Volume 60 Number 4 Abstracts

Who Was Tsar Dmitrii?

Chester Dunning

In this article, Dunning challenges traditional scholarship concerning the identity and character of Tsar Dmitrii (reigned 1605­06), better known as the "False Dmitrii"--the only tsar ever raised to the Russian throne by means of a military campaign and popular uprisings. Usually dismissed as a frivolous imposter who was despised by his subjects for being a tool of Polish intervention in Russia's Time of Troubles, Tsar Dmitrii turns out to have been a charismatic, well-educated warrior-prince who was revered by many of his subjects. Furthermore, he truly believed that he was the youngest son of Ivan the Terrible. This article deconstructs the legends and scholarship identifying Tsar Dmitrii as the lascivious and bloodthirsty monk-sorcerer, Grishka Otrep'ev and demonstrates that the faulty image of Tsar Dmitrii has been shaped by historians' overreliance on folklore and on the propaganda manufactured by Dmitrii's enemies. Dunning calls for a new biography of this mysterious and controversial ruler.

The Other Archipelago: Kulak Deportations to the North in 1930

Lynne Viola

The "other archipelago" of "special settlements" was a cornerstone of the evolving gulag (Glavnoe upravlenie ispravitel'no-trudovykh lagerei) order. Scholars have paid relatively scant attention to the special settlements, which emerged first to isolate and exploit the labor of the dekulakized peasantry and within a short time would house a variety of other state-defined social and ethnic aliens through the course of the Stalin years. This article explores the history of the other archipelago in the year 1930, its founding and perhaps most difficult year, focusing on the Northern Region. It was here that the state chose to send over a quarter of a million peasants, the single largest contingent of dekulakized peasant families in 1930. Against this icy backdrop, the special settlers--men, women, and children--built the villages of the other archipelago within the wilderness.

Loose and Baggy Spirits: Reading Dostoevskii and Mendeleev

Michael D. Gordin

In his 1876 Writer's Diary, novelist Fedor Mikhailovich Dostoevskii wrote a series of three journalistic articles parodying both the contemporary movement of modern spiritualism and its principal critic in St. Petersburg, noted chemist Dmitrii Ivanovich Mendeleev. This article explores Dostoevskii's views on spiritualism and examines the rhetorical strategy he developed to help persuade Russians away from what he perceived as a dangerous mystical fad. Mendeleev had similar goals, but the two differed on the urgency of the problem--and hence the proper rhetoric for the task--and thus both spent as much time fighting the other as the movement they both deplored. This article endeavors, both to analyze a Russian scientific text alongside works traditionally considered more "rhetorical," and to explore in detail the specific involvement of Dostoevskii the journalist with contemporary issues in Russian culture.

How It Was Sung in Odessa: At the Intersection of Russian and Yiddish Folk Culture

Robert A. Rothstein

Odessa has played a significant role in Russian and Yiddish folklore and popular culture. Although the city has changed with the times, the Odessa variant of the Russian language and the Russian and Yiddish songs created in and about Odessa are the lasting product of a unique brand of multiculturalism. The Russian of Odessa shows the influence of Yiddish and Ukrainian in grammar, lexicon, and phraseology, and Odessa folk humor reflects Jewish sensibilities. Odessa Yiddish is permeated with Russianisms. The repertoire of Russian and Yiddish songs about Odessa reveals the mixed character of the respective languages. The songs portray a unique city: one that is more impressive than Vienna or Paris; one that embodies progress and the carefree life but is also dangerous. These songs deal with various aspects of the Jewish experience but also with the life of the underworld, employing the stylistic conventions of the so-called blatnaia pesnia.

The Politics of the Dance Floor: Culture and Civil Society in Nineteenth-Century Hungary

Robert Nemes

The nineteenth-century Hungarian dance floor provides an invaluable tool for mapping the contours of both an emerging civil society and the political practices of Hungarian nationalism. During the 1840s, consciously "national" costumes, music, dances, and language became de rigueur in all areas of social life, and especially on the dance floor. Because associations and newspapers linked such cultural practices to opposition politics, these balls allowed a large number of men and women usually excluded from public life to display their patriotism and political allegiances. In this way, the diffuse set of ideas, feelings, and allegiances connected with nineteenth-century liberalism and nationalism spread more widely in Hungary. These developments did not occur without conflict, and an examination of debates surrounding the dance floor reveals widely divergent views on participation in civil society and the boundaries of the nation.