Volume 63 Number 4 Abstracts

An Average Azeri Village (1930): Remembering Rebellion in the Caucasus Mountains

Bruce Grant

In this article, Bruce Grant advocates an anthropological perspective for understanding resistance to early Soviet rule, given that not all anti-Soviet rebellions operated by the same cultural logic. Combining oral histories and archival evidence to reconstruct highly charged events in rural northwest Azerbaijan, where as many as 10,000 men and women joined to overthrow Soviet power in favor of an Islamic republic in 1930, Grant examines moral archetypes of banditry, religious frames of Caucasus life, magical mobility, and images of early nationalist struggle against communism. Exploring what it means to have been "average" in the Soviet Union of the 1930s, Grant invites readers to consider classic narrative framings of periods of great tumult.

Missionaries of Faith and Culture: Evangelical Encounters in Ukraine

Catherine Wanner

In this article, Catherine Wanner explores the historical factors contributing to a greater degree of religious pluralism emerging in Ukraine compared to Russia and Belarus and illustrates some of the cultural and political consequences of these more permissive policies. Using the intersection of foreign missionaries and evangelical communities in Ukraine as a lens, this article draws on historical and ethnographic evidence to argue that faith-based communities are sites of cultural innovation where the legacy of Soviet culture blends with values and practices born of other historical experiences to shape notions of morality and attitudes toward the state. Evangelical communities in this traditionally Orthodox land increasingly represent robust social institutions that offer new sources of self-definition, belonging, and communal life that are at once intensely local and broadly transnational in orientation.

From Skandalon to Scandal: Ivan's Rebellion Reconsidered

Harriet Murav

Ivan Karamazov articulates the philosophical problem of the limits of religion in his "Rebellion." In this article, Harriet Murav argues that, far from being an enemy of religion, Ivan gets to the heart of the problem of responding to the suffering of the other. Christ crucified is a scandalous temptation, according to St. Paul. Extending the logic of the skandalon to Ivan makes possible an alternative reading of his "Rebellion." The suffering of the innocent child is Ivan's "stumbling block,"--the skandalon that prevents him from accepting the meaningfulness of human history. But reading Ivan's position as nothing more than an attack on religion gets us off the hook of the skandalon too easily. To remain hypnotized by the difficulty without taking responsibility would be equally disastrous. Ivan's "Rebellion" makes legible the simultaneous impossibility and possibility of faith. Vasilii Rozanov, Emmanuel Levinas, and Jacques Derrida provide the framework in which to read the "Rebellion."

A Woman of Words: Pagan Ol'ga in the Mirror of Germanic Europe

Francis Butler

The pagan (and future saint) Ol'ga's revenge on the Derevlians as described in the Povest' vremennykh let has intrigued generations of readers of early East Slavic literature. Using evidence from roughly contemporary Germanic sources, Francis Butler argues that Ol'ga uses intelligence and verbal dexterity to achieve good ends (the protection of her son and the defense of her people) without violating the strictures placed on women by her society. The early East Slavs seem to have disliked the idea of women as warriors but not to have seen women as intellectually inferior to men. Moreover, they regarded women's use of intelligence praiseworthy if it benefited their people, as Ol'ga's did. Ol'ga's gender prevented the chroniclers from portraying her as a warrior-ruler, thereby forcing them to create one of the most striking depictions in the Povest'.

Choreographing the "Tsar's Happy Occasion": Tradition, Change and Dynastic Legitimacy in the Weddings of Tsar Mikhail Romanov

Russell E. Martin

The Romanov dynasty came to the throne in 1613 after fifteen years of pretenders, peasant revolts, and foreign interventions, but the establishment of Romanov legitimacy would require time. In this article, Russell E. Martin explores how the wedding ritual of Tsar Mikhail Romanov was carefully constructed on the basis of previous royal weddings so as to appear fully consistent with previous Muscovite tradition. But Martin also shows that many elements of the wedding ritual were choreographed anew to create the image of the Romanovs as the legitimate heirs of the old Riurikid dynasty that had died out in 1598. Viewed in light of other efforts to legitimate their rule, the evidence from the weddings of the first Romanov tsar suggests how tenuous the new dynasty's hold on power was in its first decades on the throne and the ways that symbol and ritual were exploited to help establish the new regime.

Inventing Galicia: Messianic Josephinism and the Recasting of Partitioned Poland

Larry Wolff

In this article Larry Wolff considers the creation of Galicia in 1772 as an act of invention, the concoction of a brand-new geopolitical entity for the ideological legitimation of the Habsburg acquisitions in the first partition of Poland. Afterwards, especially under the auspices of Joseph II, Galicia was constructed both administratively and culturally, and the arbitrarily conceived province received form and meaning. The article considers published accounts of Galicia from the 1780s, mapping the province according to the perceived distinction between "Eastern Europe" and "Western Europe," defining its imperial relation to Vienna in terms of a civilizing mission, and articulating a perspective of Josephine messianism as the redemptive legitimation of Habsburg rule. This secular messianism was sometimes inspired by the notable religious presence of the Jewish population in the province. The article analyzes the affirmation of Galician political prerogatives in 1790 and the complex relation between Galician and Polish culture in the 1790s, focusing in particular on Wojciech Bogusławski and the L'viv production of his "national opera" Krakowiacy i Górale in 1796.

Soviet Industrialization: A Remarkable Success?

Michael Ellman

This essay by Michael Ellman is a critical evaluation of Robert C. Allen's iconoclastic economic history of the USSR, Farm to Factory: A Reinterpretation of the Soviet Industrial Revolution (2003). Ellman draws attention to Allen's good use of comparisons with other countries and other periods and his use of a computable general equilibrium model. However, he challenges Allen's view that in the absence of the Bolsheviks Russia would necessarily have joined the Third World, and he questions whether the model offered by Grigorii Feldman provides a basis for understanding Stalinist economic policy, suggesting instead that Bolshevik doctrine and the model proposed by Stanislaw Gomulka are more relevant. Ellman also analyzes Allen's arguments about rural living standards in the late 1930s and argues that they are unfounded. He draws attention to Allen's useful contribution to the debate about the financing of Soviet industrialization but suggests that Allen's analysis of the Soviet Brezhnev-era growth slowdown may be based on erroneous data. Ellman concludes by criticizing Allen for a 1950s perspective that is excessively influenced by Soviet growth spurts while belittling fast growth elsewhere, the social indicators movement, and the archival revolution.