The article analyses the relationship of a prominent group of Russian artists, who were active from the 1860s to the 1890s, with the state institutions: the imperial Academy of Arts and with the Court.
Reconstructed on the base of the lawsuit over the legacy, the history of the family and kinship relations of the retired State Councillor Avraam Stepanovich Sverchkov ( he was the key person in the legislative commissions in 1720s – early 1740s and in 1755 bequeathed a considerable part of his property to the newly established Moscow University ) suggests that only a nuclear family existed and had value for the category of bureaucrats he belonged to. Coming from unprivileged estates and not being members of chancellery service families these persons climbed the hierarchy ladder thanks to their professional skills, and independently built their careers, friendships, matrimonial and other strategies, advancing in their service due to personal contacts, knowledge and experience. Being involved in the actual implementation of authorities’ reformative initiatives in the first half of the eighteenth century, Sverchkov and clerks like him formed the higher level of office employees in a variety of central institutions and ensured undisturbed operation of all the units of the state machine. Acquiring hereditary nobility through their service, this kind of collegiate officials shaped the field of social and family interaction within a single nuclear family rather than on the basis of vertical kinship relations. Their social capital, career progress, material well-being and security were interrelated and depended on two generations (parents and children) having been integrated in a complex system of social contacts.
The article is aimed at reconstruction of the history of an 18th century Russian provincial merchants' family. The article is based on the archival documents of local institutions and pays special attention to such topics as options of social mobility, the chatacter of commercial activities, the meaning of family ties and social status of the family memebers in the community.
The article analyzes the process of establishing phisical boundaries and legal status of land property in Russian Empire in the nineteenth century. The main topics include interaction of educated elite (landlords, government officials) with peasants, image of a land surveyor in public thought and fiction, difficulties with constructing private property regime in the countryside.
This article examines the history of the control of public finance during the reign of Peter the Great. It engages in a global and systematic study of the different types of control and their functioning that leads to an analysis of little-known aspects of Peter's reforming activity in the fields of administration and control, and the specification of the distinguishing features of the control system set up in the early eighteenth century. The establishment of the state meant tightening control structures. Control eventually turned into a system resting on a network of agents, responsible for controlling government administration a priori and a posteriori, and on the various interacting techniques and procedures they used to facilitate investigation. Not only did control intensify and become a specialized institution illustrating the state's will to improve its administrative services and ensure a better follow-up of the reforms under way, it also took care of the complex stabilisation policy for public finance in order to cope with the critical financial situation of the time. The article clearly demonstrates that the monarchy made every effort to prevent and crack down on abuse and frauds at all levels of financial administration.
A review of a book by American historian D. Frick on the anthropology of the 17th century Vilno.
The article carries omn the discussion started by M. Confino, E, Wirtschafter and D. Ransel with their publications at Cahiers du Monde Russe on the reality of the composition of the 18th century Russian society that we find in legal documents. The author draws attention to the promissory notes - a historical source that contain valuable information on the subject. He gives several examples that show specific traits of self identification which make us speak of the flexibility of the 18th century social structure.
This article tells the story of how mudflows – dangerous and elusive natural phenomena – were filmed in Soviet Kazakhstan in the 1970s‑1980s. It asks three questions: 1) How did Kazakh hydrologists succeed in filming mudflows and resolve a scientific controversy on mudflow physics? 2) How did filmmakers use footage created by scientists to propagate a reassuring message on the authorities’ ability to control mudflow risks? 3) How did this impressive footage contribute to the birth of a new narrative genre in Soviet cinema, the disaster film?
This article is the first in existing scholarship to examine Peter the Great’s famous decree on the taxation of beards from an economic perspective. Through an analysis of the decree in conjunction with other aspects of Russian state financial policy at the beginning of the eighteenth century, it argues that Peter had counted on this tax to replenish the Treasury at a critical moment when state resources were on the brink of complete exhaustion as a result of the gruelling Northern War with Sweden combined with a twofold drop in the value of the rouble. Based on new archival evidence, the study demonstrates the untenability of this policy, on the one hand due to Peter and his advisors’ over-optimistic assumptions about the prosperity of their Russian subjects (the beard tax was unreasonably high), and on the other, because the government overestimated their administrative capacity to implement the decree throughout the realm without provoking resistance.
This article deals with the treatment of money in Karamzin’s Letters of a Russian Traveler. Our approach combines biographical research with new insights into the text in an effort to shed light on the notorious matter of the source of Karamzin’s funding during his foreign travel in 1789-1790, and to understand his attitude to monetary transactions as it is revealed in the travelogue. This, in turn, allows us to deal with the contested issue of Karamzin’s status as a “literary professional.” These matters have been discussed on a number of occasions (Klioutchkine 1997, Klein 2008, Panofsky 2010, to mention only most recent publications). Existing studies, however, have avoided analyzing numbers and performing calculations, even if most of the questions they posed could not be convincingly resolved without recourse to quantifiable data. Needless to say, the information available to us is not exhaustive, and in many cases we have to rely on estimates, conjectures and approximations. However, even this level of precision affords us a more complete understanding of many important aspects of Karamzin’s biography and literary position, as well as the development of his economic thought.
Political crisis of 1730 and the Russian ruling elite of the end XVII – first third XVIII centuries
This article is dedicated to the study of social characteristics of the Russian ruling elite and its self-identification in the end XVII - first third XVIII centuries. How participants of political crisis of 1730 imagined society structure? How they defined own "we-identity"? In his representations the structure of noblesse did not coincide with official Table of ranks and it had parallel unofficial pattern which the aristocracy tried to fix legislatively in projects of verchovniki (members of Supreme Privy Council). In this informal structure of nobility three groups are selected: aristocracy (“famil’nye”, it is representatives of the old Moscow elite which has kept key posts in government with whom had to be considered the tsar as with group, instead of with separate families), middle nobility (“dobroe schliahetstvo” it is successors of the Moscow and provincial nobility), low nobility (“podloe schliahetstvo”, the poor nobility dependent both from the autocrat, and from patronage of “famil’nye”). In fact this informal structure was more real for people of the first half XVIII century, than formalized and still unfinished system of ranks.
The cotton affair, which was followed after 1983, resulted in the memory of the past ruling elite. This is a massive moralization campaign of provoking disability and a post-communal trauma narrative undergirding. Karimov's ideological shift (1989-1991) saw the CPUz move from loyal communist orthodoxy towards nationalist ideological split. There are no limits on the number of people living in the country. It is exemplified by the Uzbek country and it is creating a sensitive identity. The political events of the late 1980s are “characterized by such terms as“ colonial, ”“ purge, ”“ new terror, ”“ renewed 1937, ”“ Uzbek genocide ”; the witch hunt against the CPSU; He was a “national hero.” It was a “national hero.” in the harsh political rhetoric of the 1980s - by “terms,“ purge, ”“ new terror, ”“ renewed 1937, ”“ Uzbek genocide ”; the witch hunt against the CPSU; He was a “national hero.” It was a “national hero.” in the harsh political rhetoric of the 1980s - by “terms,“ purge, ”“ new terror, ”“ renewed 1937, ”“ Uzbek genocide ”; the witch hunt against the CPSU; He was a “national hero.” It was a “national hero.”
Policies concerning amnestied and rehabilitated former Gulag prisoners in the Novosibirsk oblast, 1953-1960 This article considers the policies implemented by the Soviet authorities to foster the social reintegration of former cons liberated en masse after Stalin’s death. It focuses on two groups of returnees in the Novosibirsk oblast : those liberated under the 1953 amnesty and former political prisoners. Aware that ex-prisoners were confronted with considerable difficulties, especially concerning job placement, geographical mobility and housing, Stalin’s heirs took secret and inadequate measures to remedy them. As far as amnestied were concerned, failed attempts at reducing unemployment and recidivism promptly lead the authorities to turn to indiscriminate prison threats toward returnees. Former political prisoners could ask for their legal rehabilitation. This device should allegedly lift all bureaucratic and material hurdles to their social reinstatement. One of the findings of this study, however, is that in Novosibirsk rehabilitated persons would need support from local or regional administrators to obtain most of what the law stipulated.
The article is devoted to an examination of selection procedure for common citizens’ letters to Stalin, and the practices of reacting to these letters.
The article examines the political and administrative functions of the zemstvos in Arkhangel´sk province in northern Russia during the Civil War. Zemstvos were liquidated in the province in early 1918 after the Bolsheviks’ seizure of power, but later resumed their work under the anti‑Bolshevik Provisional Government of Northern Russia between mid‑1918 and 1920. The reinstated zemstvos enjoyed significant popular support in the North. Still, in the conditions of the Civil War, they abandoned their role as public forums for debating and solving local problems, and instead became an instrument in the government’s policies aimed at mobilizing people and resources for the war. The centralization of the zemstvo self‑government closely mirrored the consolidation of the Bolshevik and Soviet party apparatus that took place at the same time on the other side of the Civil War front.
The article studies St. Petersburg merchants’ attempt at joining Moscow University’s Society of History and Antiquities of Russia during the last years of Nicholas I’s reign. The Society’s secretary, Osip Maksimovich Bodianskii, discussed the prospects of this membership with antiquarian and merchant patron Ivan Petrovich Sakharov, and the two men formulated different visions of the Society’s development in Russia. The issues at hand in their discussion, such as the social status of antiquities historians, a possible division of work among them, and material incentives for their activities, are analyzed within the framework of Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of symbolic capital. The study shows serious, insurmountable obstacles to the conversion of the merchants’ economic capital into the symbolic capital conferred by membership in a prestigious academic society.
In July 1941, about 100 writers joined the People’s Militia of Moscow. This article is devoted to the history of the formation and destruction of the “writers’ company” of the 8th division of the People’s Militia. This story represents a very revealing page in the social history of Soviet literature. In this article I am trying to answer the questions: why were these writers “delegated” to the people’s militia by the leadership of the Union of Soviet Writers? What were their own motives for joining the militia? Why were there so many “suspicious” among them by the standards of the Stalinist regime? The history of the “writers’ company” intertwined the history of the mechanism of mobilizing society during the World War II with the history of repressions. This is another page in the history of wartime Stalinism, which still remains very fragmentarily studied.
In this article, secrecy – the practice, infrastructure, and ideology of responsibly concealing information – is described using the empirical example of nuclear laboratories subordinated to the Soviet atomic agency. The author pays special attention to organizational infrastructures of secrecy and material deformations of secret research. On the basis of published documents, nuclear memoirs, in-depth interviews from the collection of the Obninsk project and a unique declassified archive, the author demonstrates how between the mid-1940s and the beginning of the 1970s the concern for hiding nuclear knowledge and technology was both embedded in research practices and deformed them. The laboratory is considered as the main unit of research activity in the Soviet atomic project; the early stage of the implementation of large-scale nuclear programs associated with the concentration of scientific forces, resources, secrecy, and development of a specific style of Big Soviet science is identified as a “lab age”. Secrecy in its becoming emergence and its archive are described via the case of Moscow–Obninsk radiochemists. Secret laboratory life is curated depictedin the text as an assemblage of secret matter, spaces of regime economy, espionage bodies and additional inscription devices in action. The laboratory routines, the author suggests, changed the methods of producing scientific facts, transmuted physicists into secret physicists, and helped shape the patterns of the Soviet culture of secrecy.
This article begins with the heroic stories former Leningrad residents tell about making their own outdoor-tourist gear out of illicitly obtained industrial materials. Reading these stories not as evidence of illicit circulation, but as expressions of ethical claims, I show that they are united by common assumptions of goodness, and argue that these assumptions cannot be understood through analytic frameworks concerned with private, acquisitive interest. Instead, I argue that they must be understood in terms of the “personal:” an idiosyncratic Soviet property regime that was not opposed to, but co-constitutive of, socialist property. Analyzing 1960s political statements, juridical arguments and media texts, I show that the 1961 Third Party Program reforms extended the juridical logic of personal property to personal ethical realms. Specifically, the Program demanded that people place their ethical obligations – to strive for the overall greater good – above their formal obligations to follow letter of the law. By framing necessary but unplanned transactions in the a-legal terms of “mutual aid,” this ethical stance helped the economy appear functional despite its endemic circulation problems.