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ML&L 3342, Dr. Bruce Holl, Trinity University, San Antonio, TX

Friday, June 29 2018

Exam 2 Study Guide


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ML&L 3342 Dr. Holl Exam 2 Guide
Thursday, July 5, 2015, 6:30 PM
318 Northrup Hall (our regular classroom)
The exam is designed for 50 minutes but you may use the full three hours
Write in pen


I History & Culture (50 %)
You will choose 5 subjects, including at least 1 from each category. You will identify the subject and provide the relevant dates plus at least 4 salient points. Not all of these subjects will be included on the exam but you will have some choice. You will not need to write in complete sentences. Try to spend roughly the same amount of time on each answer.

Post-Soviet Russia
The Chaos of the '90s
Boris Yeltsin
Vladimir Putin
The two wars in Chechnya
Events in Ukraine & Crimea 2013-present

Siberia
Early Russian Colonization of Siberia
Development of Siberia mid-late 19th century
Soviet development policy in Siberia
The Post-Soviet Period

The Jews of Russia
Anti-Semitism in pre-revolutionary Russia
Jews in the Soviet Union from the revolution to the death of Stalin
Jews in the Soviet Union 1952-1991
Selective integration, resettlement, emigration, population statistics


II Literature (50 %)
You will answer one question on each author. All three questions will be included on the exam, so you may prepare your answer in advance, but you may not use your books or notes during the exam. You must cite specific examples from the books.

Sadulaev
Sadulaev uses a variety of genres and writing techniques and includes many motifs in the work we read. What are some of these methods and motifs? How do they reflect his view of the First Chechen War? Are any of his techniques and motifs present in the movie Prisoner of the Mountains? Provide examples from the text and movie.

Rasputin
We discussed a number of ways of reading "The Fire": as an allegory of the Soviet Union, a work of Socialist Realism, a treatise on environmentalism, a contrast of rural versus urban or traditional versus modern values. Which reading or readings seem most convincing to you? Provide examples from the text.

Babel
What are some of the Jewish motifs in Babel's stories? How do they reflect Babel’s view of Jewish life and culture in Russia both before and after the revolution? Provide examples from the stories.


13:58 - U.S. Central Time Zone - Dr. Bruce Holl - 1034 comments


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Jewish Motifs in Babel
from Alice Nakhimovsky and Efraim Sicher
ML&L 3342 Dr. Bruce Holl


• Jewish tough guys in the Yiddish literary tradition
• Jews as the "Messiah" of new Russian literature
• Jews using brains and brawn
• Jews as victims of violence and anti-Semitism
• Rare literary portrayal of pogroms
• The emptiness of Soviet rhetoric about the Jews
• Neurotic Jewish intellectuals
• Departure from stock portrayals of Jews in Russian literature
• Jewish compassion and wisdom
• Jews trying to unite Jewish tradition and new Soviet ways
• Jews trying to join the Soviet project
• The Jewish way of life dying out
• The sun setting on Russian Jewry
• Contrast of Jews in the shtetl and Odessa
• Contrast of Hasidic and assimilated Jews
• Jews fighting back
• The use of Yiddishisms and Yiddish puns
• The accurate use of the speech, aphorisms, humor of the shtetl
• The use of parables and folk literature

Sources:
Nakhimovsky, Alice. Russian-Jewish Literature and Indentity: Jabotinsky, Babel, Grossman, Galich, Roziner, Markish. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992.

Sicher, Efraim. Jews in Russian Literature After the October Revolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.



13:36 - U.S. Central Time Zone - Dr. Bruce Holl - 40 comments

The Jews of Russia


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ML&L 3342
Dr. Holl
The Jews of Russia


Early Times & 19th Century
For photographs, maps, and documents related to this lecture see the online exhibit Beyond the Pale: History of the Jews in Russia

- There was a medieval kingdom from the fifth to the 13th centuries c. e. called Khazaria on territory that today includes parts of southern Russia, the northern Caucasus, Ukraine, Crimea, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan
- The Khazars were a Turkic people who converted to Judaism
- The Khazars were ultimately subsumed into Kievan Rus’
- There was no significant Jewish population for several centuries after that
- The great influx of Jews into the Russian empire took place in the 18th century
- In 1772 there occurred what would be the first of three divisions of territory formerly belonging to Poland
- As a result, at least 200,000 Jews suddenly entered the Russian empire
- The number is probably closer to 500,000 (Cambridge History of Russia, v. 2, p. 186)
- From that time on there existed what was referred to as the "Jewish problem" or "Jewish question" in Russia.
- Why were the Jews considered a "problem"?
- Because of historical anti-Semitism
- Because it was said that the Jews would not assimilate linguistically or culturally
- What was the language of the Jews of Central and Eastern Europe? (Yiddish)
- Yiddish is a Germanic language that also incorporates elements of Hebrew, Slavic and other languages, depending on the dialect. Its origin is a matter of some controversy.
- It was spoken by about 11 million people at the beginning of the 20th century
- It is still spoken today but by far fewer people, because many native speakers died during the Holocaust and others emigrated to the US or the USSR where they and their families henceforth spoke English and Russian
- Another facet of anti-Semitism: the Jews were viewed as moneylenders
- The irony of the "moneylender" claim is that the Jews, in Russia and elsewhere, were probably forced to take up banking and other business-related professions because they were driven off the land and otherwise restricted in their choice of professions
- Jews by the middle of the nineteenth century had come to dominate commercial life in the western part of the Russian Empire (Cambridge History of Russia, v. 2, p. 193)
- As to the issue of assimilation, the irony here was two-fold: the Jews for the most part were not allowed to assimilate; when they did assimilate it made no difference, because the government kept track of nationalities and could and did discriminate against Jews regardless of whether or not they had assimilated.
- This fact was the basis of the Zionist movement: the belief that Jews would never be accepted as part of any adoptive homeland and must found their own country in their historical home region of Palestine.
- The founding of a Jewish state, however, came later. At the end of the 18th century the Russian government had to decide what to do about the Jews, and made the following decisions:
- Jews must live in the "Pale of Settlement" and were excluded from so-called "Great Russia," with limited exceptions on an individual basis
- In Russian: Cherta osedlosti
- The Pale of Settlement was a large area in present day Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic countries, the Northern Caucasus, Moldova, and Poland
- It contained mainly small towns and villages, called shtetls, but there were also substantial Jewish populations in the cities of Warsaw, Lódz and Vilnius
- Jews could not work in certain professions, must attend special schools, could not move about freely.
- Among the most repressive measures was the military recruiting law: Each Jewish town in the Pale had to send six boys per year between the ages of 12 and 18 for military service. The term of enlistment under Nicholas I for all soldiers, including these 12 year old boys, was 25 years, although this was gradually reduced in the 19th century
- The law was often violated by recruiters who took even higher numbers of even younger boys.
- These laws remained in force throughout the early part of the nineteenth century
- There was marked improvement in the treatment of Jewish citizens under Alexander II
- Notably, the recruiting law was repealed in the 1860s, more Jews were allowed to live outside the Pale (a process called "selective integration"), and Jews began to participate to a greater extent in the cultural life of the country
- At first Jewish merchants were permitted to live outside the pale, and gradually this right was extended to Jewish graduates of Russian universities, Jewish artisans in certain fields, Jewish veterans, and eventually Jewish graduates of all post-secondary institutions (Cambridge History of Russia, v. 2, p. 194)
- The House of Ginzburg in St. Petersburg became the largest bank in the empire.
- Benjamin Nathans in the Cambridge History of Russia v. 2 says: "The results of selective integration were dramatic. By 1880, some 60,000 Jews were legally residing in the provinces of European Russia outside the Pale. By the time of the 1897 census, that number had risen to 128,343, while an additional 186,422 Jews were recorded as living in Siberia, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Baltic provinces. By century's end more than 314,000 Jews were living outside the Pale, with the largest single community in St. Petersburg … And, as contemporaries were quick to note, in institutions where they weren't seen before: above all those of higher education, the leading incubator of Russia's civil society as well as of the revolutionary movement" (195).
- However, there soon occurred a reaction against the Jews, in part as a result of a Polish uprising in 1863 and the belief that the Empire was threatened by nationalist groups within its borders, but also in response to the growing influence of Jews due to selective integration.
- Moreover, Alexander himself, like virtually all his predecessors, was personally not sympathetic toward the Jews
- This was the period of the worst "pogroms"
- "Pogrom" is a Russian word, originally meaning "destruction," which has come to mean (in both Russian and English) an attack on Jewish property and life.
- Historically pogroms occurred around Easter time in certain parts of the Russian empire where Jews and Christians lived in close proximity
- Generally these were non-Russian regions of the Russian empire, such as Ukraine, so it is important to note that in many cases it was not Russians who perpetrated violence against Jews
- This is an important distinction today as each side in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict accuses the other of, among other things, anti-Semitism
- Often the nominal cause for violence against Jews or destruction of Jewish property in the Russian Empire was the supposed refusal of Jews to remove their hats in the presence of a Christian procession on the street
- In other cases, a Jew or Jews would be accused (as they have been accused throughout Europe since the Middle Ages) of ritual sacrifice of a Christian child to use its blood for Passover bread – a charge that one still hears.
- There was a famous trial in 1913 in Kiev of the Jewish superintendent of a brick factory, Mendel Beilis, who was accused of killing a 13 year old boy for this purpose.
Beilis was acquitted but the trial garnered a great deal of publicity and revealed virulent anti-Semitism in the community (see Marvin Perry and Frederick M. Schweitzer, ed., Antisemitic Myths: A Historical and Contemporary Anthology, pp. 133-4).
- Note: The Jerusalem Post on March 18, 2008 reported that "[i]n a shocking anti-Semitic incident on Wednesday, hundreds of blood libel flyers were found posted on homes in the Russian city of Novosibirsk, warning parents to protect their children from bloodthirsty Jews ahead of Pessah" (see RussianNotes.com for March 19, 2008)
- From the 1880s on, especially in the southern part of the Russian Empire, there were some 250 pogroms
- It is not clear to what extent the government was involved in these activities
- Some scholars support the view that the government actually organized them, while others more plausibly believe that the government simply did not do enough to stop them
- Timothy Snyder, in his new (2015) book Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning, argues that the pogroms "were not organized by the state, but the Russian imperial subjects who perpetrated them believed that they were following the will of the tsar" (22-3).
- Official persecution of the Jews did grow worse under Alexander III
- As a result, some two million Jews left the Russian empire for Europe and the US during the final decades of the Romanov era (Cambridge History of Russia, v. 2, p. 184)
- Snyder notes that "[b]efore the revolutions of 1917, the Russian Empire had been the homeland of more Jews than any other country in the world," but by the time of the First World War "Jews were almost two hundred times more likely than ethnic Russians to emigrate from the Russian empire" (22-3).
- At this time an organization called the General Jewish Workers' Union, or Bund, gained some prominence as part of the general revolutionary movement to overthrow the Tsar
- Many Jews came to believe that if even limited short-term reform had invoked so violent a reaction, there was no chance of substantial long-term reform
- It is at this time that the Zionist movement arose, whereby Jews sought to live outside Russia in a Jewish homeland
- Many thousands of Jews emigrated to Palestine, then a part of the Ottoman Empire, prior to World War I (Cambridge History of Russia, v. 2, p. 199)

Jews in the Soviet Union
 In the course of Soviet history, Jews were the target of both the Soviets and their opponents. Samuel Oppenheim writes in the Ethnohistorical Dictionary: "The Soviet period was in many ways the most paradoxical. On the one hand, the tsarist disabilities on Jews were removed, and the Jews had a greater opportunity to participate in society than at any previous time in their history. And participate they did. On the other hand, many of these gains were later obliterated, and the Soviet period saw the greatest attack on the Jewish religion and Jewish life in Russian-Soviet history. This, combined with continuing anti-Semitism and tremendous demographic losses, left both the Jewish community and the Jewish religion very weak in this area by the end of Communist rule in 1991" (Samuel Oppenheim in James Olson, Ed., Ethnohistorical Dictionary p. 323)
 There was a perception by some that the 19th century revolutionaries were disproportionately Jewish
 In fact, there were, inevitably, some Jews among the revolutionaries
 Marx was Jewish by birth but his father had converted to Christianity, he himself was educated in Christian schools, and he made many comments about the Jews that even his supporters acknowledge as anti-Jewish (see Antisemitic Myths, ed. Perry and Schweitzer, pp. 75-82)
 Lenin had Jewish roots on one side of his family
 There were other Jews, including Lenin's confederate Lev Trotsky (Snowball in Animal Farm.
 The revolution was not, however, a Jewish conspiracy or led largely by Jews as some opponents of the revolution would say
 Alexander Solzhenitsyn, in Two Hundred Years Together, writes: "Angered by the persistent nature of revolutionary violence, as well as by the humiliating defeat in the war with Japan, the ruling circles in Petersburg were not above yielding to the temptingly simple view that there was nothing organically wrong with Russia and that the entire revolution, from beginning to end, was a malicious Jewish plot, part and parcel of a worldwide Jewish-Masonic conspiracy. Here was the root cause that explained it all: the Jews! Russia would long ago have ascended to the pinnacles of power and glory were it not for the Jews! It was a myopic and false explanation, which made the impending fall of these high officials all the more irrevocable."(The Solzhenitsyn Reader, pp. 495-6)
 On the other hand, as recently as June 19, 2013, President Putin, citing no evidence, said publicly that 80-85 percent of the first Soviet government, the “Council of Commissars,” was Jewish.
 The revolution brought an end to the Pale of Settlement
 It brought an official declaration by the Bolsheviks of an end to anti-Semitism
 At the same time, the Bolsheviks officially championed Internationalism, especially with respect to non-Russians, which meant that Soviet citizens should be loyal to the USSR and the international communist movement, not to their separate ethnic groups
 The official "religion" of the Soviet Union was atheism, which meant that the practice of Judaism as a religion was also discouraged
 There was, particularly in the 1920s prior to Stalin's final consolidation of power in 1928 or so, something of a flowering of Russian culture, and Jewish artists made a strong contribution to this movement
 In particular, Isaac Babel, whose work we will be discussing, gave striking portraits of Jewish life in his collections of stories
 Babel would later be arrested and executed as an enemy of the people by Stalin.
 There was during the Soviet period an effort at Jewish resettlement to the Crimea and Birobidzhan. Samuel Oppenheim writes: "There was even an attempt, perhaps a hope, to gather all Jews in one area. This lead to the Jewish Autonomous Region of Birobidzhan, located in a remote corner of Asia near the Manchurian border, in the Khabarovsk district. The regime encouraged Jews to settle there after 1928, and, in 1934, Birobidzhan was declared a 'Jewish Autonomous Region.' It never developed into an important Jewish center, certainly not for all Soviet Jewry. Many Jews who came later left. Birobidzhan's Jews and Jewish life suffered the same fate as those in the rest of the Soviet Union. Not many people went there. In 1970, the entire Jewish Autonomous Region had 180,000 people, of whom only about 14,000 were Jewish" (Ethnohistorical Dictionary 324)
 It is now (as of the summer of 2016) included among the regions in which Russian citizens can receive a free hectare of land from the government if they promise to develop the land for agricultural or entrepreneurial purposes
 During the Great Patriotic War there was a slight reversal of policy as in other areas of Soviet life
 An organization, the Jewish Antifascist Committee, was formed to aid the war effort and to garner Western and in particular American support
 The organization sent representatives to the US to collect donations
 It gathered information on Nazi destruction of the Jews on Soviet territory
 Several hundred thousand Jews fought in the Red Army during the war
 The effect of the Holocaust on Soviet Jews was massive: "The Baltic areas were retaken by the Soviets soon after the war began, but, when the Nazis attacked, they quickly seized this area. Of its 253,000 Jews, 90 percent were killed, as were 65 percent of White Russia's 375,000 Jews, 60 percent of Ukraine's 1.5 million Jews, and 11 percent of the Russian Republic's 975,000 Jews. Altogether, of the 3,103,000 Jews in the Soviet Union when hostilities commenced, 1,480,000, or 47 percent, were lost. Thus, the 1959 census reported only 2.2 million Soviet Jews" (in Olson, Ethnohistorical Dictionary, 327)
 A campaign was mounted against the Jews after WWII, however, and especially after 1948
 Initial relatively mild policies were adopted. For example, Jewish writers, including some with impeccable Party credentials, were denied the right to publish
 There was a suppression of the information gathered by the JAC about the holocaust, and a refusal to recognize Jewish war veterans for their unique contribution
 A campaign against Zionism then was carried out, primarily in the newspapers Pravda and Izvestiia
 Paradoxically, there was early support for Israel, mainly as a way of opposing "British imperialism," but this support soon turned to hostility when Israel and the US became allies
 The term "cosmopolitanism," sometimes called "rootless" or "kinless" cosmopolitanism, came into being and was a charge leveled against Jews
 The 4 vol. Soviet Dictionary, volume II, defines it as follows (my translation): "A reactionary bourgeois ideology that espouses the rejection of national traditions, culture and patriotism; that denies state and national sovereignty and promotes the idea of a 'world state' and 'citizenship in the world."
 This definition was used to refer to the Jews' alleged lack of allegiance to the USSR.
 It was used as the basis for discrimination in jobs and education
 Among the manifestations of the post-war campaign against the Jews were the murder of Solomon Mikhoels, Chairman of the Jewish Antifascist Committee during the war and a prominent actor who had once appeared on Broadway as, of all things, an Arab merchant in a production of Oklahoma!
 A number of other prominent Jewish intellectuals were arrested and executed as well (see Antisemitic Myths, ed. Perry and Schweitzer, p. 249)
 There occurred at this time the affair of the "Doctors' Plot," the accusation by Stalin that a number of so-called "doctor-saboteurs," more than half of them Jewish, were engaged in a plot to kill Soviet leaders.
 There are many indications that Stalin at the time of his death was planning to use this contrived "plot" as the pretext for a systematic campaign against Soviet Jews
 His death, probably hastened by members of his inner circle who delayed medical care, forestalled the prosecution of the Doctors and the purge of Jews
 After Stalin's death there was limited reform of attitudes during "The Thaw" but no real substantive change toward Zionism or Judaism
 The "Time of Stagnation" saw the emergence of protests against this state of affairs, in the form of Jewish "Refuseniks" who demanded, in many cases, the right to emigrate to Israel and the United States – a right that many of them ultimately won
 Significant Jewish emigration to the United States and Israel did take place during the 1970s and subsequently: "The first wave began slowly, in the early 1970s, with 13,000 emigrating in 1971. The first wave reached its high point in 1979, when 51,000 Soviet Jews emigrated. Altogether, from 1971 through 1981, some 256,000 Soviet Jews emigrated. Approximately 145,000 of them went to Israel, and most of the remainder settled in the United States. The regime of Leonid Brezhnev cracked down on emigration in the early 1980s. Indeed, in the entire five-year period between 1982 and 1986, a total of only 7,000 Soviet Jews received exit visas. Then, under Gorbachev, the floodgates opened again. Beginning with 8000 émigrés in 1987, the figures increased to 19,000 (1988), 185,000 (1990), and 147,000 (1991). In that five-year period, 437,000 more Soviet Jews emigrated, approximately 352,000 to Israel. In other words, in the 1971-1991 period, a total of 700,000 Soviet Jews emigrated. In addition, with the coming of independence to the Baltic republics in 1991, many Jews were no longer 'Soviet.' It appears, then, that the total number of Jews in Russia in 1992 was probably somewhat over one million but was declining with continuing emigration. In addition, despite increased opportunities for religious activities, the Jewish religion had been nearly extinguished during 74 years of Communist rule that ended, along with the Soviet Union, in late 1991" (Olson, ed., Ethnohistorical Dictionary, 327-8)

Jews of Russia Today
 Today there are probably a little more than 300,000 Jews in Russia, including 100,000 in Petersburg, 200,000 in Moscow, 7,000 in Birobidzhan, and a few thousand in other communities.
 Such statistics, however, are problematic
 I have also seen estimates as high as 700,000, and The chief Rabbi of Russia, Berel Lazar, estimates 1-2 million Russians have a Jewish mother
 Most of these estimates suggest that although it is greatly reduced from earlier times, this is still one of the largest Jewish communities in the world
 Within this community a great deal has taken place and continues to take place
 An organization called the Federation of Jewish Organizations and Communities in Russia serves as an umbrella organization representing both secular and religious Jewish organizations
 Many international organizations also now have Russian affiliates
 To aid in the teaching of Jewish tradition a network of educational institutions has been established including universities and Jewish schools
 There is a Union of Jewish religious Communities to promote and maintain Orthodox religious life
 There are operating synagogues with Rabbis in many cities
 It is possible to buy Kosher food some places
 There is now a chief rabbinical chaplain serving in Russia's armed forces for the first time since the October, 1917 revolution (see Jerusalem Post Dec. 17 2007)
 There are also problems confronting the Jewish population of Russia
 Many Jews, as the above statistical data suggest, do not identify strongly with their Jewish heritage
 There have been spikes in anti-Semitic incidents at various times
 There have also been aggressive attempts on the part of some missionaries to convert Jews to Christianity




13:32 - U.S. Central Time Zone - Dr. Bruce Holl - No comments

Siberia


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ML&L 3342
Dr. Bruce Holl, Trinity University
Siberia


• The chief reason for Russian economic growth since 1991 lies in the region we are about to study: Siberia, which possesses tremendous untapped oil and gas reserves
• In Russian the region is called Sibir'
• What do you think of when you hear the word "Siberia"?
• My own interest in the subject dates to a course I took as a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison by a geographer named Mark Bassin, who had written a dissertation comparing Siberian history with American history as described by the historian Frederick Jackson Turner
• I quote from the Encyclopedia Britannica about Turner:
• "[Turner] traced the social evolution of frontier life as it continually developed across the continent from the primitive conditions of explorer, trapper, and trader, through maturing agricultural stages, finally reaching the complexity of city and factory. Turner held that the American character was decisively shaped by conditions on the frontier, in particular the abundance of free land, the settling of which engendered such traits as self-reliance, individualism, inventiveness, restless energy, mobility, materialism, and optimism."
• In many ways this is applicable to the Russians in Siberia, or rather, to the way that Russians viewed and continue to view their presence in Siberia
• "Siberia" generally refers to the area bordered in the west by the Ural Mountains, the south by the Kazakh Uplands, and the East by the Pacific Ocean
• The Kazakh Uplands now are a part of Kazakhstan, and the Kazakh government is wary of attempts to term the region "Southern Siberia," which has political as well as geographic implications
• Students of Siberia quite often use the term "Eurasia," to signify the fact that in reality Europe and Asia are one continent, and the terms "Europe" and "Asia" designate political, not geographic entities
• The term Eurasia is now also used by certain political groups and leaders who believe that Russia is as much Asian as it is European and should not look to the west for political or cultural models
• The Pacific coast region is sometimes called the Far East, especially for administrative purposes within Russia itself
• Also included is the large island of Sakhalin in the sea of Japan
• Anna Reid's introductory description, in her book The Shaman’s Coat: A Native History of Siberia, captures its physical features (pp. 1-2):
• "Defined as all Russian-ruled territory between the Urals and the Pacific, Siberia occupies five million square miles of northern Asia, or a twelfth of the world's landmass. Flying across it from end to end takes seven hours, during six of which, unless you overfly the southerly Trans-Siberia Railway, the bogs and forests below display no sign whatsoever of mankind's existence. In its deepest backwoods survey parties still stumble across strange, shy families who have never heard of Lenin or the Second World War. Although it encompasses farmland and steppe as well as forest and tundra, for the most part it is cold indeed. Winter temperatures average minus 30-40 degrees, and can plunge into the minus 60s. In such conditions mercury turns to lead, brandy to syrup. Living trees explode with a sound like gunfire, chopped logs strike blue sparks, and exhaled breath falls to the ground like a shower of crystals, with a rustling sound called the 'whispering of the stars'" (1-2).

Early History
• There had been some Russian forays into the territory to the east of the Ural Mountains as early as the Kiev/Novgorod period
• Even then, all regions of Siberia were inhabited.
• There is evidence, in fact, that by 3500 BCE there were different Neolithic cultures throughout Siberia
• Thus, although most regions of Siberia were sparsely populated, there is no time when the Russians can be said to have pushed eastward into "uninhabited lands"
• At the same time, it is not entirely accurate to say that the Russians came as conquerors of an existing country or civilization
• There were about 250,000 inhabitants in this entire area – one twelfth of the world's landmass -- at the time of the Russians' arrival
• This is about one person for every 28 square miles
• On the one hand, this would seem to bolster the Russian claim of the time that the land was basically uninhabited
• At the same time, this seems to have been the amount of land needed to support the way of life of the native inhabitants
• By the end of the 17th century there were about the same number of Russians and native inhabitants: 150,000-200,000 each
• Among the reasons for a decrease in native population was small pox
• The first outbreak occurred in 1630 in Western Siberia
• Within twenty years the disease had reached the Tungus further east in Siberia
• By the end of the 19th century there would be close to one million Russians in Siberia
• Anna Reid in 2002 reported that native peoples numbered 1.6 million out of a total population of 32 million (Reid 4). A widely cited report by the Demographics Institute of the Higher School of Economics places the population of Siberia and the Far East today at around 26 million.
• At the time of the arrival of the Russians, many groups were already established in all regions of Siberia
• See James Forsyth, A History of the Peoples of Siberia: Russia's North Asian Colony 1581-1990 (Cambridge, 1992)
• Substantial Russian activity in Siberia began in the middle of the 16th century
• The first Russian attempt to occupy territory east of the Urals occurred at the end of the 15th century
• Under Ivan IV the Russians defeated the Khanate of Kazan in 1552, thus removing the major military deterrent to eastward expansion
• Expansion to the east for commercial purposes began at this time
• Although the government eventually would try to control the outflow of resources from Siberia, from the outset private individuals played an important role
• The first of these was Grigorii Stroganov, whose family, one of the wealthiest it Russia, received a charter to colonize "empty lands" in western Siberia.
• This initiated the in-migration of Russian settlers and the establishment of towns in western Siberia.
• By 1584, Ivan's son Fedor decreed that further expansion into Siberia would be carried out by government troops in the name of the government.
• Almost from the beginning of Russian expansion into Siberia, therefore, the Russians sent troops and began consolidating territorial gains by building fortresses
• They also began at the time (as they would later in the Caucasus) soliciting local leaders to help them, and collecting tribute from indigenous residents
• As in the Caucasus, there was (and would continue to be) resistance to the Russian occupation
• This was particularly true of the Tatars but was true of other, native Siberian groups as well
• The original charter to the Stroganovs allowed them to mine for iron and salt
• Early on, however, they discovered another resource that was much more valuable: furs
• The most valuable fur was that of the sable
• The European market for sable fur was such that literally a few skins from one expedition could make an individual financially secure for life
• The Russians were willing to trade for furs in some cases, often trading household items such as knives or pots and pans to the native peoples, who did not place a particularly high value on sable furs
• Eventually, the Russians came to use any means possible to obtain the furs, which became the medium for paying tribute by the native peoples to the Russians
• The result of this was that many areas of Siberia were over-trapped and the animals disappeared.
• Ultimately, the influx of soldiers, traders and government officials to Siberia created a problem of logistics
• To ship food was impractical, so it was decided to make the Siberian colony agriculturally self-sufficient
• For this purpose, peasants were re-located to Siberia to clear forests and cultivate land
• Unfortunately, much of this land had been the sole means of subsistence for the native people, who had used it for reindeer grazing or for hunting
• Thus the in-migration of peasants resulted in the dislocation of many people who were forced to move elsewhere to survive
• One of the first Russian groups to enter Siberia, from the very beginnings of Russian presence there, was the exiles
• The exile population consisted of convicted criminals, but also political prisoners and prisoners of war from virtually every war that Russia fought
• Yet another group of early Russian migrants were the Old Believers, a group of Ultra-Orthodox Christians, led by the Archpriest Avvakum, who refused to accept liturgical reforms in the 17th century (see my article on the subject in Galya Diment and Yuri Slezkine, eds., Heaven and Hell: The Myth of Siberia in Russian Culture)
• Many Old Believers moved to the Altai Mountains east of Lake Baikal, where they led an isolated existence into the 20th century
• A final group of migrants to Siberia were women
• Although many Russian men married women from the native population, there were also attempts on the part of the government to send women to Siberia for purposes of marriage

The Middle-Late 19th Century
• Toward the middle of the 19th century the notion of colonizing Siberia and populating it with Russians came to take on greater significance
• In particular this was true of the Amur river basin near the Chinese border in southeastern Siberia
• This is the topic of the book Imperial Visions: Nationalist Imagination and Geographical Expansion in the Russian Far East, 1840-1865, by the geographer Mark Bassin
• The reasons for this expansion were numerous:
• The Russians believed that the Amur would provide an outlet to the Pacific for military and commercial purposes
• They believed that it would strengthen their military position with respect to the Chinese and Japanese
• They believed that it would provide a waterway to other parts of Siberia
• They believed that it contained a wealth of minerals and furs
• They believed that it had a temperate climate which would allow not only self-sustaining agriculture, but also a surplus to feed other parts of Siberia
• The believed also that it was their destiny to colonize and populate Siberia, just as the Americans had populated western North America
• In fact, there was a debate for a time in the mid-19th century as to whether the Russians should continue to try to compete with the Americans in North America, or focus on Siberia – which is what they ultimately decided to do, in part because they could see that they had no chance in North America
• The Amur region came for a time in the 19th century to be perceived as a kind of frontier promised land
• It was a common topic in the popular press and many first-hand accounts described it as a paradise
• The problem with this whole project was that the Amur basin was not, in fact, the paradise that many Russians thought it to be
• The mouth of the Amur did not make a convenient port and the river itself was shallow and difficult to navigate in many places
• The climate was slightly better than some other parts of Siberia, but still quite harsh and not good enough for profitable agriculture
• The furs were of poor quality, the silver and gold were less plentiful than anticipated
• The terrain in all areas was extremely rough
• Ultimately, the notion of populating the Amur basin was abandoned
• However, the notion of Siberia as a promised land was retained and in some sense motivated Soviet policy as well

Soviet development policy in general
• Siberia became the last refuge for some "Whites"
• A short-lived "Republic of Siberia" was established
• After the White loss some émigrés fled to Kharbin, a Russian city in China established in the late 19th century to aid Russian businessmen in the region
• The Soviet period saw the vast expansion of the prison system, which (as you know) came to be known by its Russian acronym, GULag
• Resource extraction during the Soviet period became one of the main national goals of Soviet economic planners
• Fur was important as before but also precious metals including gold and silver and other metals, coal, oil and gas, timber, and hydroelectric power
• As in the nineteenth century there was an attempt to populate parts of Siberia
• There was a concerted effort to lure workers for two-year stretches by paying significantly higher wages than in European Russia
• The hope was that large numbers ultimately would settle there permanently
• The plan was eventually to have not only resource extraction but also industry in Siberia
• To this end large cities with industrial centers were built, generally near rivers to take advantage of hydroelectric power
• Problems with this plan included:
• The lack of infrastructure: workers would not stay, because there was nowhere to spend their money in the new Siberian cities
• They often returned to European Russia after two years
• A prime example of this phenomenon is the Bratsk Hydroelectric station and industrial complex on the Angara River
• It was hailed as a great Soviet achievement but never reached anywhere near full capacity
• The Soviets also found these new cities and industrial complexes difficult to supply.
• Some agriculture is possible in southern Siberia but not enough to sustain huge cities
• There were (and are) few roads or even railroads, so supplies had to be shipped in by the incredibly expensive method of air freight
• Other problems included:
• Environmental degradation, e. g., the paper industry on Lake Baikal
• The displacement of indigenous peoples
• Difficulties of resource extraction (the distances involved, the need to drill through permafrost)
• The quality of some of the products (coal, in particular)
• The impossibility of transmitting hydroelectric energy

Recent Times
• Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, when it became possible to profit from successful resource extraction, many of these problems have been overcome
• Oil and gas have supported Russia's substantial economic growth since 1998 and energy export to not-European countries is a major part of their plan to survive EU and American sanctions
• In the early post-Soviet period Russian companies, often with foreign partners, were very successful, and many Russians became wealthy
• After that time, as the price of oil rose from around $20/barrel at the inception of the Russian Federation to more than $140/barrel, the Russian government reacquired some of Siberia's oil assets.
• A company named Yukos, whose owner, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, became very wealthy in the 1990s, was broken up and acquired by Rosneft, the Russian government's oil company, ostensibly because Khodorkovsky had committed tax fraud and other economic crimes
• There is a widespread belief that Khodorkovsky was arrested because he openly discussed mounting a political challenge to President Putin and the establishment, while other oil magnates who acquired their wealth in the same way were left alone
• Khodorkovsky, along with his partner Platon Lebedev, remained in prison until December, 2013 when they were pardoned
• Khodorkovsky now lives in Switzerland and has been a critic of recent Russian policy in the Ukraine
• Yukos shareholders in various courts outside of Russia have been awarded judgements against the Russian government, and the governments in these countries (including the United States) have threatened to seize (an in some cases briefly have seized) Russian government assets.
• The Russian government has denied the legitimacy of these judgements and does not appear to have lost any money yet.
• The Russian government, meanwhile, has announced a number of initiatives to continue the commercial development of Siberia
• At least theoretically these initiatives have taken environmental considerations into account
• The largest controversy involves the paper mill on the shores of Lake Baikal
• The mill was opened in the 1960s and began polluting the lake, which led to some of the earliest public protests in the USSR
• In post-Soviet times the mill was closed, and re-opened on the rationale that it was the sole source of support for the people in the "mono-city" around it, and finally (?) shut down for good late in 2013
• Various plans to populate Siberia continue to this day
• In May of 2016 Vladimir Putin signed into law a bill that allows any Russian citizen to receive one hectare of land in the Far East
• The citizen must develop the land and has the right to rent it out or keep it as personal property after 5 years.
• When the bill was announced critics such as Alexei Navalny predicted that it was in reality a way for members of the government to enrich themselves
• On June 26, 2017 it was reported in the Russian press in the Far East that in the Khabarovsk region many of the hectares being distributed to new owners actually belong to long-time residents who have used the land to grow food. {No land with housing on it has been appropriated.]
• Apparently the deeds to the properties were created in 1994, shortly after the dissolution of the USSR, and need to be replaced by new documents that show proper boundaries, taxes, etc.
• Local authorities, according to the article, have refused to issue new documents
• Now these authorities are taking over the land
• One article in the Amur Press stated: "Жители Кругликово готовы защищать свои земли с вилами в руках от ДВ-гектарщиков" [Residents of Kruglikogo are prepared to defend their land with pitchforks in hand from people claiming the Far-Eastern Hectare].






13:29 - U.S. Central Time Zone - Dr. Bruce Holl - No comments

Friday, June 22 2018

Islam and the Caucasus


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ML&L 3342 Dr. Holl
Islam and the Caucasus Summer 2018


Islam Today
• Source: Alexei V. Malashenko, "Islam in Russia," Social Research 76 (2009), 321-358. Online via EBSCO.
• The total population of the Russian Federation at present is slightly more than 142 million
• [The government estimates that since 2009 the total population of the Russian Federation has grown to around 147 million.]
• Approximately 20 million, or about 14%, are Muslims
• Many -- possibly as many as 90% -- do not attend mosques regularly, but most self-identify as Muslims
• They live predominantly in two areas: in the Tatar-Bashkir region of Central Asia, and the North Caucasus mountain range
• There are also Muslim populations in Siberia and in other regions, including greater Moscow, with communities of Muslims who have moved from the North Caucasus region
• There are seven Subjects of the Russian Federation with Muslim majorities: Tatarstan and Bashkortostan in Central Asia, and Ingushetia, Chechnya, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkariya, Karachaevo-Cherkesiya in the North Caucasus
• The Muslim population is multi-ethnic: Islam is the faith of 38 native peoples of the Russian Federation
• The Muslim population has been growing, although demographers do not believe it is on track to become the majority population of the Russian Federation at any time
• Anti-immigrant and Russian nationalist groups, however, make this claim, and some government policies seem designed at increasing the country's ethnic Russian population
• Since the dissolution of the USSR there has been a Muslim revival in the Russian Federation
• National organizations have been formed, sometimes in competition with one another
• There has been engagement by these organizations in national politics
• This, however, has diminished with the rise of the United Russia Party in the post-2004 period
• The number of officially recognized mosques had grown by 2004 to 3,537 and is now reported by many sources to be over 8000 – considerably more than in Soviet times, but far fewer than the 12,000 that existed on the same territory in 1917
• Islamic financial institutions have been established, and have recently received the support of the Russian Orthodox Church (see BloombergBusiness.com, June 3, 2015)
• Islamic schools and universities have been established
• Students from Muslim regions of Russia have studied abroad at Arab and Turkish universities
• There has also been, primarily in the North Caucasus, the development of an Islamic extremist movement that seeks separation from the Russian Federation
• There are many areas of disagreement on this subject: the size of the movement; whether it is primarily a religious movement or a political movement that uses Islam as a pretext to attack the Russian government; whether it is confined to the North Caucasus or is spreading to Tatarstan and Bashkiria; and whether it poses a serious threat to Russia.
• The origins of the movement are in Chechnya and Dagestan
• The Russians fought two wars there in the 1990s to suppress it
• In recent years, the situation in Chechnya has stabilized, but attacks on Russian personnel and property have shifted to other regions of the North Caucasus as well as targets in Russia itself

The Caucasus [UT-Austin maps]
• We are speaking about the North Caucasus mountain range on the southern border of the Russian Federation
• What I will say here mainly pertains to the Republics, and especially Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan, where most of the violence has occurred
• The people are indigenous to the region as far as historians can determine
• Most are related as to language, culture, and religion (most are Muslim), but there have been significant political divisions among them.
• This region was among the first territories that Russia attempted to acquire in its period of expansion.


Historical Survey
• Beginning in 1556 Ivan IV attempted to incorporate the North Caucasus into the Russian empire but was unsuccessful
• There was no further serious Russian incursion into the North Caucasus until the reign of Peter I "The Great" (reigned 1689-1725)
• The Russians first established a permanent presence in Chechnya during the second half of Peter's reign, so it is possible to see the current fighting as part of a 300 year conflict.
• The first attempt to mount armed resistance against the Russians occurred during Peter's reign, in 1707.
• It was unsuccessful, and by the early 19th century, and particularly after the end of the Napoleonic wars, the Russians strengthened their control of the North Caucasus.
• The Russians, in the Caucasus as elsewhere in the Russian empire, established control primarily by co-opting as many local leaders as possible
• The Russians did not, therefore, attempt to destroy Islam, but rather to gain control of the religious leadership of the North Caucasus
• The first serious and partially successful rebellion against Russian authority occurred in the period of 1785-91 under the leadership of a religious and political leader named Sheikh Mansur Ushurma
• The next and by far most successful uprising began in the 1820s under the leadership of another religious leader, Sheikh Imam Shamil
• Shamil made it his mission to establish an Imamate or Islamic state in the eastern part of the Northern Caucasus
• At the height of Shamil's power, this Imamate grew to include most of Dagestan, Chechnya and parts of Ingushetia (in the western part of current Chechnya)
• The following should be also be pointed out:
• The rights of women were advanced; for example (according to one source), divorced women were allowed financial compensation from their husbands
• Shamil also took great pains to defend the rights of non-Muslims within the Imamate, even to the extent of having an Orthodox church built for Russian prisoners-of-war and deserters
• There were, it should be noted, other Islamic leaders in the Caucasus in the 19th century
• Some were allied with Shamil but others were not
• The Russians continued to seek and find allies among Islamic leaders who did not support Shamil
• Shamil struggled, not altogether successfully, to suppress movements against him
• He had also to contend with dissatisfaction within his own ranks over the protracted war, since the Russians, who considered the Caucasus of strategic importance, were willing to continue spending time and resources there.
• Ultimately Shamil was leading an army of 18-20 thousand men against a Russian army of 350,000 men.
• Shamil finally capitulated in August of 1859 when he ceased military operations and gave himself up to Russian authorities
• Other leaders continued to fight until 1864 when the Caucasus war came to an end
• Shamil himself was treated fairly well by the government of Alexander II, who allowed him to live with his family in captivity in Kiev and finally released him to make a Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca in 1870
• He died February 4, 1871 while on this pilgrimage
• As a result of the Caucasus war, some 40% of the male population of Dagestan was killed, and there began a mass migration of peoples to Turkey and elsewhere, numbering perhaps as many as 750,000 people
• Also as a result of the war the Russian government did grant some measure of religious and economic autonomy to the peoples of the Caucasus, to the extent that Islam continued to exist and grow through the imperial period
• This policy was observed as well in Central Asia, most of which was taken into the Russian empire later.
• Political autonomy was not granted, of course

The Caucasus in the Soviet Period
• During the revolution and civil war, various groups sided with both the Anti-soviet and Soviet forces in attempts to establish a sovereign state in Chechnya
• When the Bolsheviks ultimately prevailed in the civil war independence was not granted, and Chechnya, along with the rest of the North Caucasus, was incorporated into the Soviet Union.
• In the 1930s many thousands of religious leaders were arrested and executed, mosques and religious schools were destroyed, and the propagation of the faith in any way was severely repressed by the Soviet government.
• There was some resistance on the part of the Chechens
• The most noteworthy attacks against the Soviets occurred in 1940, when the military was severely weakened by the purge of its officer corps, and 1942, when it was engaged elsewhere and could not devote resources to the North Caucasus.
• These rebellions failed, however, and Stalin retaliated with an act which most Caucasians regard as the single most important antecedent of their current fight
• In February of 1944 Stalin ordered that the population of Chechnya, as well as several other regions of the North Caucasus, be transported into internal exile in Central Asia.
• The nominal reason for this action was the supposed collaboration of some Chechens with the Germans, and failure of the rest of the population to fight against this collaboration
• In fact, there were few if any collaborators, although there were members of every Soviet nationality (including Russian and Ukrainian) who tried to establish countries independent of both Germany and the USSR
• The Germans, moreover, never penetrated very far into the North Caucasus, and had been driven back by 1944.
• Notwithstanding these facts, nearly 500,000 (and perhaps more) Chechens, as well as roughly the same number from other regions, were placed on railroad cars and sent to Kazakhstan in Soviet Central Asia.
• The move was announced to residents on the morning that it began, and took eight days to accomplish
• It is now believed that more than 130,000 Chechens and more than 250,000 North Caucasians in all died en route or were executed at the time of the deportation.
• The Chechens remained in Central Asia, segregated on collective farms or in work camps and still charged with treason, until Khrushchev's official denunciation of Stalin in 1956
• In 1957, the Chechens and other North Caucasians were allowed to return home
• When they arrived, they found a greatly increased ethnic Russian population as a result of the oil industry
• They also found that all remaining religious institutions had been eradicated

The Post-Soviet Period in Chechnya
• The Chechens and Russians co-existed in Chechnya until 1992, at which time there were roughly 900,000 Chechens and 400,000 Russians in the region
• In 1992, when the Soviet Union collapsed and the Russian Federation was formed, the Chechens refused to sign the Federation Treaty
• From 1992-1994 there took place simultaneously a struggle for power within Chechnya among various groups, and an attempt by some of these groups to form a government independent of the Russian Federation
• In 1994 the Russians, in support of a group that favored joining the Federation, began its first campaign in Chechnya

The First Chechen War (see Cristopher Zurcher, The Post-Soviet Wars)
• The Russians initially entered Chechnya with 40,000 troops
• It is widely believed that President Yeltsin hoped to gain popularity and political capital by winning the war quickly
• Russia claimed (correctly, in fact) that the group in control of Chechnya had violated the Russian constitution by seceding, which was not allowed
• It was argued that permitting Chechnya to secede might open the door for the secession of other regions
• The oil industry is also cited as a possible reason for the invasion, although others argue that it was by 1994 not very lucrative either as a source of crude oil or as a transshipment point
• The Russian army met with extremely fierce resistance despite expectations of an easy victory
• It took them three weeks to capture Grozny at a cost of 4000 Russian troops killed and 25,000 civilians
• Destruction of property and atrocities against the civilian population were widespread
• The campaign was condemned by foreign governments, unpopular at home, and unsuccessful militarily
• In 1996 President Yeltsin stopped the campaign and agreed to grant the Chechens provisional autonomy until a permanent solution could be found.
• No such solution was found
• In 1999, as a result of a series of bombings in Russia and at Russian installations in the Caucasus, and a series of other incidents, President Yeltsin resumed the war, committing some 100,000 troops
• Among these incidents were incursions into Ingushetia and Dagestan by Chechen militants hoping to spread their rebellion against Russia to that region
• There were also widespread kidnappings of missionaries, journalists and others, and the real or perceived prominence of Chechens in Russia’s growing organized crime syndicates
• The Russians could also argue that Chechnya has been a part of Russia for some 300 years, and despite intermittent resistance to Russian rule, which is not unlike the resistance of the Native Americans in the United States, it is now irreversibly a part of Russia.
• Prime Minister (and soon to be president) Putin managed the war and benefited from it politically
• Indeed, some observers argue to this day that he, not the Chechens, was responsible for the two apartment bombings, in Moscow and Volgodonsk, that killed several hundred people and aroused public sentiment for resuming the war
• This is not a plausible theory, however
• In the second Chechen war, the Russians relied chiefly on artillery and air strikes, and were again accused of atrocities and destruction of property
• The nature of the opposition changed as well: it was increasingly identified with the international Jihadist movement exemplified by Al-Qaeda
• The extent of the Islamization of the opposition is a matter of some debate, but there is no doubt that this element gained strength between the wars (See Zurcher, as well as Gordon Hahn, Russia's Islamic Threat [New Haven: Yale UP 2007]).
• Not everyone agrees with this characterization, but the view of the rebels as Islamists gained credence in the west, however, after Sept. 11, 2001
• It was reinforced by a series of episodes:
• On October 22, 2002 Chechen separatists took over a theater in Moscow full of 800 people watching the play "Nord-Ost" and held them hostage
• They demanded the immediate withdrawal of all Russian forces from Chechnya
• Ultimately the Police incapacitated everyone in the theater with nerve gas
• All the hostage takers and some 130 others were killed
• On September 1, 2004 in the village of Beslan separatists took over a school on the first day of classes and held hundreds of children, teachers and parents hostage until September 3, when security forces and the separatists fought a battle
• 344 people were killed
• Only one separatist survived. He was sentenced to life in prison (Russia does not have the death penalty)
• On October 13, 2005 a group of militants in the city of Nalchik in the Kabardino-Balkar Republic carried out a daylight raid against facilities of the Russian Security Forces. 139 people were killed in the fighting, including some civilians.
• On October 7, 2006, Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, was murdered. She had written about Russian atrocities in the Caucasus and suggested that some Russian and Caucasian leaders at the highest levels were deliberately prolonging the war because they profited from it in various ways.
• Three men were arrested and charged in the case but all were acquitted
• The investigation has taken various turns over the years
• In 2013 a former police officer was convicted of supplying the murder weapon
• In May, 2014 5 men were convicted of the murder. Two got life sentences while the others got from 12 to 20 years in prison
• The BBC reported on May 20, 2014 that "A committee set up to investigate the shooting said it was still looking for the person who ordered the operation."
• One of the convicted killers, Lom-Ali Gatukayev, died in prison on June 10, 2017
• In the past few years in Chechnya a leader favored by the Kremlin, Ramzan Kadyrov, the son of a former leader who was assassinated, has consolidated power.
• It was he who provided 100% turnout in national elections with on 100% support for United Russia, the party of Putin and Medvedev.
• In return he has (allegedly) been allowed to eliminate his enemies with impunity.
• He has attempted to create a sense of normalcy in Chechnya, organizing a "Miss Chechnya" pageant, permitting Premiership soccer matches to be played in the capital of Grozny, and building the largest Mosque in Europe.
• As a result, many of the attacks on Russian officials that were formerly common in Chechnya now take place in Ingushetia, Dagestan and elsewhere throughout the North Caucasus.
• The Russians, officially, announced a few years ago the end of major military operations in Chechnya and a few other areas.
• However, there has been a wave of increased violence both inside and outside of Chechnya in response
• In the spring of 2017 there were reports of widespread persecution of gay men in Chechnya, including violence, arrest, and even murder.
• The reports were first published in a Russian opposition newspaper, Novaya gazeta
• Kadyrov, as well as Russian autorities on the national level, have treated these reports with derision, although Putin at one point said they would be investigated.
• There have been a number of terrorist attacks in Russia in the 2010s
• On March 29, 2010 two bombs in separate Moscow subway stations killed a total of 40 people
• On January 24, 2011, a suicide bomber detonated a bomb in Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, killing 37 and wounding 180
• In October and December of 2013, as Russia made final preparations for the Winter Olympics, there were bombings at a trolley station and on a bus in Volgograd, killing 18 and 16 people, respectively.
• On December 4, 2014 miitants attacked civilian targets in Grozny. 14 police officers, 2 civilians, and 11 miltants were killed
• On April 3, 2017, a bomb at the subway station in St. Petersburg in front of the Institute where Trinity Russian students take courses killed 15 people and wounded 15 (there were no Trinity students in Russia at the time)
• Attacks on government installations occur in the Caucasus on more or less a daily basis

Separatist Regions
• There are several regions in various former Soviet republics with substantial Russian populations or indigenous populations sympathetic to the Russians.
• Some residents in these regions seek either independence, or affiliation with Russia.
• They are generally supported in their efforts by the Russians.
• These regions include:

Transdniester
• Transdniestr [aka Transnistria] is a region in Moldova with a large Russian population that gained de facto independence after heavy fighting by Russian-backed paramilitary forces in 1992
• Residents of the region have formed the Pridenstrovskaia Moldavskaia Respublika [Moldovan Republic of Transdniestr] which is unrecognized internationally but supported by the Russians
• One June 14, 2015, a member of the parliament of this Republic, Andrei Sipchenko, appeared on the Russian talk show "Sunday Evening with Vladimir Soloviev," whose moderator, and for the most part guests, express the views of the Russian government
• Recently a member of the Russian Duma, Viacheslav Nikonov (who is the grandson of Stalin's foreign minister Viacheslav Molotov), to proclaim that a siege of Transdniestr would also constitute a siege of Russian peacekeeping forces, which would be an act of war
• He accused the United States of orchestrating events in Transdniestr to draw Russia into a wider conflict, and ended by vowing that Russia would never abandon its friends there, who have expressed overwhelmingly in a referendum their desire to become a part of Russia

Nagorno Karabakh
• Nagorno-Karabakh is a predominantly Armenian region within Azerbaijan that gained de facto independence in the 1980s in fighting against the Azeri government. Russia has been involved with both sides in the dispute and has tried to negotiate a settlement

Georgia, Abhazia and South Ossetia
• Georgia (along with Ossetia and Abhazia) was annexed into the Russian empire in the early 19th century.
• Along with other regions in the Caucasus it was briefly independent during the Russian civil war but was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1922.
• In Soviet times it was a vacation destination, a wine producer and a relatively affluent region.
• After the dissolution of the USSR, however, it has experienced a series of internal and external conflicts.
• Two of the conflicts entailed South Ossetia and Abkhazia, regions in Georgia which sought independence
• These conflicts ended in ceasefires whose enforcement was entrusted by the United Nations to Russian troops. The two regions thus gained de facto independence from Georgia, which still claimed them as its territories.
• The Russians supported South Ossetia and Abkhazia but did not recognize them formally as independent countries.
• The situation in South Ossetia and Abkhazia did not change until 2004.
• Beginning in that year there was increased tension and repeated conflicts between South Ossetian and Abkhazian separatists supported by the Russians, and the Georgians.
• In 2008 the frequency and intensity of these conflicts escalated. Each side accused the other provoking conflict.
• Open hostilities began on August 7 and proceeded for several days until both sides signed a cease fire agreement brokered by the French.










09:18 - U.S. Central Time Zone - Dr. Bruce Holl - No comments

Post-Soviet Russia


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ML&L 3342
Dr. Holl
Post-Soviet Russia


The "Chaos" of the '90s
• After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Boris Yeltsin became President of the Russian Federation
• President Putin and his supporters refer to this era as "the chaos of the '90s, and Putin recently listed this period, along with the Great Patriotic War, as the two chief reasons for the low population of Russia
• The republics then formed the Commonwealth of Independent States, a non-binding military and economic partnership
• Some regions within the Russian Federation, such as Chechnya, were not granted independence
• Among the first developments were immediate moves to privatize the economy, large infusions of western aid, and the removal of censorship and publishing restrictions
• The economic reforms, understandably, did not bring about an immediate sharp rise in the standard of living
• Economic development was uneven
• Some were able to prosper, while others did not
• The Soviet-era parliament, the Congress of People's Deputies, remained in force and came to oppose some of Yeltsin's policies
• In 1993 the Congress passed a resolution limiting Yeltsin's powers to enact reforms
• Nationwide referendums suggested that Yeltsin still had the support of most Russians
• In September Yeltsin called for elections to a new assembly, to be named the Duma as in pre-revolutionary times, and he disbanded the Soviet-era Congress
• Members of the Congress refused to leave the parliament building, the very same "White House" that they had defended with Yeltsin's help in August, 1991
• Supporters of the Parliament, who represented a minority, stormed Ostankino, the national television center
• Yeltsin's supporters in turn took to the streets to defend other government buildings
• Yeltsin sent government forces to storm the White House
• Some of the occupants of the building were armed with rifles and anti-tank guns
• Ultimately the Russian military secured the building, which was largely destroyed in the process
• As these events were taking place, onlookers came from around the city
• Some participants and some onlookers were killed
• The official death toll stood at 146 although some claim that it was higher
• Yeltsin's reputation suffered considerable damage in the west at this time
• The new government's prestige suffered further as a result of the two-year war in Chechnya during 1994-1996, which resulted in the withdrawal of Russian troops and the granting of more autonomy for the Chechens.
• Yeltsin, however, still enjoyed the support of many Russians (though fewer than before) and he was re-elected in 1996
• There are claims now that these elections were not free and fair, but they seemed so at the time
• In 1998 Russia experienced a severe economic turn-down
• Russia defaulted on loans to international creditors
• After 1999, however, the Russian economy recovered, mainly on the basis of the energy sector
• In that year a former KGB official named Vladimir Putin was appointed Prime Minister
• On Dec. 31, 1999 Yeltsin resigned and appointed Putin Acting President

The Putin Era
• In March 2000 Putin was elected President
• In 2003, his supporters gained a substantial majority of seats in the Duma, which they have increased in subsequent parliamentary elections
• In 2004 Putin won re-election
• The November, 2007 Duma elections were widely perceived as fraudulent.
• For example, in the Caucasus Mountain regions of Chechnya and Ingushetia, where there is substantial opposition to Russian rule, turnout was reported at around 100% and the ruling United Russia Party received about 100% of the votes cast
• The numbers were clearly fictional, and prompted the creation of a protest organization in the region called "I Didn't Vote."
• In at least one subsequent election in the Caucasus, turnout actually exceeded the number of eligible voters
• Actual ballot-box stuffing and similar measures, however, were and are relatively rare
• More often, the authorities who oversee elections find ways to forestall the campaigns of candidates who posed a challenge to the party in power
• For example, signatures on a candidate's petition might be questioned, or the hall where he or she was planning to hold a meeting of at least 1000 people(as required by law) might be closed for repairs at the last moment.
• Election laws and procedures have been changed. For example, gubernatorial races in Russian regions were sometimes hotly contested, so the president announced that henceforth governors would be appointed, not elected
• That rule drew criticism both in Russia and abroad, and was subsequently changed; governors are now elected, but from a list of candidates that must be approved by the president's office – a perfect example what some commentators have called "democratatorship"
• More recently, laws have been changed to make it much easier for parties to place candidates on ballots, in the hope that parties would remain small and not form coalitions
• In 2008, the term-limited Putin was succeeded by the Prime Minister of Russia, Dmitrii Medvedev
• Putin had appointed Medvedev and publicly supported him in his run for the presidency
• Several legitimate opposition candidates were prevented from running in the election, while three nominal opposition parties approved by the Kremlin offered token resistance
• One of the legitimate candidates who was not permitted to run was a man named Boris Nemtsov, who under Yeltsin had held several important positions including governor of a large region and Deputy Prime Minister [His fate will be discussed later]
• Medvedev, having won, in turn appointed Putin Prime Minister
• Putin ran for president in 2012 and won, at which time he appointed Medvedev as Prime Minister
• Term limit laws were changed so that there are now two six-year terms
• For most of Putin's tenure opinion polls have suggested that he and (to some extent) Medvedev have been popular in the country
• Public protests initially were few in number and sparsely attended
• There then occurred a growth in the protest movement
• Most major cities saw protests, some of them attracting thousands of people
• The causes were varied. For example, drivers in many cities protested the right of government officials to place flashing blue lights on their cars and speed through traffic, resulting in traffic tie-ups at best and horrific accidents at worst
• There has been an effort in the past few years to unite various small parties and movements in opposition to the government, and the post-2008 economic downturn led to some dissatisfaction
• Ultimately some protests were held on a larger scale
• For example, in May, 2012 protests were held on the Bolotnaya Square in Moscow immediately prior to Putin's inauguration with the theme "For Fair Elections"
• Many people were arrested in conjunction with these protests and some cases are still ongoing
• In general the authorities became less tolerant of protests
• Major protests in cities throughout Russia on March 26 and July 12 2017, organized by an opposition blogger named Aleksei Navalny, have focused on the corruption of high government officials as detailed on Navalny's Wikileaks-style web sites
• Navalny in turn has been charged and convicted on several charges involving tax evasion and financial misconduct
• He has spent time in prison, and his brother, Oleg, is still in prison on the same charges, which are widely considired illegitimate and politically motivated
• In 2018 Navalny announced that he would run for president of the Russian Federation.
• He was not allowed to run because of his felony convictions
• Putin won the election by a margin of around 80/20 against a slate of politically acceptable candidates
• Once again the the turnout in the Caucasus was impossibly high and there were widespread reports of ballot fixing that went uninvestigated
• Putin re-appointed Medvedev as Prime Minister

Ukraine and Crimea
• In late 2013 a dispute arose involving CIS member and former Soviet Republic Ukraine
• The elected president of the country, Viktor Yanukovich, announced that he was cancelling plans for greater collaboration with the European Union in favor of closer ties to Russia
• He was opposed by a large number of people who occupied the Maidan Nezalezhnosti or Independence Square, generally referred to in both Russian and English as "[the] Maidan," in Kiev
• Yanukovich was replaced in a coup d'état in February, 2014
• Russia supported Yanukovich, while the United States supported the coup
• In March of 2014 residents of Crimea, a historically Russian region, voted to join the Russian Federation
• At the same time, separatists in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Eastern Ukraine (also a historically Russian, or mostly Russian, region) sought autonomy, alleging rights violations and atrocities on the part of Ukrainian authorities after the fall of the legitimate government
• Some of the separatists formed military units and commenced a war against Ukrainian authorities with Russian encouragement and (purportedly) military support.
• The separatists have gained substantial territories and proclaimed the two regions to be the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics.
• During the fighting, on July 17, 2014, a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet with 298 people aboard was shot down over the region, either by Ukrainian air-to-air missiles or by separatist surface-to-air missiles.
• Ukrainian jets were carrying out bombing raids at the time so either story is plausible
• Entities in the West, including the European Union and NATO and the United States, have supported Ukraine. They have imposed economic sanctions against Russia and provided Ukraine with non-lethal aid.
• The Russians have alleged that these groups have secretly provided weapons and even troops to Ukraine
• There have been two ceasefire agreements, both signed in the capital of Belarus, Minsk
• The first, signed in September 2014, was not successful. The second, signed on February 12, 2015, was initially more successful, but fighting has resumed
• Other agreements have been brokered more recently and for a time there were fewer reports of violations on both sides
• The status of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions has not been resolved, however, and there has been continued fighting. The United Nations estimates that the death toll is now about 10,300.
• Ukraine continues to call for more help from the west and
• Some opposition figures have opposed Russian policy
• One of the most important members of this group, the aforementioned Boris Nemtsov, a former Deputy Prime Minister who became the leader of an opposition party, was murdered on February 27, 2015
• He was murdered by gunmen who waited for him on a bridge near the Kremlin, fired several shots into his back (without hitting his companion, a young Ukrainian model named Anna Duritskaya), and then escaped in a vehicle that pulled up and was shielded from the street by a large snow plow.
• Nemtsov was a major figure in post-Soviet Russia and his assassination has been compared to those of Pyotr Stolypin in 1911 and Sergei Kirov in 1934, both of which contributed to major social and political upheavals
• The murders have not been confined to Russia: On April 16, 2015, a Ukrainian journalist named Oles Buzina, who frequently appeared on Russian television criticizing the Ukrainian government, was shot to death outside of his home in Kiev.
• There are currently talks underway between Russia, Ukraine, Germany, and France to resolve the situation, but the most recent meeting did not yield much progress
• A compromise on Donetsk and Lugansk seems more likely than on Crimea.
• The Russians recently opended a bridge acroos the Kerch straight to facilitate tourism and economic activity and Crimea
• The original economic sanctions against Russia are still in place and others have been added, although it is not clear whether, and to what extent, various European countries will continue to support them.






09:15 - U.S. Central Time Zone - Dr. Bruce Holl - No comments

Monday, June 18 2018

Maps of Russia: Caucasus & Black Sea Region


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Russia (political divisions) - UT-Austin

Black Sea Region - featurepics.com

Crimean Bridge - hearstapps.com


10:20 - U.S. Central Time Zone - Dr. Bruce Holl - No comments

Friday, June 15 2018

Paper/Project Guidelines


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ML&L 3342 Paper/Project Guidelines Dr. Holl Summer 2018

From the Syllabus:
The paper or project must deal with some aspect of Russia and must be approved by the instructor ahead of time. The project must include 7-10 pages of original writing by the student and must conform to all the rules of a traditional term paper with respect to grammar, spelling, punctuation, and citing sources.

Due Date: Friday, July 2 hard copy in class


Guidelines:
• Length: 7-10 pages of text
• Format: double spaced, no larger than 12 point font, 1 inch margins, do not quadruple space between paragraphs
• Send an e-mail with "paper topic" as the subject and I will approve the topic and make suggestions; do this even if you have spoken to me about your paper or project
• You must work alone
• The paper must be properly written as to grammar, punctuation, spelling and style
• The paper must have proper documentation of sources. You can use any system that is appropriate, but use some system, and be consistent
• Document your sources within the body of your paper. When you provide a quote or information from a source, cite that source in a footnote or parenthetic reference so that the reader can find the source.
• The paper should not contain factual errors – if a source contradicts what you've learned in the class, investigate further
• The paper should not contain background information that is known to your audience
• The paper can try to prove a thesis by citing authorities in the field
• The paper can be a research paper, providing an overview of a subject, such as a particular business in Russia.
• Choose a narrow topic. For example, do not write about business in Russia; rather, choose a particular business during a particular time period
• In general avoid literature topics, since there are many other courses in the curriculum that cover literature, and choose instead some other aspect of Russian culture.
• The paper can be a review essay – an extended review of one or more new books on a particular subject or one major work
• The paper or project should go beyond material that was presented in class and include some original research
• Be certain to notice the place and date of publication of sources.

Resources:
• The number and type of resources you use for the project will depend on the topic; for some topics web sites and articles from newspapers or periodicals are appropriate; for others, scholarly books and articles are necessary
• Coates Library collection for books and journals
• Online materials: JSTOR, specialized databases, periodical archives
• Tertiary sources like Wikipedia, Britannica online only as references to primary and secondary sources or for very basic background information; do cite these sources if you use them

11:33 - U.S. Central Time Zone - Dr. Bruce Holl - No comments

Wednesday, June 13 2018

Exam I Guide


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ML&L 3342 Exam I Guide Summer 2017
The exam will be in class on Friday, June 15
You may not use your notes or books
I will provide paper
Write in pen


I Short Answer (67%)
You will be asked to provide the date, where relevant, plus four salient points about seven of the following items. Not all of the items will be on the exam but you will have some choice. Note that the items overlap. You will not be required to write in complete sentences.


Historical Trends and Events
The Slavs and Varangians
The city states, Novgorod
The Mongols/Tatars
The "Time of Troubles"
The age of reforms under Alexander II
The October revolution & the civil war period
The immigration (first wave)
The early Stalin period (before the Great Patriotic War)
The Great Patriotic War
The Thaw
The period of stagnation

People
Ivan IV "The Terrible"
Peter I "The Great"
Catherine II "The Great"
Nikolai I
Alexander II "The Liberator"
Nikolai II
Lenin
Stalin
Khrushchev
Brezhnev


II Literature (33 %)
You will answer both questions. You must cite specific examples from the books. Since you will not be using your books you do not need to cite chapters or page numbers but you must cite passages that you remember

Gogol
We discussed a number of possible interpretations of the Gogol stories in class. These include the presence of the Devil, sexual anxiety, surrealism (as defined in the list of terms on PeoplesOfRussia.com), Nabokov's theory of "futile humility and futile domination," formalism (such as the use of the word "even") and social criticism. Which interpretation or interpretations do you find most convincing for the three stories we read? Address all three works. Use examples from the works to support your interpretations. You do not need to use the same interpretation for each story.

Orwell
What are the components of Orwell's allegory of Soviet history? Whom do the characters represent? What historical events are depicted? Is Orwell completely accurate or does he diverge from the actual historical record?


13:44 - U.S. Central Time Zone - Dr. Bruce Holl - No comments

Orwell Questions and Possible Answers


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Orwell in Light of Historical Evidence
Bruce Holl ML&L 3342 Peoples of Russia

Was Orwell a Socialist?
"For Orwell, socialism mean 'justice and liberty.' What he rejected (like Engels!) was the 'prigs' and 'cranks' he found in the movement [...] But what he even more deplored among socialists was their desire to rule and regulate, to 'tidy everything. In effect, what he wanted (though I don't think he ever put it this way) was socialism without socialists [...] But socialism was, even with Orwell, seen as state control of the economy. He, of course, saw that the countries and movements calling themselves 'socialist' indeed had state-controlled economies but no freedom or justice -- and so with his image of the 'Party' in 1984, which 'grew out of the earlier Socialist movement and inherited its phraseology'" (Robert Conquest, The Dragons of Expectation, p. 17).

Would Snowball have been a good leader? (Animal Farm, chapters 2, 4)
"Trotsky fell in step. On December 2, 1917, addressing the new, Bolshevik Ispolkom [Executive Committee - BH], he said: There is nothing immoral in the proletariat finishing off the dying class. This is its right. You are indignant ... at the petty terror which we direct against our class opponents. But be put on notice that in one month at most this terror will assume more frightful forms, on the model of the great revolutionaries of France. Our enemies will not face prison but the guillotine.
He defined the guillotine on this occasion (plagiarizing from the French revolutionary Jacques Hebert) as a device which 'shortens a man by the length of a head (Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution, pp. 791-2

“On March 12, the southern front of the Red Army received instructions to attack the Donbas to clear out the Whites. But beyond this objective, as has recently become known, the Red Army was also to ‘liquidate’ the Cossacks. A secret directive from Moscow demanded
The complete, rapid, decisive annihilation of Cossackdom as a separate economic group, the destruction of its economic foundations, the physical extermination of its officials and officers, and altogether the Cossack elite.
Trotsky directed that the ‘nests of dishonorable traitors and turncoats be extirpated…The Cains must be exterminated.’ The use of the verb ‘exterminate’ in regard to a whole socioethnic group anticipated action later designated as genocide. The program was carried out in 1920-21, at the conclusion of the Civil War” (Pipes, Concise History, p. 254).

Squealer constantly sought to convince the animals that they did not want Jones to return. Did old Major speak the truth about life under Jones? Was Manor Farm worse than Animal Farm? (Animal Farm, chapter 1)
"More than once in the camps Shukhov recalled how they had eaten in the village: whole frying pans full of potatoes, cast-iron pots of buckwheat kasha, and even earlier, big hunks of meat. And they gulped down the milk till their bellies were bursting" (Solzhenitsyn, Odin den’ Ivana Denisovicha [One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovish], p. 31 [my translation].

"{…] as regards the actual distribution of land to the peasants and the price they were required to pay for it, the reform legislation of 1861 was tilted more favorably toward the serfs than has been appreciated. The land allotments provided to the overwhelming majority of peasants resulted in the creation of a vibrant, self-sufficient peasant economy, one virtually immune to seigneurial or capitalist intrusion [...] Unlike slaves in the American South, serfs in Russia got a whole lot more than freedom" (Steven L. Hoch, "Did Russia's Emancipated Serfs Really Pay Too Much for Too Little Land? Statistical Anomalies and Long-Tailed Distributions," Slavic Review 63 (2004), p. 248.)



Did the USSR, like Animal Farm, succeed at first? How bad was the situation ? Was there cannibalism? Did the post-war "red scare" exaggerate? (Animal Farm, chapter 8)
"Reports of cannibalism now began to reach the cities. One version [...] might involve the butchery of
dead neighbors, or of a person's own dead children, or else it might follow the robbery of a recent grave [...] The other kind of cannibalism was more systematic, though rarer, and its victims were often homeless children, orphans, or friendless travelers. The stories persist even now. Adults from the famine region will still remember -- or perhaps still dream and fear -- that they were lured along a side street once when they were children, and that a stranger offered them some sweets, a crust of bread. Some instinct, they will continue, must have saved them, some extra sense of doubt or menace. They shudder. Other children died." Merridale concedes that "[s]uch individual tales may well be fantasies, like urban myths, but the basic truth behind the fear is real. Indeed, officials in some of the worst-affected districts resorted to a ban on the sale of processed meats in the winter of 1921 to stop the trade in human flesh" (Catherine Merridale, Night of Stone, p. 67)

The animals face stiff opposition from the humans who try to retake the farm. This represents the intervention of the western powers, which the Soviets always claimed was substantial. Is this accurate? (Animal Farm, chapter 4)
"The widespread notion of a calculated and methodical Allied 'intervention' is one of the many myths that need dispelling (Richard Pipes, Concise History, p. 148)

"Although the Bolsheviks later placed Allied intervention in Soviet Russia from 1918 to 1920 at the heart of their civil war mythology, the truth is that none of the Entente powers that deployed troops ever sought seriously to overthrow the Communist government, with the possible exception of Great Britain for a few months in summer 1919" (Sean McMeekin, History's Greatest Heist, p. 117).

Orwell said the animals' failure to fight back when the pigs stole the apples and milk was the key passage of the novel. Did the people fight back? (Animal Farm, chapter 3)
Orwell is said to have told his friend Geoffrey Gorer that the passage in which the pigs steal the milk and apples, and the other animals docilely accept Squealer's explanation rather than fight back, is "the key passage" in the novel (V. C. Letemendia 22)

Sean McMeekin writes: "Why, then, the major uptick in gold shipments to finance military imports in November 1920, by which time, with the Polish treaty and the departure of the last White armies from Russian soil, we might suppose that the Bolsheviks no longer faced serious opposition? The short answer is that they did, in fact, face such opposition: from their own people, or at least from the 80 percent or so of the Russian population that comprised the peasantry [...] Historians are still reconstructing the outlines of the Russian peasant wars, but it is now abundantly clear that they were a greater test of strength for the Bolshevik regime than the more publicized contests with the Whites, Entente expeditionary forces, and Poles." Citing archival sources that have come to light since the dissolution of the Soviet Union as well as scholars like Nicolas Werth and Richard Pipes who have researched the subject in detail, McMeekin describes "surges in October-November 1918, which saw 44 separate uprisings; in spring 1919, when the mid-Volga and Ukraine were engulfed in rebellion; and in February-March 1920, when from the Volga to the Urals the so-called Pitchfork Rebellion, encompassing an irregular peasant army of 50,000, faced Red Army regulars 'armed with cannons and heavy machine guns.'" Losses were tremendous on both sides. In the Cossack regions of eastern Ukraine where the fighting was most intense, between 300,000 and 500,000 people (out of a population of 5 million) were killed or deported in 1919 and 1920; in the Caucasus entire villages were looted and razed and their residents killed or sent to labor camps; the Bolsheviks themselves lost perhaps as many as a quarter of a million men, fighting (as McMeekin notes) "against desperately poor, badly fed peasants who, lacking firearms, fought mostly with pitchforks and farm implements." (Sean McMeekin, History's Greatest Heist, pp. 155-6)

Moses is a favorite of both Mr. Jones and Napoleon and is distant from the other animals. Was the Russian Orthodox Church a parasite, unloved by the people? (Animal Farm, chapter 2)
“Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.” (Karl Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. Introduction. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1843/critique-hpr/intro.htm)

"And so a campaign launched in order to secure, in Lenin's words, 'a fund of several hundred million gold rubles,' ended up yielding forty or fifty times less. The Orthodox Church, it turned out, was not wealthy because it exploited 'the people,' but rather because it inspired them to work hard, donate their earnings, and create beautiful objects. Now that these objects had been stolen from their owners and physically pried apart, they had almost no value at all" (Sean McMeekin, History's Greatest Heist, 89-90).

"The culture of the vast majority of the peoples inhabiting what had been the Russian empire centered on religious beliefs and observations, for it was religion that gave them a sense of dignity and imbued them with fortitude. The vast majority of Christians, Jews, and Muslims took no part in 'high culture,' the preserve of secularized elites who were indifferent to religion if not openly hostile to it. For that reason, the seizure of power by a belligerently atheist minority of that secular minority, bent on uprooting religion, had a devastating effect on the common people. Next to economic hardships, no action of Lenin's government inflicted greater suffering on the population at large than the profanation of its religious beliefs, the closing of the houses of worship, and the mistreatment of the clergy" (Richard Pipes, Concise History of the Russian Revolution, 333).

"As the forceful seizures got underway, crowds of faithful in many localities physically resisted the troops. Hundreds of incidents of such defiance were recorded and promptly attributed to the work of 'counterrevolutionary' organizations allegedly acting on the orders of Russian émigrés. One such incident occurred at Shuia, a textile town northeast of Moscow, where in early March unarmed civilians fought off a company of soldiers equipped with machine guns. Alarmed by such defiance, the Politburo resolved temporarily to suspend confiscations" (Pipes, Concise History, 336-7).

"It is precisely now and only now, when in the starving regions people are eating human flesh, and hundreds if not thousands of corpses are littering the roads, that we can (and therefore must) carry out the confiscation of church valuables with the most savage and merciless energy, not stopping [short of] crushing any resistance" (Lenin, in Richard Pipes, ed., The Unknown Lenin).

Mollie is portrayed as foolish and selfish. Does this accurately reflect the émigrés? (Animal Farm, chapters 4, 5)
"In general, the Russian refugees in Paris are hard-working people, and have put up with their bad luck far better than one can imagine Englishmen of the same class doing. There are exceptions, of course. Boris told me of an exiled Russian Duke whom he had once met, who frequented expensive restaurants. The duke would find out if their was a Russian among the waiters, and, after he had dined, call him in a friendly way to his table.
'Ah,' the duke would say, so you are an old soldier like myself" These are bad day, eh? Well, well, the Russian soldier fears nothing. And what was your regiment?
'The so-and-so, sir,' the waiter would answer.
'A very gallant regiment! I inspected them in 1912. By the way, I have unfortunately left my notecase at home. A Russian officer will, I know, oblige me with three hundred francs.'
If the waiter had three hundred francs he would hand it over and, of course, never see it again. The duke made quite a lot this way. Probably the waiters did not mind being swindled. A duke is a duke, even in exile" (Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London, p. 45).

Orwell describes a Potemkin village. Who saw these villages? What was the effect? (Animal Farm, chapter 7)
[...] but it was also thanks to the war that a senior American politician visited the Gulag, for the first and only time. Henry Wallace, Vice President of the United States, made a trip to Kolyma in May 1944 -- and never even knew that he was visiting a prison [...] Nikishov failed to mention, of course, that the 'first settlers' were prisoners, and that most of the 40,000 inhabitants were exiles, forbidden to leave. Wallace was equally ignorant of the status of contemporary workers -- nearly all prisoners -- and went on to write approvingly of the Kolyma gold miners. They were, he recalled, 'big, husky men,' free workers who were far harder working than the political prisoners whom he supposed had inhabited the far north in Czarist times [...] Wallace did ask to see a prison camp, but he was kept away. Nikishov also assured his bosses that the only workers Wallace encountered were free workers rather than prisoners. Many of the had even been members of the Komsomol, the Communist Youth league, who had been handed miners' clothing and rubber boots only minutes before Wallace's arrival, and would know what to say if asked questions [...] Later, Wallace did encounter real prisoners, although he did not know it: these were the singers and musicians, many of the arrested opera performers from Moscow and Leningrad, who performed for him in the Magadan theater. Told that they were members of a 'nonprofessional Red Army choir' stationed in the city, he marveled that amateurs could achieve such artistic heights. In fact they had been warned that 'one word or sign that we were prisoners would be considered an act of treason […] Before Wallace left, Nikishov gave an elaborate banquet in his honor. Extravagant dishes, their ingredients carved out of prisoners' rations, were served; toasts were made to Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin. Wallace himself made a speech, which included the following memorable words: Both the Russians and the Americans, in their different ways, are groping for a way of life that will allow the common man everywhere in the world to get the most good out of modern technology. There is nothing irreconcilable in our aims and purposes. Those who so proclaim are wittingly or unwittingly looking for war -- and that, in my opinion, is criminal" (Anne Applebaum, Gulag, pp. 441-2).

The pact between Animal Farm and Frederick is portrayed as a case of the humans duping the hapless animals. How does this reflect the reality of the Germany-USSR pact? (Animal Farm, chapter 8)
"In September of 1939, Germany invaded Poland from the west and the USSR invaded from the east in the wake of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. More than one hundred thousand Polish prisoners, mostly soldiers but also civilian officials, were captured and interned in occupied territory and in western provinces of Belorussia and Ukraine […] two years earlier Stalin began his 'national operations' against ethnic Germans, Latvians, Koreans, Lithuanians, and other minorities […] among his least favorite ethnic minorities were Poles […] on March 5, 1940, Beria addressed a 'question of the NKVD to Stalin, informing him that 14, 734 Polish 'officers, officials, police officials, gendarmes, and prison officials' were being held in camps in occupied Polish territory and 18,632 similar persons were being held in camps in the western provinces of Ukraine and Belorussia […] The executions began one month later […] Beria's efficiency was evident in the Katyn operation. His special NKVD forces processed and dispatched some 22,000 Polish prisoners between April 3 and May 19, 1940, for an average of about 500 executions per day" (Paul Gregory, Lenin's Brain and Other Tales from the Secret Soviet Archives, pp. 4-6)

Do the pigs and humans converge? (Animal Farm, chapter 10)
"A number of readers may finish the book with the impression that it ends in the complete reconciliation of the pigs and the humans. This was not my intention; on the contrary I meant to end it on a loud note of discord, for I wrote it immediately after the Tehran conference which everybody thought had established the best possible relations between the USSR and the West. I personally did not believe that such good relations would last long; and, as events have shown, I wasn't far wrong..." (Orwell, “Preface,” p. 406).

Did Animalism fail because a tyrant happened to be in charge? Might Communism work under a benevolent leader? Is this a likely outcome?
"There are strong reasons for believing that what to us appear the worst features of the existing totalitarian systems are not accidental by-products but phenomena which totalitarianism is certain sooner or later to produce. Just as the democratic statesman who sets out to plan economic life will soon be confronted with the alternative of either assuming dictatorial powers or abandoning his plans, so the totalitarian dictator would soon have to choose between disregard of ordinary morals and failure" (Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, 149).

Did Animal Farm stray from the principles of Animalism?
"The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i. e., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the total of productive forces as rapidly as possible […] in the most advanced countries the following will be pretty generally applicable.
1. Abolition of property in land and all the rents of land to public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the cultivation of wastelands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal liability of all to labor. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c., &c."
(Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Communist Manifesto, p. 490)


What does “equal” mean in the political context?






09:57 - U.S. Central Time Zone - Dr. Bruce Holl - No comments

Monday, June 11 2018

Orwell Pre-Discussion Questions


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Questions about Orwell and Animal Farm
ML&L 3342 Dr. Bruce Holl


1. Was Orwell a Socialist?
2. Would Snowball have been a good leader?
3. Squealer constantly sought to convince the animals that they did not want Jones to return. Did old Major speak the truth about life under Jones? Was Manor Farm worse than Animal Farm?
4. Did the USSR, like Animal Farm, succeed at first? How bad was the situation? Was there cannibalism? Did the post-war "red scare" exaggerate?
5. The animals face stiff opposition from the humans who try to retake the farm. This represents the intervention of the western powers, which the Soviets always claimed was substantial. Is this accurate?
6. Orwell said the animals' failure to fight back when the pigs stole the apples and milk was a turning point in the novel. Did the people fight back?
7. Moses is a favorite of both Mr. Jones and Napoleon and is distant from the other animals. Was the Russian Orthodox Church a parasite, unloved by the people?
8. Mollie is portrayed as foolish and selfish. Does this accurately reflect the émigrés?
9. Orwell describes a Potemkin village. Who saw these villages? What was the effect?
10. The pact between Animal Farm and Frederick is portrayed as a case of the humans duping the hapless animals. How does this reflect the reality of the Germany-USSR pact?
11. Do the pigs and humans converge?
12. Did Animalism fail because a tyrant happened to be in charge? Might Communism work under a benevolent leader? Is this a likely outcome?
13. Did Animal Farm stray from the principles of Animalism?
14. What does “equal” mean in the political context?



09:34 - U.S. Central Time Zone - Dr. Bruce Holl - No comments

Friday, June 08 2018

News Items & Materials for June 8


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Leonid Kinskey

Clip from Casablanca

IMDB Entry



The Gulag & 1930s

Victims of Political Terror in the USSR (in Russian)

Entry for Isaac Babel

Entry for Ivan Fedorovich Vydrin








10:16 - U.S. Central Time Zone - Dr. Bruce Holl - No comments

Monday, June 04 2018

Gogol Concepts


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Concepts (listed in alphabetical order by author) to consider when reading and discussing the stories of Nikolai Gogol.
Dr. Bruce Holl, ML&L 3342


Dmitry Chizhevsky
"About 'The Overcoat'"
"The comic element in Gogol consists of a distinctive play of oppositions, or antitheses, between something meaningful and something meaningless. These antitheses alternate , so that one particular thing – a phrase, a word, an idea – which has seemed to make sense suddenly proves to be nonsense; or, vice versa, what had seemed like nonsense proves to make good sense. Among such instances of word-play is the way in which 'even' is used."

Simon Karlinsky
The Sexual Labyrinth of Nikolai Gogol
"It is the thesis of the present study that an examination of Gogol's homosexual orientation within the context of his biography and writings may provide the missing key to the riddle of his personality. It should be emphasized that, as applied to Gogol in this book, the term 'homosexuality refers to his overpowering attraction to members of his own sex and aversion to physical or emotional contact with women, rather than to any physical sexuality."

David Magarshack
Gogol: A Life
I. "The joke was, of course, that the fact that the hero of the story, Major Kovalyov, loses his 'nose', but this fantastic element of the story gave Gogol the opportunity he first exploited in his Diary of a Madman of writing a bitingly satirical exposure of the stupidity of officialdom, and of the snobbery, self-complacency and indifference of the higher classes of Russian society."

II. "In the final version the character of the inoffensive little servant is drawn with a compassion, simplicity, gentle humour and apparent casualness of style that makes the story one of the greatest achievements of Gogol's genius."

Dmitry Merezhkovsky
"Gogol and the Devil"
"In Gogol's religious outlook, the Devil is a mystical essence and a real being, in which eternal evil, a denial of God, has been concentrated. Gogol the artist investigates the nature of the mystical essence in the light of laughter. Gogol the man contends with this real being using laughter as a weapon: Gogol's laughter is man's struggle with the Devil,"

Stephen Moeller-Sally
Gogol's Afterlife
Images of Gogol

Vladimir Nabokov
Nikolai Gogol
"The gaps and black holes in the texture of Gogol's style imply flaws in the texture of life itself. Something is very wrong and all men are mild lunatics engaged in pursuits that seem to them very important while an absurdly logical force keeps them at their futile jobs – this is the real 'message' of the story. In this world of utter futility, of futile humility and futile domination, the highest degree that passion, desire, creative urge can attain is a new cloak which both tailors and customers adore on their knees."



09:54 - U.S. Central Time Zone - Dr. Bruce Holl - No comments

General Critical Concepts


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ML&L 3342
Critical Concepts
Dr. Bruce Holl, Trinity University


Allegory
“As a rule, an allegory is a story in verse or prose with a double meaning: a primary or surface meaning; and a secondary or under-the-surface meaning. It is a story, therefore, that can be read, understood and interpreted at two levels (and in some cases at three or four levels.”
J. A. Cuddon, A Dictionary of Literary Terms (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1977)

Conceit
"As a literary term this word has come to denote a fairly elaborate figurative device of a fanciful kind which often incorporates metaphor, simile, hyperbole or oxymoron […] and which is intended to surprise or delight by its wit and ingenuity. The pleasure we get from many conceits is intellectual rather than sensuous."
J. A. Cuddon, A Dictionary of Literary Terms (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1977)

Surrealism
"The surrealists attempted to express in art and literature the workings of the unconscious mind and to synthesize these workings in the conscious mind. The surrealist allows his works to develop non-logically (rather than illogically) so that the results represent the operations of the unconscious." J. A. Cuddon, A Dictionary of Literary Terms (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1977)

Metaphor
“A figure of speech in which one thing is described in terms of another. The basic figure in poetry. A comparison is usually implicit; whereas in simile […] it is explicit.”
J. A. Cuddon, A Dictionary of Literary Terms (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1977)

Ostranenie [strangification, enstrangement]
“The purpose of art […] is to lead us to knowledge of a thing through the organ of sight instead of recognition […] After being perceived several times, objects acquire the status of ‘recognition.’ An object appears before us. We know it’s there but we don’t see it, and for that reason we can say nothing about it. The removal of this object from the sphere of automatized perception is accomplished in art by a variety of means.”
Viktor Shklovsky, Theory of Prose, trans. Benjamin Sher (Elmwood Park, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 1990)

Postmodernism
“A general and wide-ranging term which is applied to literature, art, philosophy, architecture, fiction, and cultural and literary criticism, among others. Postmodernism is largely a reaction to the assumed certainty of scientific, or objective, efforts to explain reality. In essence, it stems from a recognition that reality is not simply mirrored in human understanding of it, but rather, is constructed as the mind tries to understand its own particular and personal reality. For this reason, postmodernism is highly skeptical of explanations which claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, traditions, or races, and instead focuses on the relative truths of each person. In the postmodern understanding, interpretation is everything; reality only comes into being through our interpretations of what the world means to us individually. Postmodernism relies on concrete experience over abstract principles, knowing always that the outcome of one's own experience will necessarily be fallible and relative, rather than certain and universal.

“Postmodernism is ‘post’ because it is denies the existence of any ultimate principles, and it lacks the optimism of there being a scientific, philosophical, or religious truth which will explain everything for everybody - a characteristic of the so-called ‘modern’ mind […] .”
“Faith and Reason” (PBS)
http://www.pbs.org/faithandreason/gengloss/postm-body.html

Realism
“Let us start with something very simple and say that realism is ‘the objective representation of contemporary social reality […] It rejects the fantastic, the fairy-tale-like, the allegorical and the symbolic, the highly stylized, the purely abstract and decorative. It means that we want no myth, no Maerchen, no world of dreams. It implies also a rejection of the improbable, of pure chance, and of extraordinary events […] The term ‘reality’ is also a term of inclusion: the ugly, the revolting, the low are legitimate subjects of art. Taboo subjects such as sex and dying (love and death were always allowed) are now admitted into art.”
Rene Wellek, Concepts of Criticism (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 1963).




09:46 - U.S. Central Time Zone - Dr. Bruce Holl - No comments

Wednesday, May 30 2018

Russia in the News 30 May 2018


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DW: Ivan the Terrible painting vandalism: Russian officials urge harshest sentence

Guardian: Russia's first monument to Ivan the Terrible inaugurated

TASS: Peter the Great’s Poltava battleship replica floated out in St. Petersburg




09:25 - U.S. Central Time Zone - Dr. Bruce Holl - No comments

Friday, May 25 2018

Prince Igor


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Бородин - Князь Игор [Prince Igor, by Borodin]


12:27 - U.S. Central Time Zone - Dr. Bruce Holl - No comments