The Incels and the Injured: Dostoevsky Against Toxic Masculinities

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No shortage of contemporary horrors were prophesied by Fyodor Dostoevsky’s works: The Brothers Karamazov presages totalitarianism; Demons—terrorism; Diary of a Writer, the author’s ongoing, raw, dialogic polemic—Twitter. Although the author’s shorter, less ambitious texts are rarely accorded such powers of prognostication, few of his writings seem more urgent than the modest novella The Eternal Husband, which presents an object lesson in the toxicity of modern masculinity and homosocial desire.

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Messy Things Betwixt and Between

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“Because I have practiced law, I have seen what can potentially hobble a lawyer: namely, her insistence that things be tidy and fall within set parameters of unyielding doctrines. In fact, fledgling law students tend to apotheosize the legal system and expect it to bestow order and absolute certainty. Golyadkin, as law professor, tends to jolt these soon-to-be lawyers out of this stultifying mindset.  But what is that nexus between Dostoevsky’s The Double and Wills and Trusts?”

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Post-Soviet, Post-Industrial, Post-Future: Rethinking Space After the End of Communism

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Images of decay across the territory of the former USSR – starkly physical symbols of the broken promises of communism – are  one result of this economic collapse. While in the center of Moscow former factories such as Vinzavod, Artplay, and Red October have been turned into hip gallery spaces, helping to transform run-down neighborhoods into cosmopolitan hotspots, throughout the rest of Russia many factories remain derelict spaces–as is dramatically evident in the Hammer and Sickle metallurgical plant.

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Yuz Aleshkovsky’s “Song about Stalin”

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Many took Aleshkovsky’s song to be a folk composition, but no ordinary criminal — not even a gang of them — could have produced so elaborate a political satire. Aleshkovsky refers to Stalin’s foray into linguistics; his pre-Revolutionary exile in Turukhansk; the motto of the Communist newspaper “Iskra” (The Spark); the Right Opposition in the Communist Party; and Stalin’s favorite Russian proverb, “When you cut down the forest, woodchips fly,” with which the General Secretary justified the human cost of his policies.

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Medicine and Mortality in the Gulag

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A prevailing argument in Gulag academia posits that the cruelty and inhumanity in Stalinist camps was never deliberate or “centrally coordinated”, but rather a product of incompetence, shortages, depletion of resources, and other “external factors” such as the harsh Siberian climates. But in her book Illness and Inhumanity in Stalin’s Gulag, Dr. Golfo Alexopoulos argues, contrary to popular Gulag literature, that Stalinist camps were actually more akin to death camps: a “highly coordinated system of violent human exploitation” to a “degree not previously documented.”

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Monumental Politics: The Power of Public Memory in Putin’s Russia

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The contemporary revival and politicization of Russia’s history begins with references to the glories of Kievan Rus, and progresses onwards through Soviet history. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Johnson argued, Russia was left with an identity crisis caused by the vacancy of Soviet ideology. The Russian state therefore looked towards public space, as “control of symbolic public spaces was always very important.”

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School of Europeanness: Tolerance and Other Lessons in Political Liberalism in Latvia

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As Latvia has moved towards Europeanization in the post-Soviet period, the country has faced a set of somewhat contradictory demands from European institutions: it has been expected to “draw a variety of boundaries around liberal democratic states and policies, while at the same time emphasizing the virtues of inclusion openness and tolerance.”

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