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Andrei Val’terovich Grinëv

The annexation of the Grand Duchy of Finland by the Russian Empire after the war with Sweden in 1808–1809 sharply strengthened the Russian trading fleet. It is not surprising that Finnish ships, despite their small number, visited the Russian colonies in America over a rather long period—from 1816 to 1856—though at times with substantial temporal intervals. Some of them belonged to the Russian-American Company (RAC), some were chartered by it, and some were in joint possession with the Russian-Finnish Whaling Company. In addition, many Finnish sailors and skippers served on ships of the RAC’s colonial flotilla and on company ships that carried out charter trips between Baltic ports and Russian America and eastern Siberia.

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Nash

Appropriating Siberia for the Russian Empire

Claudia Weiss

Siberia is more than a region of Russia; it is also an integral part of how Russians understand themselves. This cultural historical article examines the process by which Russians incorporated Siberia through the ideology of nash (ours; female nasha, neuter nashe), a possessive term that has deep roots in Russian literary and philosophical traditions. The author argues that it is important for us to understand the 'mental appropriation' of Siberia in order to understand its place in Russia today.

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Larisa Deriglazova

This article discusses the fluctuation of Russian attitudes towards Europe during the last twenty-five years. ‘Europeanness’ is connected to EU efforts of ‘Europeanisation’ and ‘normalisation’ of Russia on EU terms. At the same time, the EU has tried to monopolise the notion of ‘Europe’ and pretends to fulfil all its ideals and values. The continued expansion of the EU towards Russia’s former partners, and conflicts in contested neighbourhoods, has ushered in the feeling among Russians of being ‘different’ (‘Europeans’, yet with a desire to be great, strong and feared). Russia once again plays the role of a revisionist power, thus undermining the EU claim to represent the whole of Europe. Russia may be excluded from formal European organisations, but it cannot be excluded from an ‘imaginable’ community of Europe as a cultural phenomenon to which many Russians still attribute personal and collective meaning.

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Iver B. Neumann

Since the reign of Peter the Great, Russia has identified itself in opposition to Europe. In the late 1980s, Michael Gorbachev and associates forged a liberal representation of Europe and initiated a Western-oriented foreign policy. Against this westernizing or liberal representation of Europe stood what was at first a makeshift group of old Communists and right-wing nationalists, who put forward an alternative representation that began to congeal around the idea that the quintessentially Russian trait was to have a strong state. This article traces how this latter position consolidated into a full-fledged xenophobic nationalist representation of Europe, which marginalized first other forms of nationalism and then, particularly since 2013, liberal representations of Europe. The official Russian stance is now that Russia itself is True Europe, a conservative great power that guards Europe’s true Christian heritage against the False Europe of decadence and depravity to its west.

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Hidden Practice in Magadan

Parishioner Anxieties and Diocesan Perspectives on Russian Orthodoxy

Alexandra S. Antohin

The realities of Magadan's Soviet past have greatly influenced how the Russian Orthodox Church characterizes the city as devoid of a strong Church legacy. This article discusses how the imprint of underground approaches to religion remains today in the form of traditions of hidden practice, religious engagement, and expression without direct church involvement. Using material from ethnographic research of a Russian Orthodox diocese, this article argues that hidden practice—initially precipitated by historical circumstances—is now being exercised by some Orthodox Christians as a choice. The article is based primarily on ethnographic interviews with members of the clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church in Magadan

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Andrei V. Grinëv

Sailing ships played a significant role in the colonization of Alaska during the Russian period (1741–1867). However, classifying them is sometimes very difficult because the historical sources are very scarce and even contradictory. These difficulties lead to many errors in classification of specific vessels on the pages of scholarly literature. In addition, some authors have poor knowledge of maritime affairs. As a result, “frigatomania” is especially frequently encountered in Russian (occasionally in American) historiography. A correct classification of the ships allows us to better understand the scale of colonial expansion.

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Sergey V. Sokolovskiy

This article is a case study of the emergence and construction of politically salient social classifications that underpin such phenomena as ethnicity and nationalism in contemporary Russia. Official recognition of ethnic group in Russia often entails political visibility and special status with an associated set of legal provisions. In addition to 'titular peoples' of the republics, the Russian legal system has several legal categories based on ethnicity, such as indigenous peoples and national minorities, whose members claim and attain special status and associated rights. In order to ensure these rights, the state administration needs reliable information on the numbers of people in such categories.

The article analyzes ethnic and languages categorization in the population census of 2002, describes the related census technology, comments on legal definitions of indigenous peoples in Russia, and within this framework elaborates on the topic of indigeneity construction. It also provides an interpretation of the numerical threshold employed in federal laws on indigenous peoples.

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Dmitry Shlapentokh

Events of the distant past can become the subjects of animated online debates, revealing high levels of ethnic tension between ethnic Russians and minorities. This has been the case with disputes about a recent Russian movie on Genghis Khan, for instance, which is nearing completion in Yakutia. The Internet debate forum has revealed several models of the relationship between ethnic Russians and minorities. First, there is the Eurasian model, which implies a "symbiosis" between these two groups with ethnic Russians playing the lead roles. Second, there is the Asiatic version of Eurasianism, where the Asian minorities play the roles of leaders. Third, there is the concept of Russia for Russians.

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Bytovukha

Family Violence in Soviet Russia

Marianna Muravyeva

The article gives a systematic assessment of legal attitudes toward family and domestic violence in Soviet Russia to examine whether the incidence of family violence remained as high as it was in the pre-revolutionary period, whether forms of family violence changed due to the new regime and new legal categories, and whether and how the new gender regime (i.e., the proclaimed equality of women and men) influenced the state of family violence in Soviet Russia. The analysis reveals that the Soviet state used the concepts of “hooliganism” and “family-domestic crimes” as the legal frameworks to deal with family violence while the concept of the “problem family” was employed to suggest prevention policies against domestic violence. The article also addresses the problem of continuity in social and criminal policies of Russia within the current application of “traditional values” and explains why this concept is consistent with the Soviet past.

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Russia’s ‘Other Ummah’

From ‘Ethnic Shi’ism’ to Ideological Movement?

Bruno De Cordier

Since the beginning of the Syrian War, ties between Russia and the Shia sphere are primarily examined in terms of geopolitics, while little attention is being paid to the indigenous as well as immigrant Shia populations in Russia itself. Depending on the motives and circumstances that brought and bring various individuals and groups to more actively-professed Ja’fari Shi’ism, these can become the most active champions of its cause, or of social movements inspired by this persuasion. As such, the Shia element in Russia might become more relevant and present than its low-profile minority state suggests.