Volume 59 Number 3 Abstracts

The Evolution of Executive-Legislative Relations in Russia since 1993

Thomas F. Remington

This article examines president-parliament relations in Russia since 1993. Under Boris El'tsin, conflicts between president and parliament were often severe, and the 1993 Constitution contains the potential for instability and breakdown. The evidence shows, however, that many policy conflicts between the branches have been resolved through ad hoc but constitutional mechanisms. The president's use of ukaz has grown routine since 1994 while around three-fourths of the laws passed by the Duma in 1994-95 were signed by the president, as were about 70 percent of the laws passed in the 1996-99 period. This article argues that the central-level political actors are constrained in their behavior, more by strategic calculation than by a normative commitment to democracy. Although disorder and the risk of breakdown remain high, the record shows that some working practices and precedents have arisen that can enable opposing sides to resolve many policy differences through bargaining and compromise.

Aleksandr Sumarokov's Elegii liubovnye and the Development of Verse Narrative in the Eighteenth Century: Toward a History of the Russian Lyric Sequence

Ronald Vroon

The essay examines the emergence of lyric cycles or sequences in eighteenth-century Russian poetry, focusing on Aleksandr Sumarokov's Elegii ljubovnye, a collection of elegies and "stanzas" published in 1774. A study of the textual evolution of these poems through three major redactions provides compelling evidence that they were abridged and rewritten with an eye to internal narrative cohesion and, more specifically, the creation of a diary-like novella in verse. We are dealing, in short, with one of the earliest book-length poetic sequences in Russian literary history. This conclusion forces us to reject Grigorii Gukovskii's claim that the Sumarokov elegies represent a static, plotless genre. Moreover, it obliges us to reexamine neoclassicism's contribution to the origins of the Russian lyric sequence and reconsider the impact Sumarokov's experiment may have had on the development of elegiac verse in particular, and lyric narrative more generally (including the poema and the novel in verse) in the first decades of the nineteenth century.

Sexual Transcendence in Tsvetaeva's Poems to Pasternak

Alyssa Dinega

Sexuality plays an intensely ambiguous role in Marina Tsvetaeva's life and poetry. The present article considers this theme in the context of Tsvetaeva's epistolary and poetic relationship with Boris Pasternak during the period 1922-23. Through an analysis of her poetic cycles Phaedra and Wires read against the ancient Greek myth of Psyche and Eros, I show that Tsvetaeva performs a revisionist reading of the Psyche myth that helps her to construe the inspirational force of her unconsummated romance with Pasternak. According to her mythopoetic logic, the lovers' separation, which seems to result from arbitrary fate, is reconceptualized as a free choice. Tsvetaeva, threatened by the prospect of becoming a mere feminine muse to Pasternak's male poet, consciously elects lonely but creative autonomy over sexual union. In her resultant metamorphosis from abandoned woman into an omnipotent, genderless abstraction, she reenacts both Psyche's attainment of immortality and her own poetic genesis.

What Should Russia Be? Patriotism and Political Economy in the Thought of N. S. Mordvinov

Susan P. McCaffray

Nikolai S. Mordvinov (1754-1845) was an official of the tsarist government and economic thinker whose service and writings at the time of the Napoleonic Wars provided the first detailed defense of Russia's development of manufactures. Mordvinov was chiefly concerned with the monetary system and defense of Russia's currency abroad, as a key element of Russian "sovereignty." His strongest arguments in support of manufacturing are rooted in monetary concerns. In the years 1810-1812, he was a key figure in the articulation and implementation of M. M. Speranskii's Financial Plan. Mordvinov's 1815 essay on tariffs and manufacturing further linked manufacturing to an influential vision of Russian identity that included a secure sovereignty and an industrious population fulfilling its economic and cultural potential.

Diktat and Dialogue in Stalinist Culture: Staging Patriotic Historical Opera in Soviet Ukraine, 1936-1954

Serhy Yekelchyk

The editing and staging of Ukrainian historical operas under Stalinism highlighted both the system's governing cultural paradigms and the authorities' inability to establish total ideological control over culture. Like other major Soviet nationalities, Ukrainians were expected to cherish (or "invent") their ethnic traditions and produce imposing representations of their nation's heroic past, while also reconciling their national myths with the increasingly dominant doctrine of Russian guidance. The editing of classical Ukrainian operas and the production of a Soviet Ukrainian historical opera, Kostiantyn Dan'kevych's Bohdan Khmel'nyts'kyi, reflected this ideological trend. At the same time, by expressing their opinions in the shardd "Bolshevik" political language, local bureaucrats and intellectuals could negotiate the meaning of Soviet Ukrainian culture among themselves. Moreover, they could either develop the center's brief and often confusing pronouncements into full-blown ideological campaigns or use the rhetoric of the "authentic cultural tradition" to defend their cultural domain against Moscow's centralizing efforts.

Language Politics in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia: The Crisis over the Future of Serbian

Robert D. Greenberg

This study focuses on recent language controversies that have engulfed Serbian linguistic circles in the years since the breakup of Yugoslavia and the formerly unified Serbo-Croatian language. Through a perusal of the literature recently published in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the author identifies three main factions of Serb linguists: (1) status quo linguists, who seek to continue the traditions of the joint literary language, maintaining that Serbian is the successor language to the former Eastern variant of Serbo-Croatian; (2) Neo-Vukovite linguists, who derive their inspiration from Vuk KaradZiT and other nineteenth-century reformers of the Serbian language; and (3) extreme nationalist linguists, who advocate the return to some centuries-old traditions of Serbian Orthodox Cyrillic orthography and the rejection of the Latin script for writing the Serbian language. The three factions have openly clashed on the status of competing Orthographic Manuals published between 1993 and 1995 and on the controversial questions surrounding the status of the Serbian ijekavian dialect. The three factions are ideologically driven and reflect the deep political divides within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). This study suggests that the status quo linguists have thus far prevailed in Yugoslavia, and their dominance has particularly alienated the Montenegrin linguists who have accused the status quo group of favoring the ekavian dialect of Serbia proper. As political instability persists in the FRY, it is likely that the debates over the future of the Serbian language will continue.