All the Russias' Blog

A space for news and opinion, sponsored by The Jordan Center

Entirely Different: When Feminist, LGBTQIA+, Inclusive, and Environmental Activism Meets Science Fiction

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In spite of its rich history, emerging from nineteenth-century utopian narratives, Russian-language science fiction has long resisted discussion of women’s issues and non-normative expressions of gender and sexuality. It was not until 2018 that a full-fledged collection of feminist and queer-themed science fiction appeared in Russian. Titled “Entirely Different,” the book includes short stories, Wikipedia- and encyclopedia-style entries, fictionalized interviews, and illustrations by feminist, LGBTQIA+, inclusive, and environmental activists from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and the United States.

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Re-Imagining Women at War: Kantemir Balagov’s “Beanpole” (2019)

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Inspired by Svetlana Alexievich’s “The Unwomanly Face of War” (1985), an oral history of women who served in the Red Army during the Great Patriotic War, Kantemir Balagov’s arresting 2019 film, “Beanpole [Dylda]”, challenges the patriarchal images of womanhood and motherhood as peddled by the Soviet regime and, today, by Vladimir Putin’s politics of neo-traditionalism. 

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How to Make Precarious Russia Habitable – or, What Russians Want in Putin’s Fourth Term

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An enduring irony of life in small-town Russia, according to Morris, is that the structural causes of its fragility and decline – dependent on a single-Soviet-era company – are also the cause for its resilience. Morris referred to this phenomenon as “compressed social geography,” which emerges from the overwhelmingly blue-collar nature of this town that sustains solidarities, networks and moral values inherited from the socialist period.

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War and Pestilence: The Epidemiological Motif in L. N. Tolstoy’s Historical Epic

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In the motivic structure of “War and Peace,” the “mythical” French “grippe” of Anna Petrovna Scherer occupies a unique position. It is a simultaneously socio-linguistic, satirical, historical, moral, and providential detail that, beneath the mask of fashionable high-society argot, foreshadows a glorious and terrible epoch, in which Tolstoy’s heroes must live, perish, act, endure, and overcome.

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Announcing: Working Group on 19th-century Russian Culture and Literature

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Dostoevsky + 11 time zones: it’s why Russian studies is never going away. Or at least that’s what I was taught in graduate school—and indeed the brilliant cultural production of the nineteenth century has long drawn students and scholars to the Russia field. But as the literature of this period grows more distant from our own moment (is the nineteenth century the new eighteenth century?), we encounter both framing challenges and intellectual opportunities. What does nineteenth-century culture mean for us today?

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Why We Should be Paying Attention to Russian Economic Statecraft

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The rise of corruption and kleptocracy associated with right-wing populism only gives Moscow further opportunities to use economic levers to pursue foreign policy goals. As new tools of financial globalization make it easier for states, firms, and powerful individuals to obfuscate the scope of their activities, Russia has begun to reap the rewards of its investments in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and beyond.

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