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Abstract

This article examines the phenomenon of Soviet industrial and technical creativity (promyshlennoe i tekhnicheskoe tvorchestvo) from the late 1950s to the 1980s. It particularly focuses on the invention and rationalization movement at industrial enterprises through the lens of Soviet industrial policy. It emphasizes creativity as a labor resource and incentive developed into the oversized system and shows its structural elements and encouragements. The paper argues that from the 1950s onwards, the Soviet state placed labor creativity at the center of industrial development and homegrown vision of progress seeing it as a resource for technological competitiveness from Khrushchev’s aim to reach communism to perestroika. The Soviet leadership, however, overemphasized creativity as workers’ ability to come up with new ideas and find rapid technical solutions to industrial problems in addition to their main duties to show the creative nature of socialist labor. As a result, it developed a formalized branched system constituted by numerous institutions and nominal awards which made creativity not only an industrial necessity but to a large extent a performative product.

In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
Author: Maria Starun

Abstract

This article explores a repertoire of interactions between Alexei Sidortsev, a tenacious Soviet worker defending his rights, and the Soviet legal bureaucracy up to the Supreme Court. Using the Sidortsev case as an example, I plan to demonstrate the judicial logic of interpreting the parties’ various arguments and evidence. This case allows us to describe and analyze the range of rights and legal opportunities available to the Soviet worker under interwar law. I also focus on the rhetorical transformations of Sidortsev’s arguments, changing from ideological to pragmatically bureaucratic. Although Sidortsev was skilled in ideologized Soviet language, it was the material argument that was decisive in courts interpretations of the facts of the case. On this basis, I argue that material truth in the socialist legal consciousness is not determined by the discursive political language of denunciation that we have come to regard as defining in the Soviet system.

In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review

Abstract

Mass protest movements of the early 2010s, particularly the Occupy movement, stimulated the rise of radical left organizations globally. In Southern Europe, radical left parties celebrated their first electoral successes. In Russia, radical left organizations were also influenced by this upsurge of social protest movements and participated in the Bolotnaya protests in 2011–2012 but were marginalized and disintegrated shortly after, resuming their activities only by 2019. This article explores the radical left movements and groups in Russia and offers projections for their future. The Russian radical left is divided into three sub-groups: fundamentalist communists who identify with Stalin and the Soviet Union, libertarian socialists and communists (subdivided into neo-anarchists, autonomists, and neo-Trotskyists), and hybrid organizations (e.g., the Left Front). These organizations face two major constraints unknown to their Western counterparts. First, Russia’s authoritarian regime blocks opportunities for independent, particularly electoral, politics. This reveals itself in targeted repressions against left radicals and anarchists. Second, the dominance of the CPRF blocks any potential of strong left opposition. Unless these restrictions are lifted, radical left organizations in Russia will not be able to overcome their current crisis.

In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
Author: Yacov Livne

Abstract

This article focuses on the strategies that Moscow chose during the first decade after World War II to overcome the obstacles created by the West to its entrance into the Middle East. The cases of Israel in 1948 and Egypt in 1955 show two different entry strategies used by Moscow and reflect significant changes in Soviet foreign policy that occurred between Stalin and Khrushchev toward developing countries. In 1948 Stalin chose an indirect and often tacit support of Israel, while in 1955 Khrushchev opted for a more direct approach with Egypt. Khrushchev’s confident tactics presented Moscow with new opportunities in the Middle East and the developing nations but also created long term challenges for the Soviet regime.

At the same time, Israel and Egypt successfully maneuvered between Moscow and the West to gain maximum benefits for their national security needs by using both camps of the Cold War.

In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review

Abstract

The present paper addresses the manner in which local population of the Polesie voivodeship perceived the Soviet invasion of Poland through the prism of encounter with “others”. In particular, this paper focuses on the local understanding of “others” and how this changed due to the invasion. Also, as an important part of its contextualization, I explore the image of the Soviets held by local communities before the war.

In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
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In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review

Abstract

The founding of Akademgorodok near Novosibirsk in the late 1950s features prominently in the historiography of the Thaw and the general turn of Soviet science to the eastern parts of the country. This article puts this story into the context of the formation of modern “green” ideas in the late Soviet Union and reconsiders the relationship between humans and nature, along with the definition of nature itself. Akademgorodok produced a telling visual perspective: the architectural plan for the city dictated that its scientific, industrial, and living zones were drowned deep in the taiga. Architects named this type of urban planning “diffusive,” and memoirists described it as a “Forest City.” Using the term of Sheila Jasanoff, we designate this “Forest City” as a sociotechnical imaginary of Akademgorodok.

Our aim is to study the historical roots of the “Forest City” and how it became a collective imaginary. How did it happen that in the 1950s and 1960s, when the “faces” of Soviet cities were defined by districts of standard panel houses, that a city was built near Novosibirsk in which so much attention was given to pre-human flora, fauna, and landscapes? What ideas and intellectual contexts composed the concept of Akademgorodok as a “Forest City”? Our answer possesses two dimensions. First, the rejection of the use of decorative elements in housing construction in the post-Stalin epoch stimulated architects to pay more attention to the greening of cities. They revived the concept of a “garden city” proposed by Ebenezer Howard on a new level. Second, the evolution of the ideas of Mikhail Lavrentyev, the founder of Akademgorodok, who upon arrival in Siberia applied the productivist program manifested in the slogan “Siberia is a treasure of resources,” but later changed his opinion to more “green” views under the influence of the so-called “Baikal Discussion.” The viewpoints of Lavrentyev influenced the design of this “center” of Siberian science, and then he formulated the idea of a “Forest City.” These contexts enable the utopian horizons and the search for models of a constructed future that were typical of the Thaw era to reflect upon the important challenges of the contemporary Anthropocene.

In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review