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Article

Review of The Socialist Way of Life in Siberia: Transformation in Buryatia. By Melissa Chakar. Budapest: Central European University Press, 2014. xvi, 296 pp. Bibliography. Index. Plates. Tables. Maps. $55.00, hard bound

Slavic Review. 2016. Vol. 75. No. 2. P. 515-516.

A gift to Joseph Stalin from the “toiling masses” of Buyriat-Mongol Autonomous Republic

on occasion of the republic’s twenty-fi ft h anniversary in 1948 was a traditional

Buryat costume with a wide belt in the form of a chain of silver buckles. Each buckle

depicts an achievement of Soviet modernity: industry, agriculture—and enlightenment,

as on one buckle a lamp is hammered casting light over an open book and

musical instruments (Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov, ed. Gift s to Soviet Leaders, 2006, 101).

It is as if the very body of the Buryat nation is a traditionally dressed male fi gure

whose silhouette is emphasized by modernity. Melissa Chakar’s insightful, concise

and clearly written book is a historical account of such Soviet framing of twentiethcentury

Buryat society.