Imperial Political Culture and Modernization in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century
The article is devoted to analysis of discursive practices of public representation and discussion of the political course of “modernization” announced by president Dmitry Medvedev. It is focused at interpretations of the idea of modernization by the leading Russian politicians as well as at the role of the notions about collective past, present and future in its ideological justification and contestation.
The chapter focuses on one of the ways to communicate with the sacred popular among contemporary Russian Orthodox believers – written appealing to the saints (letters and notes). Although not happy at all about this habit, the Church managers allow to publish these letters in the parish newspapers and web-sites and in other church mass-media. Analysis of publications of the letters addressed to Saint Xenia of Petersburg proves that the Church publishes them as a part of its advertising campaign targeted on those people who prefer irregular religiosity (pilgrimages, letters to the saint, etc) to traditional regular parish life. The chapter develops Peter Berger’s metaphor of religious market.
“Empire Speaks Out” is a result of the collaborative international research project whose participants aim to reconstruct the origin, development, and changing modes of self-description and representation of the heterogeneous political, social, and cultural space of the Russian Empire. The collection offers an alternative to the study of empire as an essentialized historical phenomenon, i.e. to those studies that construe empire retrospectively by projecting the categories of modern nation-centered social sciences onto the imperial past. It stresses dynamic transformations, adaptation, and reproduction of imperial patterns of sociability and governance. Chapters of the collection show how languages of rationalization derived from modern public politics, scientific discourses of applied knowledge (law, sociology, political economy, geography, ethnography, physical anthropology) and social self-organization influenced processes of transformation of the imperial space.
Article devoted to analysis the role and significance of Tatar-born Russian officials in gathering information about state and law of the Central Asian khanates – Bukhara, Khiva, Khoqand in the 18th-19th cc. on the examples of M.Bekchurin, M.Aitov and I.Batyrshin. All of them served as officials of the Orenburg Frontier Commission, two of them were diplomats in Bukhara and Khiva, last one contacted with informers from abovementioned khanates. The common feature for them was that they were Turks and Moslems. Firstly that fact provided Central Asian population’s sympathies to them (including favor of representatives of the ruling elites of the khanates) and gave an opportunity to gather more useful information. Secondly, as representatives of the Turkic-Islamic culture they could better understand and estimate the level of political and legal development of the Central Asian khanates and prepare impartial reports for their chiefs. Also it’s necessary to notice that their affiliation with Turkic-Islamic world didn’t influence on quality of fulfillment of missions by such officials: they tried all ways to contribute to realization of the Russian policy in the Central Asia and advance of the Russian Empire in this region.
Nature abhors a "vacuum" - the new power elite arrives at the time of major social and political transformations and endeavours to shore up its position within the country and obtain support from outside. New power groups, which are active at times of revolution and who replace, push aside or even depose the old elites and impose their own control over the state machine and position themselves as new power elite.There are themselves not immune to social transformation, especially in the first decades of coming to their new commanding role. Unless its claims are given legitimacy it is unable to implement its positive programme, which it immediately claims as the national programme. Every country "acquires" a new functioning elite - political, financial and intellectual - from revolution or a change of regime. The old elite may lose control and depart or upon luck may merge into a new combination of social strata of particular country. We also believe that the composition and the structure of elites is the country-specific and reflect one’s country history.
This book seeks to “re-think democracy.” Over the past years, there has been a tendency in the global policy community and, even more widely, in the world’s media, to focus on democracy as the “gold standard” by which all things political are measured. This book re-examines democracy in Russia and in the world more generally, as idea, desired ideal, and practice. A major issue for Russia is whether the modernization of Russia might not prosper better by Russia focusing directly on modernization and not worrying too much about democracy. This book explores a wide range of aspects of this important question. It discusses how the debate is conducted in Russia; outlines how Russians contrast their own experiences, unfavourably, with the experience of China, where reform and modernization have been pursued with great success, with no concern for democracy; and concludes by assessing how the debate in Russia is likely to be resolved.
Considering specifi city of modernization processes in Russia, caused both by internal problems and Russias place in global economy, the author brings an attention to the question of features of standard-values system of Russian reformers. Results of the analysis of 12 values-blocks forming a basis of the variety of the standard-valuable systems of Russians are given.