Volume 79 Number 2 Abstracts

Building Yugoslavia in the Sand? Dalmatian Refugees in Egypt, 1944-1946

Florian Bieber

During the last years of the Second World War, some 30,000 Yugoslav refugees found shelter in the Egyptian desert from the German occupation of Dalmatia. In the camp El Shatt, the Partisan movement, the nascent UN, western aid groups, and the British Army worked together to take care of the refugees and also to negotiate future relations. TheCommunist Party, with victory in Yugoslavia in sight, sought to showcase its ability to organize and motivate its future citizens. Thus, the camps in Egypt became a testing ground for state-building back home. The article will explore the tensions that emerged between the self-confident Partisans, the suspicious British and UN officials, and the refugees, who experienced the end of the war in the Egyptian desert.


Slam in the Name of Country: Nationalism in Contemporary Azerbaijani Meykhana

Aneta Strzemżalska

Meykhana is spoken word improvisation, verbal recitatives, and a kind of entertainment that in the last two decades has largely spread across Azerbaijan. Contemporary meykhana, although it retains its characteristic rhythm, increasingly resembles popular songs rather than classical Middle Eastern poetry, and is now often being sung, not read. Thus, in its form and function, it has become an element of mass popular culture. At the same time, meykhana is increasingly considered to be one of the national symbols on a par with other traditional musical genres such as mugham and ashig art. Meykhana's contemporary dual nature, which is understood differently by different constituencies within the Azerbaijani population, with their own politicized agenda, is inherently nationalist in nature. Using such aspects of nationalism as ethnicity, tradition, modernization, and folkloricization I analyze different levels of meykhana and various actors involved in its implementation. This paper contributes a case study to the rich body of literature on nationalism in musical performances by analyzing the ways in which identities are constructed and mobilized.

Ideological Complementarity or Competition? The Kremlin, the Church, and the Monarchist Idea in today’s Russia

Marlene Laruelle

In 2018, Russia’s last tsar, Nicholas II, was the most popular of all Russian historical figures of the twentieth century; the fame of White officers such as Alexander Kolchak and Anton Denikin was also on the rise. Obviously, broad sympathy for the last Romanov does not imply support for a potential restoration of the monarchy, yet the past few years have seen the activation of several monarchist lobbies, especially around the Russian Orthodox Church and in some well-connected Kremlin circles that seek the ideological hardening of the Putin regime. In this article, I use the case study of the monarchist idea to explore how the Kremlin manages the production of a large and diversified set of ideologies. I explore how the relationship between state authorities, ideological entrepreneurs, and some societal actors such as the Church is articulated along a continuum of permanent complementarity and competition in the production of ideologies.

Global Cities versus Rustbelt Realities: The Dilemmas of Urban Development in Russia

Stephen Crowley

Following the argument of urban geographers that “superstar” cities are the engines of economic growth in a globalized era, Kremlin advisor Aleksei Kudrin and others have argued that Russia should invest in a handful of major cities including Moscow and St. Petersburg. That advice has now become part of official government planning. In stark contrast to the developed world, however, Russia’s population is not concentrated in a few urban centers, but in several hundred medium-sized cities and towns, many distributed across Russia’s vast territory, often far from other metropolitan agglomerations. These include more than a hundred officially-designated “monotowns,” whose fate is dependent on a single industry, which the government ranks according to the severity of their “socio-economic conditions.” This paper will explore the dilemmas faced by monotowns in particular, and the challenge to authorities of balancing the need for new economic growth from urban metropolises against preventing social unrest in declining industrial communities. 


Patriotism without Patriots? Perm-36 and Patriotic Legitimation in Russia

J. Paul Goode

This article examines the takeover of the Perm-36 Gulag museum as emblematic of the dynamics of patriotic legitimation in Russia. The museum was dedicated to preserving the memory of the victims of Soviet political repression and it grew in popularity into the 2000s, emerging as an opposition platform and target for self-styled patriots who accused it of distorting Soviet history. The regional government soon joined the battle, finally forcing the museum’s takeover and transforming it into a site honoring the Gulag rather than its victims. Drawing on interviews conducted with the museum’s former director and scientific directors in 2015 and extensive local press materials, this analysis of the struggle over Perm-36 demonstrates the significance of patriotism in sustaining the regional government’s attacks even in the absence of federal patronage. The findings thus challenge prevailing understandings of authoritarian regime politics as driven primarily by patronage and power-maximizing elites.

Keywords: Russia, authoritarianism, legitimation, nationalism, patriotism