrey Platonov’s short story “Fro” (1936) reimagines Anton Chekhov’s classic short story “The Darling” (1899) through the lens of Soviet Russia. “The Darling,” set at the end of the nineteenth century, chronicles the life of Olenka, an upper-middle class woman who subsists on her childlike dependence on men. Through disaster of fortune, including the deaths of two husbands, Olenka endures by adhering to a narrowly defined vision of herself as a wife, lover, and mother. Similarly, in “Fro,” the eponymous heroine adopts and perfects the role of devoted wife as she awaits her husband’s return from China, where he diligently works to spread communism in the East. But Platonov’s “Fro” is not just a retelling of Chekhov set in a different time. In “The Darling,” Chekhov exposes the self-disempowerment of Russian women who adhere to prescribed social and gender roles. Unlike Chekhov, who focused on an individual’s accommodation to a gender stereotype, Platonov uses his story as a wider social critique of the disparity between the communist ideal and the Soviet reality. Platonov appropriates Chekhov’s essential

theme, the loss of individuality for society’s supposed benefit, and shows it to be operative in a Soviet society that claims to have moved beyond gender disparities. Moreover, upon close inspection, the similarities between Olenka and Fro dematerialize. Paradoxically, Chekhov’s “darling” Olenka finds more fitting equivalents among the male characters in “Fro.” On the other hand, Fro, the female protagonist, presents a possible antidote to the ills of collectivization by reinterpreting Chekhov’s conception of female gender roles. In “The Darling,” the narrator refers to the protagonist as “Olenka,” which is the diminutive of her name, Olga. While affectionate and expressive of the namesake’s sweetness, this diminutizing simultaneously infantilizes the subject. Similarly, Olenka is called “darling” in a mix of love, familiarity, and condescension as when, for example, “lady visitors could not refrain from seizing her hand in the middle of the conversation and saying, in a burst of pleasure: “You darling!”1 As the story develops, Olenka’s infantilization becomes associated with her submission to men. One after another, four male figures trade places as the object of Olenka’s unrelenting

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Literary Criticism

devotion: her first husband, Kukin, the theater owner, who is replaced after his death by her second husband, Pustovalov, the lumberyard manager; then her lover, the veterinarian; and finally the veterinarian’s young son, Sasha. Olenka, in her perverse need to be defined by the object of her affection, adopts the identities of her male loves. With Kukin, Olenka works at the theater, shares all his opinions and obsesses over every detail of the daily affairs at the theater. After Kukin’s death and her subsequent remarriage, Olenka immediately assumes the role of a lumberyard manager, a deputy to her husband, Pustovalov. In this new role, Olenka has no time for the theater, forgetting her first love and seeing the theater as a “trifle” of questionable value.2 Instead, Olenka develops a great passion for lumber: “At night, when she slept, she dreamed of whole mountains of boards and planks, of long, endless lines of carts carrying lumber somewhere far out of town; she dreamed of a whole regiment of ten-yardlong, ten-inch-thick logs marching upended against the lumberyard.”3 Alas, Olenka’s new identity is as fickle as the life expectancy of her male companions. Pustovalov’s death leads to a new paramour, a veterinarian, who inspires in Olenka a fascination with veterinary science. After the veterinarian ends the affair, Olenka unofficially adopts his nine-year-old son, Sasha, and obsesses over his schooling. Although her love is powerful and her character is comically endearing, Olenka’s constant subservience to male figures undergirds a pointed commentary on female self-disempowerment, a disempowerment born out of conformity with institutionalized gender roles. In Olenka’s universe, the man is the focus around which the woman builds her identity. Apart from male influence, this identity remains unformed even at the most

rudimentary level of self-awareness and opinion-making: “You see, for instance, that a bottle is standing there, or that it is raining, or that a peasant is driving a cart, but why the bottle, the rain, or the peasant are there, what sense they make, you cannot say and even for a thousand rubles you could not say anything.”4 For Olenka, the absence of a man to love creates an existential crisis. Yet Chekhov purposefully does not create Olenka to be a stereotypically weak woman so that his indictment of her becomes all the more forceful. Through the course of the story, Olenka proves to be smart and resourceful. She manages a theater equally well as she manages a lumberyard, adapting quickly to her changing environments even as a widowed and single woman. What powers Olenka has, she voluntarily surrenders in constant acts of self-disempowerment. For that, using pointed humor, Chekhov condemns her. It may be argued that Olenka breaks the patterns of these identity-numbing infatuations when she adopts a maternal role with respect to Sasha, the veterinarian’s son. The arrival of Sasha in the story marks Olenka’s personal renaissance. In her estimation, “of all her former attachments, none was so deep, never before had her soul submitted so selflessly, so disinterestedly, and with such delight as now, when the maternal feeling burned in her more and more.”5 This newfound joy, starkly emphasized by her previous withering, may be seen as a shift in Chekhov’s treatment of Olenka’s love. Tonally, the passages show greater tenderness toward Olenka’s love for Sasha, as if somehow maternal love of such devoted self-sacrifice is a more appropriate fulfillment of a woman’s societal role. However, this conclusion belies the insidiousness of the short story’s ending, as Sasha mutters in his sleep, “I’ll sh-show you!

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The Birch Get out! No fighting!” Olenka’s constant smothering suffocates Sasha to the point that his pent-up frustrations and aggression can only find release in delirious dreaming. Sasha is psychologically troubled as a result of Olenka’s overbearing love, implying that rigid adherence to gender role may prove harmful both to women and to their families. Therefore, by illustrating through the example of Olenka the two stereotypically defined roles of the woman as a lover and as a mother, Chekhov rejects the implication that women should deny their individual selves for the sake of men and family. At the outset of “Fro,” Platonov builds his heroine in superficial resemblance to Chekhov’s Olenka. The protagonist, Yefrosinya Yevstafieva, adopts the name Fro, an uncommon derivative of her first name. But Fro also connotes a type of truncated, anagrammatic derivation of her beloved husband’s name, Fyodor. Moreover, the first two letters of her full first (Yevfrosinya) name recall the Russian name for Eve (Yeva), an allusion to the biblical first woman, a being derived from the rib of her husband Adam. This allusion further highlights the idea of derivation in the relationship between Fro and her husband.7 Additionally, the narrator continuously refers to Fro as Frosya, repeating the diminutive theme also presented in “The Darling.” The names of the protagonist can be seen as a critique of the perceived gender role of women; even in the absence of her husband, Fro’s name immediately indicates her weakness and dependence on him. Like Olenka, Fro pines for her husband, anxiously awaiting his return home from China. Prior to Fyodor’s departure, Fro enrolls in a course in railway signaling and communication methods. She attends the classes, not for any innate love of the subject 6

but rather to seek a deeper union with her husband, a soldier with advanced technical degrees. After Fyodor’s departure for China, Fro no longer attends these classes. Instead she loafs around the railway station before working in the ash pit. Eventually, Fro becomes a mailwoman to receive Fyodor’s letters more quickly. Immediately after receiving her first letter from Fyodor, contented, Fro resigns from her post. This behavior repeats the pattern established by Olenka who changes occupations with each new love interest. Moreover, “The Darling” and “Fro” both feature the character of the parentless boy: Sasha in “The Darling” and a nameless, mouth organ player in “Fro.” The mouth organ player evokes strong maternal feeling in Fro just as Sasha did for Olenka. Through this newfound maternity, Fro resolves the emptiness left by her husband’s second departure just as Olenka, through the adoption of Sasha, finds new purpose after the deaths of her husbands and departure of her lover. Platonov constructs these superficial similarities between the two characters only to highlight the palpable differences between their respective societies. For example, while Olenka and Fro both prove to be capable in their work life, the nature of their work drastically differs. Chekhov, despite being critical of Olenka, places her in progressive business roles where she competently works alongside men, holding some measure of authority. While always second to her husbands in their business endeavors, Olenka is nonetheless a close second. Through her work life, Chekhov explicates the distance between Olenka’s potential and her selfinduced servility. Conversely, Fro is not afforded such progressive work opportunities in Soviet Russia. Her regressive jobs in

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Literary Criticism manual labor, mail carrying, and train signal operations starkly contrast the jobs afforded to men as managers, train conductors, and engineers. Although successful in all her jobs, Fro never has the opportunity for promotion. Thus, Platonov emphasizes the hypocrisy of a communist society that purports to be postgender but in reality is more regressive than the society in which Olenka had lived decades earlier. Similarly, by recycling Chekhov’s motif of the relationship between a young boy and a mother figure, Platonov again exposes the difference between the communist ideal and Soviet reality. In “Fro,” the mouth organ player is frequently abandoned by his parents who, like true proletarians, are constantly working. Likewise, Fyodor abandons his wife and father-in-law in pursuit of work and the communist cause. Fyodor dreams of a perfection of society through communism that will bring about “a radical change to man’s wretched soul.”8 But the abandonment of the boy, the representative of future generations, clearly inhibits the perfection of future social progress. Of all the characters, only Fro, through her natural maternalism, recognizes the great value that the disenfranchised boy holds. Eventually, the comparison between Olenka and Fro collapses under the weight of their fundamental dissimilarity; Fro possesses her own identity, Olenka does not. Without a man, Olenka becomes vacuous, unable to form an opinion in the slightest. Conversely, Fro manages to exert her own independent will. She effectively beckons her husband home against his better judgment, and subsequently delays his departure by overpowering his will with her own. In this respect, the success of communism and the fulfillment of her husband’s desire are not her

end goal. She values the needs of others, such as needs of the mouth organ player, but she also appropriately values her own needs. Fro’s husband, Fydor, and her father, Nefed Stepanovich, serve as Fro’s counterpoints. In the story’s first encounter with Fyodor, Fro observes a photograph of her husband as a boy, “not since then had he been photographed, because he was not interested in himself and did not believe in the significance of his own face.”9 After this initial denial of identity, Fyodor’s identity is further contrasted with that of Fro. While Fro cannot “sense herself as a microfarad, a locomotive, or electricity,” Fyodor can.10 He prefers to be a faceless part of a working machine, the communist state. Fro repeatedly frustrates his desire to return to China, but eventually, Fyodor leaves his wife again, without a goodbye, promising her father to return again, “as soon as he’s got everything done,” by which he means bringing Communism to China.11 In all, Fyodor predicates his identity on his love for communism and his love for his wife. Admittedly, Fyodor has a greater defined sense of self than does Olenka. However, he is ultimately unable to extricate his identity from the larger goal of communism even for his beloved wife. While Fyodor may be seen as a “darling” in training, worshipping the communist dream but still having some measure of personal identity, Nefed Stepanovich, Fro’s father, more closely resembles Chekhov’s Olenka. It is he who faces an existential crisis when deprived of his trains, going every day to watch his fellow engineers maneuver the locomotives. While Fyodor more eloquently expresses his communist love, Nefed Stepanovich embodies the communist ideal of a proletariat. He devotes himself to his work, deriving personal meaning and validation

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The Birch from the trains, themselves a symbol of technological and social progress. Throughout the story, Fro exhibits unsettling gruffness towards her father. Upon closer inspection, the relationship between Fro and her father parallels that of Sasha and Olenka. Fro fills a void left by the trains just as Sasha takes the place of Olenka’s former lovers: “he [Nefed Stepanovich] liked being with his daughter, or with someone else, when a locomotive was not occupying his heart and mind.”12 Similarly, Olenka, “forever loved someone, and could not live without it.”13 Fro is not unique to her father, who would love “someone else” in her stead, just as Sasha is also not unique to Olenka, who would just as well love another boy of similar age. Fro, who like Sasha has a defined sense of identity, rejects her father’s dependence. He in turn continually offers her food in the same manner that Olenka entices Sasha with caramel and dates.14 When Fro rebuffs him, Nefed Stepanovich melodramatically throws his head in the open oven door and weeps into a pan of macaroni.15 Ultimately, communism cripples Nefed Stepanovich. Every interaction between Fro and her father exposes the pair’s unequal matching — the father in his needy state, the daughter in her liberated selfpossession. Therefore, Platonov uses Fyodor and Nefed Stepanovich to establish the link between the archetype of “the darling” and communist collectivization. Platonov responds to Chekhov’s “The Darling” with a depiction of Olenka’s personal, identitydenying universe expanded into an entire communist state. In this state, subservience of personal identity to the love of the “greater” communist identity is expected. To varying degrees, the flaws in Olenka’s love resurface in the love the two men share for communism.

Fyodor, in his mindless devotion, undermines his own goal of a perfected communist society by abandoning his family; Nefed Stepanovich becomes vacuous, reduced to the meaningless state of “weep[ing] into the pan of macaroni.”16 In contrast, Fro embodies a self-sufficient individual as evidenced by her conclusion at the story’s end: “Maybe she was foolish, maybe her life was worth only two kopeks . . . , but then she alone knew how to transform those two kopeks into two rubles.”17 Furthermore, Fro’s individualism enables her to find fulfillment through her relationship with others (notably Fyodor and the boy with the mouth organ). While Fro may at first resemble Olenka in her commitment to stereotypical female gender roles, Platonov does, in fact, exploit the idea of gender to contrast Fro’s independence with that of her husband’s and father’s dependence on their communist state. In “The Darling,” Chekhov’s ultimate end is the critique of women’s desperate, self-denying grip on female gender roles. In “Fro,” the gender difference between men and women allows Fro to reject the world to which her father and husband devote themselves. It allows her uniquely to invite a lonely, abandoned boy into her home and see in him the possibility of “the mankind Fyodor had told her about in such tender words.”18 In short, Fro’s maternalism enables her to envision a new society, separate from that of communist collectivization, that can heal communism’s wrongs and pave a new road to the future. Thus Platonov, while not directly addressing the issue Chekhov raises, does envision the progressive fulfillment of Fro’s female gender role as being redemptive for society.

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Literary Criticism

A Lyrical Approach to a National Crisis The Role of Ordinary Petersburg in Akhmatova’s Requiem

Annabel We

Northwestern University Petersburg of the Russian literary tradition is governed by supernatural forces and is an organic entity of its own. Brodsky, a Russian-American poet, observes in his essay A Guide to a Renamed City that, “with the insecurity innate to any narcissist, the city started to peer more and more intently at that looking glass which the Russian writers were carrying…today when you think of St. Petersburg you can’t distinguish the fictional from the real.”1 While it is apparent why the city needed literature to maintain its mythic presence in Russian culture, it is much more difficult to determine why the Russian writers needed Petersburg in their literature. Difficult times intensified this question, when one of the tasks of a literary piece may be to express and resolve the horror of extreme scales, such as that under Stalin’s regime. People were not only subject to the misery ascribed to poor living conditions, exemplified by the poverty induced madness of clerks in the literary Petersburg of Pushkin and Gogol, but also to surviving the deaths of others, as described in siege memoirs. This problem lies at the heart of the discussion of whether Akhmatova’s “Requiem” accomplishes what it promises despite its narrow focus on the author’s personal experience in Petersburg: a record of the national crisis and a new Russian identity

for the survivors in the uncertain present. In “Requiem,” Akhmatova forges a prosaic myth of Petersburg and, by doing so, translates the Russian literary legacy into a legacy of the changed lives of survivors. Akhmatova famously called St. Petersburg her “cradle,” implying that she adopted the city as her parent and the literary tradition with which she identifies.2 Akhmatova was raised in Tserskoe Selo, but even in her writings on her childhood there, she wished to capture it as a part of Petersburg. She disagreed with the criticism that her “poems are more evocative of Tsarskoe Selo than of Petersburg…that [her] poetry’s provincial.”3 Petersburg was a city that offered legacies of rich literary tradition and history. Sam N. Driver interprets Akhmatova’s appreciation of the city as that based on familiarity rather than on mystery—“It is ‘my’ city; ‘our’ city.”4 Because Petersburg heavily depended on its literary portrayal, accepting Petersburg as her home also meant inheriting its literary legacy ranging from Pushkin to Dostoevsky. She actively identified and placed her home within Pushkin’s literary Petersburg; in her diary she wrote, “all my life it has seemed to me that Pushkin was speaking about Tsarskoye Selo.”5 Driver asserts that Pushkin’s influence is clear in “Requiem,” that “the poet returns again

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The Birch to the motif of the great rivers of Russia…to the Neva and its associations with Pushkin, The Bronze Horseman, with Peter the Great and Russian history: And the ships go quietly along the Neva.”6 The image that the authors of this legacy evoke, however, is not that of a city suitable for daily living but that of a city where people lose their sense of the ordinary. While it is this reputation that gave St. Petersburg its exalted status in Russian literature, Akhmatova’s early relationship with the literary Petersburg changed in response to the national crisis. While St. Petersburg is both the subject and background of Akhmatova’s early works, some critics note that the tragedy in “Requiem” derives from the poet’s involuntary break from St. Petersburg of her past. Alexandra Harrington observes that the poet in “Requiem” better represents Akhmatova than those of her earlier lyrics and that the former addresses the latter as occupants of a different reality, revealing “an irreversible break with one’s past.”7 Sharon M. Bailey also argues that the grief in the poem originates from not only the absence of her son but also the change in her views: “The arrest of her son initiates a breakdown of the poet’s perception of an understandable reality.”8 In “Requiem,” the city is a “savaged capital” and her past is estranged from her present self when she names with bitterness her younger self as “Gay little sinner of Tsarskoye Selo.”9 The gap between the dreamlike Tsarskoye Selo and the Kresty prison is the change the poet witnesses in Petersburg. The city in “Requiem” is filled with survivors who are reduced to the living dead, embodying a national phenomenon. According to Driver, the comparison of Petersburg to a useless appendage, a city unable to fulfill its duty to protect its inhabitants, likens it to death.10 Harrington

contends that the normal understanding of the boundaries between life and death is no longer feasible.11 Petersburg is completely deconstructed in “Requiem” and robbed of the barrier that had separated it from the rest of Russia. It is possessed by death that, despite its varying form—”gangster”, “poison”, “fairy tale”—is “sickeningly familiar to everyone.”12 Just as the star and the white night are marks of natural events that do not discriminate places, the fact that the city is possessed by death allows it to become ordinary and relatable. The city’s characteristic foreign quality in previous Petersburg literature, experiences that are unique to Petersburg, is replaced by estranged views of ordinary experience. In “Requiem,” Akhmatova, as a poet in control, destroys her familiar home and her older self before her loss. Although Akhmatova’s city remains incomprehensible like the St. Petersburg of older writers, Akhmatova’s St. Petersburg participates in the grief of the rest of the nation. Some critics and contemporary writers found Akhmatova’s attempt to record Russian history insufficient. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn expressed reservations about “Requiem” because it was “not the real thing…there was only ‘mother and son’ there, while what was needed was ‘not the particular, but the general.’”13 Sergei Gandlevskii disapproved of “Akhmatova’s ‘need for a narrow minded audience—a dependence’” and of “her ability to strike an attractive classicist pose in any kind of situation.”14 Kuz’mina-Karavaeva accused Akhmatova of adopting a fatalistic perception of the surrounding world and of consequently lending “‘special significance to…[her] poems by enhancing the mystery’ of her otherwise ordinary existence.”15 Another of Akhamtova’s challenges was satisfying her desire to be remembered as both a victim and a survivor without compromising the depiction

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Literary Criticism of Stalinist horror. Did Akhmatova imprison herself in a prosaic view of the great tragedy and ultimately fail to address a national crisis when Russia was instead calling for a new perspective that would descend from the general to the specific? Akhmatova dramatized the difficulty one faces in horrific situations with the detached voice of one witnessing one’s own calamities. She is able to both recount her past in the present tense while at the same time weaving the points of view of various strangers into her narrative. When the poet in “Requiem” identifies herself as “somebody else who is suffering,” her distance from her own pain and the urgency of the phrase together transform a personal experience into a general transcendence.16 Akhmatova “addresses death as her friend with the familiar form of ‘you’— ty—because death no longer matters to her.”17 Because death is so prevalent in the city, the poet in “Requiem” is able to transcend her own experience of death. The poet’s alienation from her life even makes death preferable to life as indicated in the line: “the ones who smiled, / were the dead” (prologue). A sense of estrangement in “Requiem” stems from Petersburg’s literary legacy. Russian writers took immense interest in Petersburg because it provided them with dual perspectives. The city’s location in the far west and its culture, different from that of Europe and the rest of Russia, offered Russian writers a sense of duality: the authority of an insider, the “true” heir to the Russian heritage, and the romantic subjectivity of an outsider, the cultured “European” minority in a fictionalized city. When discussing the creation of cultural memory, Mikhail Bakhtin claimed, “in the realm of culture, outsideness is a most powerful factor in understanding.”18 Such dual perspective seems to have had enabled writers in Petersburg to examine their experience and

to acquire a detached perspective on the past. Similarly, the horror in “Requiem” comes from the poet’s new understanding of her past as it conflicts with her present. Her former life in the city is distant from herself, yet it is this loss of identity that allows her to hold the dual perspective of both an insider and an outsider. Akhmatova’s tendency to focus on her personal life reflects her poetic aesthetics. Akhmatova was interested in depicting the “‘real,’ material world.”19 Because realism begins from recognition of the familiar, the specificity of everyday experience assumes a central role in Akhmatova’s other poems: “poetry grew from such everyday expressions as, ‘would you like some tea?’”20 In “Requiem,” the specificity of Akhmatova’s everyday existence serves more than her realistic aesthetic, however. Reality of the nation’s loss is taken away from the survivors: the list of lost ones “has been confiscated” and the poet cannot “name…[the victims]… all by name.”21 Lives of a selected few like Akhmatova, instead become the general “mantle” that captures the greater whole.22 The poet prays “not for [herself] alone,/ but for all those who stood there with [her]”23 and her voice is “a hundred million scream.”24 Her belief that her own experience will translate into a universal one indicates her sense of duty rather than vanity in executing the elegy. If myths of Petersburg previously relied on the city’s extremities, Akhmatova’s new image of Petersburg is that of a prison city and of nameless faces. Its occupants are unable to form a community and converse with each other. Yet this myth of the city remains viable because its subjects are kept intact. The traditional requiem is a “Mass for the Dead (Missa pro defunctis).”25 “Requiem” laments not only the literal death but also the figurative death of the living, “The loss takes place on several levels…the mother has lost her son…

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The Birch loss through death…loss of her earlier belief in a just and secure natural order…the poet has lost a part of herself to a living death at the hands of the Terror.”26 Such living death also forms a parallel to Dante’s ninth circle of hell in which “fear deprives him of life yet does not kill him.”27 By choosing to write about the countless living dead instead of the heroic dead that continue to haunt the living, Akhmatova addresses the need to return to life before the terror and allows for the feasibility of this return. In light of this, the new Petersburg myth is concerned with rebuilding of the ordinary lives of the nameless people. Akhmatova’s stance in retelling the story of the nation differs from previous Russian authors’ legacies because she mourns the survivors. In “Requiem,” Petersburg becomes a city of women, a feat that not many Petersburg writings had accomplished before Akhmatova. More specifically, these women are the preservers of the daily life of the past; namely, they are the mothers. These women are struck with events of such grand scales that the events themselves become abstract; the poet cannot discern “who is a beast now, who is a man”.28 Yet, unlike previous fictional inhabitants of Petersburg, the women cannot lose their sanity because they are not only mourning for their sons but also protecting the empty city for the future. Petersburg has been, and will once again become home to these surviving women. They “must turn… [their]…soul to stone” and “learn to live again” because they need to leave a legacy even in this “deserted house.”29 “Requiem” not only attempts to console but also offers hope. The new story of the empty city calls for a new generation of writers who could create such a legacy. Akhmatova adds a new symbolic understanding of Petersburg and its legacy when she asks for her monument to be

installed before the prison doors rather than the place of her birth. This new place of birth, the prison doors, represents the accumulated daily lives of women during the terror. This focus on the continuing existence of people and the allusion to Dante’s refusal to look back at ancient Florence in the last sequence of “Requiem” indicate that mythical celebration and glorification of pain have given way to a new value of living. The collected fragments of Akhmatova’s memories in Petersburg during the Stalinist regime lead the readers to reflect on the pedestrian lives of individuals before the terror. The realism of the poet’s existence in Petersburg transforms the city into a place so familiar that it can be any city. Petersburg gains its new literary significance when it refuses to be a foreigner to its own country and accepts the banal existence of its citizens and their resolution to survive. In Epilogue II of “Requiem,” the world has already begun to exist as it once did, and the poet’s duty to remember the past arises from the fact that she was able to survive it. In fact, the line, “but hope keeps singing from afar” reverses the abject despair that precedes the phrase in Dedication; hope has been present from the very beginning of this elegy. These images do not represent the division between the destruction in Russia and the indifference of the outside world to the Russians, as Driver interprets them. They instead reflect the world as it is, the natural order that will heal pain despite one’s inability to comprehend and yet survive the past. Petersburg has become a part of this new world and Akhmatova’s task was to record the pain of already ongoing remedy. As conflicted as the life that the poem depicts, the message of “Requiem” is one of hope.

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Literary Criticism

Mad Musings: Insanity, Alienation, and Social Crtique in Krleža’s Cricket Beneath the Waterfall & Pekić’s Houses of Belgrade

Eva Derzic

University of California, Berkeley Written nearly 40 years apart and arising out of vastly different political atmospheres, Miroslav Krleža’s Cricket Beneath the Waterfall and Borislav Pekić’s Houses of Belgrade discuss issues surrounding the rise and fall of former Yugoslavia. The stories share a common theme of madness: Cricket Beneath the Waterfall tells the story of a man who suffers from hallucinations of conversations with dead people, and Houses of Belgrade documents the thoughts of an elderly man who is afraid to venture past his front door. The mental conditions of the protagonists of the two stories cause them to become societal outcasts, a circumstance which allows their creators to explore a common theme of alienation. By tracing the thoughts of characters whom society deems insane and incorporating actual historical events into their work, Krleža and Pekić unfold stinging critiques of society’s repression of its past. Despite their unstable mental conditions, the protagonists of the two stories deliver excellent insights on the inability of the contemporary generation to come to terms with its past. Both authors use their unusual protagonists to locate the sacrifices and moral values of past generations during historical periods of revolution and social upheaval. The meditations of the characters show that society must acknowledge its past in order to reform itself successfully and move into

a brighter future. Unfortunately, the musings of the characters go unheeded. Past conflicts bleed into the present, and mainstream society’s repression of its historical memory ultimately results in further social fragmentation. Published in 1937, Krleža’s Cricket Beneath the Waterfall arose largely from his personal experience in World War I. As a soldier on the Galician front, Krleža was acutely aware of the brutality and violence involved in the war. Upon its conclusion, he felt that interwar Yugoslav society never fully acknowledged the human toll of the war. He was afraid that a united Yugoslavia would be difficult to hold together if the sacrifices went unappreciated. In Cricket Beneath the Waterfall, this worry manifests itself through the hallucinations of the nameless protagonist. The character in the story explains his mental condition at the outset of the narrative: “Of late I’ve been living with the dead, holding long conversations with them, sometimes throughout the night” (Krleža 35). Initially, he appears completely insane; he is hallucinating and evidently suffering from some form of psychosis. He muses, “When did I meet [these men]? Ten, twenty years ago? Twenty bloody years? Twenty bloody and desperate years, years of wars, shipwrecks, revolutions, entire processions of dead, an unsurveyable horde of living and dead acquaintances” (Krleža 48). As he continues to unfold details about his

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The Birch hallucinations, it becomes clear that he had personal relationships with all of these phantom friends. The dead emerge out of his psyche like demons out of a Freudian subconscious; he appears never to have fully dealt with the trauma of losing them. Due to its torturous nature, the protagonist’s mental illness has the effect of generating pity for him from the reader. It also serves as a grand metaphor for Krleža’s fear of repression of social memory. He felt that if the new state of Yugoslavia did not go through the processes of acknowledging the war sacrifices and mourning them properly, it would be perpetually haunted by ghosts of the past and fail to engage in contemporary world politics. The protagonist’s therapist has no understanding of his predicament and does not make any effort to try to understand his pain. Instead, the doctor prefers to write the narrator endless prescriptions of useless drugs. After a particularly disheartening session with his doctor, the narrator muses about the futility of the therapy: “At this moment I also understood how stupid it is to seek understanding from these gentlemen in white smokes, to seek warm sympathy for what to them are the lies, delusions, and shadows of our troubled brains” (Krleža 54-55). His sense of alienation is palpable, and the emotions he evokes are bleak. His problems are falling on deaf ears, and he will never receive the sympathy which he craves. The doctor, and by association society at large, is too clinical and distanced to want to engage with and understand emotional and psychological trauma. As a result, he refuses to engage in the complex process of psychoanalysis to help his patient work through the various stages of the grieving process. Dr. Siroček, a friend of the narrator and another societal outcast whose name translates roughly to “the poor man,” attempts to provide the narrator with some solace:

Let’s see now, you are bothered by your dead people...Your basic idea--that we die before our death in the conscience of those who died before us--is the most normal, most fundamental, and most logical idea of every reflection about death...A pilgrimage should be made from grave to grave, and about the mounds of the immense misery of those snuffed-out lives a candle of perception and experience should be lit... every light, even the smallest, emanating from the wisdom of the deceased could illuminate our darkness. Then this darkness in us, our incapacity to communicate with strangers, would appear less alien. (Krleža 61)

Even though he is also considered insane by the rest of the medical society in his town, Dr. Siroček appears far more sympathetic to readers than the narrator’s formal therapist. He actively listens to the narrator’s problems and attempts to provide constructive advice. Upon reflection, he finds the narrator’s ideas about the necessity of appreciating the sacrifices of the war dead completely rational and logical. In Siroček’s view, it is not the narrator who is ailing -- rather, the society surrounding him is sick. Preferring to forget the bloody conflict of World War I, it refuses to acknowledge and learn from the lives of those who have passed. As outcasts, Dr. Siroček and the narrator are the only two members of society who are attempting to cope with tragedy of the dead; the rest of society neglects to even talk about the human toll of the war. In its misconceived attempt to quickly create a new post war culture in which all six republics could coexist peacefully, interwar Yugoslavia deliberately repressed any sort of mention about the tragedy of World War I. Topics such as war sacrifices and allegiances were automatically censored. As a result, memory of the war dead receded from active cultural consciousness and

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Literary Criticism became steeped in silence. Remembering the past became an activity reserved for outcasts and shady characters lurking in the peripheries of mainstream society, such as the narrator of Cricket Beneath the Waterfall and Dr. Siroček.             Writing in a different era altogether, Borislav Pekić shared Krleža’s fundamental fear of the psychological and societal implications of repression of memories. In Houses of Belgrade, he presents a requiem for an old, tradition-based social order. At the time of the novel’s writing, the younger generation of Yugoslav citizens were fervently protesting the privileged lifestyles of the Communist elite. Born into a prominent but well off family in Montenegro, Pekić was well aware of the long standing tradition of family legacies and respect and loathed the tension between the generations. As he watched Belgrade students condemn the old Partisan Communist party elite in the riots of 1968, he felt that they were overlooking the sacrifices of the older generation in their youthful fervor and desire for a hardline Marxist state. The older generation had fought for liberation of Yugoslavia in World War II, and most of the students were too young to have first hand memories of the gruesome war experience. Arsenie Njegovan, the protagonist of Houses of Belgrade, belongs to the older aristocratic upper class generation. His family history is long and storied; the Njegovans have been responsible for the construction and upkeep of most of the houses in Belgrade for generations and generations. Because he has not left the house since he was inadvertently caught in the Belgrade riot of 1941, Arsenie is under the mistaken impression that the social order has not changed. He believes that nothing will impede the Njegovans from receiving their due respect for their contributions to the city. He establishes his alienation from mainstream society when he writes of his family: “[A]ll of them really imagine that, thanks to their naive conspiracy of silence, I know nothing of what’s going on outside; that I don’t know of my

brother’s funeral” (Pekić 15). He is unable to imagine that Yugoslavia has split with Stalin and is undergoing major political reform. The whole of his thoughts lie in the upkeep of his property and trying to figure out what his relatives might be hiding from him in terms of family politics. In terms of real historical events in Yugoslavia, the social order was undergoing rapid revolution. Milovan Djilas had been expelled from the Communist Party in 1954 for pointing out that “[c]ommunist monopoly of political power...created a ruling bureaucracy... [in the new Yugoslavia]” (Benson 99). Although he fell from grace, his criticism did not fade from memory. The subsequent fall of Aleksandar Ranković, an old Partisan and a hardline proponent of state centralism, in 1966 was a confirmation that change was coming. While the older generation was desperately trying to keep control of the Party, the new generation was pursuing a heavily Marxist ideology emphasizing decentralization and a return of power and property to the people. In the novel, Arsenie suffers from an almost pathological fear of communism and the Bolsheviks due to his presence in the 1919 riots in Russia. He remembers the riots fearfully: “I’d been hiding during the worst of the pogroms...he herded us...into the ditch in front of the house, and raised his club to strike me” (Pekić 180). His fear is understandable; his only association with communism is violent revolution. He writes of his impressions of the new generation of house managers and architects: “It’s as if they were Bolsheviks. Perhaps they are secret Bolsheviks waiting for a sign from the Kremlin to rush in and pillage” (Pekić 28). The trend of violence and chaos continues; “they” do not respect the tradition and art of the new buildings and wish to pull them down. When he walks into the city hall, he believes that the old social order is still being upheld. He writes

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The Birch of his initial confidence: “From the authorities I expected no problems at all. I knew people at the Town Hall. They would remember me from the times when I used to go to them to get the seal for my contracts. Nor had I anything to fear from higher authorities; there, my name was sufficient” (Pekić 29). Because his family has a legacy as being one of the founding families of contemporary Belgrade, Arsenie believes he has total immunity from any political problems. He assumes he will automatically be respected due to his family name and his continuing hard work in maintaining his houses and caring for his tenants. As he continues to wander through the city, he realizes how much the world has changed. He begins to question himself quite directly: “And you, Arsenie, you were so certain that you knew everything about the outside world simply because you found out about your brother’s death? There are other things too which have ceased to exist in the meantime-your Nike, for example--and who knows what else” (109). He suddenly feels as if his entire identity is under attack, and the reader cannot help but pity him as he realizes he is completely alienated from the social pulse in post-1948 Yugoslavia. Inadvertently, he walks straight into the 1968 student riot. When he sees the red banners of the students proclaiming “Down with the red bourgeoisie,” he is completely traumatized:

For them the bourgeoisie was bloody. For them Arsenie Njegovan was bloody! Arsenie, whose forebears had built this ungrateful town with their sweat and skill. Arsenie, who let people off from their rent, and whose building workers were the best paid in the county--that same Arsenie was bloody. (172) He cannot understand why the students are being hostile towards the older families. Associating the red flags with communism, he

is automatically repulsed and angered by them. As far as he is concerned, he has sacrificed his life the maintenance of his property and the happiness of his tenants. He refuses to understand the perspective of the students, who view him through a Marxist lens as a class enemy. Unaware of the hard work and traditional morality of Arsenie, the students simply despise the idea of personal property and see house owners as entitled villains. Wanting to bring these alleged villains to justice, they stage a street protest that quickly degenerates into violence as they attempt to forcefully confiscate and collectivize personal property. None of the parties involved in the protest benefit from it. Many of the students who partake in it are injured or arrested. Instead of becoming collectivized, the physical property in question is ultimately destroyed in the excitement of the riot. Poor Arsenie suffers a fatal shock and dies soon after, leaving the reader to meditate on the unpredictable nature of revolution and social upheaval. Both Krleža and Pekić received heavy criticism for publishing their views. Because he continued to write about his controversial ideas, Krleža was eventually banned from publishing his work in journals for some years. Pekić was denied a passport to travel by officials and ultimately moved to London in 1971 to be able to write freely. Looking back at the issues which concerned the two authors, it becomes clear that they presented powerful critiques of their respective Yugoslavias. The first Yugoslavia dissolved in 1941 when unresolved issues exploded due to Nazi pressure, and the second Yugoslavia disintegrated in one of the most violent wars of the 20th century. Perhaps if the government had allowed more open social critique in the Balkans serious issues such as the ones presented by Krleža and Pekić in their fictional works could have been addressed before they ended in such brutal violence.

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Literary Criticism

Stanislavsky, Meyerhold, and the Duality of Russian Theater Jack Klempay

Columbia College, Columbia University Broadly speaking, a theatrical performance exists whenever a performer and an observer interact. The role of a performing artist is to entertain his audience, and to capture their attention he must effectively communicate both thought and feeling. However, the word spectacle – from the Latin spectare (“to watch”) – implies a physical and emotional distance between the performer and the observer. Thus, theater is inherently paradoxical: Actors are meant to develop a rapport with their audience, and yet the very act of observation depends on the separation of the performer from the observer. This contradiction evokes certain questions: Can a theatrical performance exist without the separation of the performer from the observer? Or, does theater presuppose the categorization of its participants? And finally, how can one overcome the performer-observer binary to create emotional ties between the actor and the spectator? The history of Russian theater offers insight into these questions, particularly since Russian culture is said to be dualistic. This means that Russian society tends to fall into binary patterns of opposition, such as East vs. West, Moscow vs. Saint Petersburg, secular vs. religious, and so on and so forth.1 “Actor vs. spectator” is one of those binary oppositions, and Russian stage directors have

actively sought to reconcile this opposition and resolve the actor’s paradox. When considering the history of Russian theater, two giants quickly emerge: Stanislavski and Meyerhold, both of whom were great contributors to the practical and theoretical development of modern drama. In all faithfulness to the duality of the Russian tradition, Stanislavski and Meyerhold were diametrically opposed in their beliefs and attitudes towards the theater. Each one fell into one of two broad categories imagined more than one hundred years earlier by the French philosopher Diderot in his famous treatise-play, “Paradoxe sur le comédien.”2 Stanislavski, the comédien de nature, pioneered psychological and naturalist performance; Meyerhold, the comédien de tête, practically invented modern symbolist and gestural theater. Both Stanislavski and Meyerhold focused on the seemingly paradoxical relationship between the actor and the audience. Stanislavksy sought to “persuade [his] audience of the truthfulness and faithfulness of [the actor’s] interpretations to life and reality,”3 while Meyerhold called attention to the artificiality of theater and constantly reminded his audience that “what is being performed is only a play.”4 At first glance, Stanislavski’s

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The Birch psychological realism blurs the line between the performer and the observer. According to Stanislavski, the observer should not consider the performer as an actor but rather as a person; Stanislavski’s naturalist theater was not the theater of spectacle but the authentic theater of life. Meanwhile, Meyerhold’s gestural theater called attention to the artificiality of performance and polarized the performer-observer binary. In Meyerholdian theater the actor is dehumanized, like a puppet, and the observer is either frightened or amused by the strangeness of the performer. These conventional characterizations of the Stanislavskian and Meyerholdian modes of performance are certainly useful, but as simplistic generalizations they can and should be challenged:5 the actor-spectator relationship is too subtle to be reduced to the superficiality of appearances alone. In many ways, Meyerhold’s theater was much more intimate than Stanislavski’s: by actively engaging his audience, Meyerhold operated on a more human level than did Stanislavski, who often treated his audience as a backdrop for what was happening onstage. For Stanislavski, the theater was a temple. He believed that common life should leave its dirt and filth at the doors to make room for a purely artistic life. The physical edifice of Stanislavski’s theater was just as carefully considered as the staging of the plays which it housed. Fyodor Shekhtel’s 1903 Art Nouveau reconstruction of the Moscow Art Theater building was almost entirely overseen by Stanislavski, and great attention was paid to the minutest of details. Even the uniform of ushers and ticket sellers was specially designed to “resemble that of the Italian Army.”6 The overall effect created a solemn antechamber between the stage and the outside world, not entirely theatrical but definitely distinct

from the rabble of the street. This carefully considered solemnity of the performance space was certainly a profoundly alienating experience for the theater-goer. Once across the temple threshold, he was meant to purify himself to receive Stanislavski’s unadulterated truth in art. Stanislavski’s psychological realism demanded that the audience member forget himself: once in his seat, he was no longer himself but a sanctified spectator. In Stanislavskian theater there is no true communion between the theater-goer and the performer. Whatever connection is established during the performance is broken once the spectator leaves the theater and returns to the banality of his everyday life. From his early childhood, Stanislavski was terrified by the “black and terrible hole of the proscenium arch,”7 and it was ultimately to protect himself from his audience that Stanislavski erected the famous fourth wall, the invisible barrier separating the actor from his audience.8 In 1896, Stanislavski and the Moscow Art Theater staged Anton Chekhov’s play, The Seagull. The production featured a play within the play, and Stanislavski had his actors watch the performance with their backs turned to the public. This was naturalism at its finest: in the real world, people are not constrained by the artificially imposed conventions of the classical stage and can face in whichever direction they like. One could claim that this naturalist staging broke down the distinction between the performer and the observer (the actors joined the spectators in the act of observation). But in many ways this was the ultimate realization of the fourth wall. The real audience was literally shut out of the performance, the actors’ backs raising an insurmountable barrier between the audience members and the action upstage. Stanislavski sought to divide the actor and the spectator,

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Literary Criticism not to unite them. By raising the fourth wall and reducing his audience to a black hole, Stanislavski dehumanized the observer and broke off the actor’s emotional rapport because, after all, it is impossible to connect emotionally with an empty pit. After 1917, Stanislavski posted signs throughout the theater reminding his audience that it was forbidden to speak or applaud during a performance.9 For Stanislavski, the spectator was a passive observer who was neither seen nor heard. Meyerhold found this kind of passivity terribly dull. He bemoaned the fact that in the naturalist theater “the same deathly hush prevails in the auditorium as in the reading-room of a library and it sends the public to sleep.”10 Meyerhold realized that as human beings, his audience members were subject to human passions. Thus, for Meyerhold, theater was meant to be a scandalous affair, capable of inciting a loud and divisive reaction.11 This was tied to his understanding of the fairground booth. In popular art forms, audience participation was expected, if not demanded: in the commedia dell’arte tradition, actors dialogued with the rambunctious crowd during the address a parte. This was why Meyerhold recognized the spectator as a “fourth creator,” one who could express himself through laughter, applause, or verbal interaction with the performer.12 Each performance depended on and was shaped by the audience’s reaction, so in 1925 Meyerhold created rubrics to quantify audience behavior and participation. Meyerhold and his “laboratory assistants” would then analyze the results and adapt their productions accordingly.13 In Meyerholdian theater, the distinction between actor and spectator is broken down as the observer is asked to join the ranks of the performers. Unlike Stanislavski, Meyerhold

welcomed the “riff-raff” into the theater. He worshipped the cabotin and the grotesque, along with vaudeville, commedia dell’arte and all forms of fairground show. Meyerhold believed that theater belonged to the common man, and thus that it could not be separated from the lively and vibrant (but utterly common) culture of the market square. His theater depended on vulgarity. In his 1906 production of Alexander Blok’s Balaganchik (“The Puppet Show”), Meyerhold realized his theatrical vision by literally staging the fairground booth. Balaganchik, with its lack of conventional plot, frequent authorial interruptions, and abstract symbolism, was a bizarre and unsettling affair. Yet despite all its strangeness, Meyerhold and Blok’s fairground booth was quite close to its contemporary audience: these were the characters and stories of their collective consciousness, the Pierrots and Arlecchinos and Petrushkas of their childhood. For instance, in his Memoirs the influential Russian artist and art critic Alexandre Benois fondly recalls the fairground puppet shows of his early years and the influence they had on his later artistic development. Through these archetypes the spectator was meant to see “not only the actual Arlecchino before him but all the Arlecchinos who live in his memory.”14 Whereas Stanislavski’s psychological theater demanded that the audience forget, Meyerhold’s theater of archetypes asked the audience to remember. The emotional impact of Meyerhold’s productions depended on the audience member’s ability to recall his existence outside the performance space. The emotional connection between the Meyerholdian actor and his audience is more than purely theatrical: it is a human connection, a shared experience that extended beyond the confines of the stage and onto the

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The Birch

market square. Meyerhold is perhaps most famous for his 1926 production of Nikolai Gogol’s play, The Inspector General. It is not surprising that Meyerhold chose to stage a Gogol play, in particular The Inspector General. The character of the Mayor, and the play’s Town in general, are particularly Meyerholdian. Like Petrushka and Arlecchino, the Mayor and the Town are archetypes. In his article “The Dénouement of The Inspector General,” Gogol insists that “all to a man are agreed that no such town exists in all Russia.”15 Yet, at the same time, it can be argued that Gogol’s Town is nothing other than “Russia in the totality of its being.”16 At the end of the play, the audience is not laughing at the duped Mayor, for his situation is in fact rather pitiable (this would be the Stanislavskian approach, to produce an emotional reaction through the observation of characters’ misfortunes or misadventures). The Mayor touches on the truth in an angry outburst: “What are you laughing at? You’re laughing at your own selves!”17 Gogol’s comedy is funny because audience members see themselves reflected in his archetypal characters. The fourth wall is broken, and the resulting laughter is universal. According to Gogol, the effect of laughter is so powerful that the distinction between actor and spectator disappears so that “all people should meet, in one movement, as brothers.”18 The most memorable aspect of Meyerhold’s production of The Inspector General was certainly his rendition of the famous mute scene, in which “all the characters, thus petrified, retain their positions for almost a minute and a half.”19 In his article “The Fairground Booth,” Meyerhold describes two puppet theaters.20 The director of the first, out of a desire for realism, eventually replaces his puppet with a human actor. The

second, enchanted by the simple magic of his puppets, refuses to make the switch. In his staging of the mute scene, Meyerhold took the second route and replaced his actors with puppets. In “Paradoxe sur le comédien,” Diderot dreams of a purely gestural theater, in which actors would become like figures in a three-dimensional tableau. With The Inspector General, Meyerhold made that dream a reality. An obvious criticism of Diderot’s notion of the tableau vivant is that it polarizes the performer-observer binary: it is impossible for the observer to interact with a framed image since it is fixed and immobile. However, it is precisely this immobility that ultimately breaks down the performer-observer binary. In his review of Meyerhold’s production, the Soviet Commissar of Enlightenment and influential art critic Anatoly Lunacharsky (who was also the first to translate “Paradoxe sur le Comédien” into Russian in 1922) remarks that “absolutely any moment of this large production photographed on a color still would be a finished work of art; I stress: finished to the very last detail.”21 Regarding the mute scene, this remark is not even hypothetical, since Meyerhold’s tableau essentially consisted of a three dimensional photograph. But despite the “horrifyingly mechanistic, inhuman, deadly character” of the puppets,22 Meyerhold’s audience was drawn in by the overall composition of the work. One can imagine that the audience sat in silence for a minute or two, until people began to stir uncomfortably in their seats when they realized that the figures before them were puppets, not men. The absence of human actors left a vacuum upon the stage, and with nowhere else to go the role of the performer was thrust upon the audience. Gogol’s townspeople ceased to exist, only to be replaced by those who had been subjects

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Literary Criticism of his play all along: the real townspeople, the spectators themselves. This is the true principle of the Diderot’s tableau: the emptiness onstage causes the spectator to turn his gaze upon himself. With such perfect immobility the performer-observer binary cannot persist, if only because performer and observer become one and the same. Thus, the so-called paradox of theater is in fact not a paradox at all. Stanislavski believed that an actor had to appear lifelike to build an emotional rapport with his audience. But in an effort to make theater more human, Stanislavski actually dehumanized his audience by reducing the spectator to an onlooker. Meyerhold, on the other hand, embraced the artificiality of theater and in doing so brought the actor and the spectator closer together than ever before. His characters were certainly strange, and yet by virtue of this strangeness they resonated all the more deeply with his audience. In Meyerholdian theater no one is meant to sit quietly. The audience is itself a performer,

with its own characters, moods, and modes of expression. With his groundbreaking ending to The Inspector General, Meyerhold shifted the focus of theater away from the actor and onto the spectator. But hasn’t that always been the original intent of drama? Theater is not meant to be a parade for actors and directors to show off their skill; for more than any other reason, people go to the theater to be entertained, and entertainment always involves a certain degree of reciprocity. Stanislavski understood this as he held theater up as a mirror to real life. Meyerhold pushed one step further by turning the onlooker’s attention away from his reflection and back onto himself. In this case, reciprocity is complete: the spectator laughs, cries, and shakes his fist at his own self, and is entertained by this unusual predicament. The exercise can be difficult or unnatural, and the resulting image can be unpleasant or surprising. But to quote Gogol in his epigraph to The Inspector General: “There’s no use blaming the mirror if it’s your own mug that’s crooked.”

A Slavic Proverb to Ponder Don’t buy a cat in a sack. Nie kupuj kota w worku.

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Harriman Undergraduate Initiative

Are you interested in Russia and the post-Soviet region? Would you like to work for the oldest academic institution devoted to the study of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia? Then join the Harriman Undergraduate Initiative Executive Board. Established in 1948, the Harriman Institute was the dominant source of Soviet studies throughout the Cold War and remains so today. The Harriman Institute’s undergraduate internship program:  Team research projects under direction of Harriman experts  Interscholastic research and presentations opportunities  Distinguished professor lunches and lectures  Weekly Russian discussion hour and film screening Contact harrimanundergrad@columbia.edu with questions and interest!


Photography

Samuel Hanuščin Photos, 2012

Matthew Schantz, Columbia College, Columbia University

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The Birch

Anastasia Vartsaba, Barnard College, Columbia University

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Photography

Samuel Hanuščin Photos, 2012

Anna Sharova, Washington and Lee University

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The Birch

Anna Sharova, Washington and Lee University

Samuel Hanuščin Photos, 2012

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Photography

Anna Sharova, Washington and Lee University

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The Birch

Matej Lukac, Newtown College Brno

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Creative Writing

Post Office Christopher Brennan

Columbia College, Columbia University

A young man in his early twenties wearing jean capris, Adidas, and a fake Ed Hardy shirt came up to me and asked me if he was in the right line. A conveyor belt on the other side of the room lurched to a start. I told him he was. The line was in a building much like all the other gray stone buildings on Myasnitskaya Street. The only thing keeping this entrance from looking like the other doorways was that it had a large blue doubleheaded eagle sign, the symbol of the Russian Federation, hanging above it. But the building wasn’t just any office building. It was the center of the Russian bureaucratic state —the Moscow Central Post Office. Though Russia may have been led into the embrace of Wild Western capitalism by oil and gas oligarchs, I would imagine that the post office has changed very little since 1989. Just like a post office back home in the States: flimsy paper tickets, people silently staring at each other, lines, stale air, overweight women with elaborately painted fingernails. All the essentials were there. The entire international post office system might just be the civilized world’s vestigial organ left over from some common, cranky, carbon-copying ancestor. After being sent back twice for

international shipping forms Б and Д and a trip to the ATM after my credit card was rejected, I was in the last—and longest—line. My comrades in the international shipping line were mostly babushkas, with the occasional student scattered in between. The old woman in front of me was sending disconnected doll parts to Chicago with a hard “ch.” The woman in front of her was sending something to France, but her arm was blocking the city written on the package. There was a sign on the wall telling all citizens to report any post office corruption or unauthorized exchanging of money. The young guy behind me in the tight t-shirt fingered the sunglasses in his hand, which were probably also fake Ed Hardy. I nicknamed him Igor. He leaned against the railing and looked like he was about to say something to me about the doll parts. He didn’t and we both continued looking at other people’s boxes. It was not hard to see what was going on in Igor’s mind. Not at all. He did not want to be in the post office line. Not at all. He wanted to be in Gorky Park on a warm August day, drinking a Czech beer and smoking cigarettes with his friends as they jokingly discussed how much better Russian rappers were than American ones, but he wasn’t. He was stuck

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The Birch in a line that was stuck in a post office that was stuck in Russia. Maybe he was sending off a packing to a DJ friend in Germany. More likely he was sending something to his cousin in Belarus whom he resented because he had to stand in this line with babushkas every time he wanted to send something to Belarus, which used to be part of the damn Soviet Union anyway. Five minutes passed before two stereotypes collided at two hundred kilometers per hour. A beautiful Russian girl in pumps clicked her way into a boring Russian bureaucratic office and turned the room into a short story by Updike. She had long dark hair and would have been short if her heels didn’t get her five extra inches. She was busty with a black tank top and a red thong under the see-through, form-fitting white pants that Russian women are very fond of wearing in the summertime. She was tan with white iPod headphones, black Cleopatra eyeliner, frosted pink lips, and pixie green eye shadow. If she ever did make it over to New York or LA she might’ve become a superstar. But she really wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for Moscow; just another girl who makes walking through the subway feel like arriving on a porn set. There was probably a businessman boyfriend waiting outside in a BMW to take her to a place where she could dance on top of tables later. He probably owned natural resources and wore an Italian suit and didn’t have time to think about international shipping lines because he was SMS-ing someone in London. She ripped a piece of tape from the roll and quickly circumscribed her box with it. She walked past our line to a window with one frustrated man in a short-sleeved buttondown shirt who had been waiting for a civil servant to return. She cut through the room

like it was chocolate cake. The girl stood and bobbed her head to her music before a middleaged bureaucrat suddenly appeared behind the window, filled out her forms, and took her package and money. The babushkas stared. Maybe they had been Soviet beauties once, before their backs became hunched. Now they were just envious voyeurs. She turned on her toes and bounced out of the office. I heard Igor puffed up his chest beneath his shirt as she walked out of the room but I was too busy watching her to see. Her hips swung back and forth and she walked away like fireworks. The babushkas collectively grunted. The conveyer belt lurched a couple times. Igor stole glances at the door. I became second in line. I noticed Igor giving me a twice-over. He looked around the room nervously. He noticed that I noticed. “Hey, hey, man, I’ll give you 1,000 rubles if you switch places in line with me” he said quickly in Russian. He shot a few looks at the door. I only caught “1,000 rubles,” so I asked him if he needed change. “Nyet, nyet,” he said. He pushed my wallet away and said with a wink, “I’ll give it to you.” I still didn’t understand. He mumbled something else and gesticulated with his hands. Nothing. He stared angrily at me for a couple seconds, put on his sunglasses, and walked briskly out the door. After a few seconds I understood that I had missed his business proposition. The chunky babushka in a too-tight tank top who had been behind him in line scoffed and shook her head. “That young man, ha! … What has he got, a date? ha!” she chortled like an exhaust pipe. “’I’ll give you 1,000 rubles…’ Who does he think he is?”

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Creative Writing

Masha Esther Araya

Columbia College, Columbia University

There is a boy, a quite ridiculous sight really, standing boldly before the world; his eyes screwed shut and his lips succumbing to the laws of letters and sounds. “…Nine! … Ten!” And with the culmination of this final ten, the earth around him explodes into staggering clarity. The sun’s beams sting his eyes and bake his skin. Grasshoppers, like emerald comets, hurtle from one swaying stalk to the next. The boy’s darting eyes demonstrate an intimate command of this wild expanse. Suddenly, with the speed of one lacking worldly burdens, the boy races across the untamed meadow. Birds scatter in his wake, crying out indignantly, hysteria pumping their wings faster, higher. From above, they watch the boy’s sporadic progress, like a skittish squirrel trying to recall where it has stored its nuts. But now it would seem the boy has spotted something. Yes! There, shining through gnarled branches, a glint of gold. His soprano voice rings out with Napoleonic triumph. “Masha!” Wide blue eyes, like liquid sky, suddenly appear above the brambles. The

thus dubbed Masha lets out a cry of terrified delight as she scrambles to her feet and escapes down the grassy knoll. Her two haphazard braids of honey-wheat hue stream behind her, unapologetic. The chase ends well. They cling innocently to each other’s arms, a heap of nonsensical laughter and adolescent gibberish. The boy has skinned his knee and he proudly displays the angry, red cut, careful to avoid any indication of suffering. Then it is the boy’s turn to watch in awe as Masha’s deft fingers restore order to a braid, come undone in their flight of ecstasy. The sun dips low now and the children have failed to speak of anything remotely important. But there is a stillness that lingers among them--of satisfaction, of thoughts unspoken, of glances undefined. “Misha,” the girl begins. The boy cocks his head in expectation. “Do you think,” she begins again, “we’ll always be here?” Her eyes earnestly search his face for a sign, any sign, of dawning comprehension. She continues. “I mean, do you think we’ll ever leave this place?” Misha weighs her questions gingerly.

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The Birch He cannot bring himself to give her the serious answer she desires, for he is still of the age when avoiding verbal confirmation delays life’s inevitabilities. “Well I’m certainly not going to sit here out on this hill my whole life. You can, I suppose, if you want. The goats will learn to like you.” The edges of his mouth curl into a sly smile, but as disappointment scrawls across Masha’s forehead, he falters. Masha purses her lips and gives him the tiniest of sighs, batting her eyes and waving her hand. You just don’t understand, it all seems to say. Misha’s brow grows darker at these insinuations. He takes offense to that single exhalation of air, though really, passing through her naïve lips, it couldn’t have been a more ludicrous sound. He stands up and dusts himself off a bit more aggressively than necessary. Purposefully avoiding her gaze, he seems to say to no one in particular, “Let me walk you home.” He hears her get up too and his pride swells with satisfaction. He is almost ready to forgive her for not laughing at his joke. “No.” Her voice rings out soft and clear. There is no anger, no blame. And yet it seems to Misha to be very heavy, as if Masha has had to bend with her knees to pick up such a phrase and tottered, uncertain if she would be able to cast it from her body at all. “I can go home by myself.” “As you wish,” he replies with a sneer and a mocking bow. He immediately hates himself. Stealing a glance at her, he notices the way her spine stiffens and her fists clench. He vows to make it up to her, but his pride will take no more losses today. Masha’s mouth has set into a thin black line of rage and, without another word, she turns on her heel and storms off. He will make it up to her. Tomorrow, he tells himself, will come soon enough. And so it does. He bounds down the

dirt path, his footfalls ending in a satisfying crunch that goads his pounding heart. Up past the creaking gate and battered wooden steps, Misha knocks earnestly upon the door. It opens with some trepidation and only one suspicious blue eye peers out at him through the crack. He grins. “Masha, c’mon, don’t still be mad, please? I’ve come to make it up to you. But I can’t tell this to a door. C’mon, open up.” The door opens just wide enough for Masha’s head and shoulders to spill out into the morning sun. Good enough, he decides. “The boys and I are going to have a game of soccer. Dima’s older brother says we can use his ball. And I’m always captain; I’ll pick you on my team first.” The door slams and Misha hesitates slightly, but then Masha reappears, dutifully sporting a small pink T-shirt and cotton shorts. Best of all, she wears a foolish grin and Misha knows all is forgiven. They stroll together across the open field and draw even to a large group of boys standing restlessly about. Misha is greeted by some with a quick thrust of their chins in his general direction. The others just stare at Masha. Misha playfully shoves a tall boy to his right with mousy brown hair and narrow eyes. “Alexei, quit gawking.” Alexei begins to mutter but Misha drowns him out. “This is Masha. She’s in our class and she’s a good friend. She’ll be playing with us.” Misha has an easy authority. He is well-liked amongst the boys for playing fair and not taking offense easily. They eye Masha wearily, but a few offer her stiff little nods of welcome and she relaxes into a nervous smile. “Don’t worry.” She says, clearly not following her own advice, “I play with my two older brothers a lot. I’m a fast runner.” She flips her long golden ponytail behind her and tries to look encouraging. A couple boys smile weakly in response.

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Creative Writing Alexei kicks at a tuft of grass and tries to fill the awkward silence that follows Masha’s announcement. “Where’s Dima and his ball anyways?” No one answers but furtive glances abound, all hoping for a glimpse of a black silhouette to appear against one of the open horizons. And eventually one of them does spot such an apparition, a beat-up soccer ball tucked in the crook of his right arm. Dima knows all the boys’ eyes are on him and this encourages the manifestation of a ridiculous strut. Masha giggles but grows quiet at the dark glances flashed her way. They cannot afford to upset Dima. True, none of the boys really like him. He is cocky and rude, unbearably proud and unreasonably jealous. But Dima always has things the other boys do not. Humoring him, they decide, is worth it. Dima strides up, smiling evenly. It is the kind of smile that reminds Masha of the way that a sour coach, having exhausted his already paltry amount of patience, looks upon his team of hopeless misfits - thinking only of his own past glory and what he has done to deserve this. She immediately dislikes him. The smile vanishes from Dima’s face. “Who brought the girl?” He sneers, squaring his shoulders and advancing towards Masha. Misha steps in deftly between them. “Dima, this is Masha. I brought her. She’s a good player; we’ll be lucky to have her. You’ll see.” Masha beams at the back of Misha’s head and watches with pleasure the way Dima falters and scrutinizes Misha’s face. Dima does not have any romantic illusions about his place amongst these boys. He knows they dog his steps only from their sheer and utter jealousy for his things. He is painfully aware of Misha’s natural popularity but knows when to pick his fights. “She better be,” is all

he could think to respond with. “Well, are we playing or what?” Anger bites at his words. “C’mon everyone, line up, we have to pick teams.” Misha turns and gives the slightest encouraging nod to Masha, whose eyes are set with confident determination. She would show them. It is only fair they are skeptical, she muses. They have never seen her play before. But she is good. She would show them. Dima announces that since it is his ball they play with, he gets to be first captain. To his chagrin, no one questions Misha’s right as the second captain. As they are just about to head out onto the field, another boy, pudgy with slick blonde hair, points off into the distance. “Look! Someone else is coming.” They all turn and watch as a long, gangly figure strolls casually towards them. “It’s my brother, Anton,” Dima finally says, unable to hide the slight hint of nervousness in his voice. When Anton finally reaches them, he claps Dima on the back. “Hey,” he says coolly to the small crowd of intensely scrutinizing eyes. “Dima told me you guys would be playing a bit of ball. Thought I’d join.” There is an ill-contained flurry of excitement as the boys digest this news. What luck! their gazes seem to say to each other. “Oh. Where are my manners?” His voice is smooth and sure. “Anton.” And with the pronouncement of his name, he extends an outstretched hand to the first boy on his right. The boy nearly swoons as he takes his hand, and this is repeated all around. To be treated as an equal to this older boy, and so casually, as if it were the obvious thing to do! He earns their immediate respect. Masha stands second to last, but Anton deliberately skips her in holding out his hand to Misha. Misha hesitates briefly but cannot

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The Birch bring himself to disappoint Anton’s relaxed, easy gaze. He shakes his hand quietly as Masha’s cheeks flush. “So you already picked teams?” The boys nod in general unison, hanging on to his every word. “Ah well, I think it might be better to pick them again. It’s only fair that being Dima’s brother, we pick opposite teams, so there’s no favoritism.” He winks and the boys are all in agreement. Of course, of course, as it should be. “You can go first, little bro,” Anton teases, ruffling Dima’s hair. Dima picks Alexei. Then it’s Anton’s turn. “I like the look of you. What’d you say your name was? Misha? You’ll be my first.” Misha steps forward, obviously flattered by the compliment, and tries to smile at Masha, but she stares at the ground. She has done the math while the others have not. Finally, only Masha and another boy remain with only one other spot to fill. Anton acts as if the decision is a difficult one for him. “Hmmm,” he mutters, and this draws laughs from all around. Misha, panic setting in, edges closer and whispers into Anton’s ear. “Listen, the girl is my friend. I invited her. Please let her play.” Anton raises an eyebrow at him before turning back to the two children. Masha’s face burns and her mouth has become that thin stern line. The other boy looks bored. “I’ll take the girl,” Anton articulates slowly. The boy’s face pale. Masha’s face floods first with surprise and relief. Misha meets her eyes hopefully, but she reads the apology in his eyes loud and clear. She understands she has been picked out of pity and is filled with the deepest shame. “I don’t want to play your stupid game!” She insists, stamping her foot and hating herself for the hot tears that are spilling from her flashing cerulean eyes. She storms off and Misha helplessly lets her go.

… A thousand stars wink overhead as Misha gently makes his way across the familiar dirt path. He spies Masha’s house and stops short, just outside of the ring of light cast from her front porch. Masha is being hotly pursued by one of her brothers, but she runs with a speed and agility that actually challenges him. A ball of flashing black and white is the object of her chase. Misha wills her forward, straining his body as if to lend her strength. Her other brother, ready and waiting, dives forward. But she sends the ball flying against the wall of an old shed, making it shudder and creak against the blow. Her goalie brother grins and dusts himself off before trotting after the runaway ball. The other promptly hoists Masha onto his shoulders, running her around the yard and shouting “Urraa!” over her happy shrieks of pleasure. Misha realizes he looks like a fool, smiling wildly in the dark recess and starts to take a step forward, but holds off to listen. “Petya!” she screams between her laughter. “Petya!” Petya turns his eyes upward. “Yes Masha?” He tickles her stomach and adds affectionately, “What is it, my Masha-chka?” She giggles and squirms again. “Petya, do you think,” she asks, suddenly breathless. “Petya, do you think we’ll always be here? Do you think we’ll ever leave this place?” Petya stops and gently lifts her off from his shoulders. He sets her down and bends forward, resting his palms on his thighs and meeting her steady gaze with his soft one. Misha finds himself edging closer, not wanting to miss Petya’s words. “If to leave is what you want, Masha, so it will be. But we will never leave you, whether you want us to or not.” He smiles and gently

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Creative Writing tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. “Okay?” Masha smiles sheepishly. “Okay.” “Now, tell me, where is it my little Masha wants to go?” Masha considers this briefly. “To the moon!” she declares. Petya laughs and exclaims, “By God, what a wonderful idea. It’s about time we knocked America off of their lunar high, don’t you think?” Masha nods enthusiastically but turns at the sound of the advancing footsteps. Misha

emerges from the gloom and only manages to catch these final words of Petya’s. Masha bounds happily towards him, bolstered by her brother’s words, entirely forgetting the afternoon debacle. As she prattles on, Misha watches her wistfully. He hasn’t caught everything Petya has said, but he can see clearly enough now that Petya has somehow given Masha permission to leave. Misha searches her face and her eyes, scrutinizes her hands flying this way and that. But she is already gone.

Anna Sharova, Washington and Lee University

A Slavic Proverb to Ponder When the woman gets off the wagon, the horses have an easier time. Baba z wozu koniom lżej.

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The Birch

ЛЕСНОЙ ВАЛЬС

A Forest Waltz

Булат Окуджава, 1961

Bulat Okudzhava, 1961

Translated by

Olga Korobova

Northwestern University Музыкант в лесу под деревом, он наигрывает вальс. Он наигрывает вальс то ласково, то страстно. Что касается меня, то я опять гляжу на Вас, а Вы глядите на него, а он глядит в пространство.

In the woods, beneath a tree, a musician plays his waltz The musician plays a waltz, with tenderness, with passion. Once again, I look at you, and my gaze I can’t withdraw,

Целый век играет музыка. Затянулся наш пикник. Тот пикник, где пьют и плачут, любят и бросают. Музыкант приник губами к флейте. Я бы к Вам приник! Но Вы, наверно, тот родник, который не спасает.

For a century, there’s music. So our picnic’s never through. A picnic where they drink and cry, where they love and they desert. The musician pressed his lips to the flute...I would to you! But you are probably the creek that never quenches thirst.

А музыкант играет вальс. И он не видит ничего. Он стоит, к стволу березовому прислонясь плечами. И березовые ветки вместо пальцев у него, а глаза его березовые строги и печальны. А перед ним стоит сосна, вся в ожидании весны. А музыкант врастает в землю. Звуки вальса льются...

The musician plays his waltz. Doesn’t see or understand. He just stands, his shoulder pressed to the birch tree’s bark. And the branches of that birch replace the fingers on his hand, And his birch-gray eyes become stern, morose, and dark. Before him, there is a pine, waiting for spring to arrive. The musician blends with earth. The waltz notes start to pour...

But you are looking up at him, and he looks into vastness.

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Translations И его худые ноги как будто корни той сосны они в земле переплетаются, никак не расплетутся.

And his slender legs appear to be like the roots of that pineBeneath the soil, they won’t unwind, entangling more and more.

Целый век играет музыка. Затянулся наш роман. Он затянулся в узелок, горит он - не сгорает... Ну давайте успокоимся! Разойдемся по домам!.. Но Вы глядите на него... А музыкант играет...

For a century, there’s music. Our affair is never done. Tied itself into a knot, a constant flame ablaze. Why don’t we all go back home! We need to regain our calm.. But you are looking up at him... and the musician plays...

Anna Sharova, Washington and Lee University

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The Birch

РЫБНАЯ ЛАВКА Николай Заболоцкий ,1928

The Fish Market Nikolay Zabolotsky, 1928

Translated by

Misha Semenov

Princeton University И вот забыв людей коварство, Вступаем мы в иное царство.

Forgetting now the treachery of men, We enter quite a different realm…

Тут тело розовой севрюги, Прекраснейшей из всех севрюг, Висело, вытянувши руки, Хвостом прицеплено на крюк. Под ней кета пылала мясом, Угри, подобные колбасам, В копченой пышности и лени Дымились, подогнув колени, И среди них, как желтый клык, Сиял на блюде царь-балык.

Here the pink sturgeon’s body, The most magnificent of sturgeons, Hung limply, arms outstretched, Hitched by its tail onto a rusty hook. While down below, a chum’s flesh glowed; Like fatty sausages, the eels, In all their wood-smoked laziness and splendor, Prostrated themselves on the grill, And in their midst, like a yellow tusk, The king salmon shone on a dish.

О самодержец пышный брюха, Кишечный бог и властелин, Руководитель тайный духа И помыслов архитриклин! Хочу тебя! Отдайся мне! Дай жрать тебя до самой глотки! Мой рот трепещет, весь в огне, Кишки дрожат, как готтентотки. Желудок, в страсти напряжен, Голодный сок струями точит, То вытянется, как дракон, То вновь сожмется что есть мочи, Слюна, клубясь, во рту бормочет,

Oh pompous despot of the belly, The god and ruler of intestines, Mysterious guide and master of the soul, Architriclinus of thoughts! I want you! Give yourself up to me! Let me gorge on you till I burst! My mouth is quaking, all ablaze, My guts tremble like Hottentot youths. My stomach, tense with passion, Oozes out rivulets of starving juice, Stretches its bulk out like a dragon, And then once more contracts with all its might;

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Translations И сжаты челюсти вдвойне... Хочу тебя! Отдайся мне! Повсюду гром консервных банок, Ревут сиги, вскочив в ушат. Ножи, торчащие из ранок, Качаются и дребезжат. Горит садок подводным светом, Где за стеклянною стеной Плывут лещи, объяты бредом, Галлюцинацией, тоской, Сомненьем, ревностью, тревогой... И смерть над ними, как торгаш, Поводит бронзовой острогой. Весы читают «Отче наш», Две гирьки, мирно встав на блюдце, Определяют жизни ход, И дверь звенит, и рыбы бьются, И жабры дышат наоборот.

Saliva swirls and grumbles in my mouth, My jaw locks tight, teeth grind on teeth… I want you! Give yourself up to me! And everywhere the thunder of the tin cans, The roar of whitefish leaping in their tubs. And knives, protruding out from wounds, Jingle and rattle back and forth. The fish pond burns with underwater light, Where on the other side of the glass wall The bream swim, seized by delirium, Hallucinations, melancholy, Doubts, jealousy, alarm and doom… And death, above them like a hawker, Shows off its bronze harpoon. The scales read “Our Father,” Two weights, peacefully resting on the dish, Alone determine life’s course, And the door rings, and the fish thrash, And gills breathe in reverse.

Anna Sharova, Washington and Lee University

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The Birch

ЖИЗНЬ НЕЖИВОТНЫХ Линор Горалик

Lives of the Un-Animals Linor Goralik

Translated by

Misha Semenov

Princeton University         Видела хомяка сегодня, который от меня год назад ушел. Ушел, когда появилась кошка, – она не то чтобы его съесть или что-то такое, но вела с ним долгие разговоры, что если бы он был – другим, то ее бы, конечно, никто заводить не стал. Я подозревала, что кончится плохо, но сделать ничего, казалось мне – тогда казалось! – не могла. Ушел он ночью, босиком, без копейки денег, было холодно уже совсем, и я думала – погиб, плакала и кошке кричала бессмысленные обвинения, и заперлась на ночь от нее, а она легла в гостиной на диване. А вчера в парке Горького он меня окликнул. Я даже не поверила сначала и не узнала фактически его. Он опустился ужасно, шерсть клочьями, морда одутловатая какая-то, это кошмар. Ходит вперевалку. Бросился меня обнимать и сразу попросил пива поставить, и еще привел с собой хмыря какого-то, но хмырь, слава богу, заделикатничал и отказался. Я даже заплакала, так он выглядел страшно, пиво было рядом, на лоточке, я говорю: пойдем, сядем на скамейку, но пока шли, он уже выдул полстакана, как будто ему пасть жгло. Я даже не знала, как его спросить что, но он сам все сказал: он тогда ночью сразу прибился к бомжам в переходе под Пушкинской и с ними ходил почти месяц, – рассказывал мне, ужасная жизнь какая, господи, мы и не представляем себе. Но с бомжами ему было трудно, потому что сам он в переходе не мог побираться, например, – его не замечали, а на прокорм ему не подавали, типа, он мелкий очень, ну, большое дело такого прокормить, – никто не жалел его. И он уже просто, ну, чувствовал, что лишний рот. И тогда его какой-то Карась, Лосось, – не помню, один из бомжей, – он его свел с хмырем этим, который с нами не пошел. Этот хмырь, оказывается, фотограф, у него поляроид, и хомяк гордо мне так сказал: – который Паша ни разу еще не пропивал! Паша взял хомяка моего в долю, и теперь они вот в парке работают: Паша детей с хомяком фотографирует и за это кормит и поит. У меня просто сердце разрывалось, я не могла поверить даже, что это все – из-за меня! Из-за пизды этой, кошки моей блядской, – и из-за меня, в первую очередь! А хомяк такой ангел, он увидел, что я заплачу сейчас, и начал мне говорить про вольную жизнь, и что они подходят творчески, и что скоро купят нормальную, типа, “технику”, “и тогда Пашин талант нас еще вынесет на такой гребень!..” И тут он говорит вдруг: “Эх, деточка, деточка, всю бы я с тобой жизнь прожил... Я ведь тебя любил.” И я реву уже, как дура, и говорю ему: вернись, я ее выкину нафиг, будем с тобой... – и

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Translations знаю же, что вру, и только надеюсь, что он откажется! Это ужас был какой-то. И он сразу: ой, нет, нет, ты что, я вольная тварь теперь, вкус к творчеству, то, сё... И смотрит уже в сторону, и говорит: ну, все, типа, там школьники идут, я пойду, работать надо, – и просто со скамейки в траву!.. И все. Я не стала его искать. Подошла молча, дала Паше сто рублей. Надо было пятьсот. Today I saw the hamster who left me a year ago. He left when the cat appeared—it’s not that she wanted to eat him or anything like that, but she’d have these long conversations with him, tell him that if he had been—different, well, then, of course, there would have been no need to get her. I suspected that it would all end badly, but there wasn’t anything, it seemed to me—seemed then!—that I could do about it. He left at night, barefoot, penniless, and it was so cold by then, I decided he must have died out there, and I cried and yelled nonsensical accusations at the cat, locking myself away from her for a night while she dozed on the living room sofa. But then yesterday in Gorky Park he called out to me. I didn’t even believe it at first and practically didn’t recognize him. He’d gotten pretty run down, fur all in mangy tufts, face all puffed up, just horrible. And that waddling gait! He rushed forward to embrace me and right away asked for some beer, and brought along some thug too, but the thug, thank god, got shy and politely refused. He looked so awful I even started crying. There was beer at one of the counters close by and I told him: let’s go sit down on the bench, but while we were walking he managed to down half the glass, as if his mouth were on fire or something. I had no idea how to ask him what, but he just told me everything himself: on that night he left me, he ran into the bums in the underpass under Pushkinskaya and then wandered around with them for almost a month—told me, some hell of a life they have, good god, we can’t even begin to imagine. But life with the bums was hard for him, since he couldn’t beg for himself in the underpass, for one thing—nobody noticed him, nobody gave him anything for food— like he was so puny, like, big deal feeding that tiny thing—nobody felt sorry for him. And, well, he felt he was just an extra mouth to feed. And then some Karp guy, or was it Lox, I don’t remember, one of those bums—got him together with that thug type, the one who didn’t come with us. That thug, it turned out, was a photographer and he had a Polaroid camera, and the hamster was quick to point out very proudly that Pasha hadn’t even drunk it away yet! So Pasha took my hamster in, and now here they are, working in the park: Pasha takes pictures of children with the hamster, and for that he gets food and drink. My heart was just tearing to pieces listening to all this, I couldn’t even fathom that all it was because of me! All because of that cunt, that fucking cat of mine—and, in the first place, because of me! And that hamster is such an angel, he saw that I was about to burst into tears and he started to extol the free life, how they were taking an artistic approach, how they would soon get a real camera, like a “Technica,” “and then Pasha’s inner talent is just gonna take us through the roof!..” And then all of a sudden he goes: “Oh, my darling girl, I’d have lived with you my whole life long… I did love you so very much.” And by that point I’m just bawling like an idiot and I tell him: come back, I’ll throw her the fuck out, we’ll be together… —and I know as I say it that I’m lying, that I’m only hoping that he refuses! God, what a nightmare! And right away he just starts: oh, no, no, what are you thinking, I’m a free being now, with a taste for the artistic, this, that… and then he looks the other way and says: well, that’s all, I mean, here come the schoolkids, I’ve gotta go, gotta work—and then he just dives straight from the bench into the grass!.. And that was it. I didn’t bother to look for him. I went up to Pasha silently, gave him a hundred rubles. Should have been five hundred.

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Works Cited A Second Chance at Africa 1 http://www.statehouse.go.ug/media/ news/2012/12/12/president-musevenirussia%E2%80%99s-putin-discusseconomic-africa-relations 2Kobzev, Artyom. “Sergey Lavrov Contributes to Russian-African Friendship.”  The Voice of Russia. 16 Feb. 2013. 3 Klomegah, Kester. “Understanding RussiaAfrican Economic Cooperation.” The African Executive. May 2012. 4 Klomegah, Kester. “Russia’s Relations With Africa Floundering.” Think Africa Press. N.p., 10 Aug. 2012. 5 Shinn, David H. “Emerging Powers Expand Ties with Africa.” International Policy Digest, 17 Sept. 2012. 6Fidan, Hakan, and Bulent Aras. “The Return of Russia-Africa Relations.” Bilig 52 (2010): 47-68.

Walking under a Paranji

1 Cf. The “jinsdash” in Alimat-ul-Banat hanim’s Mu’sarat- i-Adabi, 1899. 2 For full text of these resolutions, cf. Appendix.

<http:www.jstor.org/ stable/ 27822860 > Doyle, Tracy A. “Erik Satie’s Ballet ‘Parade’: An Arrangement for Woodwind Quintet and Percussion with Historical Summary.” Diss. Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, 2005. Print. Lacayo, Richard. “Richardson’s Picasso.” Time Magazine. N.p., 6 Nov. 2007. Web. 18 Dec. 2012. <http://entertainment.time. com/2007/11/06/richardsons_picasso/>. Video Parade: Erik Satie Cocteau Picasso Diaghilev. http://www.youtube.com. N.p., 29 June 2010. Web. 18 Dec. 2012. <http://www.youtube. com/watch?v=WATQDqjAOUc>. Picasso and Dance. Parade, 1917. http:// www.youtube.com. N.p., 8 Oct. 2012. Web. 18 Dec. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=_Chq1Ty0nyE>. Serata Picasso-Massine “Il manager a cavallo.” http://www.youtube.com. N.p., 20 Mar. 2008. Web. 18 Dec. 2012. <http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=_u1pK_m05x8>. Picasso-Massine “Gli acrobati.” http:// www.youtube.com. N.p., 20 Mar. 2008. Web. 18 Dec.2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=fvwp&v=gFYJfJG92bs&NR=1>. <?>

How the Orthodox Church Shaped Definitions of Russianness

Implicating the Audience Books Scheijen, Sjeng. Diaghilev: A Life. Trans. Jane Hedley-Prole and S.J. Leinbach. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print. Schouvaloff, Alexander, comp. The Art of Ballets Russes. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997. Print. Journal Articles “Picasso Ballet Constructions Recreated.” MOMA 15 (1980): n. pag. JSTOR. Web. 12 Dec. 2012. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/4380835> Calkins, Susan. “Modernism in Music and Erik Satie’s Parade.” International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music 41.1 (2010): 3-19. JSTOR. Web. 12 Dec. 2012.

1 Kappeler, Andreas. The Russian Empire: A Multiethnic History. Harlow, UK: Pearson, 2001. p. 114. 2 Ibid. p. 158. 3 Ibid. 4 Ibid. p. 26. 5 Ibid. p. 135. 6 Bushkovitch, Paul. “What is Russia? Russian National Identity and the State, 1500-1917.” In Culture, Nation, and Identity: The Ukrainian-Russian Encounter, 1640-1945. Edited by Andreas Kappeler, et al. Edmonton, AB: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Study Press, 2003. p. 147. 7 Ibid. p. 148. 8 Raeff, Mark. “Patterns of the Russian Imperial Policy Toward Nationalities In Soviet Nationality Problems.” Edited by Edward Allworth. New York: Columbia University Press, 1971. p. 29.

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9 Hosking, Geoffrey. Russia: People and Empire, 1552-1917. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998. p. 16-17. 10 Ibid. p. 17. 11 Weeks, Theodore R. “Religion and Russification: Russian Language in the Catholic Churches of the ‘Northwest Provinces’ after 1863.” Kritika 2.1 (2001): 88. 12 Kappeler, Russian Empire. p. 153. 13 Ibid. p. 155. 14 Kappeler, Andreas. “Mazepintsy, Little Russians, Khokhly: Ukrainians in the Ethnic Hierarchy of the Russian Empire.” In Culture, Nation, and Identity: The Ukrainian-Russian Encounter, 1640-1945. Ed. Andreas Kappeler, et al. Edmonton, AB: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Study Press, 2003. p. 169. 15 Weeks, “Religion and Russification.” p. 90. 16 Kappeler, “Mazepintsy.” p. 171. 17 Kappeler, “Mazepintsy.” p. 172. 18Weeks, Theodore R. “Defining Us and Them: Poles and Russians in the “Western Provinces,” 1863-1914.” Slavic Review 53.1 (1994): 29. 19 Kappeler, “Russian Empire.” p. 250. 20 Weeks, “Religion and Russification.” p. 91. 21 Weeks, “Religion and Russification.” p. 92. 22 Weeks, “Defining Us and Them.” p. 29. 23 Ibid. p. 33. 24 Kappeler, Russian Empire. p. 250. 25 Weeks, “Defining Us and Them.” p. 36. 26 Ibid. 27 Ibid. p. 35-6. 28 Ibid. p. 36. 29Thaden, Edward. Conservative Nationalismin Nineteenth-Century Russia. Seattle: University of Washington Press,

The Overthrow of Milošević Cohen, Lenard J.. “The Milošević Dictatorship: Institutionalizing Power and Ethno-Populism in Serbia.” Trans. Array  Balkan Strongmen: Dictators and Authoritarian Rulers of Southeast Europe. Bernd J. Fischer. USA: Purdue University Press, 2007. 425-474. Print. “Election Profile: Serbia and Montenegro.”IFES Election Guide. IFES, 7 Feb. 2006. Web. 17 Dec. 2012. <http:// www.electionguide.org>. Israel, Jared. “Kostunica and the Yugoslav Election.”Emperor’s Clothes. N.p., 13 2000. Web. 17 Dec. 2012. <http://www.emperorsclothes.com/analysis/kostunic.htm>.


Works Cited Lancaster, John. “US Funds Help Milosevic Foes in Election Fight.” Washington Post. Washington Post, 19 2000. Web. 17 Dec 2012.<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ decani/message/35170>   “Milosevic Calls Early Election.” BBC Online Network. BBC News, 19 1999. Web. 17 Dec 2012.<http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/ europe/424316.stm>. “Milosevic won’t step down, calls for runoff vote.” St. Petersburg Times Online World & Nation. St. Petersburg Times, 27 2000. Web. 17 Dec 2012. <http://www.sptimes. com/News/092700/Worldandnation/ Milosevic_won_t_step_.shtml>. Nikolayenko, Olena. “The Rise of Youth Movements in the Post-Communist Region.”  CDDRL Stanford. 114 (2009): n. page. Web. 7 Apr. 2013. <http://cddrl. stanford.edu/news/cddrl_visiting_scholar_ olena_nikolayenko_analyzes_postsoviet_ youth_movements_20090619>. “Serbian Opposition is Split Over Candidate.”  CNN 06 Aug 2000, n. pag. Web. 7 Apr. 2013. <http://archives.cnn. com/2000/WORLD/europe/08/06/ yugoslavia.opposition.reut/>. Thompson, Mark R., and Philipp Kuntz. “Stolen Elections: The Case of the Serbian October.” Journal of Democracy. 15.4 (2004): 159-172. Web. 17 Dec. 2012. <http:// projects.iq.harvard.edu/gov2126/files/ thompson_2004.pdf>.

Inevitable Chaos Morson, Gary Saul. Hidden in Plain View: Narrative and Creative Potentials in ‘War and Peace.’ Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1987. Tolstoy, Leo. War and Peace. Trans. Louise and Aylmer Maude. Rev. Amy Mandelker. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Not Your Mother’s Darling 1Chekhov, Anton. Stories. Trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. New York: Bantam Books, 2000. Pp. 334. Print.

2 Ibid, 338. 3 Ibid, 338. 4 Chekhov, Anton. Stories. Trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. New York: Bantam Books, 2000. Pp. 340. Print. 5 Ibid, 343. 6 Chekhov, Anton. Stories. Trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. New York: Bantam Books, 2000. Pp. 344. Print. 7 Platonov, Andrey. Soul: And Other Stories. Trans. Robert Chandler and Olga Meerson. New York: New York Review of Books, 2008. Pp. 327. Print. 8 Platonov, Andrey. Soul: And Other Stories. Trans. Robert Chandler and Olga Meerson. New York: New York Review of Books, 2008. Pp. 209. Print. 9 Platonov, Andrey. Soul: And Other Stories. Trans. Robert Chandler and Olga Meerson. New York: New York Review of Books, 2008. Pp. 188. Print. 10 Ibid, 198. 11 Ibid, 211. 12 Platonov, Andrey. Soul: And Other Stories. Trans. Robert Chandler and Olga Meerson. New York: New York Review of Books, 2008. Pp. 189. Print. 13Chekhov, Anton. Stories. Trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. New York: Bantam Books, 2000. Pp. 334. Print. 14 Ibid. 342 15 Platonov, Andrey. Soul: And Other Stories. Trans. Robert Chandler and Olga Meerson. New York: New York Review of Books, 2008. Pp. 200. Print. 16 Platonov, Andrey. Soul: And Other Stories. Trans. Robert Chandler and Olga Meerson. New York: New York Review of Books, 2008. Pp. 200. Print. 17 Ibid, 211. 18 Ibid, 211.

A Lyrical Approach to a National Crisis Akhmatova, Anna. “Autobiographical Prose: Sketches, Notes, Diary Entries, and Lectures.” Anna Akhmatova and Her Circle. Comps. Konstantin Polivanov. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas, 1994. Ginzburg, Lydia. “Brief Reminiscences of Anna Akhmatova.” Anna Akhmatova and Her Circle. Comps. Konstantin Polivanov. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas, 1994. Ketchian, Sonia. “Review: [untitled].” Reviewed work: Akhmatova’s Petersburg by Sharon Leiter. The Slavic and East European Journal. Autumn, 1984: 406-407.

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Mad Musings Benson, Leslie. Yugoslavia: A Concise History. Palgrave. Print. Krleža, Miroslav. Cricket Beneath the Waterfall and Other Stories. ed. Branko Lenski. New York, Vanguard Press, Inc. <bSpace> Pekić, Borislav. Houses of Belgrade. trans. Bernard Johnson. Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1994. Print. Wachtel, Andrew. Making a Nation, Breaking a Nation. California: Stanford University Press, 1998. Print. Stanislavsky, Meyerhold, and the Duality of Russian Theater 1 Lotman, Juri M., and Boris A. Uspenkij. “The Role of Dual Models in the Dynamics of Russian Culture.” The Semiotics of Russian Culture. Ann Arbor: Michigan Slavic Publications, 1984. 2 Diderot, Denis. «Paradoxe sur le Comédien.» Oeuvres Choisies. Paul Albert. Paris: Librairie des Bibliophiles, 1878. 271370. 3 Stanislavski, Constantin. My Life in Art. New York: Theater Arts Books, 1948. 75. 4 Meyerhold, Vsevolod. “The Fairground Booth.” Meyerhold on Theater. New York: Bloomsbury USA, 1978. 127. 5 Picon-Vallin, Béatrice. «Meyerhold Et Le Théâtre Russe Du XXe Siècle.» Les Conférences D’une Saison Russe. Arles: Actes Sud-Papiers, 1995. 6 Stanislavski, 330. 7 Ibid, 464. 8 Picon-Vallin,72. 9 Picon-Vallin, 72. 10 Meyerhold, 123. 11 Ibid, 71. 12 Ibid, 73. 13 Ibid, 73. 14 Meyerhold, 131. 15Vyacheslav, Ivanov. “Gogol’s Inspector General and The Comedy of Aristophanes.”  Gogol from the Twentieth Century: Eleven Essays. By Robert A. Maguire. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1976. 202. 16 Ivanov, 202. 17 Gogol, Nikolai V., Richard Pevear, and Larissa Volokhonsky. “The Inspector General.” The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol. New York: Vintage, 1999. 118. 18 Ivanov, 205. 19 Gogol, 125. 20 Meyerhold, 128. 21 Lunacharsky, Anatoly, and Sumerkin, Alexander. “The Inspector General by Nikolai Gogol; Vsevelod Meyerhold.” October. 7. (1978). 62. 22 Ibid, 70.



The Birch Journal Spring 2013