Notes from the Manosphere, Part II

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The “age of rage,” a term dating to the 2010s, when the online culture wars began, is in full flower today. Reading Dostoevsky’s “Notes from Underground” from our contemporary vantage point offers a warning about social fragmentation as a precursor for angry, megalomaniacal fantasies and rising chauvinism. Analyzing the Underground Man’s reactions shows that this often directionless rage is a coping mechanism that compensates for profound feelings of inadequacy, loneliness, despair, and loss of status.

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Notes from the Manosphere, Part I

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“I am a sick man…I am a wicked man,” says the Underground Man, the anti-hero of Dostoevsky’s 1864 novel. Narrated by a disillusioned man who fails to fit into societal norms, Notes from Underground exposes the seamy underbelly of Russian society by showcasing the deep resentment certain individuals feel for both themselves and their social “betters.” If this narrative sounds familiar, it is because there is an entire radical movement online centered on this same resentment.

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Were the Liberals Stupid? Liberal Pedagogy in the Design of the Polish Post-Communist Transformation

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Interest in the 1989 post-Communist transformation in Poland has had its ups and downs, but seems to be on the rise again since 2015, when the national-conservative Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (Law and Justice, PiS) replaced the liberals at the state’s helm and launched a program of institutional changes under the general heading of a “Good Change.”

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A Push for Digital History in Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies

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My research examines German prisoners-of-war (POWs) in the USSR from 1941 to 1956. My dissertation, which I am currently transforming into a book manuscript, treats the reasons that Soviets held POWs for so long after war’s end. On the basis of digital historical methods, I argue that Soviet authorities detained German POWs as a labor source for postwar reconstruction.

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Daily Identity Practices: Potato Eaters in Belarus

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Food cultivation, preparation, and consumption are important reference points in the creation of national identity. Food has strong symbolic, even quasi-sacred, associations in many cultures. For Slavic peoples, bread is a very important symbol, while in Belarus, potatoes are known as “the second bread.”

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In Russian Cultural Policy, the Customer is Always Wrong

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Olga Lyubimova’s appointment as Russia’s new minister of culture in early 2020 was an immediate scandal. In old LiveJournal posts that surfaced on social media, she boldly declared an aversion to ballet, museums, arthouse cinema, and a dozen other types of culture. “I unexpectedly came to realize,” she wrote at the time, “That I am in no freaking way a cultured person.”

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Insurgents Built In: How Wars Radicalized the Most Integrated Muslims in the Russian Empire

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With observers consistently pointing to the social isolation and lack of opportunity Muslim youth often confront, why are European societies reluctant to listen to Muslim citizens who — speaking a shared language of liberalism — ask for equality combined with individual recognition of difference? These questions are very familiar to historians of Muslim regions in the Russian Empire, particularly the oldest and most integrated one within Russia’s body politic: the Volga-Urals region.

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The Place of Unrecognized States in the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation – The Case of Transnistria

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An unrecognized state is a political entity that possesses all the attributes of statehood (e.g., has armed forces, creates foreign policy) but lacks the international recognition of statehood status. One example of such an entity is the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR). Since the end of the Moldovan-Transnistrian war in the 1990s, it has been functioning as a de facto independent entity, even though the international community recognizes Transnistria as an integral part of Moldova. Russia is strengthening the statehood of PMRs, using them as a useful instrument in its foreign policy.

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From Citizen Investigators to Cyber Patrols: Volunteer Internet Regulation in Russia

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The organizations we studied — the Saint Petersburg Youth Security Service (MSB), the Safe Internet League (LBI), and the Cyber Cossack patrols — gather contingents of volunteers to scan the Russian Internet for illegal content (drug dealing, pedophilia, child pornography, “extremism” and, more recently, online suicide games). The MSB targets a broad scope of “negative content,” while the LBI and the Cyber Cossack patrols usually specialize in one specific issue, which may change according to the current political agenda or funding opportunities. The latter two organizations are also involved in generating “positive content:” creating sites promoting patriotic ideas, for example, to help create a “virtuous” Russian Internet.

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Saving a Tatar Communist From Stalinist and Cold-War Historiographies: The Political Economy of Nations

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Mirsaid Sultan-Galiev (1892-1940) was a communist, an anti-colonial revolutionary, and a devout Muslim. Born in the Bashkir village of Elembet’evo in Ufa, he was raised in a family of mixed socioeconomic backgrounds: his mother a member of the nobility, and his father a peasant following Ismail Gasprinskii’s movement of reformist Muslim thought, jadidism. Joining the revolution in 1917, Sultan-Galiev saw Bolshevism as a gateway to freeing colonized lands.
Today, his name has been obscured by two clashing, yet mutually reinforcing narratives.

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