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The paper examines the problem of human freedom as related to moral obligation in Miklós Apáti’s Vita triumphans civilis (Amsterdam 1688). At a first glance, the vast majority of Apáti’s work provides its readers with paraphrases of passages from Pierre Poiret’s Cogitationum rationalium de Deo, anima et malo (Amsterdam 1685) and Antoine Le Grand’s Institutio philosophiae secundum principia Renati Descartes (Nürnberg 1683). Having identified Apáti’s main sources, the paper moves on to describe the indifference theory of human freedom, as it is developed by the Hungarian author following Poiret’s discussions. Regarding Le Grand, Apáti’s paraphrases focus on the closing chapters of the last Part of the Institutio that quote Pufendorf’s De officio (Lund 1672) almost verbatim. Therefore, the corresponding passages in the Vita triumphans raise the question in what way Apáti composed his own paraphrases of Le Grand’s compilations of Pufendorf’s De officio. Against this complicated philological background, the paper qualifies the Vita triumphans civilis as an insightful constellation of Cartesianism and natural law theory.

Open Access
In: Early Modern Natural Law in East-Central Europe
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Abstract

Miklós Bethlen (1642–1716), a Hungarian politician from the high nobility, composed his Autobiography in Emperor Joseph I’s prison during the years 1708–10. The present paper aims to reconstruct Bethlen’s philosophical themes in the Preface so as to introduce the extant narrative of his life. Reflecting on the Cartesian argument for consciousness in the use of language, Bethlen endorses his contrasting conviction on the low-level consciousness evident in public speech performances. A tendentiously mechanical interpretation of performative speech acts renders the psychological phenomena of honour, shame, ambition, disgust and even esteem crucial constituents of social reality. To contextualize these elements, Bethlen introduces the Pufendorfian terminology of ‘moral or civic qualities.’ During the 1661 academic year, Bethlen had attended young Pufendorf’s lectures on Grotius’s De jure belli ac pacis at Heidelberg. However, the theory developed in 1708 in the Preface to the Autobiography clearly contradicts the social philosophy of the German scholar. The paper investigates the tensions in Bethlen’s thought caused by his shift from an a priori construct of society.

Open Access
In: Early Modern Natural Law in East-Central Europe
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Abstract

In February 1974, just days after author A.I. Solzhenitsyn’s deportation from the Soviet Union, Fr. Vsevolod Shpiller, a well-known Orthodox priest serving in Moscow, gave an interview to Novosti Press Agency in which he provided a negative appraisal of Solzhenitsyn as a Christian writer. While Shpiller was quickly denounced by numerous dissidents as a traitor and stooge of the state, his vast correspondence suggests that the views expressed were the reflection of a clearly articulated approach to Christianity that emphasizes the creative building up of the Christian image and the transfiguration of the world from inside oneself through the acquisition of the Holy Spirit. Shpiller believed that the political objectification of spiritual processes brings about their destruction. The interview provided an opportunity to admonish Solzhenitsyn, whom Shpiller knew personally, and to share with the wider Orthodox Christian audience what the priest believed to be at the essence of Christianity.

Open Access
In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review

Abstract

This article reconstructs the story of the Soviet Union’s medical internationalism amid the early years of destalinization, when it re-engaged more actively in the global health community. How did the USSR attempt to leverage medicine as a tool of soft power in both multilateral and bilateral relations? Based on records of the USSR Ministry of Health and the Medical Workers Union, as well as newspapers and other published sources, it analyzes what destalinization meant for physicians and public health administrators who sought greater exchange with and connection to their colleagues abroad. A widening web of interconnections in this transitional period paved the way to greater integration in a global medical community. Soviet medical and health professionals nurtured international relationships with a range of strategies, expectations, and aspirations. They used these opportunities to learn, and also to speak back to their superiors and to shape the trajectories of domestic research agendas.

Open Access
In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
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Abstract

This article proposes a new theoretical framework based on conflict escalation theory and the concept of critical junctures to facilitate a more transparent analysis of the war in Ukraine’s Donbas. It argues that researchers have proposed a variety of causes of the outbreak of violence in the region. However, in the absence of an overarching theoretical framework, it remains difficult to analyse the interplay of these causes and compare their explanatory power. In response, this article develops a theory-guided escalation sequence model. According to this model, the conflict’s formative phase consisted of an escalation sequence that lasted from April until August 2014 and comprised six critical junctures. This article argues that attempts to explain the conflict should be evaluated and compared in terms of their ability to explain these critical junctures. It concludes that similar escalation sequence models could improve research on armed conflict beyond the case of the Donbas.

Open Access
In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
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Abstract

This article addresses the complex role of mushrooms, particularly that of the fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) [Russian: Mukhomor], in the art of Moscow conceptualism in a broad setting. This paper explores the mythopoetic theme of mushroom-induced beliefs, which influenced the Moscow conceptualists, and employs background historical scholarship by R.G. Wasson, V.N. Toporov, T.J. Elizarenkova, and others. Aside from the mushrooms per se that were particularly important for Moscow conceptualism, this article also mentions various ethno-botanical entheogens (i.e. biochemical substances such as plants or drugs ingested in order to undergo certain spiritual experience, or “generating the divine within”). Apart from analyzing the ethnobotanical historical background of manifesting hallucinogenic mushrooms on the Russian soil (including Siberia), this article focuses on Pavel Peppershtein’s novel Mifogennaia Liubov’ Kast (The Mythogenic Love of the Castes), which was co-authored with Sergey Anufriev. As the narrative of the novel unfolds, its main character, the Communist Partorg (Party Organizer) Dunaev, is wounded and shell-shocked at the very beginning of the Great Patriotic War (World War II). Partorg Dunaev finds himself deep in a mysterious forest, where he inadvertently snacks on unknown hallucinogenic mushrooms. He subsequently transforms into an exceptionally strong wizard who is capable of fighting spectral enemies both on earth and in heaven. The reader discovers the so-called “parallel war” sweeping over the Russian territory where legendary Russian/Soviet fairy heroes are locked in combat with their opponents, the characters of the Western children’s tales, and books. A heroic mushroom-eater, Partorg Dunaev joins one of the sides in this fight and gradually reaches the “utmost limits of sacrifice and self-rejection.” This article contextualizes the fungi-entheogenic episodes of Moscow conceptualism into a broader sphere of constructed visionary/ hallucinogenic reality by focusing on psilocybin fungi, particularly the fly agaric/Amanita muscaria/Mukhomor, and their cultural significance.

Open Access
In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
Author:

Abstract

This article examines the process of establishing the image of ancient slave rebellion leader Spartacus in the early Soviet era, with a focus on the 1920s and 1930s. Although the image of Spartacus in Soviet historiography has been investigated by scholars, the process of acculturation and reception of his figure within toponymy, onomastics, sport, and history-writing has not been researched as a holistic approach of Soviet propaganda. This article traces how and why Spartacus’s image became the primary figure of the classical antiquity in Soviet propaganda of the 1920s. The article argues that it was not Soviet historiography in the 1920s that shaped his image to be embodied in the Soviet narratives and public space. Rather, art, local toponymy, and sports created and promoted a particularly Soviet reception of Spartacus in the 1920s and 1930s which provided implications for socialist Central-Eastern European countries in the post-World War II era.

Open Access
In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
In: Language Diversity in the Late Habsburg Empire
In: Experiment
In: Experiment