The article focuses on the role of Western goods and cultural influences in the Estonian SSR during late socialism, aiming to analyze “conspicuous” consumption practices, behaviors, and attitudes. Situated in the context of Soviet modernization and the economy of shortages, the article moves beyond the dominant discourse of scarcity and contributes to a growing body of literature that has uncovered the Soviet consumer as a modern shopper with distinctive tastes, demands, and sensibilities that were formed at the interplay between the socialist “good taste” and the imagined, yet incredibly tangible manifestations of Western material objects. The article argues that younger, urban, and largely female consumers in Soviet Estonia were susceptible to the enticement of materiality and status-oriented consumption that could be explained by the rise of “new” Soviet consumer’s consciousness, Western-imitating do-it-yourself practices, and acquisition of Western goods that were regarded as a sign of knowledge, prestige, and social standing.
February 24, 2022, after several months of preparation, Russia launched a full-scale war against Ukraine. For the EU and NATO states, Russia’s aggression against Ukraine means, inter alia, a major change for their security. But Russia’s war against Ukraine has been going on since 2014. In reaction, the EU, the US, and other Western states imposed economic sanctions on Russia in 2014.
The subject of research is primarily comprehensive (general) sanctions. Another type of economic sanctions—targeted (smart) sanctions—are relatively new, so there is also relatively little research devoted to them. The main purpose of the article is to investigate the impact of smart (targeted) sanctions on five banks: Sberbank, VTB Bank, Gazprombank, Vnesheconombank (VEB), Rosselkhozbank, and three oil companies: Rosneft, Transneft and Gazpromneft. The study has been conducted on the basis of the analysis of the basic indicators illustrating the financial situation and changes in the prices of shares listed on the Moscow Exchange. The main finding is that the effects of sanctions are relatively weak and limited in time; in 2015–2017, a deterioration in the financial situation of only some of the eight corporations surveyed was noticeable, but later their situation improved significantly and in 2018–2019 it was clearly better than before the sanctions were imposed.
Sketch maps, despite their intuitive, informal appearance and seemingly naïve use, are intellectual devices and efficient tools that shape the geographical imagination, regardless of the drawing skills of their makers. By delineating the silhouettes of nations, we express territorial knowledge and geopolitical stereotypes that, although shaped at school from an early age, organized the way we interact with the world. Why do we still need to draw maps? What is behind our common and naturalized practice of sketching maps? This innovative book deciphers why and how the intuitive mechanisms behind sketch mapping activate multiple conscious and unconscious knowledges about place and space.
Bhit Shah is the abode of venerated Sufi mystic Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai. During the last few decades, the saint’s shrine has also become a center for Shi’i practices of ‘azādārī – mourning congregations in memory of Imam Husain. This article contributes to the literature on intertwining Sufi and Shi’i practices by examining how saintly and Husaini devotion repertoires converged in the Bhit Shah area and how this convergence contributed to transformations in ritual action and identity over the twentieth century. We explore how local devotees started adopting the remembrance of Imam Husain and Karbala through devotion to Shah Latif, which initially took place without changes in the devotees’ religious affiliation. However, with the precolonial Talpurs’ influence and interaction with other devotees from Shi’i urban centers of Sindh, many residents began to affirm Twelver Shi’a identification and expand their mourning practices in space and duration.