In the debates surrounding the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway, the transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway was used as a model. This article traces how eyewitness accounts of Canadian settlement patterns were used by Russian entrepreneurs to argue the case for the financing and organisation of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Given the tense international political climate at the end of the 19th century, the Trans-Siberian also became a focus for imperial rivalry. This article gives a good overview of comparative colonial enterprise in two great continental colonies.
'The Dead Road' (1947-1953)
Victor L. Mote
The uncompleted railway across Northern Siberia was one of the most shameful projects of the post-war era, involving many deaths and huge discomforts. Hailed by Stalin himself as a major part of his 'Great Plan for the Transformation of Nature', the scheme was dropped at his death in 1953. By that time, less than 600 kilometres were in working operation, even though up to 300,000 persons had been involved and about a third of them had perished, while more than 40 billion rubles of capital investment had been wasted. Ghostly labour camps, rusting rolling stock and rails, hundreds of bridges remain in what has been called 'an open air museum of human technology', preserved by nature's refrigerator - the tundra. The article describes the reasons for the railway project and the 'Great Plan', the organization involved, and the conditions in which the enslaved workforce struggled for survival and died.
Cosmopolitan Learning through Hospitality in Siberia
This article focuses on the process of cosmopolitan learning among hosts in a hospitality couchsurfing network in Siberia. The data making up the empirical basis for the study were collected during fieldwork in Siberia: between 2007 and 2011 in Krasnoiarsk and Novosibirsk and from 2010 to 2012 in Irkutsk and Vladivostok. The article argues that the interactional dynamics between hosts and guests in cosmopolitan learning are determined by the combination of emotive and cognitive rewards. The primary emotional charge occurs as a result of the first interaction with the visitor, while a cognitive “bonus“ is represented by the opportunity to practice a foreign language in the home environment. In addition, hosts reflect on such aspects as the exchange of lifestyle ideas, the exposure to everyday habitual practices, and the realization of commonality and difference. These reflections leading to self-discovery in the comfort of one's own home constitute an important element in the process of cosmopolitan learning.
On 5 December 2009, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, together with
the director-general of the Ferrovie dello Stato (FS), Mauro Moretti,
officially opened the new high-speed/high-capacity railway line, linking
Turin, Milan, and Salerno at the central station in Milan. The
work, which had taken almost 40 years to complete, had involved
the laying of just less than 1,000 kilometers of track that is specially
designed to carry high-speed trains. The following day, the high-speed
train service provided by Trenitalia began operating on the line with
the latest ETR (Elettro Treno Rapido) 500 Frecciarossa and ETR 600
Frecciargento trains. The year 2010, therefore, marked the official
operational start of the project that had first been drawn up by FS in
the early 1960s with the aim of providing high-speed rail links for the
main Italian cities along a north-south axis in response to two clear
challenges—the growing competition from airlines and an increasing
preference for road use.
Relations and Reactions to the Repressions in the USSR
Elena Gnatovskaya and Alexander Kim
This article evaluates the relationship among the railroad staff of the Far East during the most dramatic events in the political life of the country at that time—repressions. As a rule, Russian academic literature indicates that few workers perceived the Soviet state’s mechanisms of pressure negatively. This article demonstrates that the railroad staff’s position was far more diverse than traditionally argued, which is a result of the broad variety of social groups working for the railroad in the Far East. The article demonstrates this diversity of opinions by focusing on those events that affected a significant number of railroad workers.
Leonid M. Goryushkin
Many earlier studies of the economic development of Siberia at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries presented an oversimplified view of the reality, and did not take account of the multifarious types of economic relationships or modes of production. Two collective works on the history of the Siberian peasantry and working class, published in the 1980s, demonstrate the complex and highly varied nature of the Siberian economy during the period studied. This included both small- and large-scale enterprises, concentration of capital, rapid expansion of the agricultural sector, huge population growth, significant foreign investment, co-operative associations and private artisan workshops, and the construction of the Trans-Siberian railway. Economic relationships comprised not only capitalist, but also small-scale commodity and even feudal structures. These were to some extent inter-active and inter-dependent, but the basic direction of development was towards capitalism, though at a slower pace than in European Russia.
Elena Shulman, Stalinism on the Frontier of Empire: Women and State Formation in the Soviet Far East Andrew A. Gentes
Michael Melancon, The Lena Goldfields Massacre and the Crisis of the Late Tsarist State David G. Anderson
Chris Hann, “Not the Horse We Wanted!” Postsocialism, Neoliberalism and Eurasia Katy Fox
Deborah Manley, ed., The Trans-Siberian Railway: A Traveller’s Anthology Steven G. Marks
Sylvie Beyries and Virginie Vaté, Les civilisations du renne d’hier et d’aujourd’hui: approaches ethnohistoriques, archéologiques et anthropologiques Betsy Venard
Centre d’Etudes Mongoles et Sibériennes de l’Ecole pratique des Hautes Etudes. 2005-2006, Etudes mongoles et sibériennes, centrasiatiques et tibétaines David G. Anderson
K. David Harrison, When Languages Die: The Extinction of the World’s Languages and the Erosion of Human Knowledge Myrdene Anderson
Ivan Valentinovich Rassadin, Khoziaistvo, byt i kul’tura tofalarov [The Economy, Way of Life, and Culture of the Tofalar] Robert W. Montgomery
Lyudmila I. Missonova, Uilta Sakhalina: Bol’shie problem malochislennogo naroda [Uilta of the Sakhalin Island: Large Issues of an Indigenous Community] Alexander B. Dolitsky
Books Received for Review
Jonathan David Bobaljik, Christopher L. Hill, David Lempert, Brian Donahoe, Irena Vladimirsky, Jaroslaw Derlicki, Melissa Chakars, John P. Ziker, and Liesl L. Gambold
Megumi Kurebito, ed., Comparative Basic Vocabulary of the Chukchee-Kamchatkan Language Family: 1.
Alevtina N. Zhukova & Tokusu Kurebito, A Basic Topical Dictionary of the Koryak-Chukchi Language.
Michael Fortescue, Comparative Chukotko-Kamchatkan Dictionary
Constantine Grewingk, Grewingk’s Geology of Alaska and the Northwest Coast of America: Contributions toward Knowledge of the Orographic and Geognostic Condition of the Northwest Coast of America, with the Adjacent Islands
Bryn Thomas, Trans-Siberian Handbook: Sixth Edition of the Guide to the World’s Longest Railway Journey
Kira Van Deusen, Singing Story, Healing Drum: Shamans and Storytellers of Turkic Siberia
Jamie Bisher, White Terror: Cossack Warlords of the Trans-Siberian
Joachim Otto Habeck, What it Means to be a Herdsman: The Practice and Image of Reindeer Husbandry among Komi of Northern Russia
Robert W. Montgomery, Late Tsarist and Early Soviet Nationality and Cultural Policy: The Buryats and Their Language
Igor Krupnik, Rachel Mason, and Tonia W. Horton, eds., Northern Ethnographic Landscapes: Perspectives From Circumpolar Nations
Margaret Paxson, Solovyovo: The Story of Memory in a Russian Village
the names of its exhibitions and halls—“Exploration of Northern Transbaikalia,” “History of the settlements of Severobaikal'skii district,” “Socialist way of life,” “Baikal-Amur Mainline Railway,” “Fish factory—the glory of Baikal, the pride of the
Two Systems of Spatial Structuring in Northern Russia and Their Effects on Local Inhabitants
Kirill V. Istomin
, communication routes and facilities and particularly roads (including railways) have been attracting the strong interest of anthropologists. Research has been published on the social, cultural, and political role of roads (e.g., Harvey and Knox 2015 ; Kaschuba