Volume 61 Number 2 Abstracts

Cold War in the Kitchen: Gender and the De-Stalinization of Consumer Taste in the Soviet Union under Khrushchev

Susan Reid

Consumption, a key issue in the study of post-Soviet culture, was already a central issue during the Cold War. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Khrushchev regime staked its legitimacy at home, and its credibility abroad, on its ability to provide its population with consumer goods and a decent standard of living. Despite promising "abundance for all" as the precondition for the imminent transition to communism, the regime could not afford to leave abundance undefined. In this article, Susan Reid examines the way discourses of consumption, fashion, and the ideal Soviet home sought to remake consumers' conceptions of culturedness, good taste, and comfort in rational, modern terms that took into account the regime's ideological commitment and economic capacity. Such efforts to shape and regulate desire were directed above all at women. Reid proposes that the study of consumption provides insights into the ways in which post-Stalinist regimes manipulated and regulated people through regimes of personal conduct, taste, and consumption habits, as opposed to coercion. Indeed, the management of consumption was as significant for the Soviet system's longevity as for its ultimate collapse.

Isaak Babel''s El'ia Isaakovich as a New Jewish Type

Gabriella Safran

This article analyzes a 1916 story by Isaak Babel', "El'ia Isaakovich and Margarita Prokof'evna" (published in Maksim Gor'kii's Letopis'), in which a Jewish businessman from Odessa takes refuge with an Orel prostitute to avoid being sent back to the Pale of Settlement by the police. Safran sees El'ia Isaakovich as a character type new to mainstream Russian literature, a strong Jewish man who is neither a victim nor an exploiter of Russians but can inspire them to positive change. Safran pursues four related lines of reasoning: she sets the story in light of Gor'kii's attitude toward Babel' and the "Jewish Question;" she reads it as a parody of the urban myth of the Jewish false prostitute; she compares it to Jewish folktales about Elijah the Prophet; and she considers the hero's repetition of the word nivroko, a formula that Odessa Jews used to ward off the evil eye.

Dostoevskii, the Jewish Question, and The Brothers Karamazov

Maxim D. Shrayer

In this article, Maxim D. Shrayer offers a new perspective on Fedor Dostoevskii's writings about the Jews. Following a trajectory initiated by Vladimir Solov'ev and Leonid Grossman, Shrayer argues that for Dostoevskii the Jewish question is primarily a religious one, rather than a social or ethnical one. Through close textual analysis, but also by placing the controversial blood libel episode from The Brothers Karamazov in the larger context of Dostoevskii's fictional and discursive works, Shrayer links the anti-Semitic charges of ritual murder and host profanation with the story of Captain Snegirev and his son Iliusha. In the story of the Snegirevs, Shrayer identifies Dostoevskii's keen understanding of (religious) intolerance and scapegoating. Shrayer demonstrates that the conclusion of The Brothers Karamazov (Iliusha Snegirev's funeral) recalls "The Funeral of 'The Universal Man'" from the March 1877 issue of The Diary of a Writer and thus points to Dostoevskii's view of the Christian-Judaic reconciliation.

Institutionalizing Party Systems in Multiethnic States: Integration and Ethnic Segmentation in Czechoslovakia, 1918­1992

Carol Skalnik Leff and Susan B. Mikula

A country's multinational diversity does not by itself predict the way this diversity will be reflected in the party system. The pattern of party politics also depends on the context: electoral and institutional rules, differential political assets, and different incentives to cooperate or dissent. To demonstrate variations in dynamics of ethnic politics, this article examines the divergent ways in which Slovak political parties were organized within the larger political system in two periods--the interwar unitary Czechoslovak state, and the postcommunist federal state. Differences in political resources and institutional setting help explain why interwar Slovakia had a hybrid party system composed of both statewide and ethnoregional parties, while the postcommunist state saw the emergence of two entirely separate party systems in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. In turn, differing patterns of party politics in these two cases had different consequences for the management of ethnonational conflict in the state.

The 1999 Ukrainian Presidential Election: Personalities, Ideology, Partisanship, and the Economy

Thomas F. Klobucar, Arthur H. Miller, and Gwyn Erb

The 1999 Ukrainian presidential election took place during a period of extreme political turmoil. The excitement of democracy had waned, the economy spiraled ever downward, and charges of corruption among the administration seemed the harbinger of communist victory. Nevertheless, Ukrainian voters returned Leonid Kuchma to the helm. Thomas F. Klobucar, Arthur H. Miller, and Gwyn Erb investigate this curious result, using a model that combines economic evaluations, the candidates' personality, and ideology. Relatively well-developed partisanship is present in Ukraine and was a major influence on vote choice. Surprisingly, economic evaluations had little impact on the Ukrainian vote. Instead, party identification, ideology, and leadership trait assessments led Ukrainians to vote for the "democrat."

The Poetry and Prose of Everyday Life in Communist Kraków: Moths, Old Maids, and the Memoirs of Adam Zagajewski

Larry Wolff

This essay analyzes Adam Zagajewski's recent memoir W cudzym pieknie (Another beauty), in which he reflects particularly on the decades of the 1960s and 1970s, when he was a student and young poet in Kraków. The essay addresses Zagajewski's perspective on the city of Kraków, his reflections on communism in W³adys³aw Gomu³ka's Poland, his sense of the relations between older and younger Polish generations, and his efforts to negotiate a personal balance between poetry and politics. Zagajewski's memoir is discussed in the context of his own poetry, of Polish intellectual life, and of Kraków's cultural history from the 1890s to the 1980s. Intellectual points of reference and comparison range from Tadeusz "Boy" eleñski and Stanis³aw Wyspiañski in fin-de-siècle Kraków, to Witold Gombrowicz, Czes³aw Mi³osz, and Adam Michnik in later twentieth-century Polish letters and politics. The essay, finally, attempts to assess the significance and implications of communism for Polish poetry, literature, and intellectual life.

Recent Writings about Soviet Historiography

George Enteen

In this essay, George Enteen reviews two studies of Soviet historiography, one Russian and one western, as well as a Russian who's who of historians. The Russian study, which examines the establishment of censorship in the 1920s, is based on archives that have usually been overlooked. The western study examines the struggle against intellectual controls in the years from 1956 to 1974 and draws on archives and extensive interviews. This latter study receives most of the attention. Enteen takes issue with the study's author on a number of points concerning Stalinist historiography. By posing questions that arise from a comparison of the studies, Enteen seeks to make a statement about the state of Soviet studies.