Volume 60 Number 2 Abstracts

Masculine Purity and 'Gentlemen's Mischief': Sexual Exchange and Prostitution between Russian Men, 1861-1941

Dan Healey

Sexual exchanges between men in modernizing Russia can be a window on the comparatively unexplored problem of Russian masculinities. Traditional forms of mutual male intimacy occurred within the patriarchal structures of gentry and merchant households, workshops and bathhouses. Arteli of peasant bathhouse attendants engaged in "sodomy" with clients, observing customary work practices (zemliachestvo, krugovaia poruka). By the 1890s an urban sexual marketplace characterized Russia's male homosexual subculture. Sexually knowing youths and men systematically offered sex for cash to "pederasts," or tetki, who were perceived as predominantly attracted to men. After 1917 Bolsheviks evaluated same-sex love not through a single prism but by class and national contexts. Russia's male homosexual subculture was mistrusted in part because it was a clandestine sexual market, creating suspicious dependency relationships and threatening the "purity" of "innocent" young men.

Genealogy, Class, and Tribal Policy in Soviet Turkmenistan, 1924-1934

Adrienne Edgar

This essay focuses on Soviet policy toward genealogically defined identity groups in the Central Asian republic of Turkmenistan. For Soviet authorities, kinship loyalties were problematic chiefly because they hindered the emergence of class consciousness among the Turkmen. Soviet officials pursued two essentially contradictory policies in their attempt to eliminate "tribalism" in the Turkmen republic. First, they sought to undermine the economic basis of genealogical affiliation by dismantling the existing system of collective land tenure. Second, they devised a policy of "tribal parity," which attempted to suppress kin-based conflict by guaranteeing fair and equal treatment for all genealogical groups. Instead of allowing class consciousness to supplant kinship loyalties, however, Soviet rule tended to increase the salience of distinctions based on genealogy. Because of the close linkage between genealogy and socioeconomic standing in Turkmenistan, Soviet attempts to foment class conflict inadvertently exacerbated descent group conflict.

Imagining Eurasia: Olzhas Suleimenov's AZ i IA

Harsha Ram

The article examines the controversial book AZ i IA (1975) by the Russian-language Kazakh writer Olzhas Suleimenov. Ostensibly a study of the Russian medieval classic The Song of Igor's Campaign, the book was quickly understood to be a pointed commentary on the history of Russo-Turkic relations, and a vindication of the Central Asian nomads, who were seen as oppressed by imperial domination in the field of knowledge no less than in politics. While Soviet critics noted the tension between the book's scholarly premises and its ideological claims, they chose to ignore the deeper implications of AZ i IA as a hybrid genre that conflates the devices of poetry with the scholarly methods of historiography and linguistics. While earlier critics chose to hail or dismiss Suleimenov's ideas on the basis of their scientific accuracy, this article interprets his poetics and ideology as characteristic of a "Eurasianist" tradition in Soviet letters, represented in this case by the linguist N. Ia. Marr and the avant-garde poet Velimir Khlebnikov, both of whom can be said to anticipate essential aspects of Suleimenov's linguistic vision and epistemological orientation.

Metaphors of Dictatorship and Democracy: Change in the Russian Political Lexicon and the Transformation of Russian Politics

Richard D. Anderson, Jr.

Metaphors act as cues to social identities. Political discourse that communicates the distinctiveness of the rulers' identity sustains authoritarianism by cueing people to act as either oppressors or oppressed, while political discourse that cues identification by citizens with politicians promotes democracy by encouraging people to participate. In Politburo speeches from the era of Soviet authoritarianism, metaphors of size, superiority, distance, and subordination were abundant. These metaphors are suitable for emphasizing the separateness of politics from ordinary life and for communicating the inferiority of the populace. In Politburo speeches from the transition year 1989, these metaphors had already begun to decrease in frequency, while new metaphors, often borrowed from the discourse of international diplomacy, deconstructed the rulers' claims to continuing authority. In Russian political discourse from the first years of electoral politics, authoritarian metaphors decline even more sharply and are replaced by metaphors of choice and identification suitable for encouraging people to align themselves with electoral candidates.

Thinking about Democracy: Interviews with Russian Citizens

Ellen Carnaghan

Using new evidence from forty-seven formal in-depth interviews conducted with Russian citizens in 1998 and 2000, this article dissects Russian popular attitudes toward democracy. Rather than asking the usual question of whether Russians are democratic enough for their new institutions, it examines what Russians find troubling or difficult about their new political institutions and what they would change. Listening to Russian voices makes it clear that much of what looks like flawed support for some aspects of democracy, particularly the operation of legislative institutions and the role of law in organizing society, can be better understood as a fairly nuanced critique of the flawed operation of those institutions. My respondents like democracy in the abstract better than they like the version they have at home. However, their disillusionment regarding the ability of ordinary citizens to influence officials also means that they are unwilling to work very hard to improve those institutions or to deepen the democracy they have.

'Russia! What Do You Want of Me?': The Russian Reading Public in Dead Souls

Anne Lounsbery

This essay analyzes the role of Russia's changing readership and the incipient print culture in Dead Souls. Though Nikolai Gogol' was received in salon society, his primary allegiance was to print and the broad (and thus unsophisticated) readership that printed texts could afford. Like other of Gogol''s texts ("On the Development of Periodical Literature in 1834 and 1835," "The Portrait"), Dead Souls reflects the author's awareness of this audience's severe limitations, especially in characters' abuse of conventional plot devices and the author's insistence on the ineptitude of "contemporary judgment." The essay argues that while Dead Souls invites readers' participation, it also reflects Gogol''s growing skepticism about readers' attempts to make meaning and his desire to assert total control over this process. The article considers Dead Souls' reception and situates Gogol''s work in the context of the appearance of Library for Reading in 1834 and other writers' approaches to the problem of Russia's reading public (notably Faddei Bulgarin and Osip Senkovskii).