Академия наук СССР
The scholarship on late Imperial Russia’s Oriental studies is divided by a disagreement over the applicability of Edward Said’s ‘Orientalism’ to the Russian case. Moreover, in a broader sense, since the mid 1990s, the Western scholarship has not been unanimous on the applicability of the underlying Foucauldian notions to late Imperial and Soviet Russia. While presenting a systematic study of Soviet and post-Soviet scholarship (mostly unfamiliar to Western readership) this article offers an assessment of the institutional and individual practices, adopted within Russia’s Oriental studies from the late nineteenth century to the present. The article aims to provide an analysis that goes far beyond the Saidian restrictive East-West dichotomy and his concept of two-vector relations between knowledge and state power. It offers a new reading, based on the deconstruction of the interplay of the manifold multi-vector power/knowledge relations that is clearly identifiable in Russia’s long twentieth century Iranian studies.
The study of post-World War II historical periodicals in the historiography of Soviet science was devoted par excellence to certain journals. These were studied in the context of contestations between politics and bureaucrats, on the one hand, and scholars, on the other. This article will consider the whole system of periodicals in the field, focusing on its substantial transformations in the 1950s–1960s in the context of the evolution of both academic institutions and the publishing industry. The description of the changes in the corpus of journals and its functioning, the transformation of the evaluation system, the emergence of new communication strategies, and forms of representation of historical knowledge are based on an analysis not only of journals themselves, but also on archival documents and relevant statistical data.
This paper deals with the post-war period (late 1940s – mid 1950s) in the development of Soviet digital electronic computational tools and formation of the USSR science and technology policy in this field. The authors studied how well the Soviet scientists and managers were aware of the new aspects of this policy, detected its primary application area – the Soviet Atomic project and considered the conditions of its formation. Evidently, information about the new computational tools came to the Soviet Union from abroad. One of the sources of such information was academic and science and technical journals. Possibly, intelligence agencies played a certain role in obtaining this information. It was then that some contradictions between approaches to computer hardware appeared. On the one hand, leaders of the Atomic project realized its benefits and planned to produce and apply it, though in a limited scope. On the other hand, advocates of the development of computer hardware affiliated with the USSR Academy of Science and Ministry for Machine Building and Instrument Making were in favor of a more comprehensive approach, which implied the creation of new types of computers, increasing their capacity and extending prospective applications beyond the military-industrial complex. Participation of the two establishments in the development of computer hardware was highly competitive, with each body pursuing its own goals and lacking resources. The fact that the developments by S.A. Lebedev got ultimately higher priority testifies to the deep insight of the USSR Academy of Science into scientific and engineering problems. Ideological pressure, characteristic of the late period of Stalin’s rule with respect to some areas of science, did not have any serious implications for the development of computer hardware. The general situation with electronic computational tools confirms the fact that Soviet engineering in the period of late Stalinism was of the catch-up nature.
The article analyses institutional changes in economic research on the Soviet North in the mid-1950s due to which the concept of USSR northern territories itself changed. Through the case of Commission on Issues of the North (operating under control of Council for the Study of Productive Potential at the USSR Academy of Sciences) and the activity of its head Samuil V. Slavin, the article discusses the reasons for and mechanisms of changing the principles of development of the Soviet North in the aftermath of Stalin’s rule. The Commission became the main centre coordinating work of different scientific institutions, both in the centre and the periphery, as well as planning institutions and industrial agencies, on elaborating new schemes of development of the North without compulsory labour. Drawing on the publications by Samuil V. Slavin and previously unstudied archival materials, the article shows how, beginning from the mid-1950s, Slavin started to devise a new concept of the Soviet North, shifting emphases from industrial development to creation of comfortable living conditions for people in the North.