Save Ukrainian Cultural Heritage!

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What we are doing in the virtual cloud depends on what happens there, on a battleground. There is a list of cities and towns currently under attack, and it is getting longer. The archivists first go to high-risk collections, trying hard to get ahead of time to create copies. Each hour, under shelling, the flickering lights of Ukrainian culture risk disappearing into the darkness of oblivion.

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Post-Soviet Transformations as a Shame-Mediated “Civilizing Process”: Neoliberalization, Academia, and the War in Ukraine

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I recently attended a workshop where each participant presented their observations about the state of national identity in the Baltic States. One of my arguments in the workshop was that emotions of (national) pride and shame are relational facets of national identity, and that in the post-Soviet space this emotional dynamic has been affected by Western expertise. Diplomats and others introduced neoliberal reforms and ideas to the Latvian “transformation elite,” a term I use to denote the Latvian political leadership that guided and governed the country’s post-Soviet transformation.

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Book Review: Yuri Tynianov’s “Permanent Evolution: Selected Essays on Literature, Theory, and Film”

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Despite his sizable contributions to Russian Formalism, Yuri Tynianov remains a largely understudied figure in the West. Whether a victim of canonization or cross-cultural barriers, his work continues to evade anthologies and course syllabi outside of Slavic Studies departments, much to the detriment of literary studies. Ainsley Morse and Philip Redko’s translated volume “Permanent Evolution: Selected Essays on Literature, Theory and Film” (Academic Studies Press, 2019) seeks to buck this trend.

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The Noble “Extended Family” in Today’s Poland

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The consistent presence of post-feudal imagery in Polish political and cultural discourse intrigued us as sociologists. Although we intuitively understood the implied role of this post-feudal symbolism within various models of Polish citizenship, we were not sure what they actually signified, or how they differed from one another. Therefore, we decided to devise a sociological research project to investigate the question of the role and users of noble legacies in contemporary Poland.

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The Rise and Fall of a Stalinist Russian Orthodox Monk

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The rise and fall of the priest-monk Father Sergii (Nikolai Vasil’evich Romanov), who was sentenced in November 2021 to 42 months imprisonment for vigilantism and other crimes, illustrates Russia’s struggle to create a convincing national narrative that can bring together the imperial and Soviet pasts. For 15 years, as the spiritual confessor of the Sredneural’sk Convent of the Icon of Our Lady, Grower of Crops, Sergii fashioned a “usable past” for those Orthodox nationalists who wanted to celebrate the glories of both the imperial and the Stalinist periods. In his hardline sermons, disseminated via YouTube, Telegram, and VKontakte (the Russian equivalent of Facebook), Sergii reconciled the irreconcilable: Orthodoxy and Stalinism. 

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On “Pragmatism” in Soviet and Russian Foreign Policy in the Middle East and Ukraine

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“From Messianism to Pragmatism” was the subtitle of a seminal book on Russian foreign policy in the Middle East, published in 1993. The author, renowned scholar Alexey Vasiliev, argued that, increasingly, what motivated Soviet and Russian decision-making in international affairs were not ideological considerations, but sober, rational and “pragmatic” concerns. This notion of “pragmatism” has also guided Western assessments of Russian foreign policy, which framed the nation as a “pragmatic” and “rational” actor. The ongoing war in Ukraine, however, contradicts any notion of Russian “pragmatism.”

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Open Letter in Support of DOXA

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We demand that the charges against Natalia Tyshkevich, Vladimir Metyolkin, Armen Aramyan, and Alla Gutnikova be immediately dropped and that all four be released, and we express our wholehearted support for their actions. To sign a letter of solidarity with DOXA, follow this link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xp1cXclQxxglDWCf7AENRVwEL1e-i01ZJjdCr7tNDPM/edit..

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How Research on Role Conceptions Helps Understand Ukrainian Resistance

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The invasion of the Ukraine makes clear that Russia’s foreign policy stance toward surrounding states is now a decidedly aggressive one. This principle is especially true for any formerly Soviet states, which, since the beginning of the war, have demonstrated how deeply their vision of a relationship with Russia diverges from Russia’s own. Scholarly attention has thus far focused on Russia’s resurgence in what it defines as its “near abroad,” but the perspectives of those actually living in and governing this “near abroad” remains understudied. The Ukrainian popular reaction to Russia’s invasion demonstrates that former Soviet states very likely do not agree with Russia’s view of their countries as “clients.”

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What Russians Think When They Hear the Word “Nazi”

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Claiming that a country whose head of state is a Jew with relatives who died in the Holocaust is a “neo-Nazi” state is absurd. Yet for many Russians, this claim could sound credible, because “Nazism” and the more commonly used “fascism” carry a different set of associations than for most people in Western Europe and North America.

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In light of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, we have elected to jettison the Jordan Center Blog’s original name, “All the Russias.” As a publication that strives to illuminate the entire broad space of Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, we do not align ourselves with any kind of “gathering of the lands.” Although the original name was chosen as a metaphorical, tongue-in-cheek reference, its imperialistic connotations are unacceptable under the current circumstances. We remain committed to our mission of promoting innovative research, commentary, and analysis and are accepting drafts and pitches now as always. We would especially welcome pieces pertaining to the ongoing war, which the blog has covered since February 24.

Please continue to send questions and comments, pitches and drafts to our old email address, or feel free to use our new one: jordan.center.blog@gmail.com.


“We Must Keep Going”: An Eyewitness Report from Kyiv

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It makes sense that politicians around the world are afraid of Putin. But Ukrainians are living in immediate fear for their lives right now. And we understand firsthand that Putin will not stop with Ukraine if the world permits it. The citizens of many more countries will be in immediate danger and this disaster will continue. Putin must be stopped by any means necessary.

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Reading Russian Media Between the Lines: On Kommersant’s “Nuremberg” Photo

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The Russian newspaper Kommersant quietly engaged in a brave act of resistance on Wednesday. The newspaper ran an interview with the director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergei Naryshkin, spouting all the usual propaganda. But on Twitter, alongside a link to the article, it ran a photo of Naryshkin with the word “Nuremberg” in the background.

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