New and Enduring Forms of Feminist Activism in Contemporary Russia

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From the NGO-ized civil society environment that existed in the 1990s and early 2000s, a new pattern of informal activism has developed, often assisted by the use of social media platforms. We find that the major drivers of these changes have been the steady narrowing of democratic freedoms in Russia, the exodus of foreign donors from the country, and the emergence of new online communication technologies available to activists.

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Excerpt from Timothy K. Blauvelt’s “Clientelism and Nationality in an Early Soviet Fiefdom: The Trials of Nestor Lakoba,” Part II

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The relationship between the central Soviet leadership and the local national elites often resembled that of a grantor with a grantee: before the finalist selection has been made, the grantor has all the power and can make the applicants jump through hoops; once the choice has been made, however, and the grant awarded to one of the applicants, now the success of the grantor depends on the success of the grantee. This alters the power relationship, allowing the grantee to make demands on the grantor: a kind of “capture” results.

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Excerpt from Timothy K. Blauvelt’s “Clientelism and Nationality in an Early Soviet Fiefdom: The Trials of Nestor Lakoba,” Part I

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With a vast territory to control and a small number of trusted cadres in the periphery, in the new “national” republics of the emerging ethno-territorial system, the Bolshevik central leadership had to empower reliable client groups in each of the territories in order to implement policies and carry out their directives.

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Red Goes Green: A Contemporary Ecological Reading of a Soviet Classic

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“Pkhents,” written by Abram Tertz, the pen name of Andrei Sinyavsky, is the story of an incognito extraterrestrial stranded in the Soviet Union. He’s not one of the stereotypical little green men, but he is, in a sense, green: out of all life forms on earth, he identifies most with the plant kingdom. He is a kind of alien cactus masquerading as a hunchbacked book-keeper. 

Scholars and critics have pointed to the alien figure leading a dual life as an autobiographical gesture: Sinyavsky, an ethnic Russian, was a Soviet literary critic who assumed the explicitly Jewish pseudonym—Abram Tertz—to compose dissident works. Indeed, the bulk of Sinyavsky-Tertz’s oeuvre is populated with misfits, outcasts, and hybrid and contradictory identities through which the author exorcised his own sense of incongruity with the Soviet world. 

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From “Tsar Ducks” to Kashchei the Deathless: Anti-Corruption Symbols in Russia Today

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In January 2021, Russian anti-corruption activist Aleksei Navalny returned to Russia with his wife after years of personal and political attacks. Navalny’s subsequent arrest and detention provoked international protests, including responses that foregrounded symbols of his campaign and modern Russian dissidence. These visual symbols connect to a long history of protest in Russia, raising questions about the nature of dissidence itself.

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Between Sustainability and Development in Romania

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Romanians have become increasingly aware of their environmental difficulties. Today, news of deforestation represents a regular part of the Romanian news cycle and is a hobbyhorse in the House of Deputies and the Senate. Moreover, an inflection point in environmental civic activism is playing an increasingly powerful role in Romanian politics. In 2013, Romanians protested en masse at home and abroad against a gold mining concession, the Roșia Montana Project in Alba County. 

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From Ideology to Culture in Putin’s Russia

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Although Putin laments the excesses of communism, he identifies two problems that ideology or otherwise a “national idea,” as a pragmatic tool, could theoretically solve: 1) a lack of moral clarity and purpose and 2) “the nationalities question.” Since resuming the presidency in 2012, Putin has engaged in a project to solve these problems by a state-directed cultural policy that is absolutely not, under any circumstances, to be called “ideological.”

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The Strength and Flexibility of Maria Kolesnikova

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While the possibility for political change has seemed nearly unimaginable under Lukashenko’s long tenure, the penetration of global consumer culture over the past decade has nonetheless helped to shape a different type of citizen-subject, even in the absence of substantial economic reform. This emerging subject strives to achieve a set of orientations that scholars associate with neoliberal economic regimes: constant investment in the self, flexibility, self-reliance, and perpetual positivity.

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A Brief History of an Indo-Soviet Cultural Affair

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The collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s led to the end of an era of robust cultural exchange between Russia and India, but lingering artifacts of this longstanding cultural affair still exist within literature, music, and theater, awaiting excavation by historians, scholars of literature, and eager internationalists.

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Bigger Nets Mean More Goals: Russian Cultural Diplomacy and the KHL

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Despite not being an official government entity, or perhaps precisely because it is not associated with the Kremlin and thus is not seen as a propaganda tool, the Kontinental Hockey League thus serves as an ideal vehicle for Russian cultural diplomacy, projecting a favorable image of successful, Russia-based hockey clubs while also creating people-to-people ties that foster an interest in Russia across several countries.

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