Russian Cultural Anthropology after the Collapse of Communism 041569504X, 9780415695046

In Soviet times, anthropologists in the Soviet Union were closely involved in the state's work of nation building.

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Table of contents :
Cover
Title
Copyright
Contents
List of illustrations
List of contributors
Acknowledgements
Conventions
Introduction: Soviet and post-Soviet anthropology
1 Writing the history of Russian anthropology
2 Female taboos and concepts of the unclean among the Nenets
3 ‘The wrong nationality’: ascribed identity in the 1930s Soviet Union
4 The queue as narrative: a Soviet case study
5 ‘I didn’t understand, but it was funny’: late Soviet festivals and their impact on children
6 The practices of ‘privacy’ in a South Russian village (a case study of Stepnoe, Krasnodar Region)
7 Believers’ letters as advertising: St Xenia of Petersburg’s ‘National Reception Centre’
8 ‘The yellow peril’ as seen in contemporary church culture
9 ‘Don’t look at them, they’re nasty’: photographs of funerals in Russian culture
10 Historical Zaryadye as remembered by locals: cultural meanings of city spaces
11 Yerevan: memory and forgetting in the organisation of post-Soviet urban space
Name index
Subject index
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Russian Cultural Anthropology After the Collapse of Communism

In Soviet times, anthropologists in the Soviet Union were closely involved in the state’s work of nation building. They helped define official nationalities, and gathered material about traditional customs and suitably heroic folklore, whilst at the same time refraining from work on the reality of contemporary Soviet life. Since the end of the Soviet Union anthropology in Russia has been transformed. International research standards have been adopted, and the focus of research has shifted to include urban culture and difficult subjects, such as xenophobia. However, this transformation has been, and continues to be, controversial, with, for example, strongly contested debates about the relevance of Western anthropology and cultural theory to post-Soviet reality. This book presents an overview of how anthropology in Russia has changed since Soviet times, and showcases examples of important Russian anthropological work. As such, the book will be of great interest not just to Russian specialists, but also to anthropologists more widely, and to all those interested in the way academic study is related to prevailing political and social conditions. Albert Baiburin is Malkhaz Abdushelishvili Professor of Anthropology at the European University, St Petersburg. Catriona Kelly is Professor of Russian at the University of Oxford. Nikolai Vakhtin is University Professor of Arctic Social Studies at the European University, St Petersburg.

Routledge Contemporary Russia and Eastern Europe Series

1 Liberal Nationalism in Central Europe Stefan Auer 2 Civil-Military Relations in Russia and Eastern Europe David J. Betz 3 The Extreme Nationalist Threat in Russia The Growing Influence of Western Rightist Ideas Thomas Parland 4 Economic Development in Tatarstan Global Markets and a Russian Region Leo McCann 5 Adapting to Russia’s New Labour Market Gender and Employment Strategy Edited by Sarah Ashwin 6 Building Democracy and Civil Society East of the Elbe Essays in Honour of Edmund Mokrzycki Edited by Sven Eliaeson 7 The Telengits of Southern Siberia Landscape, Religion and Knowledge in Motion Agnieszka Halemba 8 The Development of Capitalism in Russia Simon Clarke 9 Russian Television Today Primetime Drama and Comedy David MacFadyen

10 The Rebuilding of Greater Russia Putin’s Foreign Policy towards the CIS Countries Bertil Nygren 11 A Russian Factory Enters the Market Economy Claudio Morrison 12 Democracy Building and Civil Society in Post-Soviet Armenia Armine Ishkanian 13 NATO-Russia Relations in the Twenty-First Century Aurel Braun 14 Russian Military Reform A Failed Exercise in Defence Decision Making Carolina Vendil Pallin 15 The Multilateral Dimension in Russian Foreign Policy Edited by Elana Wilson Rowe and Stina Torjesen 16 Russian Nationalism and the National Reassertion of Russia Edited by Marlène Laruelle 17 The Caucasus – An Introduction Frederik Coene 18 Radical Islam in the Former Soviet Union Edited by Galina M. Yemelianova 19 Russia’s European Agenda and the Baltic States . Janina Šleivyte

20 Regional Development in Central and Eastern Europe Development Processes and Policy Challenges Edited by Grzegorz Gorzelak, John Bachtler and Maciej Sme¸tkowski

30 The Russian Armed Forces in Transition Economic, Geopolitical and Institutional Uncertainties Edited by Roger N. McDermott, Bertil Nygren and Carolina Vendil Pallin

21 Russia and Europe Reaching Agreements, Digging Trenches Kjell Engelbrekt and Bertil Nygren

31 The Religious Factor in Russia’s Foreign Policy Alicja Curanovic´

22 Russia’s Skinheads Exploring and Rethinking Subcultural Lives Hilary Pilkington, Elena Omel’chenko and Al’bina Garifzianova

32 Postcommunist Film – Russia, Eastern Europe and World Culture Moving Images of Postcommunism Edited by Lars Lyngsgaard Fjord Kristensen

23 The Colour Revolutions in the Former Soviet Republics Successes and Failures Edited by Donnacha Ó Beacháin and Abel Polese

33 Russian Multinationals From Regional Supremacy to Global Lead Andrei Panibratov

24 Russian Mass Media and Changing Values Edited by Arja Rosenholm, Kaarle Nordenstreng and Elena Trubina 25 The Heritage of Soviet Oriental Studies Edited by Michael Kemper and Stephan Conermann 26 Religion and Language in Post-Soviet Russia Brian P. Bennett 27 Jewish Women Writers in the Soviet Union Rina Lapidus 28 Chinese Migrants in Russia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe Edited by Felix B. Chang and Sunnie T. Rucker-Chang 29 Poland’s EU Accession Sergiusz Trzeciak

34 Russian Cultural Anthropology After the Collapse of Communism Edited by Albert Baiburin, Catriona Kelly and Nikolai Vakhtin 35 The Post-Soviet Russian Orthodox Church Politics, Culture and Greater Russia Katja Richters 36 Lenin’s Terror The Ideological Origins of Early Soviet State Violence James Ryan 37 Life in Post-Communist Eastern Europe after EU Membership Edited by Donnacha Ó Beacháin, Vera Sheridan and Sabina Stan 38 Power and Legitimacy – Challenges from Russia Edited by Per-Arne Bodin, Stefan Hedlund and Elena Namli

Russian Cultural Anthropology After the Collapse of Communism

Edited by Albert Baiburin, Catriona Kelly and Nikolai Vakhtin

First published 2012 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2012 selection and editorial material, Albert Baiburin, Catriona Kelly and Nikolai Vakhtin; individual chapters, the contributors The right of the editors to be identified as the author of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Russian cultural anthropology after the collapse of communism / edited by Albert Baiburin, Catriona Kelly and Nikolai Vakhtin. p. ; cm. – (Routledge contemporary Russia and Eastern Europe series ; 34) Includes bibliographical references and index. 1. Anthropology–Russia (Federation) 2. Anthropology–Soviet Union. I. Baiburin, A. K. II. Kelly, Catriona. III. Vakhtin, N. B. (Nikolai Borisovich) IV. Series: Routledge contemporary Russia and Eastern Europe series ; 34. GN17.3.R8R87 2012 301.0947–dc23 2011049174 ISBN: 978-0-415-69504-6 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-203-11601-2 (ebk) Typeset in Times New Romans by Taylor & Francis Books

Contents

List of illustrations List of contributors Acknowledgements Conventions Introduction: Soviet and post-Soviet anthropology

ix xi xiv xv 1

ALBERT BAIBURIN, CATRIONA KELLY AND NIKOLAI VAKHTIN

1

Writing the history of Russian anthropology

25

SERGEY SOKOLOVSKIY

2

Female taboos and concepts of the unclean among the Nenets

50

ELENA LIARSKAYA

3

‘The wrong nationality’: ascribed identity in the 1930s Soviet Union

59

ALBERT BAIBURIN

4

The queue as narrative: a Soviet case study

77

KONSTANTIN BOGDANOV

5

‘I didn’t understand, but it was funny’: late Soviet festivals and their impact on children

103

CATRIONA KELLY AND SVETLANA SIROTININA

6

The practices of ‘privacy’ in a South Russian village (a case study of Stepnoe, Krasnodar Region)

130

ALEXANDER MANUYLOV

7

Believers’ letters as advertising: St Xenia of Petersburg’s ‘National Reception Centre’ JEANNE KORMINA AND SERGEI SHTYRKOV

155

viii

Contents

8 ‘The yellow peril’ as seen in contemporary church culture

183

MARIYA AKHMETOVA

9 ‘Don’t look at them, they’re nasty’: photographs of funerals in Russian culture

194

OLGA BOITSOVA

10 Historical Zaryadye as remembered by locals: cultural meanings of city spaces

220

PAVEL KUPRIYANOV AND LYUDMILA SADOVNIKOVA

11 Yerevan: memory and forgetting in the organisation of post-Soviet urban space

254

LEVON ABRAHAMIAN

Name index Subject index

276 278

List of illustrations

Figures 5.1 A group of senior school pupils at a demonstration in Leningrad, 7 November 1935 5.2 Parents and children taking part in a procession at the 1 May 1962 demonstration in Leningrad 5.3 Spectators standing by the Hermitage on the official birthday of the Young Pioneer organisation, 19 May 1960 5.4 Senior school pupils at a demonstration in a village in Leningrad province, 1 May 1964 9.1 Funeral scene in the village of Tatarskoe, 1932 9.2 Funeral scene, Izhevsk (mid-twentieth century) 9.3 Drinking a toast to the dead at a rural cemetery, Ust-Peza, Mezenskii district, Archangel Province 9.4 A ‘collage’ of images from the life of a dead person, village of Zherd, Mezenskii district, Archangel province 9.5 Funeral scene, Tambov province, 1946 9.6 Reverse of image of funeral scene, Tambov province, 1946 10.1 Present-day Zaryadye – a historical and architectural heritage area and a colourful subject for artists 10.2 Everyday life with a backdrop of monumental history 10.3 Kitaigorod Wall, view ‘from inside’. 10.4 Kitaigorod Wall, view ‘from outside’ 10.5 Children now come to the courtyard of the House of the Romanov Boyars in organised groups as part of an historical tour 10.6 Transformation of Zaryadye: ‘cleaning up’ architectural monuments 11.1 Matenadaran with the Stalin monument 11.2 The unveiling of the Stalin monument in Yerevan, 1950 11.3 The monument to Mesrop Mashtots, creator of the Armenian alphabet, and his pupil Koryun on Matenadaran, 2003 11.4 Lenin Square, 1975.

105 105 106 107 202 203 207 212 213 214 226 233 234 234

236 239 257 258 259 260

x

List of illustrations

11.5 The deposed monument of Lenin in the courtyard of the Museum, 2007 11.6 The ‘political promenade’ on Theatre Square, 1988 11.7 Lenin Square, 7 November 1988 11.8 A ‘political promenade’ on Northern Avenue, 2008 11.9 The Cathedral of St Gregory the Enlightener with the statue of General Andranik, 2008 11.10a The Zvartnots Church, 7th century AD 11.10b Bas-relief from the Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, 13th century 11.10c The ruins of Zvartnots Church

261 262 263 265 266 267 267 267

Tables 1.1 6.1

The disciplines comprising ‘anthropology’ in Russian universities Personal composition of the leadership of OOO Aist

36 141

Contributors

Levon Abrahamian is a Researcher at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, where he is currently Head of the Department of Contemporary Anthropological Studies. In 2006 he was elected Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia. He also teaches various courses in Cultural/Social Anthropology at the Yerevan State University, and has held visiting professorships at the University of Pittsburgh (1994), University of California at Berkeley (William Saroyan Professor of Armenian Studies, 1997), Columbia University (2001) and UCLA (2008). His many publications include Armenian Folk Arts, Culture, and Identity (co-editor: Nancy Sweezy, Indiana University Press, 2001), and Armenian Identity in a Changing World (Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda, 2006). Mariya Akhmetova is Deputy Editor of the journal Zhivaia Starina (Living Antiquity), published by the State Centre of Russian Folklore of the Russian Republic (Moscow). Author of the book The End of the World in One Country (in Russian: Moscow, 2011), she specialises in cultural anthropology, folklore and Russian dialectology. Albert Baiburin is Malkhaz Abdushelishvili Professor of Anthropology at the European University, St Petersburg, and Leading Researcher of the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera). In 2004, he was awarded the degree of Doctor honoris causa of the Sorbonne. He has published many books and articles on cultural anthropology and folklore, including Ritual in Traditional Culture (in Russian, St Petersburg, 1993), and is General Editor of Antropologicheskii forum (Forum for Anthropology and Culture), founded in 2004. He is currently completing a study of the Soviet passport. Konstantin Bogdanov is Leading Researcher at the Institute of Russian Literature, Russian Academy of Sciences, St Petersburg (Pushkin House). In 2001–10 he was a research fellow at the University of Konstanz. He has published many books and articles on anthropology and on cultural history, including Everyday Life and Mythology: Studies on the Semiotics of

xii

Contributors Folklore Reality (in Russian: St Petersburg, 2001), Physicians, Patients, Readers: Pathographical Texts of Russian Culture of the 18th–19th Centuries (in Russian: Moscow, 2005) and Crocodiles in Russia: A History of Exotic Phenomena and Loan Words (in Russian: Moscow, 2006).

Olga Boitsova recently completed her post-graduate studies at the European University, St Petersburg, and specialises in visual anthropology (her dissertation was on the representational canons of amateur photography in recent Russian tradition). She also teaches courses in visual anthropology at the European University, and is the Editorial Secretary of Antropologicheskii forum. Catriona Kelly is Professor of Russian at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of New College. She has published widely on Russian culture and cultural history, including An Introduction to Russian Cultural Studies (co-edited, with David Shepherd) (Oxford University Press, 1998) and Children’s World: Growing Up in Russia, 1890–1991 (Yale University Press, 2007). She is currently completing work on St Petersburg: Shadows of the Past, a study of the relationship between memory and local identity in Leningrad and St Petersburg since 1957, to be published by Yale University Press. Jeanne Kormina works at the Higher School of Economics, St Petersburg branch, one of Russia’s leading research universities, where she teaches courses on anthropology and sociology of religion. She is the author of the book Rituals for Departing Recruits to Military Service in Late Imperial Russia (in Russian: St Petersburg, 2005) and co-editor of the volume Dreams of the Mother of God (in Russian: St Petersburg, 2006). She has also published chapters and articles on the traditions of Orthodox pilgrimage and veneration of saints. Pavel Kupriyanov is research fellow of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Moscow and the ‘Palace of the Romanov Boyars’ Museum (the branch of the State Historical Museum), Moscow. He has many publications on the anthropology of Russian travel and intercultural communications in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Other research fields in which he works are the anthropology of urban space and memory studies in different local contexts of modern Russia. Elena Liarskaya completed her post-graduate studies at the European University, St Petersburg, and worked as Researcher in the Department of Contemporary Ethnography at the Russian Ethnographical Museum, St Petersburg. In 2008–10, she was Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany. Since 2011 she has worked as Researcher and Lecturer at the European University, St Petersburg. Her specialisation is the culture of the Yamal Nenets, on which she has published articles in journals such as Sibirica and in numerous collections.

Contributors

xiii

Alexander Manuylov is currently attached to the Institutt for sosialantropologi at the University of Bergen. He has worked extensively on the anthropology of Kuban, Southern Russia, including studies of local Cossack communities, and is currently working on a project dedicated to the Pontic Greeks. Lyudmila Sadovnikova is a specialist in Russian culture and everyday life in the seventeenth century. She has held various positions as a research fellow in different historical museums in Moscow, and has also worked as an author of historical and anthropological films, such as Classical Expedition (Moscow, 2004) and The Mansion of the Romanov Boyars in Zaryadye (Moscow, 2006). She is currently finishing her studies as a trainee film director, and working on a film about historical reconstruction. Sergei Shtyrkov is a Senior Researcher at the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera). He also lectures on the anthropology of religion and folk legends at the European University, St Petersburg. His area of specialisation is religious nationalism and popular religious practices. He is co-editor of the volume Dreams of the Mother of God (in Russian, 2006). Svetlana Sirotinina studied German philology at Perm State University, anthropology at the European University, St Petersburg, and East European Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin. Currently she is a research assistant at the Freie Universität Berlin. Sergey Sokolovskiy is a Researcher at the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences and editor-in-chief of the Russian academic journal Etnograficheskoe obozrenie [Ethnographic Review]. His publications include The Kriashens in the All-Russian Census of 2002 (in Russian: Moscow, 2004, 2nd ed., Naberezhnye Chelny, 2009), Ethnocultural Policy Perspectives in the Russian Federation (in Russian: Moscow, 2009), Images of Others in Russian Academic Discourse, Law and History (in Russian: Moscow, 2001), Minority Rights: Anthropological, Sociological, and International Law Perspectives (in Russian: Moscow, 1997) and The Altai Mennonites: Ethnic Demography and Population Structure (Moscow, 1996). He is currently working on a book on indigeneity construction. Nikolai Vakhtin is University Professor of Arctic Social Studies at the European University at St Petersburg, specialising in the linguistics and social and linguistic anthropology of Siberia. He has published twelve books, including Native Peoples of the Russian Far North (Minority Rights Group Publication, London, 1992), The Syntax of the Yupik Eskimo Language (in Russian: St Petersburg, 1995), Language of Sirinek Eskimos: Texts, Grammar and Lexicon (LINCOM Studies in Asian Linguistics, 33: Munich, 2000), Languages of the North in the 20th century: Essays on Language Shift (in Russian: St Petersburg, 2001) and Russian Old-Settlers of Siberia: Social and Symbolic Aspects of Identity (with Evgenii Golovko and Peter Schweitzer, in Russian: Moscow, 2004).

Acknowledgements

The editors would like to thank the European University, St Petersburg, and the Oxford-Russia Fund, for financial support towards the cost of translation, and also the translators, Victoria Donovan, Adam Fergus, Edmund Griffiths, Thomas Lorimer, Emily Lygo, and Rosie Tweddle. We are grateful to the authors who gave permission for their work to be included, and who in numerous cases have contributed material for the notes. We are also grateful to the Rector of the European University, St Petersburg, Dr Oleg Kharkhordin, for suggesting the idea of this book. The information about pre-publication at the start of the chapters constitutes an extension of this acknowledgements page.

Conventions

Russian words and proper names have been transliterated according to British norms (Mariya, Sergei, etc.), but exceptions have been made for the names of individuals where an established alternative form exists (Yeltsin, Sergey Sokolovskiy, Elena Liarskaya). The soft sign ь has been omitted throughout.

Introduction Soviet and post-Soviet anthropology Albert Baiburin, Catriona Kelly and Nikolai Vakhtin

In the words of Pier Damiani, the eleventh-century Italian philosopher: ‘Philosophy should serve theology as a servant serves her mistress.’ Almost a thousand years later, a similar role was imposed on Soviet social and cultural anthropology (locally known as etnografiya): together with other social sciences and humanities, particularly history, philosophy and literary studies, anthropology became a servant of Soviet ideology and of the political legitimation of the ruling party, the construction of the state and of nation-building. As Francine Hirsch, among others, has shown, ethnographers were directly involved in such crucial (even though apparently technical) projects as the establishment of lists of nationalities to be used for the official registration of peoples in state censuses and in the passport (identity card) system.1 From 1936 onwards, as the Soviet leadership distanced itself from the earlier ideologies of ‘world revolution’ and sought to construct an ideology of ‘national Bolshevism’, the gathering of material about traditional customs, and the accumulation of (suitably decorous and heroic) folklore, became activities of central importance.2 ‘State ethnographers’, to use the term coined by David Anderson, were directly involved in the regulation of their discipline, and the legitimation of Soviet rule (Anderson 2000: Ch. 4). Those doing academic research in the subject were themselves also extremely vulnerable to political control, which during the Stalin era might go all the way up to arrest, imprisonment, and indeed execution.3 Classified with the ‘historical sciences’, ethnography lay close to the ideological heart of Soviet academia. The aims of the discipline were presented in maximally simplified form by ethnographical museums, whose displays juxtaposed the ‘backward’ practices of the pre-Soviet era with the enlightenment that had followed the arrival of the new order (Baranov 2012). They also set out another inalienable binary opposition – between the harmonious co-existence of peoples under Soviet power and the exploitation suffered by those exposed to colonial rule.4 This progressivist and triumphalist understanding of the world meant that the term ‘culture’ (kultura) was value-laden.5 In the post-Stalin era, an alternative category with which Soviet scholars operated was ‘ethnos’ (etnos). A later scholarly equivalent of the administrative term natsionalnost (nationality), this

2

A. Baiburin, C. Kelly and N. Vakhtin

signified ‘a stable community of people laid down over time’, which had come to share a language and territory (it might be comprised of different groups that had originally been associated with different languages and territories).6 Soviet scholars were expected to research the ‘genesis’, or emergence, of given etnosy – those corresponding to the ‘titular nationalities’, or officially acknowledged primary nationalities in particular Soviet republics.7 As Yuri Slezkine has put it, ‘Soviet anthropologists, brought back to life in the late 1930s and provided with a raison d’être after the banishment of Marrism, were not supposed to study “culture”: their job was to define, dissect and delight in the primordial “ethnos”’ (Slezkine 1994: 450). Just as censuses and passports expunged, for political reasons, certain ethnonyms (for instance, the ‘Ingrian Finns’ of Leningrad province8 or the Mazours of western Ukraine9), so research passed over groups of people living in the Soviet Union whose existence was not considered politically expedient. While the centrality of ‘state ethnography’ to ideology meant that the parameters of research were set by Realpolitik, this also meant that the understanding of the discipline shifted as Soviet political policy changed. In the Stalin era, and following Stalin’s writings, particularly Marxism and the National Question (1913: reprinted Stalin 1946), attachment to custom was seen as a force of backwardness. By the late Soviet period, however, leading theorists such as Academician Yulian Bromlei were underlining the centrality of custom to the construction of etnos. As Bromlei put it, ‘Ethnic traits are revealed in all the spheres of culture to a greater or lesser extent.’10 Theorists of the 1970s and 1980s were insistent that ethnic identity was not biologically determined, yet it was definitely a cultural given, a matter of ‘slant of mind [psikhologicheskii sklad] and cultural characteristics’ (Kozlov 1967: 61). Yet, at the same time as stressing that different ‘ethnoses’ had diverse ‘traditions’ (a word that became ubiquitous at this period), some of which were admirable in themselves, and could provide models for the behaviour of modern Soviet people, Soviet ethnographers were also expected to celebrate convergence, and to trace the development of a harmonious and homogeneous Soviet culture.11 In terms of political practice, this cognitive dissonance was of little moment. From the late 1950s to the late 1980s, hundreds of pamphlets under titles such as Traditions and Contemporaneity or New Soviet Rituals poured from publishing houses all over the Soviet Union. They drew a firm line between the positive traditions of the past (to be adopted and imitated in Soviet culture) and those that were to be repudiated (e.g. some wedding rituals).12 But where academic study was concerned, the ‘diversity’ versus ‘convergence’ divide was more problematic. On the one hand, the new emphasis on ‘national specificities’ led to a boom in particularist work about the past. On the other, anyone who attempted to write about Soviet life had a clear and rigid brief: to depict the emergence of new pan-Soviet social forms and practices. This generated a great deal of work on subjects such as the

Introduction

3

incidence of mixed marriages (which were assumed by definition to contribute to creating transnational identities).13 Such quantitative work had the virtue of safety, given that the actuality of Soviet life was at significant variance with the theory of harmonious convergence. Whether doing fieldwork or simply getting through the day, ethnographers could not avoid being aware of, say, the centrality of the shadow economy to Soviet life. But censorship as well as self-censorship inhibited the investigation of such topics. After five decades of institutional control, people were well aware not just of what they were supposed to publish, but of what they were supposed to see. As Levon Abrahamian has remarked, ‘The ethnography of contemporary Soviet life was studied only by those who at best agreed not to describe the reality they were observing, and at worst described what they had not observed. Those researchers who were governed by nonconformist professional and moral principles consciously or unconsciously preferred to reconstruct the archaic past, because here they enjoyed comparatively greater creative freedom.’14 In the circumstances, the central objective of anthropology, as classically conceived – examination of cultural phenomena in their contemporary manifestation – became at best peripheral. What was termed etnografiya primarily meant not ‘ethnography’, but cultural history. In the words of the American anthropologist Bruce Grant, ‘When I first began work in the former Soviet Union in the late 1980s, it seemed that at least half of the books in anthropology had titles that ended with ‘of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries’.15 While Soviet anthropologists did in fact work on other topics (e.g. kin relations in so-called ‘feudal’ societies, etc.), Grant is right to suggest that the study of Russian heritage particularly was now focused on the decades just before the Revolution. By the end of the 1960s, the term etnos began to be used broadly as a key category of analysis. This term was first used in Russian by Sergei Shirokogorov (1887–1939) in his 1923 book Ethnos. A Study of the Main Principles of Change in Ethnic and Ethnographic Phenomena (Shirokogorov 1923); since the book was written by an émigré and published abroad, mention of it was not allowed in the Soviet Union until the late 1960s. The term etnos was not used, and its derivatives like etnicheskii (ethnic) were also little used. In 1951 a book by P.I. Kushner was published where the word was adopted (Kushner 1951). However, its hour of glory came only in the mid-1960s, when Academician Yulian Bromlei became the Director of the Institute of Ethnography in Moscow. In Soviet and Western Anthropology, published by Ernest Gellner in 1980, the Soviet contributors focused on the term: Yuliya Petrova-Averkieva (1907–80), the then editor of Sovetskaya etnografiya, and Head of Section in the Moscow Institute of Ethnography, contended that ‘the historical method of Soviet ethnography was especially productive when applied to the study of the genesis of ethnoses, the periods in the ethnic history of peoples, and their relation to the general history of mankind’.16

4

A. Baiburin, C. Kelly and N. Vakhtin

Researchers applied themselves to the history of Russian (and more broadly ‘East Slavonic’) peasant life around 1900, concentrating on areas such as folk belief, the specificities of the rural world-view and, last but not least, so-called ‘material culture’ (food, clothes, houses, means of transport). Distinction between ‘material culture’ and ‘spiritual culture’ (beliefs and customs of various kinds) was at the time crucial for Soviet ethnography. Not just primary materials, but also interpretative frameworks, were drawn from ethnographers such as Dmitry Zelenin (1878–1954), with social institutions such as sacrifices and taboos seen as the expression of a residuum of pre-Christian beliefs. The concentration on symbolic, rather than economic, realities was an equally important move away from established values.17 As Sergey Sokolovskiy has pointed out, increasingly, there was ‘a gulf between “bosses who dabbled in theory”’ – that is, who still paid lip-service to Marxism-Leninism – and ‘practical researchers, who had no truck with this scholasticism’.18 For researchers of the younger generation, ‘theory’ in a positive sense meant the work of structuralists, such as Claude Lévi-Strauss and Victor Turner. The ubiquity of the term etnos concealed major faultlines in the interpretation of the term, which ranged from the implicitly essentialist understanding set out in the work of Lev Gumilev to strongly constructivist approaches such as analysis in terms of ‘the stereotypes of ethnic behaviour’.19 In the late 1980s, as the policy of glasnost led to the suspension of print censorship, these incipient alternative traditions were able to emerge into the open. In 1991, the hegemony of ‘state ethnography’ collapsed as dramatically as the Soviet system of governance that had underwritten it over the decades. An intense examination of the intellectual heritage of the Soviet period began. It was now criticised not just by former and present mavericks, but by establishment figures, such as Valery Tishkov, Director of the Institute of Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences from 1989.20 The scholars once under strict control were now free to associate with their colleagues in the West (a process that had begun in the Gorbachev years), to make study visits abroad, to do fieldwork together with their colleagues from other countries, to submit their work to foreign journals, and to read whatever academic work local and long-distance colleagues might choose to publish. This process was perhaps the most visible, and went the fastest, in what is called Arctic anthropology: studies of the peoples of Siberia, the Russian Far East and the Arctic. Over the previous period,21 Russian ethnographers had difficulty accessing field sites outside the country, so Siberia became an ‘exotic’ field site right in one’s ‘backyard’ – ‘a logical career choice for many ethnographers (the Caucasus region and Central Asia were other favoured options)’.22 At the same time, Western anthropologists could not get permission to do fieldwork in the country23 and were thus ‘virtually cut off from contemporary Siberia’ (Habeck 2005: 13). When in the late 1980s the situation changed, it came as exciting news to anthropologists worldwide: there was ‘a small explosion of field studies in Siberia, as well as a proliferation of

Introduction

5

publications based on this fresh, cutting edge material’ (Grey, Schweitzer and Vakhtin 2003: 195). Western ethnographers were literally turning eastward to take advantage of a newly opened field site. In Russia, the slow growth of modern anthropological research in Siberia and the Arctic also began, primarily through joint research projects with anthropologists from the US, Canada, Germany, Britain, France and other countries (Grey, Schweitzer and Vakhtin 2003; Habeck 2005; Vakhtin 2006). One result of these developments was a surge of interest in the theory and methodology of the subject. Already in the 1980s work by leading international scholars in the field began to appear in Russian: Claude Lévi-Strauss’s Structural Anthropology was published in Russian in 1983, Evans-Pritchard’s The Nuer: A Description of the Modes of Livelihood and Political Institutions of a Nilotic People, in 1985; in the 1990s–2000s, dozens of translations appeared (for example, Mary Douglas’s Purity and Danger appeared in 2000 and Clifford Geertz’s The Interpretation of Cultures in 2004, to name but two), and these individual books were accompanied by numerous excerpts in journals. The classics of Russian anthropology – some not reprinted since 1917 – were also reappearing. Like journals in other subjects, those in anthropology also began to publish original work by foreign authors; by the early 2000s, some journals had made international dialogue and collaboration an explicit part of their platform.24 By the end of that decade, a variety of general publications had put commitment to anthropology on their mastheads, including the leading journal in literary studies during the 1990s, Moscow’s New Literary Observer [Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie].25 Courses, and sometimes programmes, in anthropology began to be taught in some Russian universities (the first such programme appeared at the Department of Sociology at St Petersburg State University). There were healthy numbers of new publications in the field, and many Russian scholars were involved in international collaborations and projects. In the circumstances, the pessimistic tone of the article with which this collection begins, Sergey Sokolovskiy’s ‘Problems in the Historiography of Russian Anthropology’, might seem surprising. Sokolovskiy argues that Russian anthropology of the early twenty-first century was still trapped in the social relations of the Soviet period, as expressed particularly in a reluctance to challenge established opinion, and a great deal of confusion about analytical objectives. He also points to what he sees as a worrying ‘provincialisation’ of the field, with the Russian intellectual tradition more or less excluded from view in international discussions of the history of anthropology – even when Marxist anthropology is under review.26 These concerns are echoed by others.27 Given the pervasiveness of such anxieties, it seems appropriate to reflect a little on the nature of the perceived problems. There were certainly some signs of a self-inflicted provincialism among post-Soviet ethnographers of Russia. The chance to inhabit a new international arena was not welcomed by everyone. As a participant in a recent discussion put it flatly:

6

A. Baiburin, C. Kelly and N. Vakhtin To be honest, I couldn’t much care about the extent to which Western specialists know and cite our work (or are even aware of it). I think that’s their problem. I’ve never seen or heard anything to suggest that Western specialists are bothered by whether their work is known abroad, including in Russia. In Soviet times, efforts were made to publish collections of Russian scholarly work in translation, for propaganda purposes (to show off the achievements of scholars working on Marxist-Leninist principles to the West). I think that publishing an abstract of a given article or book in one or other foreign language ought to be enough. We can leave the rest to our Western colleagues: it’s up to them.28

The collapse of the Soviet Union accelerated the preoccupation with national identity that was already emerging in the 1970s and 1980s; culturalist or even racist views became commonplace in public discourse. The disappearance of the ideal of Soviet cultural homogeneity was replaced by an emphasis on the Russian national heritage. The inclusive usage, rossiiskii (meaning a citizen of the Russian Federation, not necessarily an ethnic Russian) did not impede people in the latter category from arguing aggressively that ‘Russia’ should be for ‘the Russians’ in a narrow sense. As a discipline intimately connected with debates on national identity, anthropology was, inevitably, close to the firing line. Even the preferred name of the discipline – etnografiya versus antropologiya – could be revealing. While those aware of an international context often preferred the term antropolog, this term irritated others not just because it traditionally meant ‘physical anthropologist’, but because it suggested a fashionable adjustment to imported standards: Ethnography as an autonomous branch of the historical sciences is undergoing progressive devaluation, and its boundaries and its specific features are being washed away. Great efforts are being made to replace the discipline by ethnology, by anthropology, by cultural anthropology, social anthropology, political anthropology, and economic anthropology. Can the originators of these substitute terms really not know that the Western words anthropology, cultural anthropology, social anthropology mean exactly the same as the Russian word etnografiya in any case? But no: the term anthropology is being forced upon us instead of the traditional, historically established term etnografiya, when in fact the former term already has its own accepted meaning in Russian academic tradition.29 Part of the background to the rise of what the Moscow sociologist Lev Gudkov has called ‘aggressive nationalism’30 was the new practical pressure with which anthropologists, like researchers of all kinds, were faced, and which stemmed, above all, from the near-total disappearance of state funding. In the Soviet period, research costs such as fieldwork expenses were routinely covered by a scholar’s employing institution; in the early 1990s, on the other hand, even salaries started to be paid irregularly. The minute regulation of

Introduction

7

research trips had disappeared, but so had support for getting to a desired destination. Meanwhile, costs of travel and accommodation had sharply increased. For example, in August 2011 round-trip fares to Petropavlovsk Kamchatskii (in the far east of the Russian Federation) were at a minimum of $700, an average month’s salary for a Russian academic.31 Researchers had to acquire swift expertise in preparing grant applications, a totally unfamiliar activity to most. Libraries were also cash-starved, and could often not afford book purchases and journal subscriptions, making the new freedom to read a dead letter. It was not just dyed-in-the-wool anti-Westerners who resented these developments. In particular, the preference of grant-awarding bodies for work that was of obvious social relevance generated a great deal of criticism, being seen as a way of imposing a research agenda on the Russian professional public that was not too different from the five-year targets of the planned economy. The promotion of ‘applied research’ was an obvious route (in the view of many post-Soviet academics) to deskilling and loss of status, and away from genuine scholarship: A professor or lecturer in a Western European or American university who works on some really narrow and not at all ‘topical’ subject will still have the chance to get on with his or her research, and won’t have to worry about how to make the history of some fourteenth-century Croatian town look as though it could qualify for support under ‘the development of the rule of law in post-socialist Eastern Europe’. Russian specialists, by contrast, probably ought to be considered world leaders in the art of adapting scholarly projects to the ‘practical’ demands of today’s academic market. Which is why Russian academic society these days sometimes looks like a fleet of trading vessels following the wind of grant sponsorship.32 In the Soviet period, many academics had seen scholarship and science (nauka) in terms of what they were able to achieve despite exhortations to ‘reflect Soviet reality’ and to pay attention to the latest set of officially-endorsed concerns. It is scarcely surprising that the ‘research objectives’ advocated by a new set of paymasters should have generated irritation. And given that, in the 1970s and 1980s, the study of national heritage had been at some level a gesture of scholarly autonomy, concentrating on ‘traditional culture’ did not necessarily seem, for those who chose this route, a way of endorsing what has been termed the ‘restorative nostalgia’ or ‘nostalgic modernisation’ promoted by governing elites in the post-Soviet period.33 Certainly, large numbers of scholars continued to work on ‘traditional culture’ and to adopt the established approaches to the subject, taking their primary sources from the records made by ethnographers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, yet treating the material as though it were outside time, standing for an authentic peasant culture that external interference could not reshape, but only destroy. Several books of this type were published in the 2000s.34 However, one should note that simultaneously ‘traditional culture’ is

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being approached from a completely different perspective: the discourse of ‘traditional’ and the image of ‘traditional culture’ are now being interpreted as a basis for the formation of ethnic identity – see, for example, recent work by Kseniya Gavrilova (Gavrilova 2011). Researchers continued to comb the surviving rural areas of the former Soviet Union, attempting to find what they saw as the last traces of traditional practices and beliefs. Just as in the nineteenth century, the far north of European Russia (for example, Archangel, Novgorod and Vologda provinces, or the region beyond lake Onega) was seen as the most promising area for the collection of genuine folklore and ethnography.35 As the editors of a collection published in 2001 put it: Both in records from olden times, and in those from today, folk tales, lore, and legends reflect the particularities of the national character, the specific views of the peasants about the history of their homeland, the views of the people about good and evil, the beginning and end of the world. These views, which are not at all of a primitive kind, cannot be simply the subject of abstract academic reflections; they are part of our shared experience, of our shared past and present. They have the same weight for us all as the spiritual character of our near and distant ancestors. (Vlasova and Zhekulina 2001: 5–6) This modelling of ethnographic material in terms of ‘traditions’, and construction of an emotional and ethical, rather than analytical, relationship with these, are characteristic features of recent Russian academic tradition. Rather than studying ‘society’ (or what in the Soviet period were referred to as ‘the masses’ and ‘the population’), a substantial proportion of post-Soviet ethnographers devoted themselves to celebrating the narod, ‘the People’, the category invented by the Romantic movement in the early nineteenth century and which underpinned work in folklore and ethnography into the twentieth century. The result has been that intelligent general readers in Russia often associated ethnography with collecting material ‘from old babushkas’, seeing the subject as an academic practice that was completely out of touch with the realities of modern Russia, which, by the 2010s, had had a majority urban population for over half a century.36 From the point of view of those preoccupied with the narod, research on the contemporary world, or indeed the recent past, was the responsibility of sociologists, not of anthropologists (or, to use the term they would prefer, ‘ethnographers’). Thus, in the 1990s and early 2000s, anthropological work focusing on socialist transition tended to be the prerogative of Western scholars. Among distinguished examples were Bruce Grant’s In the Soviet House of Culture (1996), a study of social anomie in the Russian far North, Nancy Ries’s Russian Talk: Culture and Conversation during Perestroika (1997), Dale Pesmen’s Russia and Soul: An Exploration, and Caroline Humphrey’s The Unmaking of Soviet Life (2002).37

Introduction

9

An attachment to the specificity of local tradition was thus a constituting factor in the world of post-Soviet Russian anthropology. So too was anxiety about this and about the parochial nature of the work that emerges. But recognition of the weight of these issues in subjective terms should not lead one to exaggerate their impact on the field overall. To begin with, the very fact of vigorous and incisive discussion of what anthropology ought to achieve represents a significant historical change. For instance, in the Soviet period, people doing fieldwork addressed methodological issues from a purely practical point of view: how to get material out of the informants. Fieldwork ethics were simply not on the agenda. If texts, or indeed artefacts, were needed for the purposes of scholarship, they were collected, sometimes ruthlessly. As the scholar Serafima Nikitina has recalled: The notable impoverishment of Old Believer libraries and the oral tradition of spiritual songs has many causes, but these include the assiduous collecting activities of archaeographers, who in some cases did not even have the decency to supply photocopy duplicates of the precious books and manuscript verse collections they took away.38 Recording informants without their express permission was also a widespread practice in the Soviet period, and indeed beyond. However, by the 2000s, these attitudes to research material were beginning to be challenged, as Russian researchers re-examined the social relations in which research was carried out. The old power asymmetry between researcher and informant came under scrutiny: it was no longer automatically assumed that the needs of scholarship and science always justified coercion or deception.39 Also in question was the sense that informant and researcher necessarily belonged to a ‘shared’ culture. Researchers had become much more sensitive about the likely impact of their presence on the ‘communicative situation’ that they and the informant inhabited, and about the potentially uneasy transition between the human warmth that they need to project and their intellectual responsibilities. In the edgy conditions that researchers in the former Soviet Union sometimes had to work with, these issues could become particularly tricky, as the Central Asian specialist Sergei Abashin has described: In the mid 1990s, I was doing research in a small village in Tadzhikstan and ended up in a rather unpleasant situation. This came about just as I was starting to ‘get assimilated’ into the local community. This was a bad time generally. The standard of living had collapsed, and the Tadzhik government had introduced a new currency that local people regarded with distrust. A good many conflicts were provoked by the economic hardships of the time. For instance, someone in the village where I was living – I’ll call him T – wanted to get some meat at the market, but the trader wouldn’t accept Tadzhik money, he insisted on roubles only. The buyer was furious about this. He stormed into the village

10

A. Baiburin, C. Kelly and N. Vakhtin soviet and said to the chairman, this, that, the next thing, if he doesn’t give me that meat I’ll kill him. The chairman promised to sort things out. T went off back home, but on the way he met up with some other men who were sitting in the local tea-house drinking spirits. T sat down and ‘had a few’ himself, then set off to the butcher’s house (they were neighbours, as a matter of fact), called him out on the street and stabbed him. The threatened murder had taken place. I was one of the men in the tea-house – I’d gone there to try and ‘get closer’ to the local population. Need I add that I was taking part in the drinking as well? I think I’d actually left by the time T turned up, but all the same the facts are indisputable: I’d got mixed up, consciously or not, in a chain of events that had led to a person getting killed. This didn’t escape people’s notice locally and I had to think very seriously about whether to leave and start working somewhere else.40

Such a conflict could have arisen in the Soviet period, but would almost certainly have been excluded from the fieldwork record, as well as, of course, from any publication. While it is fair to say that post-Soviet anthropology was often less concerned with ‘life at the sharp edge’ than anthropology in the US, Western Europe, India, or Latin America (there were, for instance, no studies based on fieldwork with prostitutes, drug dealers, beggars or street children), analysis of contemporary subcultures was not left entirely to sociologists. For example, there was work on the alternative youth culture (sistema, ‘system’) of Leningrad/St Petersburg (a book was published in 1993), on the culture of road travel (including full-time migrants such as professional drivers), and on the sub-cultures of Russian prisoners and conscripts in the armed forces – all categories of subject that were very different from the inhabitants of settled rural communities with which classic Russian ethnography was concerned.41 The sense that anthropology did not have to concern itself with obviously congenial subjects (both in the sense of topics and in the sense of informants) was also expressed in the growing body of work on nationalism, both of a conscious and of what Michael Billig has termed a ‘banal’ variety. On the one hand, some studies pointed to willingness to assimilate with non-Russian populations on the part of minority Russian populations living in what is now termed ‘the near abroad’, that is, the now independent states in the former Soviet Union. This worked to undermine the emphasis placed by political nationalists on the fact that all ‘compatriots’ had shared interests. (An example of this was Natalya Kosmarskaya’s book on Russians in Kirgizia, The Children of Empire, published in 2006.)42 On the other, some focused on antagonistic or openly xenophobic movements and tendencies in post-Soviet Russian society, and on the systematic stigmatisation of non-Russian outsiders.43 An article included in the present collection, Mariya Akhmetova’s ‘“The yellow peril” as seen in contemporary church culture’, focuses in particular on the representation of the Chinese. Akhmetova shows how the time-honoured

Introduction

11

motif of an invasion of foreigners that precedes the end of the world has modulated to accommodate contemporary fears about a ‘deluge’ of incomers from the East. Less salient in terms of the current official politics of the Russian Federation, but equally significant in academic terms, is the shift in recent anthropology towards a focus on the urban, as opposed to rural, domain. In the Soviet era, the ethnography of the urban environment, where not applying itself to the celebration of Soviet society in the present, neatly complemented work on the rural past, acting as a foil to the suppositions of unchanging traditionalism in the latter. Studies of ‘worker daily life’ and folklore emphasised the potential of the emergent proletariat for politically conscious world-views (as expressed in the supposedly wide circulation, in the early twentieth century, of revolutionary songs). But much emphasis was also placed on the tenacity of ‘backward’ practices and beliefs. In the 1920s, ethnographical studies made clear that only a minority of workers had internalised ‘Bolshevik values’ (a case in point being Elena Kabo’s Studies of Working-Class Life, first published in 1928 (Kabo 1928)). With the rise of ‘high Stalinism’ in the early 1930s, ethnography of this kind fell out of favour, and attention switched to the success stories of Soviet social transformation – the ‘shock workers’ and ‘Stakhanovites’ with recordbreaking outputs and commitment to ‘cultural values’. Studies of ‘worker daily life’ in the negative sense were transposed back into the past. In the late Soviet period also they had a strongly didactic drive, as in a 1972 study of factory workers and miners from the Urals that drew a pointed contrast between ‘conscious’ workers and the benighted souls with ‘petit-bourgeois’ instincts who hung vulgar carpets and street-market daubs on their walls, rather than spending their money on books and political pamphlets (see e.g. Krupyanskaya and Polishchuk 1972). Post-Soviet Russian anthropology jettisoned this proscriptive ethical and aesthetic frame in favour of a much more permissive representation of the urban milieu. Often, studies were concerned with phenomena of precisely the kind that Soviet ethnographers would have branded ‘vulgar’: for instance, people’s collections of souvenirs and knick-knacks, their ‘sentimental’ and inconsequential assemblages of family photographs, their crazes for astrology and fortunetelling, and so on.44 Topics like visual anthropology45 or family memory46 are getting more and more popular today. Olga Boitsova’s article, ‘“Don’t look at them, they’re nasty”: Russian photographs of funerals’, addresses a transitional ritual of a particularly sensitive kind. While state funerals played a central role in legitimating Soviet power right from the start, private funerals were a subject of embarrassment to a political order that emphasised its own dynamic progress into the ‘bright future’.47 The sense that death is somehow ‘not aesthetic’ persisted into the post-Soviet period. At the same time, the bereaved relatives of those who have died feel that they need their own tokens of commemoration, which leads to the contradictory practice of both photographing the dead in their coffins, and expressing shame and embarrassment about the images.

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The new emphasis on urban culture also affected work on the Soviet past. For example, Ilya Utekhin’s Studies of Communal Life, one of the more notable publications about urban culture of the 2000s, combined material from fieldwork carried out in the 1990s and contemporary photographs with archival documents and oral history to trace the social relations in the communal apartment, and in particular, the way that tenants themselves had regulated the space they shared (Utekhin 2001).48 Other studies of Soviet urban living included – among many other topics – analyses of the external courtyards that acted as nerve centres of communal interaction among neighbours, the history of food preparation and eating, and the study of do-it-yourself.49 The practices of everyday life are also discussed in several articles included in this collection. Konstantin Bogdanov’s ‘The queue as narrative: a Soviet case study’ addresses a notorious peculiarity of the state distribution system. He moves beyond the standard functionalist view of the place of queuing in Soviet culture (as a tiresome daily chore and a side-effect of deficit economics) and points to the political and social symbolism of the activity. Queuing enforced a sense of equality (even Lenin was prepared to queue, so didactic narratives emphasised), and also hierarchies of symbolic capital. The length of a line pointed to the relative value of the commodity or service being queued for; lack of demand was equated with substandard quality. As well as enforcing a sense of ‘natural law’ with regard to the opportunities to purchase, queuing had its own unwritten rules, which gave rise to an abundant folklore, from legends to political anecdotes. Queuing was a case of a social practice that, while not unique to the Soviet Union, acquired a highly specific resonance there. The same was true of forms of social policing such as the registration of personal information about members of the population, which from 1932 was enforced through the passport (national identity card) system. Albert Baiburin’s article, ‘The wrong nationality: ascribed identity in the 1930s Soviet Union’, looks at the anthropological effects of passportisation, and particularly at the confusion caused by shifts in the basis by which a person’s ethnic identity (natsionalnost) was determined, and the emergence, in the late 1930s, of a sense that the basis of nationality should be family origin, rather than self-ascription. Like Bogdanov’s article, Baiburin’s emphasises also the importance of informal means of communicating information: the subjects of Soviet power rapidly learned how to extrapolate the secret orders on which official practice was based from the behaviour of officials, and developed a sense of appropriate regulation that was based on precedent. Catriona Kelly and Svetlana Sirotinina’s article, ‘“I didn’t understand, but it was funny”: late Soviet festivals and their impact on children’, also traces the impact of policy changes on personal experience and self-perception. It argues that the post-Stalin years saw important shifts in policy towards the ‘demonstrations’ (parades) that marked Soviet public holidays. Representations of the festival started to emphasise the role of parades as a way of spending an enjoyable day out with the family (in the first decades of Soviet

Introduction

13

history, children were usually shown participating as members of a juvenile collective). The result was that most children were left with enjoyable memories of the parades in their adult years, but the political content of the ceremonial usually evaded them. It emerges that nostalgia for the Soviet period (which often fixates on the communitarianism of these occasions) should not necessarily be identified with nostalgia for socialist values. The replacement of the Soviet-era analytical principle of stable and timehonoured ‘traditions’ by an understanding of practices as contingent and dynamic is also evident in Elena Liarskaya’s article, ‘Female taboos and concepts of the unclean among the Nenets’,50 which uses material from fieldwork in order to reassess the classic literature relating to prohibitions and taboos. Liarskaya argues that taboos regulating female behaviour need to be seen not in isolation, but in the context of a complete system of concepts relating to the ‘unclean’ (sya”mei), which also regulates male behaviour and shapes the patterns of behaviour in Nenets society generally. In similar vein, Alexander Manuylov’s article, ‘The practices of “privacy” in a South Russian village (a case study of Stepnoe, Krasnodar Region)’, based on extensive participant observation as well as on interviews, takes issue with the postHabermasian distinction of public and private spheres, proposing instead a fluid differentiation of ‘privacy’ and ‘publicness’ in terms of practices that are essentially performative in character. In comparable vein, studies of popular Orthodoxy – a boom area once Soviet prohibitions on detailed examination of such material disappeared – dwelt on the paradoxical character of village-dwellers’ relationship with the official church. The old idea of ‘double-faith’ (i.e. the contention that Orthodox religious practices were simply a cover for inalienable pre-Christian beliefs and customs) was replaced by an understanding of the spiritual domain as highly ramified and unpredictable. Thus, Russian peasants might fully acknowledge the sacral character of the Bible, without ever actually reading it, and Soviet efforts to suppress the official church had an incentive effect on the dissemination of popular religious practices.51 An example of this new type of discussion is Jeanna Kormina and Sergei Shtyrkov’s article, ‘Believers’ letters as advertising: St Xenia of Petersburg’s “National Reception Centre”’. The article discusses the paradoxical efforts of the Russian Orthodox Church, a notably conservative force in Russian political discussions, to make headway with the post-Soviet public. Using the metaphor of the ‘religious market place’, Kormina and Shtyrkov show how the ROC’s central ‘marketing strategy’ is to represent itself as a church for ‘ordinary people’. The letters sent by rank-and-file believers to clergy at the shrine of St Xenia in St Petersburg provide the material for an intriguing case study: we see how church publications both advertise the accessibility of the shrine to correspondents, and promote the role of religious professionals as mediators with the saint. Another important innovation in anthropological work from the late 1990s onwards was a new emphasis not just on the heritage artefacts of Russian

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culture, but on the actual process of remembrance. For example, work began to focus on the transformation of post-Soviet space through the demolition of socialist-era monuments and the building of new ones. While interest in this was interdisciplinary,52 the particular contribution made by anthropologists was that they not only recorded the shifts in the built environment, but also the ways in which communities made use of the reconstructed spaces. Levon Abrahamian’s article, ‘Yerevan: memory and forgetting in the organisation of post-Soviet urban space’, shows how the central spaces of the Armenian capital were reshaped to accord with a new national narrative, but were themselves reinterpreted by popular practices and strategies, such as marches and political protests. The result was to give public spaces a resonance which was sometimes quite different from the result that had been anticipated by architects and planners. If some studies of memory focused on materiality and social practices, another important and allied theme was the discursive nature of recollection, its porosity in terms of individual or collective mythologising: thus, informants’ memories about life in a small town might become an investigation of how local identity was shaped by crucial, but vague, recollections of distant events, while at the same time professional academic observers were shown to have proved susceptible to governing stereotypes about the nature of the topic they were investigating.53 In ‘Historical Zaryadye as remembered by locals: cultural meanings of city spaces’, Pavel Kupriyanov and Lyudmila Sadovnikova illustrate how the reconstruction of this area of central Moscow, accompanying the construction of the enormous Rossiya Hotel, suddenly made visible a local heritage that had previously been masked from view. Using interviews with former residents of the district (which is no longer residential), they show how people’s memories of the place where they lived have little to do with its late medieval and early modern past, of which most of them were not aware. It was the boom in local history of the late Soviet period that gave many of them, in retrospect, a sense that they had once been residents of ‘Zaryadye’, and a pride in the district’s historical associations. It is fair to say that the preoccupations of post-Soviet anthropology remained, into the twenty-first century, distinctive in terms of international tradition. Participant observation was still used less often than direct debriefing of informants, often by means of semi-structured interview (here there was a convergence between the methodologies of folklore studies and of anthropology; equally, the widespread emphasis on the rhetorical tropes used by informants and their espousal of genre forms such as the ‘memorate’ united Russian anthropologists and folklorists).54 The different micro-disciplines that developed in the late twentieth-century Anglophone world were not all equally attractive: there was far more work in, say, the anthropology of religion, linguistic anthropology, and to some extent visual anthropology, than in, say, material anthropology or medical anthropology.55

Introduction

15

These developments were not explained by ‘time lag’, but rather by the nature of post-socialist reality itself – for example, the explosion of popularity for different religions, cults, and belief systems that followed the demise of ‘Communist education’, or the saturation of public discourse with neologisms, or the proliferation of visual images in public spaces as a result, in particular, of advertising. In sum, since the collapse of Communism at the start of the 1990s, anthropological work in Russia has moved a long way from its Soviet antecedents. Formerly taboo topics, such as popular Christianity, have begun to be widely studied; there is now at least as much interest in the urban environment as in rural culture; the key concept of ‘traditions’, while still taken on trust by some, has been called into question by others; and there is widespread stress on the discursive nature of informant testimony and scholarly analysis. The shift of emphasis has been interpreted by some scholars as a move to ‘peripheral’ or ‘marginal’ topics, and/or as a distortion of the actual specificity of ‘post-Soviet space’ in favour of globalist abstraction, and sometimes as an impertinent assault on the truth value of nauka as well.56 But, whether commentators perceived the new forms of anthropological representation as ‘catch-up’ (an assimilation to post-modern discourse with its emphasis on what Sergey Sokolovskiy has described as ‘materiality dissolving in process’), as a move primarily defined by rejection of the Soviet past, or as mass self-deception on the part of the younger generation, they were forced to reckon with the new body of work.57 The selection of articles here is intended to reflect these changes. Our collection does not attempt to give an exhaustive overview of post-Soviet anthropology across the board, which would be beyond the scope of a single volume.58 The material that we have included addresses issues that, in most cases, had not been researched before the 1990s (the attitudes of rank-and-file religious believers, the understanding of city space and of urban time among ordinary towns-dwellers), or which ceased being researched after the 1920s (urban folklore, children’s culture). Methodologically, the contributions are maximally diverse, including work that draws on classical Western sociology, or contemporary cultural theory, as well as the classics of anthropology as such (the one theoretical direction that is not in evidence is the Marxism-Leninism showcased by Gellner in 1980).59 We have concentrated on innovative work, of the kind that attracts interest and gets discussed not just by scholars, but in Russia’s intellectual media, for example, Kommersant newspaper and the site polit.ru. One has only to compare the work here with the Soviet contributions collected in Ernest Gellner’s Soviet and Western Anthropology (1980) to realise how much has changed over the last 30 years, and particularly since 1991. As they contemplate contemporary Russian society and the Soviet past, anthropologists working in today’s Russia are able to espouse a position at once engaged and neutral. Offering no easy solutions, they provide an unusually reflective view of subjects that are too often presented in a sensationalist light, whether within Russia or in the world beyond.

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Notes 1 (Hirsch 2005; Tishkov 2003; Meurs 2001). On the role of ethnographers, historians, demographers in creating the category ‘nationality’ in the Russian censuses, see also (Cadiot 2007; Cadiot 2010). 2 On the general background, see (Brandenberger 2002; Brandenberger and Platt 2006; Toporkov 2002; Ivanova 2009). 3 For the history of repression in the Stalin years, see (Tumarkin 1999–2003). 4 Before the Second World War, the Russian Empire was understood as a colonial society, and displays therefore emphasised that Soviet rule had brought liberation at this level as well. The rise of Russian nationalism after 1945, along with the onset of the Cold War on the international scene, meant that ‘colonialism’ was now associated specifically with the West, so that examples of exploitation would be taken exclusively from there. For a brief discussion of these issues, see (Kelly forthcoming). 5 The term culture was also polysemantic: ‘cultural’ (kulturnyi) also meant ‘civilised’. There is a large literature on ‘culture’ in this latter sense: see e.g. (Volkov 2000). 6 In the Stalin era, strictly speaking, the term etnos was not in circulation: the term nation was used instead: the second edition of the Great Soviet Encyclopaedia (Bolshaya sovetskaya entsiklopediya) (1950–58) does not include the term. We use here the definition given in the third edition of the Encyclopedia (1970–78), entry Etnicheskaya obshchnost (a term used interchangeably with etnos in the entry itself). 7 See e.g. (Slezkine 1994; Oushakine 2009). 8 Compare a letter sent by an Ingrian Finn to the authorities in 1939 in which he asks for ‘a correct answer’ to the question whether his ethnic group exists or not, and who he is – an Ingrian, an Izhora or a Russian – if his native language is ‘a mixture of Finnish and Estonian with a lot of its own words [sobstvennykh slov]’ (State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF), f. 7523, op. 9, d. 99, l. 42–42 ob). 9 See the collective letter (no date but probably also 1939) to Stalin from a Mazour community (similar in content to the one mentioned above): GARF, f. 7523, op. 9, d. 99, l. 21). 10 (Bromlei and Shkaratan 1969: 14; Bromlei 1973; Bromlei 1983, etc.). 11 On the use of traditions as models, see e.g. (Bromlei 1981); on this alongside convergence, see S. P. Tolstov, ‘Sovremennye protsessy natsional’nogo razvitiia SSSR. Dokladnaia zapiska sekretariu TsK KPSS B. N. Ponomarevu ot 1 marta 1961’. Published (without archival references) in (Cheshko 2006). 12 See e.g. (Bromlei 1981: 16–17). 13 See (Susokolov 1987; Terentieva 1974; Zhalsaraev 1974). 14 Levon Abrahamian, contribution to Forum 1, Forum for Anthropology and Culture 1 (2004). [Here and below the texts of these discussions are available on the journal’s website, www.anthropologie.kunstkamera.ru.] In this context, it is also instructive to compare the ‘onward and upward’ tone of an official Soviet publication on rural life such as (Kushner 1958), and a modern study of the same subject, such as (Yastrebinskaya 2005). 15 Bruce Grant, contribution to Forum 1, Forum for Anthropology and Culture 1 (2004). 16 Yu. Petrova-Averkieva, ‘Historicism in Soviet Ethnographical Science’, in (Gellner 1980: 19, 25). Petrova-Averkieva was herself an illustration of the complicated history of Soviet anthropology. From a rural background, she was a classic example of early Soviet social mobility and a leading apparatchik from the late 1950s. However, she was also a specialist in a non-Soviet culture (American Indians), and had studied at Columbia University under Boas. No doubt for this reason, she suffered political repression in 1936, being hounded out of the Komsomol for ‘lack of vigilance’, and refused work in the Museum of Ethnography on the basis of a

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20 21 22 23

24 25 26 27

28 29 30 31 32 33 34

17

charge of ‘poor scholarly preparation’. In 1947, after returning from nearly two years in China, she and her husband were arrested, and in 1949, they were sentenced to five years in a labour camp. See the informative biographical article on the site of the Russian National Library, www.nlr.ru/nlr_history/persons/info.php?id=14 Cf. Ernest Gellner’s puzzlement (Gellner 1988: 119) about the prevalence of synchronic work by Russian anthropologists; he understandably, if naively, found this inconsistent with the fact that they were ‘after all, Marxist thinkers’ (emphasis original). See Sergey Sokolovskiy’s article in the present volume. Lev Gumilev’s text of 1966, ‘O termine “etnos”’, dutifully referred to the ‘historical’ emergence of the ethnos, but hinted at an alternative interpretation: ‘Unlike say language, ethnos is not a social phenomenon, since it is characteristic of all formations’. Ethnogenesis was defined as ‘the local variant of evolution within a given species’. Having begun by using self-definition as the criterion of ethnic identity, Gumilev went on to distinguish between the ethnonym and the ‘real ethnos’. Gumilev also acknowledged the existence of ‘races’, while observing, ‘there is no people that is pure in the racial sense’ (http://gumilevica.kulichki.com/articles/Article84.htm). For a collection of work on ‘ethnic stereotypes’, see (Baiburin 1985). See e.g. the articles collected in (Tishkov 2003). A brief history of the Arctic research of the period is presented in (Grey, Schweitzer and Vakhtin 2003: 196). Ibid. Two notable exceptions to this field access ‘blockade’ were the British anthropologist Caroline Humphrey, who visited Buryatia for two months in 1967 as an exchange student at Moscow State University (Humphrey 1998: 17), and the US anthropologist Marjorie Mandelstam Balzer, who joined a Leningrad University summer ethnographic ‘expedition’ to Khanty territory in 1976 (Grey, Schweitzer and Vakhtin 2003: 198; see also Habeck 2005: 13). For instance, Antropologicheskii forum (St Petersburg), founded in 2004. Ab Imperio (Kazan), running since 2000, while mainly devoted to history, also publishes some work in an anthropological or cultural studies direction. See particularly no. 100 of Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie (2009), which initiated a discussion of anthropological approaches to post-Soviet society. See Sergey Sokolovskiy’s contribution to the present volume. See, for example, the special issue of Antropologicheskii forum published for the Sixth Congress of Russian Anthropologists in 2005, Sovremennoe sostoyanie etnografii i antropologii v Rossii (extracts in English appear in Forum for Anthropology and Culture 2 (2005), 448–89). Aleksandr Reshetov in ‘Special Forum: The Current State of Anthropology in Russia’, Forum for Anthropology and Culture 2 (2005), 465. Reshetov, comments in ‘Special Forum’, p. 463. In other parts of the Soviet Union, theories of etnos also lived on: see the introductory remarks to (Laruelle 2008). See the interview with Gudkov by Yuliya Bumistrova in Chastnyi korrespondent, 22 June 2011, www.chaskor.ru/article/lev_gudkov_drugih_pobed_u_nas_net_7698 www.samoletom.ru/vvl/?select=ptk&act=g&v=Y Ekaterina Melnikova, comments in ‘Special Forum’, Forum for Anthropology and Culture 2 (2005), 461. For ‘restorative nostalgia’, see the discussion in (Boym 2001: Ch. 4); ‘nostalgic modernisation’ has recently been the focus of discussion by Ilya Kalinin and others in the journal Neprikosnovennyi zapas 6 (2010). E.g. (Fedorova 2000; Pavlinskaya 2002; Dyachenko 2005). The programme of the Ninth Congress of Russian Anthropologists, held at Petrozavodsk in 2011, was to a large extent made up of papers containing the word ‘traditions’, often in a Soviet-style coupling with the word ‘innovations’.

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35 See, for example, Aleksandr Gilferding’s preface to his famous collection of folk epics, Onezhskie byliny (Gilferding 1873: xi): ‘After visiting Olonetsk province, and especially its northern and eastern parts, it is easy to grasp the reasons why epic poetry has persisted in the folk imagination, while long vanished in other parts of Russia. There are two such reasons, which acted in concert together: freedom and remoteness [emphasis original]. The people here were always free from peasant servitude. Sensing himself a free man, the Russian peasant of the Onega regions did not lose sympathy for the ideals of freedom and autonomy expressed in the ancient rhapsodies. What could a man who knew himself a slave have felt he had in common with the epic bogatyr heroes?’ 36 According to the 1959 census, those dwelling in the countryside then made up only 52 per cent of the population right across the Soviet Union. 37 A more recent example of such a study is (Oushakine 2009). 38 Serafima Nikitina, contribution to ‘Forum 2: The Research Object and the Subjectivity of the Researcher’, Forum for Anthropology and Culture 2 (2005), 61. 39 On these issues, see ‘Forum 5: Fieldwork Ethics’, in Forum for Anthropology and Culture 4 (2007), 11–115, particularly the contributions by Olga Boitsova, Elena Boryak, Nona Shahnazarian, and Zinaida Vasilyeva. 40 Sergei Abashin, contribution to ‘Forum 5: Fieldwork Ethics’, Forum for Anthropology and Culture 5 (2007), 16–17. 41 See e.g. (Shchepanskaya 2003; Shchepanskaya 2004; Efimova 2004; Bannikov 2002). While Russian and Soviet folklorists studied the specific genres of soldiers’ folklore and (up to the early 1930s) prisoners’ folklore, studies of these milieus were left to philanthropists, criminologists and journalists. 42 (Kosmarskaya 2006). 43 A particularly notable figure here is Viktor Shnirelman, some of whose work has been translated into English. A recent study (which so far exists in Russian only) is his study of Moscow skinheads (Shnirelman 2007, 2010). 44 There has also been work by scholars based in the West on these topics: see e.g. (Boym 1994; Wigzell 1998). 45 See the discussion on visual anthropology in Antropologicheskii Forum 7 (2007). 46 See, for instance (Razumova 2001). 47 For example, the Instructions implementing the Decree on the Separation of Church and State of January 1918 expressly permitted religious funerals (and these were allowed throughout Soviet power). An alternative tradition of the ‘civic service of remembrance’ (grazhdanskaya panikhida) was created, but such occasions tended to be extremely formal, and the many brochures on ‘new Soviet rituals’ became rather tongue-tied when reaching the final ‘rite of passage’ in the citizen’s existence. 48 The impact made by Utekhin’s book can be gauged by the fact that it ran to a second edition (published in 2004). 49 See, inter alia, (Kushkova 2005; Piir 2007; and the articles in the collection Konstruiruia sovetskoe 2011). 50 In spite of the rapid growth of Arctic anthropology in Russia, and consequent growth of the number of publications, this collection contains only one article on the subject. The reason for this is that, as we already mentioned, Arctic anthropology is a leader of internationalisation: it is not easy to find a paper that is not already accessible to English-speaking audiences. This particular article’s importance lies also in the fact that it explores the subject of gender relations, which is still relatively unusual in Russian anthropology (for another example, see Valodzina 2006). 51 On the Bible, see (Melnikova 2011); on popular religious practices, (Melnikova 2006); (Panchenko 2012). 52 See e.g. the articles in (Bassin, Ely and Stockdale 2010). 53 For a study of urban self-mythologising, see (Akhmetova and Lurye 2004). Among work that assesses the impact of stereotyping on research of specific groups, see e.g.

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55

56 57 58

59

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(Panchenko 2002), on Orthodox sectarians. A comparable study by a Western anthropologist is (Rogers 2009), which, for instance, questions the appropriateness of the term ‘Old Believer’ as a generalising category for groups of very different composition and orientation. In this context, it is interesting to compare a study such as Margaret Paxson’s book on Russian rural life (Paxson 2005), which is based primarily on participant observation, and the more interview-based treatment in Aleksandr Manuylov’s article included in the present collection. For an example of a study based on analysis of tropes, etc. in interviews, see (Utekhin 2007). Important exceptions to this generalisation are the works on medical anthropology by Elena Yarskaya-Smirnova, formerly in Saratov University, currently in the Higher School of Economics in Moscow (e.g. Yarskaya-Smirnova 2011); see also (Hakkarainen 2005). There is also Western interest in this area: see e.g. (Rivkin-Fish 2005). For abundant evidence of this, see the various Forums in Forum for Anthropology and Culture and in Antropologicheskii forum. For an extensive discussion of the changes, see Forum 1, Forum for Anthropology and Culture 1 (2004). The useful journal edited by Marjorie Mandelstam-Balzer, Anthropology and Archeology of Eurasia, offers a much wider range of publications by post-Soviet anthropologists, without attempting to systematise directions in the field in any way. Stephen Lovell has observed that a profound distaste for Marxism represented the nearest thing to a consensus in post-Soviet society (Lovell 2006: 11). By the end of the 2000s, there were some signs of a more accommodating attitude to Marxism among younger Russian scholars, but not in the field of anthropology.

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Brandenberger, D. and Platt, K. (eds) (2006) Epic Revisionism: Russian History and Literature as Stalinist Propaganda, Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press. Bromlei, Yu. V. (1973) Etnos i etnografiya [Ethnos and Ethnography], Moscow: Nauka. ——(1981) ‘Novaia obriadnost – vazhnyi component sovetskogo obraza zhizni’ [The New Ritualism is a Vital Part of the Soviet Way of Life], in Traditsionnye i novye obriady v bytu narodov SSSR, I. A. Kryvelev and D. M. Kogan (eds), Moscow: Nauka, 6–28. ——(1983) Ocherki istorii etnosa [Studies of the History of Ethnos], Moscow: Nauka. ——and Shkaratan, O. I. (1969) ‘O sootnoshenii istorii, etnografii i sotsiologii’ [On the Interrelations of History, Ethnography and Sociology], Sovetskaia etnografiya 3:1–16. Cadiot, J. (2007) Le laboratoire impérial. Russie-URSS 1870–1940, Paris: CNRS Éditions. ——(2010) Laboratoriya imperii: Rossia/SSSR, 1860–1940, Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie [An adapted translation of Cadiot 2007]. Cheshko, S. V. (2006) ‘Sovetskie etnografy o “natsionalnoi politike” v SSSR: kommentarii k dokumentam’ [Soviet Ethnographers on the ‘National Politics’ of the USSR: Commentaries to Original Documents], Etnograficheskoe obozrenie, 2: 146–60. Dyachenko, V. I. (2005) Okhotniki vysokikh shirot: dolgany i severnye yakuty [Hunters of High Latitudes: Dolgans and Northern Yakuts], St Petersburg: Evropeiiskii Dom. Efimova, E. (2004) Sovremennaya tyurma: byt, traditsii i folklor [The Modern Russian Prison: Daily Life, Traditions and Folklore], Moscow: OGI. Fedorova, E. G. (2000) Rybolovy i ohotniki basseina Obi: problemy formirovaniya kultury khantov i mansi [Fishers and Hunters of the Ob River Basin: Aspects of the Formation of the Khanty and Mansi cultures], St Petersburg: Evropeiiskii Dom. Gavrilova, K. (2011) ‘Pragmatika obraza “traditsionnogo” v sovremennoi mariiskoi derevne’ [Pragmatics of the Image of “the Traditional” in a Modern Mari Village], Master’s Dissertation submitted to the Department of Anthropology, European University at St Petersburg. Gellner, E. (ed.) (1980) Soviet and Western Anthropology, London: Duckworth. ——(1988) State and Society in Soviet Thought, Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Gilferding, A. (1873) Onezhskie byliny [The Bylinas of the Onega Region], St Petersburg: Tip. Imperatorskoi Akademii Nauk. Grey, P., Schweitzer, P. and Vakhtin, N. (2003) ‘Who Owns Siberian Ethnography? A Critical Assessment of a Re-Internationalized Field’, Sibirica, 3.2: 194–216. Habeck, J. O. (2005) ‘Dimensions of Identity’, in Rebuilding Identities: Pathways to Reform in Post Soviet Siberia, E. Kasten (ed.), Berlin: D. Reimer Verlag. Hakkarainen, M. (2005) ‘Lokalnye predstavleniya o boleznyakh i lechenii (poselok Markovo, Chukotka)’ [Local Perceptions of Illnesses and Healing (A Case Study of the Village of Markovo, Chukotka)], Candidate of Sciences Dissertation, European University, St Petersburg. Hirsch, F. (2005) Empire of Nations: Ethnographic Knowledge and the Making of the Soviet Union, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Humphrey, C. (1998) Marx Went Away, But Karl Stayed Behind, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. [Second edition of Karl Marx Collective: Economy, Society and Religion in a Siberian Collective Farm, 1983.] Ivanova, T. (2009) Istoriya russkoi folkloristiki XX veka (1900-pervaya polovina 1941 g.) [The History of Russian Folklore Studies in the Twentieth Century (1900–June 1941)], St Petersburg: Dmitry Bulanin.

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Kabo, E. O. (1928) Ocherki rabochego byta: opyt monograficheskogo issledovaniya domashnego rabochego byta [Studies of Working-Class Life: Towards a Monograph on the Domestic Life of Working-Class Families], Moscow: Knigoizd-vo VTsSPS. Kelly, C. (forthcoming) ‘Learning about the Nation: Ethnographical Representations of Children, Representations of Ethnography for Children’, in Ethnographical Knowledge, Rudolf Cvetkovski and Alexis Hofmeister (eds). Konstruiruia sovetskoe (2011): Konstruiruia ‘sovetskoe’? Doklady nauchnoi konferentsii [Papers from the Conference ‘Constructing the Soviet?’], St Petersburg: Izd. Evropeiskogo universiteta. Kosmarskaya, N. (2006) ‘Deti Imperii’ v postsovetskoi Tsentralnoi Azii: adaptivnye praktiki i mentalnye sdvigi (russkie v Kirgizii, 1992–2002) [The ‘Children of Empire’ in Post-Soviet Central Asia: Practices of Adaptation and Mental Shifts (Russians in Kirgizia, 1992–2002)], Moscow: Natalis. Kozlov, V. (1967) ‘O poniatii etnicheskoi obshchnosti’ [On the Concept of Ethnic Community], Sovetskaia etnografiia, 2: 61–63. Krupyanskaya, V. Yu. and Polishchuk, N. S. (1972) Kultura i byt rabochikh gornozavodskogo Urala [The Culture and Life of Mineworkers in the Urals], Moscow: Nauka. Kushkova, A. (2005) ‘V tsentre stola’: zenit i zakat salata Olivye’ [In the Centre of the Table: the Rise and Fall of Russian Salad], Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 76, http:// magazines.russ.ru/nlo/2005/76/ku23.html Kushner, P. I. (1951) Etnicheskiie territorii i granitsy [Ethnic Territories and Ethnic Boundaries], Moscow: Izdaniya Instituta etnografii AN SSSR, 15. Kushner, P. V. (ed.) (1958) Selo Viriatino v proshlom i nastoiashchem: opyt etnograficheskogo izucheniya russkoi kolkhoznoi derevni [The Village of Viryatino in Past and Present: Towards an Ethnographical Study of the Russian Collectivized Village], Moscow: Nauka [Also in English as The Village of Viriatino, 1959]. Laruelle, M. (2008) ‘The Concept of Ethnogenesis in Central Asia: Political Context and Institutional Mediators (1940–50)’, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, 9.1: 169–88. Lovell, S. (2006) Destination in Doubt: Russia since 1989, London: Zed Books. Melnikova, E. (ed.) (2006) Sny Bogoroditsy. Issledovaniya po narodnoi religioznosti: sovremennoe sostoyanie i perspektivy razvitiya [Dreams of the Mother of God: Studies on Popular Religion: Condition and Development], St Petersburg: izd. Evropeiskogo universiteta, ‘Studia Ethnologica’ series, Issue. 3. ——(2011) ‘Voobrazhaemaya kniga’: ocherki po istorii folklora o knigakh i chtenii v Rossii [The Imaginary Book: Studies on the Folklore of Books and Reading in Russia], St Petersburg: Izd. Evropeiskogo Universiteta. Meurs,W. (2001) ‘Sovetskaya ethnografiya: okhotniki ili sobirateli?’ [Soviet Ethnography: Hunters or Gatherers?], Ab Imperio 3: 9–41. Oushakine, S. (2009) The Patriotism of Despair: Nation, War, and Loss in Russia, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Panchenko, A. (2002) Khristovshchina i skopchestvo: folklor i traditsionnaya kultura misticheskikh sekt [The Christ Faith and the Self-Castrators: the Folklore and Traditional Culture of Mystical Sects], Moscow: OGI. ——(2012) ‘Popular Orthodoxy in Twentieth-Century Russia’, in National Identity in Soviet and Post-Soviet Culture, M. Bassin and C. Kelly (eds), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Pavlinskaya, L. R. (2002) Kochevniki golubyh gor: sudba traditsionnoi kultury narodov Vostochnykh Saian v kontekste vzaimodeistviya s sovremennostyu [Nomads of the Blue Mountains: the Destiny of Traditional Culture of the Peoples of Eastern Sayany], St Petersburg: Evropeiiskii Dom. Paxson, M. (2005) Solovyovo: The Story of Memory in a Russian Village, Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center. Piir, A. (2007) ‘“What is a Courtyard For?” Generations and the Use of Space in Backyard Leningrad’, Forum for Anthropology and Culture 4: 311–46. Razumova, I. (2001) Potayonnoe znanie sovremennoi russkoi semyi. Byt, folklor, istoriia [Secret Knowledge of the Modern Russian Family: Everyday Life, Folklore, History], Moscow: Indrik. Rivkin-Fish, M. (2005) Women’s Health in Post-Soviet Russia: The Politics of Intervention, Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Rogers, D. (2009) The Old Faith and the Russian Land: A Historical Ethnography of the Ethics of the Urals, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Shchepanskaya, T. (2003) Kultura dorogi v russkoi miforitualnoi traditsii [The Culture of the Road in Russian Myth and Ritual], Moscow: Indrik. ——(2004) Sistema: teksty i traditsii subkultury [The ‘System’: Texts and Traditions of a Subculture], Moscow: OGI. Shirokogorov, S. M. (1923) Etnos. Issledovanie osnovnykh printsipov izmeneniya etnicheskikh i etnograficheskikh yavlenii [Ethnos. A Study of the Main Principles of Change in Ethnic and Ethnographic Phenomena], Shanghai. Shnirelman, V. (2007) ‘Chistilshchiki moskovskikh ulits’: skinkhedy, SMI i obshchestvennoe mnenie [‘Cleaners of the Moscow Streets’: Skinheads, the Media and Public Opinion], Moscow, 2007; 2nd edn., Moscow: Academia, 2010). Slezkine, Yu. (1994) ‘The USSR as a Communal Apartment, or, How did the Socialist State Promote Ethnic Difference?’, Slavic Review 53.2: 414–52. Stalin, I. V. (1946) Marksizm i natsionalnyi vopros [Marxism and the National Question] (1913), in Stalin I.V. Sochineniya, 2, Moscow: OGIZ, 290–367. Susokolov, A. A. (1987) Mezhnatsionalnye braki v SSSR [Ethnically Mixed Marriages in the USSR], Moscow: Nauka. Terentieva, L. N. (1974) Formirovanie etnicheskogo samosoznaniya v natsionalnosmeshannykh semyakh [The Formation of Ethnic Identity in Ethnically Mixed Families], Moscow: Sovetskaya sotsiologicheskaya assotsiatsiya. Tishkov, V. (2003) Rekviem po etnosu, Moscow: Nauka. Toporkov, A. L. (2002) Rukopisi, kotorykh ne bylo: poddelki v oblasti slavianskogo folklora [The Manuscripts that Never Were: Forgeries in the Field of Slavic Folklore], Moscow: Ladomir. Tumarkin, D. D. (ed.) (1999–2003): Repressirovannye etnografy [Ethnographers as Victims of Political Repression], 2 vols; Moscow. Utekhin, I. (2001) Ocherki kommunalnogo byta [Studies of Communal Life], Moscow: OGI. ——(2007) ‘Memories of Leningrad’s Blockade: Testimonies from Two Generations’, Forum for Anthropology and Culture 4: 281–309. Vakhtin, N. (2006) ‘Transformations in Siberian Anthropology: An Insider’s Perspective’, in World Anthropologies: Disciplinary Transformations within Systems of Power, G. L. Ribeiro and A. Escobar (eds), Oxford and New York: Berg, 49–68. Valodzina, T. (2006) ‘Unchristened Flesh’: The Woman’s Breast and Breastfeeding in Traditional Slavic Culture, with Especial Reference to Belorussian’, Forum for Anthropology and Culture 3: 268–93.

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Vlasova, M. N. and Zhekulina, V. I. (eds) (2001) Traditsionnyi folklor Novgorodskoi oblasti [The Traditional Folklore of Novgorod Province], SPb: Aleteiya. Volkov, V. (2000) ‘The Concept of Kulturnost: Notes on the Stalinist Civilizing Process’, in Stalinism: New Directions, Sheila Fitzpatrick (ed.), London and New York: Routledge, 210–30. Wigzell, F. (1998) Reading Russian Fortunes: Print Culture, Gender, and Divination in Russia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Yarskaya-Smirnova, E. R. (2011) ‘“A Girl Who Liked to Dance”: Life Experiences of Russian Women with Motor Impairments’, in Gazing at Welfare, Gender and Agency in Post-socialist Countries, M. Jäppinen, M. Kulmala and A. Saarinen (eds), Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Yastrebinskaya, G. A. (2005) Taezhnaya derevnya Kobelevo: Istoriya sovetskoi derevni v golosakh krestyan [The Taiga Village of Kobelovo: The History of the Soviet Village in the Words of Peasants], Moscow: Pamyatniki istoricheskoi mysli. Zhalsaraev, A. D. (1974) ‘Nekotorye predvaritelnye itogi issledovaniya natsionalnogo samosoznaniya podrostkov v nastionalno-smeshannykh semyakh’ [Some Preliminary Results of Research on the Ethnic Identity of Adolescents in Ethnically Mixed Families], Etnograficheskii sbornik 6 (Ulan-Ude): 15–22.

1

Writing the history of Russian anthropology1 Sergey Sokolovskiy Translated by Thomas Lorimer

The status of any area of research is directly linked on the one hand to its recognition as an independent discipline within the system of transferring knowledge as it exists in higher education, and on the other, to the acknowledgement and recognition of such an area of research as an independent domain of knowledge production within modern academia’s overall division of labour. The metaphor of the division of labour, borrowed by science studies from economics, is based on several premises, among which are ideas about the cumulative nature of knowledge, about the fundamental unity of reality and about the uniqueness of the remit and methods of a particular area of research laying claim to relative autonomy and independence that is shaped by these underlying principles. As a rule, modern problem-oriented knowledge fits poorly into the strict institutional and disciplinary matrix, something which is reflected in the growing level of inter-disciplinarity of many current academic projects. In addition, the aforementioned matrix – the institutionalised and legitimised division of labour in academia – also suggests a corresponding specialisation of administration and financial support for research. In other words, the system of disciplines that has been formed, which is based on their classification, formalised by legislation, and corresponds to the management of academic research and funding, contradicts the variable and changeable configurations of knowledge in specific academic areas. In the best case scenario this gives rise to hybrid disciplines, and in the worst it essentially puts a halt to the development of research into ‘border’ (that is, inter- or transdisciplinary) issues. The boundaries of anthropology as a discipline have always been problematic and relative, but in the last quarter of a century they have proved to be considerably more so than is the case for the boundaries of the other social sciences, humanities, and disciplines such as history, sociology, psychology and philosophy. The fragmentation of its topics of study, and numerous alliances and mésalliances with neighbouring academic disciplines, have facilitated the spread of a feeling of crisis not only in Russian, but also in American anthropology, which is today the largest anthropological community in the world. A quarter of a century ago, in 1983, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) underwent a fundamental reorganisation. The aim of the reorganisation

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was to reflect changes in the configuration of research fields, which had led to the formation of a multitude of specialised ‘anthropologies’. The reorganisation also led to the doubling of the number of ‘societies’ included within the association. Institutionalised in this way, the system of specialisation can only metaphorically be termed a ‘system’, since its constituent parts – the numerous ‘societies’, ‘associations’, ‘councils’ and ‘groups’ – rarely possess the whole range of identifiers which are ideally typical of a discipline: a subject with defined boundaries, special methodologies and techniques for research, an idiosyncratic system of concepts and so forth. However, virtually all of the member organisations of the AAA as a rule have their own journal and often a corresponding faculty or special courses in universities, their own array of interdisciplinary partnerships, and of course networks of researchers linked by collaboration and communication. In other words, there has been a profound institutionalisation of the academic division of labour that reflects the specialisation of research interests; I emphasise once again that it is a matter of specific interests, not unique methods or an original conceptualisation. I will name just a selection of these organisations here. Examples of broad, general organisations are the American Ethnological Society, the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology, the Society for Cultural Anthropology, the Society for Humanistic Anthropology, and the General Anthropology Division, which is quite specialised despite its name. Alongside these are the remnants of the Boasian ‘four research areas’ – the Archaeology Division, the Biological Anthropology Section and the Society for Linguistic Anthropology. Given such diversity, and the extreme fragmentation of research fields, as expressed even in the naming of associations, groups and divisions of the AAA – and even more so in publications in the main relevant journals – one can assert that American anthropology as a whole is oriented towards searching for solutions to the burning social issues of the day, as arising in all kinds of social sub-systems – from the spheres of education to ecology, medicine and social work. In Russia, on the other hand, social motivation is often replaced by political incentives. Research into the ruling elite’s own problems (conflicts between different interest groups, issues of effective ‘spin’, political ratings and so on) are willingly financed, whereas those which are encountered by ordinary people (poverty, the collapse of the free education and public health systems, the decreasing standard of living) are funded only meagrely. As a result, in a country where more than half of the population are living below the poverty line, economists prefer to invent indicators and measuring systems that mask the social chasm between the rich and the poor (for example, calculations relating to the cost of a basket of goods or to relative wage levels are regularly ‘massaged’). Where they research the social divide at all, researchers concentrate on peripheral problems, making no attempt to analyse the underlying reasons for the social crisis. Even the emergence of extremist movements is often explained by psychological and ideological ‘deviations’ among

Writing the history of Russian anthropology

27

individual people, rather than by the growing level of deprivation in the population of whole regions of the country. It is only in highly specialised literature that we find a comparison of current life expectancy and life expectancy in the 1980s, or birth and mortality rates over the same period, so badly do the statistics reflect on today.2 This is an extremely disturbing trend that bears witness to the fact that the social sciences in Russia, having barely succeeded in acquiring the opportunity of carrying out objective and unbiased analysis, are doing their best to squander this opportunity, under pressure from the authorities, who are more interested in their own positive image than in accurate reporting of social problems. The difference between the political and social demands is so subtle that many administrators regularly ‘confuse’ them, all the more so because this strategy guarantees generous financial support. The institutionalisation of new directions of research chronically lags behind the demands of knowledge. Academic administrators are, as a rule, less aware of these demands than researchers themselves, and because of this they are not well disposed to thorough and systematic reform of academic institutions, or to the organisation of new faculties, research groups and departments, or to the adequate financing of new interdisciplinary projects. On the other hand, applied research that promises a rapid increase in political capital fares much better. But let us return to the disciplinary nature of knowledge, and the metaphor of the disciplinary division of labour as it impacts on anthropology. This metaphor assumes that work on the creation of a truthful picture of reality and the accumulation of knowledge is realised in all academic disciplines systematically and regularly, which in turn depends on interdisciplinary coordination, and the existence of common criteria for the formulation of research aims and tasks and of shared standards for evaluating results. In addition, it is expected that the results obtained by researchers in different disciplines will somehow mutually correspond and supplement one another in producing a general picture of reality. This kind of mutual dependence cannot fail to give cause for concern about the standards of the production of knowledge in neighbouring disciplines and mutual demands on the quality of research. Does this metaphor, which arose in the age of the Enlightenment, reflect today’s research practices? Is disciplinary knowledge really cumulative and can it be in harmony with and supplemented by knowledge from other disciplines in an interdisciplinary synthesis without conflict? Do all scientific disciplines really need common standards or, for example, are those for the humanities and social sciences different from those for the so-called ‘exact sciences’? Should we coordinate our efforts with those in neighbouring academic professions, whether these are close to our own or distant from it? In different periods in the history of Russian anthropology, its representatives have answered these questions differently. The history of the national tradition of anthropological research is as long and complex as the history of other European (British, Dutch, German and French) and American traditions, although it is significantly less well known,

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if one compares these national traditions at the level of the number of translations of work into another language, or their overall readership. Russian-language historiography is an extremely rich genre, but one that is virtually unknown beyond the audience that is able to read it in Russian.3 One can take the viewpoint that it is the language barrier that has hindered the integration of Russian anthropology into the history of world anthropological thought. But while this might in itself seem to explain the under-representation of the Russian contribution to the history of anthropology in university textbooks and general histories outside Russia, such an interpretation is contradicted by the international prominence of the works of Russian linguists, cultural critics and folklorists (in this context, Roman Jakobson, Mikhail Bakhtin and Vladimir Propp come immediately to mind), and by their significant impact on the development of scholarship in their own fields and outside these across many countries in Europe and both of the Americas. The absence of separate chapters on the history of Russian anthropology in English-, French- or German-language general studies of the field,4 as against the presence of chapters on the history of British, French, American, and (sometimes) German, traditions, compels us to reflect on the contribution of Russian anthropology to the global bank of theoretical thought. Evidently the contribution is not that great, since it can be disregarded when describing the development of anthropological knowledge in the world. At this level, Russian tradition stands comparison with the Brazilian, Chinese, Japanese, and even (to some extent) Indian traditions of anthropological research, which have had equally little impact, although the impulse to develop post-colonial research – a highly influential area of modern social criticism – has come specifically from India. The dominance of American anthropology is usually explained simply as a sociological fact – a huge numerical superiority, virtually tenfold, over any other large national anthropological community. However, the quantitative ratios, albeit essential, only reflect the public success of a discipline, doing little to explain the reasons behind it. The lack of a direct causal link between the membership of a professional community and its influence in the world is indicated by, for example, the fact that British and Brazilian anthropologists are on approximately equal footing when it comes to numbers, although the British tradition, even setting aside its history and taking into account only the current generation, is significantly better-known and more influential. The long-term success of a discipline is facilitated less by growth in the numbers of those practising it (this is more likely to be a consequence of its success), and more by conscientious effort by those who practise it to form an attractive image and engineer public recognition, which in turn facilitates the creation of new academic posts. Also important is the drive to steer the discipline towards fulfilling social services that elevate its social significance and demand; and finally, to generate theoretical and methodological innovations, and thus make a specific contribution to the global body of knowledge.

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In the Russian case one can note an absence of goal-oriented, systematic, and conscientious work on the image of the discipline, and on the creation of new jobs and areas of applied work for anthropologists. The majority of Russians have a poor awareness of what ethnographers or anthropologists do, and what little they do know does not cause them to consider these activities to be essential or even socially useful.5 In the USA, every large hospital and institution engaged in social work has state-funded anthropologists on the staff, whereas in Russian society, where the cultural ‘patchwork’ is absolutely comparable with that in America, not even the professional community argues that the discipline should play such a role.6 In general descriptions of the history of anthropology as the history of changing theories and paradigms, the names of Russian researchers usually do not appear at all. Evolutionists, diffusionists, functionalists, the founders of structural functionalism, structuralism and post-structuralism, all had Russian proponents in their ranks, but they did not make enough impact for their contribution to be noted in other national communities, or to be given special mention in the historiography of these research areas. Oddly enough, even the history of Marxism in anthropology has been told without any Russian names. And I am not referring only to English-, French- and German-language historical anthropology reviews, but also to Russian courses on the history of anthropology as currently studied.7 Why this has happened is another question entirely and would no doubt merit further discussion. Russian anthropology, like its Western counterparts, was formed as a complex of disciplines devoted to the study of the human species, and at different stages of its development included within it archaeology and physical anthropology as well as ethnography (the so-called ‘Anuchin Triad’).8 There were periods in its history when anthropology (or separate sub-disciplines at its fringes) were viewed as part of geography (for example, in the 1920s when a division of ethnology existed within the Geographical Institute of Petrograd University), or then again, of history (as during virtually the whole of the Soviet period). Today, especially in the case of social anthropology faculties, the discipline in Russian universities is grouped with sociology. At the same time, the history of the discipline in Russia has virtually always been depicted as an autonomous history, as the development of impulses within the discipline, whereas it would have been more appropriate to write this history as it developed under the influence of external impulses, as a history based on context (although there are exceptions to this general view, as I shall discuss below). Up to the beginning of the 1930s, Russian ethnography, maintaining its vital links with leading anthropologists from around the world, developed in the channel of common ideas dominant in world anthropological thought that was gradually emerging at the time. Its subsequent retreat into isolation, and the rather lengthy period when dogmatic Marxism was in the ascendancy, created a rupture of this intellectual tradition. After this, the development of the Russian tradition was only of interest in the West to Sovietologists and

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regional specialists, who would read works by Soviet ethnographers in order to glean practical information about the state of affairs in the USSR, not in search of original conceptualisations (a typical example is Bennigsen and Lemercier-Quelquejay’s study of Islam in the USSR (1967)).9 It was only the stimulation of scientific research under Khrushchev that began objectively to work towards repairing this rupture, and one of its main causes – the information deficit. Libraries began to be repopulated with fresh works from foreign anthropologists, although as before, ideology hindered the establishment of a fully-fledged dialogue. This kind of informational policy led to a rising awareness about what was happening in anthropology abroad. Meyer Fortes, for example, noted with surprise the awareness of his Soviet colleagues of the state of anthropological research in the West, which was in contrast to the extremely poor awareness in the West regarding the state of Soviet ethnography at that time (Fortes 1980: xix). However, by this period, despite a large number of borrowings (mainly from American sociology and anthropology), Soviet ethnography had already acquired its own path, and the privileged object of research was ‘ethnos’, or ethnic identity.10 With the wisdom of hindsight, it is beginning to seem as though the choice of this path had certain signal disadvantages, but at the time it signified to Soviet ethnographers the acquisition of an independent and important theory which allowed us to imbue the word ‘ethnography’ with a new meaning. ‘The theory of ethnos’ will therefore go down in history as a symbol of this period in the development of Russian anthropological research. Without doubt, the focus on ‘ethnos’ influenced the strategy of interdisciplinary collaboration, and exerted an influence on the way in which new areas of research emerged, although this fact is hardly reflected at all in Russian historiography of science. The limitation of the subject field of the discipline, and the primitive interpretation of ethnic phenomena that went with this – the failing which is so striking and evokes such perplexity among our Western colleagues11 – were, in my opinion, caused by two circumstances, of which the defining one is an institutional peculiarity that is rarely mentioned in the historiography of the discipline. The first circumstance was linked to the Marxist focus on the study of ‘objective reality’. Under the conditions of official Marxism professed almost as religious dogma, there was a devaluation of everything subjective, individual, and private, and an all-embracing emphasis (which in fact flew in the face of reality) on ‘objective’ phenomena, which allegedly were ‘independent of observation’ and ‘universal’. The usual search for laws and patterns that characterises scientific and scholarly research led, in this dogmatic atmosphere, to the labelling as ‘objective reflections of reality’ of theories and concepts that were in fact socially constructed ideas according to all criteria (even Marxist), and which were self-evidently limited by social context and historically transient. Such socially constructed ideas were asserted to be disinterested models of reality. The subjective was elided completely, often at the level of rhetorical and stylistic devices too. Thus, Russian academic essays and articles

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adopted a studiedly dry style, from which all emotions were expunged; the impartiality of this style was supposed to replace and mimetically reproduce the neutral reality that existed independent of the observer. This devaluation of the subjective did a particular disservice to the social sciences, where virtually the whole area of reality that is being studied is created specifically by subjects – subjects of social action. Their ideas, passed through the filter of the objectifying style of scientific observations and descriptions, were transformed into things; the end result was that social representations were perceived as being no different from things. Thanks to this peculiar point of view, ideas about languages and cultures, which by their very nature express mental classifications, were naturalised. As a result, ethnic groups were seen as social bodies that existed not only in academic and lay perceptions but also in physical reality, as something evident to us by sensation. The objection that what our sensations reveal to us is concrete individuals, while their self-labelling as different social categories is part of the world of social ideas, often as embodied in different social institutions and practices and transformed into social reality, simply did not arise, so powerful was the conviction of the primacy of ‘objective reality’. At the same time, this first circumstance was not, I would argue, decisive in the establishment and spread of academic primordialism. The crucial factor was, rather, the absence of open, free, and constructive scientific criticism, an absence institutionally implemented in the rituals and practices of academic routine; in the arcane rules and conditions of career advancement; in the constriction and powerlessness of the locations and conditions in which scholarship could be practised; and in the eccentric regulation of the academic world. In these conditions, the epistemic and social significance of criticism was, inevitably, systematically denigrated. The institutional impossibility of such criticism could only lead to a prevalence of empty speculation on the one hand, and on the other to the emergence of a gulf between ‘bosses who dabbled in theory’ and practical researchers, who had no truck with this scholasticism. Can it be surprising that all revolutions in Russia have always happened ‘from above’, given that the only possible, approved, and guaranteed channel for criticism ran from the top to the bottom? The repression of constructive criticism blocks feedback from the possible consumers (users, developers) of a theory to its creator, from ordinary people to those in authority, and from society at large to political leaders. This is the basis of the systemic crisis in Russian academia, in the Russian government, and in Russian society. In the context of academia, the lack of such constructive criticism brought with it the watering down of quality-control criteria, the possibility of administrative voluntarism in the arbitration of intellectual and practical problems, and a general drop in standards in scientific and scholarly research. The intolerance of criticism also gave rise to entire genres of historiography of a highly peculiar kind. There are numerous genres that can be used to describe the historiography of scientific disciplines and areas of research. The common failing of all

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historiographies of anthropology, repeatedly noted by many historians of this discipline, is their presentism – they describe events from the ideological and political positions of today. Russian historiography also has one other failing that is more specific – the well-known tendency to pomposity when writing the biographies of famous people and institutes, which our Western colleagues have not been slow in noting (cf., for example, the comments of George Stocking (Stocking 1992: 220) about Soviet biographies of Nikolai MiklukhoMaklai). It would not be an exaggeration to say that in the historiography of the discipline, from the post-war period right up to the present day, two genres have predominated: the biographical genre in the form of the portrait in the grand manner (scholar of world renown, precious contribution to national science, exemplary family man, etc.), and the historiographical genre in the form of the triumphant communiqué or achievement report (overviews of the general history of the discipline, of an area of research, or a particular scientific institution invariably harp on successes and achievements, producing an image that is quite at odds with the actual level of these entities’ influence on world anthropology). Critical reflection remains a rare and marginalised genre. Another method of describing the history of Russian anthropology/ ethnography which is almost never employed in the country is the history of ideas. There are numerous works in the genre of biography, the history of academic institutes and university faculties, and there are attempts at periodisation on the basis of event history, but the history of ideas, with its inherent attention to the mechanisms of exchange of the dominating paradigms and key discussion points, remains unwritten. However, if we are to believe the comments of Eriksen and Nielsen, that the history of anthropology in the twentieth century was defined by the development of ideas in three language zones – German (up to the Second World War), English, and French, which defined the ‘mainstream methodological and theoretical development of the discipline’ (Eriksen and Nielsen 2001: 160), then all remaining national traditions would, logically, be left only with the genre of local histories of the discipline and its institutional formation. All the same, some periods of development and certain topics in the history of Russian ethnography/ethnology/anthropology have been reflected in at least a handful of publications by our colleagues from the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, France, the Czech Republic and Japan. In contrast to Russian historiography, whose predominant genres have been outlined above, our colleagues from abroad were much readier to resort to criticism, and had a very precise sense of the dependence of the discipline on political factors. However, their historiographical research was mostly concerned with the early stages of establishing Russian and Soviet ethnography. The post-war history of the discipline has so far not been the subject of a monograph, although many of its central themes have been addressed in studies of article length. In the relatively recent past, thanks to the opening up of Russian archives to Western researchers, there has been some dissertation research and monographs dedicated to the various stages in the development of the discipline.12

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Added to this, the problems of dialogue between Soviet (and in due course, Russian) ethnographers and their Western colleagues were discussed in a series of conferences held in Burg Wartenstein (Austria) and Paris. The reports presented at these conferences were published in a collection edited by Ernest Gellner (Gellner 1980), and in a special issue of Cahiers du Monde Russe et Soviétique in 1990 (Chichlo 1990; Khazanov 1990; Longuet-Marx 1990; Plotkin 1990; Shimkin 1990; Skalník 1990; Sorlin 1990). The same problems were later addressed by Valery Tishkov in articles published in Current Anthropology (Tishkov 1992; Tishkov 1998). Different topics from other periods in the history of Soviet and post-Soviet ethnography/anthropology have also been addressed in publications written by specialists on the Soviet Union/Russia or Eastern Europe.13 A topic that still requires further attention is the institutionalisation of new areas of research within Russian anthropology. Though in signal respects peculiar, this process has received only restricted attention in the secondary literature, and more in terms of theoretical models setting out the differentiation and integration of knowledge systems, than in a specifically historical dimension. But if one looks at individual cases in context, it is possible to split them into two categories, which in fact differ quite considerably. The first category encompasses cases when new research areas emerge on the basis of the discovery of fundamentally new objects (which leads to the development of new methods of studying them) or the development of new methods, which in turn may lead to the discovery of new objects. (Classic examples of this from the history of science include the introduction of the telescope and of the microscope.) As a rule, the introduction of new objects or methods leads to the institutionalisation of the new subject and the subsequent differentiation between adjacent topics and the subjects of neighbouring disciplines. This way of forming new disciplines might be called ‘know-how’ based, or instrumental, or indeed internal, since the reasons for the emergence of a new research area and its subsequent institutionalisation as a separate and independent scientific discipline in this case are to be found in the very logic of the development of theoretical knowledge or in the increased technical sophistication of research. For want of a better name, I will call the second category of cases contextual or external: that is, ones when the emergence of new areas, or the ways of making particular preoccupations in the field into independent disciplines, are motivated from outside. The main reasons for the formation and institutionalisation of independent research directions lie here not in the particular dynamics of the developing knowledge or the growing methodological possibilities for researchers and their conceptual toolkits, but in the social, political and ideological contexts of research that have influenced the motivation of scholars in the field, and defined the configuration of their collective interaction. Here, the issue of concern is how interest groups emerge and are institutionalised – groups of like-minded people, schools and research areas whose specific character is defined not by special objects, methods and

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subjects, but by research preferences, sympathies, political positions, identity strategies, and other social and political factors. These processes, being difficult to calculate and observe, have to this day not drawn particular attention in the history and sociology of academic communities. In the history of anthropology it is easy to find examples of both these ways of forming new trends and areas of research. For example, the history of the institutionalisation of visual anthropology (if we are discussing its emergence as a new trend in principle, not in the specific case of Russia, where it was formed on a secondary basis, as a borrowed discipline and an ‘interest group’) can be attributed to the first category, since its specific character was from the very beginning linked to the emergence of new technical means of observation and fixing images (photography, cinema and video equipment), and the concomitant development of new techniques and methods of observation.14 Here, a new technique generated a new methodology, and allowed a new subject area to be constructed, the visual having been abstracted from the overarching concept of the integral experience as fundamental to the methodological needs of all anthropological research, the requirement, according to W. H. R. Rivers and Bronisław Malinowski, to ‘be there’, to physically visit the ‘field’. Examples of the institutionalisation based on differentiation according to the favoured methods and chosen objects or the division of subject fields are the four classic Boasian disciplines within anthropology: cultural anthropology, archaeology, biological or physical anthropology, and linguistic anthropology, and in the case of Russia, the ‘Anuchin triad’: anthropology, ethnography and archaeology. Yet the specific character of a subject itself, or the uniqueness and autonomy of its objects, cannot be reliable reference points when differentiating between the ways of forming new areas. If political and legal anthropology (like psychological and medical) can with a high degree of certainty be attributed to the first category – these being disciplines whose emergence is owed to the internal dynamics within the development of anthropological knowledge (its differentiation), and whose methodological instruments have acquired explicit originality and distinctiveness on the strength of the specific character of objects and the interdisciplinary nature of these research areas themselves, then special research fields such as, for example, the anthropology of food, the anthropology of consciousness, the anthropology of work, and even the anthropology of religion have emerged more as a response to stimuli from outside, from interdisciplinary academic, social, and political contexts. As often happens with the analysis and exposure of defining reasons and essential factors, only careful study of each individual case allows the demarcation and differentiation of research areas which have emerged as a result of the internal dynamics within the development of theoretical concepts and methodological instruments – from areas and approaches which formed in response to social or political service needs, fashion, imitation, borrowing and so forth. In other words, such approaches have emerged as a result of the influence of

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external, contextual, or contingent stimuli and motives, which are not immanent within the development of local traditions. The nature of an area as ‘applied’ or otherwise cannot serve as a reliable indicator for distinguishing the methodological status of new areas emerging either, since this denomination is often provoked as much by internal factors in the development of knowledge as by circumstances of a specifically intellectual or discipline-oriented kind. An example of this is the regional specialisation within anthropology, which is, one might argue, derived from external, geopolitical, factors, rather than ensuing from the internal drive to segmentation within the subject and the particularities of anthropological classifications themselves. Specialisation of the ‘Africanist’ or ‘Americanist’ type is definitely of this order, since (from the point of view of the spatial distribution of cultural characteristics of their indigenous or current-day population) it is virtually impossible to define the boundaries of these macro-regions. They are designated outside of anthropology: by colonial history, geopolitics, and economics. Where the recent history of Russian anthropology specifically is concerned, such an examination of the ways of forming and institutionalising new areas of research suggests itself as a convenient and productive way of analyzing the history of this discipline from a new perspective, and of grasping its specificities. In this context, it is essential to note that the development of Russian ethnography and ethnology15 throughout its history, other than quite rare and short stretches (which, following Thomas Kuhn, one could call periods of ‘normal development’) was defined by factors and forces which were either outside the institutional framework of the discipline or beyond the framework of the national tradition. In other words, what I have termed ‘external’, ‘contextual’, or ‘contingent’ factors played a role of the first importance. Such factors included ones that lay beyond the framework of national boundaries, but within the framework of the discipline (in its global dimension – world anthropology). I refer here to the borrowing of concepts and methods that was quite extensive in all periods of the development of Soviet anthropology, and which is still widespread in the new Russian anthropology. There are numerous examples of this: from the quite successful attempts to transfer classical Marxist theory’s ideas of base and superstructure to Russian ethnography, on the one hand, to the theory of ethnic processes, copied largely from American research on assimilation and acculturation, on the other, and from the theory of ‘primitive survivals’ in the Soviet period to the enthusiasm for constructivist concepts of ethnicity that dominate the field today. The abundance of borrowings in all periods in the history of the discipline, but particularly (paradoxical as this may seem) in periods of isolation, indicates not so much the secondary and external nature of events in Russian anthropology as the unresolved problems with managing science in the country, which is particularly relevant in the case of the social sciences. Today, for example, the normal process of professionalisation of young anthropologists is hindered by a poor familiarity with world anthropological

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literature, particularly its new developments, information about which barely reaches Russian libraries. If the limited amount of information in the period of the 1930s–1950s was explained by the war and ideological opposition, how is today’s situation with the acquisition of professional publications for Russian libraries, which has already lasted two decades, to be explained? It is a matter of some note that much of the most interesting research by students, from the level of undergraduate dissertations up to that of Candidate of Sciences,16 is now appearing in places where the university administration is taking care to provide access to leading international electronic databases of journal articles such as JSTOR or FirstSearch (for example, in the European University at St Petersburg and the Higher School of Economics). At the same time, while many institutes in the Russian Academy of Sciences, particularly those relating to physics, chemistry and biology, also have access to such sources, the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology has so far been deprived of it. Against a background of constantly increasing prices for Russian academic journals in all fields, this lack of electronic access in fact points to a new era of self-inflicted isolation and a reduction in the readership for serious academic study. This in turn is a direct road to stagnation. In conclusion, I will provide some brief information about the teaching of anthropological disciplines in Russian institutes of higher education. For convenience, this data about the faculties of anthropology, ethnology and ethnography has been presented in tabulated form (see Table 1.1). From this it becomes clear how differently the content of social and cultural anthropology is understood today in different university centres, and how acutely this understanding as a whole differs from the one which dominates in modern Western social and cultural anthropology. In the educational standard of the Supreme Attestation Commission (VAK),17 we also find an eclectic combination of philosophical anthropology and the history of culture and ethnography, peppered by constructs from the so called ‘ethnic psychology’ which are anything from fifty years to a century and more old (‘national character’, ‘mentality’, ‘cultural archetype’ and so on). Given that all this directly impacts on the preparation of future generations of researchers, the prognosis for the state of the discipline in Russia will remain dismal unless urgent measures are taken. The top priorities should be the following: 1) acquiring modern anthropological literature for scientific libraries, including online access to leading international anthropological journals and databases; 2) bringing teaching standards into line with those of Europe, the USA and the wider world; 3) creating the appropriate conditions for constructive scientific criticism; 4) undertaking a campaign to promote the value of anthropological knowledge and disseminate a positive image of the discipline. One cannot emphasise too strongly how much such effort is needed so that anthropology can take its place in Russian reality as a ‘social science’ in a full sense, rather than as a collection of diverse disciplinary endeavours, some of them of a para-scientific or indeed completely unprofessional kind.

Dagestan State University (Makhachala)

History

?

History

Archaeology and Ethnology

Ethnography and 1884–1919 Geography Archaelogy, 1988 Ethnography, Source Studes Social and Cultural 2000 Anthropology

Geography

Altai State University (Barnaul) Chita State University

Ethnology 1939 Sociology of Culture Social Anthropology

History Sociology

2002

1919

Physical anthropology

Biology

Date of Founding

Moscow State University (Moscow)

Department

Faculty

University

Table 1.1 The disciplines comprising ‘anthropology’ in Russian universities Professional Specialisms

Regional Studies

None

Regional Studies

Archaeologist, Historian, Ethnographer

Archaeologist, Historian, Ethnographer Anthropologist, Culturologist

General Anthropology, Biologist, Anthropogeny, Ethnic Anthropologist Anthropology, Human Morphology, Population Genetics, Evolutionary Anthropology, Medical And Ecological Anthropology, Ethology Ethnosociology Historian, Laboratory (1988); Ethnologist, Centre for Applied Sociologist Ethnology (1995); Laboratory for Visual Anthropology

Research Areas and Centres

Religious Studies, Philosophical Anthropology None

None

Ethnology, Ethnography

Biology, Anthropology, Genetics

Graduate Courses

Faculty ?

1994

Anthropology Faculty

Date of Founding

Ethnology

Department

Far Eastern Vladivostok Social and Political 1998 State University Institute of Anthropology (Vladivostok) International Social Anthropology 2000 Relations of the Asia Pacific Region Institute of Psychology and Social Sciences

East Siberian None State Academy of Culture and Arts (Ulan-Ude) European Anthropology University, St Petersburg

University

Table 1.1 (continued)

None

Professional Specialisms

Social and Cultural None Anthropology, Folklore Studies, Sociolinguistics. Ethnic Studies programmes and training in ethnic tolerance; Centre for Field Research; regular ethnographic folklore expeditions (Russian North) Analysis of regional Social political situations; Anthropologist comparative analysis of political systems

Regional Studies

Research Areas and Centres

None

Cultural Anthropology, Folklore Studies, Sociolinguistics

Ethnology, Anthropology

Graduate Courses

Faculty

Kuban State University

Date of Founding

Archaeology, ? Ethnology and Source Studies Archaeology, 1988 Ethnology, and History of the Ancient World Ethnography and ? Archaeology

Social Anthropology 1999

Department

Archaeology, ? Ethnography and Historical Regional Studies History, Sociology, Archaeology, ? and International Ethnology, Ancient Relations and Medieval History

History

Kazan State University

Khakasiya State None University (Abakan)

History

Irkutsk State University

Far Eastern Cultural Technical Anthropology University (Vladivostok) Gornoaltai State History University

University

Table 1.1 (continued)

None

Graduate Courses

Archaeologist, Historian, Ethnologist Archaeologist, Historian, Ethnologist

None

None

None

None

None

None

Social None Anthropologist and Culturologist

Professional Specialisms

Laboratory of Archaeology and Ethnography (founded 1970) Ethnography and None Ancient History of the Peoples of the Volga Region and Ural Region; Ethnic Archaeology of the Middle Volga Region None None

Urban Anthropology, Ethnocultural Relations in the Far East Regional Studies

Research Areas and Centres

Faculty

Russian State University of the Humanities (Moscow)

None

Moscow City Social Psychology University of Psychology and Pedagogy Novosibirsk State Humanities University Novosibirsk State Humanities Education Technical University Omsk State History University

University

Table 1.1 (continued)

?

Social Anthropology 2000 Centre Institute of Cultural Anthropology (1997–2000)

Social Anthropologist

None

Psychologist

Professional Specialisms

Ethno-archaeology; Social Audiovisual Anthropologist Anthropology; (from 2004); Ethnology of the ethnologist, peoples of West and museologist South Siberia Laboratory of Ethnography and History of Germans in Siberia; Ethnoarchaeology Group Political and Legal Anthropology; Visual Anthropology; Cultural And Historical

None

1992

Ethnography & 1985 Museology (formerly 'Ethnography, Historiography & Source Studies’)

Archaeology and Ethnography Social Work

Research Areas and Centres International Relations; Prevention of Extremism and Aggression None

Date of Founding

Ethnopsychology and 2003 Problems of PoliticoCultural Education

Department

Ethnography, ethnology and anthropology

None

None

None

Graduate Courses

Saratov State Technical University

Management of Social Systems

Social Anthropology 1993/1998 and Social Work

Archaeology and Ethnography

Social Work, Social Anthropology ? Pedagogy and Youth Studies

Social Anthropology ?

None

Russian State University of Physical Culture and Tourism (Moscow) Russian State University for Social Studies (Moscow) Saratov State University

Date of Founding

Department

Faculty

University

Table 1.1 (continued) Professional Specialisms

None

None

Theory and History of Culture (Department of Culturology) None

Graduate Courses

Ethnocultural History None None and Historical Anthropology Social Anthropology (Anthropology of Organisations, Medicine, Age, Economy; research into Youth Subcultures, Social Adaptation and so on), Visual Anthropology Social Sociology Anthropologist and Social Worker

None

Psychology; Social Evolutionary Anthropologist Anthropology; Human Ethology None None

Research Areas and Centres

Faculty

Stavropol State University

Petrograd Institute of SPbSU

Physics and Mathematics General University Faculty

Geographical Insitute

Philology

State Humanities Institute of the Republic History

St Petersburg History State University Sociology

University

Table 1.1 (continued) Date of Founding

1918

1938–44

1949–52

1887 Ethnography and Geography Social Philosophy and 1997 Ethnology

Archaeology and Ethnography Section of Ethnography Ethnography Section

1992 ?

Ethnography and 1968 Anthropology Cultural Anthropology and Ethnic Sociology Social Anthropology and Psychology

Department

Professional Specialisms

Ethnic Problems and None Ethnic Conflicts; Modelling the Dynamics of Ethnic and Ethno-Political Processes in Post-Soviet Areas (e.g. North Caucasus Region)

Political Anthropology Research into InterCultural Communi-cation Anthropology and Sociology of Migration Anthropology of Gender and Kinship, Urban Anthropology, Organisation and Management, Globalization

Historical Ethnography of Ethnic History and the Culture of the Population of the Northwest

Research Areas and Centres

None

Graduate Courses

Faculty

History

History

History

?

University

Syktyvkar State University

Udmurt State University (Izhevsk)

Urals State University

Urals State Technical University

Table 1.1 (continued)

Archaeology, Source Studies and Ethnography Department of Ethnology and Regional Studies Research Institute for the History and Culture of the FinnoUgric Peoples of the Ural Region Archaeology, Ethnology and special sub-disciplines of History Social Anthropology and Psychology

Department

2001

1990

?

?

Date of Founding

None

None

Professional Specialisms

None

None

None

None

Graduate Courses

Social Work and None Links with Public Life

Ethnocultural History None of the Urals

Ethnology, Regional Studies

Ethno-archaeology; Regional Studies

Research Areas and Centres

44

Sergey Sokolovskiy

Notes 1 This chapter is a slightly modified version of an article that originally appeared in Antropologicheskii forum 9 (2008). 2 As an example: if the average life expectancy among men in 1986–87 was 64.9 years [Naselenie Rossii 1995: 102], in 2000 it was just 59 years [Naselenie Rossii 2001: 92]. The continuing growth of alcoholism has hindered any increase in male life expectancy, despite several positive trends in recent years. 3 There is a multitude of Russian publications in the form of articles and reviews. I shall give here only an outline list of recently-published monographs: (Tumarkin 1991; 2003; Tishkov and Tumarkin 2004; Solovei 1998, 2004). 4 Sections or articles on the history of Russian ethnography are absent in the widelyknown series of works by George Stocking on the history of anthropology (with the exception of a brief discussion of Nikolai Miklukho-Maklai in connection with the research of Bronisław Malinowski, (Stocking 1992); there are none in the specialised reviews of Alan Barnard (Barnard 2000), Thomas Eriksen and Finn Nielsen (Eriksen and Nielsen 2001) or Sydel Silverman (Silverman 1981). In Henrika Kuklick’s A New History of Anthropology (Kuklick 2008), there is a section on Russian ethnography, but it is concerned only with a small subject area and a short period at the end of the nineteenth century (Ssorin-Chaikov 2007). The part of this collection called ‘Major Traditions’ comprises four sketches – the history of the North American (by Regna Darnell), British (by Henrika Kuklick), German-language (by H. Glenn Penny) and French (by Emmanuelle Sibeud) traditions. The only exception to this general neglect of the Russian tradition that I am aware of is a special issue of the journal Dialectical Anthropology from 1985, which, besides analysis of the development of French, British and German anthropological traditions, devoted a special article to the Soviet tradition, symptomatically titled ‘The Unknown Tradition’ (Plotkin and Howe 1985). 5 For more detail on this see the survey results in (Sokolovskiy 2005). 6 Of course, even here there are a number of exceptions, among which it is worth mentioning the faculty of social anthropology and social work at Saratov State Technical University, created in 1998, which successfully incorporates anthropological knowledge into social work. Such exceptions, which remain very much exceptions, are not capable of radically changing the general situation regarding the use of anthropological knowledge, and professional anthropology in Russia remains closed as ever within the walls of universities, academic institutes and museums. Medical anthropology, the most dramatically and successfully developing area in applied anthropology in the USA, is in an embryonic state in the Russian Federation, and so far even in its research programme has not gone beyond traditional ethnographical subject matter (folk-healing study). The situation regarding anthropological education in the country will be looked at in more detail below. 7 As an illustration, one could cite a list of names from an introductory course studied by students at the faculty of ethnology at the European University at St Petersburg, and including leading representatives of the main scientific schools: ‘Morgan, Taylor, Spencer, Durkheim, Weber, Boas, Kroeber, Malinowski, RadcliffeBrown, Moss, Mead, Lévi-Strauss, Turner, Steward, Geertz, Murdoch, Harris, Sahlins and others’ (Evropeiskii universitet 2006: 26). 8 As identified by the famous geographer and anthropologist Dmitry Anuchin (1843–1823), President of the Imperial Society of Amateurs of Natural Science, Anthropology and Ethnography from 1890, and founder of the Geographical Museum at Moscow University. [Editors] 9 A possible exception to this is the two-volume collection of translated texts, Introduction to Soviet Ethnography, by Stephen and Ethel Dunn, which, however, had a small circulation and is known only to specialists (Dunn and Dunn 1974).

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10 See e.g. (Dragadze 1980a); (Skalník 1986); (Banks 1996: 17–23). [For a brief discussion of how ‘ethnos’ was defined and studied, see the Introduction to this collection – Editors.] 11 See for example the comments in (Verdery 1992) on an article by Valery Tishkov. 12 On the earlier periods, one might mention in particular the doctoral dissertation by Nathaniel Knight (Knight 1994), the book by Francine Hirsch, based on her doctoral thesis (Hirsch 2005), and the study by Frédéric Bertrand (Bertrand 2002; see also Bertrand 2006). More compressed discussions of the role of Russian ethnography in national politics can be found in the monograph by Tamara Dragadze (Dragadze 1984), and in various publications by Yuri Slezkine (Slezkine 1992; Slezkine 1994a; Slezkine 1994b; Slezkine 1994c: 17–23), Marcus Banks (Banks 1996), Terry Martin (Martin 2001), Robert Geraci (Geraci 2001), and Juliette Cadiot (Cadiot 2007). Certain topics from the history of Russian ethnography during the imperial period are included in historiographical articles by Mark Bassin, Vladimir Berelowitch, Thomas Prymak, Yuri Slezkine and Catherine Clay (Bassin 1983; Berelowitch 1990; Prymak 1991; Slezkine 1994c; Clay 1993, 1995). The reasons for the crisis of Soviet ethnography in the 1920s and 1930s have received extensive attention, based on archive material, in the works of Yuri Slezkine, Nathaniel Knight, and Frédéric Bertrand (Slezkine 1991; Bertrand 2003; Knight 2000). 13 See for example (Black 1990; Chichlo 1984; 1985; Dragadze 1975; 1978a; 1978b; 1980a, 1980b; 1984; 1987; 1990; 1995; Dunn 1975; Durand 1995; Gellner 1975; 1980; 1988, Genty 1977; Gray, Vakhtin and Schweitzer 2003; Howe 1976; Humphrey 1984; Khazanov 1992; 1995; Olcott 1995; Plotkin and Howe 1985; Popkin 1992; Rethmann 1997; Rogers 2006; Schott 1960; Shimkin 1982; Skalník 1981; 1986; 1988; 2001; 2002; 1996; Takakura 2006; Van Meurs 2000; Vitebsky 1989; Vucinich 1965). 14 In this particular case it would be interesting to examine the correlation between the ‘natural’/’naturalist’ fields of observation in the type of anthropology that arose in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (the characteristics, noted by Henrika Kuklick, of the first anthropological field research, and the fate of the view of the first naturalists who observed the ‘savages in nature’) within the framework of a research project specifically focussed on visual anthropology. Kuklick clearly demonstrates that a ‘discovery’ by anthropologists of the fieldwork should be examined in the context of more general transformations of the practices of all naturalists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Like other ‘field sciences’ (zoology, botany and geology), anthropology found an excellent object and method in the ‘detailed study of delimited areas’ (Kuklick 1991: 92; 1997: 51). The provenance of anthropology as a natural science about early man is consequently closely linked to fieldwork as a dominant disciplinary practice. To be occupied with fieldwork was at first the same as carrying out research in one of the areas of natural history; the research object which was studied intensively even in ‘delimited areas’ was ‘primitive humanity’ in its ‘natural state’. 15 The development of Russian physical anthropology proceeded along different lines, driven by the vigorous growth of new methods and objects of study (Alekseev 1987). 16 The degree of Candidate of Sciences is approximately equivalent to that of PhD, though the dissertation submitted is less substantial than would be expected at leading US and UK research universities, while there is a formal requirement for research dissemination as part of the process of obtaining the degree. [Editors] 17 This body is responsible for the approval of higher degrees and issues lists of approved journals, publication in which is required in order to pass the process of ‘attestation’ (research dissemination). Its hidebound and repressive character is proverbial in Russian academia. [Editors]

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References Alekseev, V. P. (1987) ‘Antropologiya SSSR: nekotorye itogi i perspektivy’ [Anthropology of the USSR: Conclusions and Research Prospects], Sovetskaya etnografiya, 5: 17–30. Banks, M. (1996) Ethnicity: Anthropological Constructions, London: Routledge, 17–23. Barnard, A. (2000) History and Theory in Anthropology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bassin, M. (1983) ‘The Russian Geographical Society, the Amur Epoch and the Great Siberian Expedition, 1855–63’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 73.2: 240–56. Bennigsen, A. and Lemercier-Quelquejay, C. (1967) Islam in the Soviet Union, New York: Praeger. Berelowitch, W. (1990) ‘Aux origines de l’ethnographie russe: la Société de Géographie dans les années 1840–50’, Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique, Vol. 31.2–3: 265–73. Bertrand, F. (2002) L’anthropologie soviétique des années 20–30. Configuration d’une rupture, Bordeaux: Presses Universitaires de Bordeaux. —— (2003) ‘Une science sans objet? L’Ethnographie soviétique des années 20–30 et les enjeux de la catégorisation ethnique’, Cahiers du monde russe, 44.1: 93–110. —— (2006) ‘Le temps des autres et le temps des siens: l’anthropologie soviétique et post-soviétique dans ses rapports problématiques à la temporalité’, Slavica occitania (Toulouse), 22: 515–22. Black, L. T. (1990) ‘Soviet Anthropology and the Ethnography of Alaska’, Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique, 31.2–3: 327–32. Cadiot, J. (2007) Le Laboratoire impérial: Russie–URSS 1870–1940, Paris: Editions CNRS. Chichlo, B. (1984) ‘L’ethnographie soviétique est-elle une anthropologie?’, Histoire de l’Anthropologie: XVIe–XIXe siècles, B. Rupp-Eisenreich (ed.), Paris: Klincksieck, 247–58. ——(1985) ‘Trente années d’anthropologie (etnografiia) soviétique’, Revue des études slaves, 57.2: 309–24. ——(1990) ‘L’Anthropologie soviétique à l’heure de la perestrojka’, Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique, 31.2–3: 223–32. Clay, C. B. (1993) ‘From Savage Ukrainian Steppe to Quiet Russian Field: Ukrainian Ethnographers and Imperial Russia’, Ukrainian Past, Ukrainian Present, B. Krawchenko (ed.), New York: St Martin’s Press, 18–34. —— (1995) ‘Russian Ethnographers in the Service of Empire, 1856–62’, Slavic Review, 54.1: 45–61. Dragadze, T. (1975) ‘Comments on Ernest Gellner’s “The Soviet and the Savage”’, Current Anthropology, 16.4: 604. ——(1978a) ‘A Meeting of Minds: A Soviet and Western Dialogue’, Current Anthropology, 19.1: 119–28. ——(1978b) ‘Anthropological Fieldwork in the USSR’, Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford, 45–61. ——(1980a) ‘The Place of “Ethnos” Theory in Soviet Anthropology’, Soviet and Western Anthropology, E. Gellner (ed.), London: Duckworth, 161–70. ——(1980b) ‘Comment on Soviet Anthropology’, Royal Anthropological Institute Newsletter, 6: 3–4. ——(1984) (ed.) Kinship and Marriage in the Soviet Union, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

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——(1987) ‘Fieldwork at Home: the USSR’, Anthropology at Home, A. Jackson (ed.), New York: Tavistock Publications, 155–63. ——(1990) ‘Some Changes in Perspectives on Ethnicity Theory in the 1980s’, Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique, 31.2–3: 205–12. ——(1995) ‘Politics and Anthropology in Russia’, Anthropology Today. 11.4:1–3. Dunn, S. P. (1975) ‘New Departures in the Soviet Theory and Practice of Ethnicity’, Dialectical Anthropology, 1: 61–70. ——and Dunn, E. (1974) Introduction to Soviet Ethnography (2 vols), Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Durand, J.-Y. (1995) ‘“Traditional Culture” and “Folk Knowledge”: Whither the Dialogue Between Western and Post-Soviet Anthropology?’, Current Anthropology, 36.2: 326–30. Eriksen, T. Y. and Nielsen, F. S. (2001) A History of Anthropology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Evropeiskii universitet (2006) Evropeiskii universitet v Sankt-Peterburge. Fakultet etnologii [The European University of St Petersburg: Ethnology Faculty], St Petersburg: Evropeiskii universitet. Fortes, M. (1980) ‘Introduction’, in Soviet and Western Anthropology, E. Gellner (ed.), London: Duckworth, xix–xxv. Gellner, E. (1975) ‘The Soviet and the Savage’, Current Anthropology, 10.4: 595–617. —— (ed.) (1980) Soviet and Western Anthropology, London: Duckworth. —— (1988) State and Society in Soviet Thought, Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Genty, C. (1977) ‘Entre l’histoire et le mythe: E.D. Polivanov (1891–1938)’, Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique, 18.3: 275–303. Geraci, R. P. (2001) Window on the East: National and Imperial Identities in Late Tsarist Russia, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Gray, P., Vakhtin, N. and Schweitzer, P. (2003) ‘Who Owns Siberian Ethnography? A Critical Assessment of a Re-internationalized Field’, Sibirica 3.2: 194–216. Hirsch, F. (2005) Empire of Nations: Ethnographic Knowledge and the Making of the Soviet Union, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Howe, J. E. (1976) ‘Pre-Agricultural Society in Soviet Theory and Method’, Arctic Anthropology, 13.1: 84–115. Humphrey, C. (1984) ‘Some Recent Developments in Ethnography in the USSR’, Man, 19: 310–20. Khazanov, A. M. (1990) ‘The Ethnic Situation in the Soviet Union as Reflected in Soviet Anthropology’, Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique, 31.2–3: 213–22. ——(1992) ‘Soviet Social Thought in the Period of Stagnation’, Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 22.2: 231–37. ——(1995) After the USSR: Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Politics in the Commonwealth of Independent States, Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press. Knight, N. (1994) ‘Constructing the Science of Nationality: Ethnography in Mid-Nineteenth Century Russia’, PhD dissertation, Columbia University. ——(2000) ‘“Salvage Biography” and Useable Pasts: Russian Ethnographers Confront the Legacy of Terror’, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, 1.2: 365–75. Kuklick, H. (1991) The Savage Within: The Social History of British Anthropology, 1885–1945, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ——(1997) ‘After Ishmael: The Fieldwork Tradition and its Future’, in Anthropological Locations: Boundaries and Grounds of a Field Science, A. Gupta and J. Ferguson (eds), Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 47–65.

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——(ed.) (2008) A New History of Anthropology, Maldon, MA: Blackwell. Longuet-Marx, F. (1990) ‘La Pratique de l’ethnologie en URSS (à partir d’exemple au Daghestan)’, Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique, 31.2–3: 367–76. Martin, T. (2001) The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923–1939, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Naselenie Rossii (1995) Naselenie Rossii 1994: Vtoroi ezhegodnyi demograficheskii doklad, Moscow. Naselenie Rossii (2001) Naselenie Rossii 2000: Vosmoi ezhegodnyi demograficheskii doklad, Moscow: Knizhnyi dom ‘Universitet’. Olcott, M. B. (1995) ‘Soviet Nationality Studies between Past and Future’, in Beyond Soviet Studies, D. Orlovsky (ed.), Washington, DC: Woodrow Wyatt Center, 135–48. Plotkin, V. (1990) ‘Dual Models, Totalizing Ideology and Soviet Ethnography’, Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique, 31.2–3: 235–42. ——and Howe, J. E. (1985) ‘The Unknown Tradition: Continuity and Innovation in Soviet Ethnography’, Dialectical Anthropology, 9.2: 257–312. Popkin, C. (1992) ‘Chekhov as Ethnographer: Epistemological Crisis on Sakhalin Island’, Slavic Review, 51.1: 36–51. Prymak, T. (1991) ‘Mykola Kostomarov and East Slavic Ethnography in the 19th Century’, Russian History, 18. 2: 163–86. Rethmann, P. (1997) ‘“Chto delat?”: Ethnography in the Post-Soviet Cultural Context’, American Anthropologist, 99.4: 770–74. Rogers, D. (2006) ‘Historical Anthropology Meets Soviet History’, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, 7.2: 633–49. Schott, R. (1960). ‘Das Geschichtsbild der sowjetischen Ethnographie’, Saeculum, 11.1–2: 27–63. Shimkin, D. B. (1982) ‘US-USSR Intellectual Dialogues: Sociocultural Anthropology/ Ethnography’, Slavic Review, 41.4: 692–97. ——(1990) ‘Siberian Ethnography: A Current Assessment’, Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique, 31.2–3: 317–26. Silverman, S. (1981) Totems and Teachers: Perspectives on the History of Anthropology, New York: Columbia University Press. Skalník, P. (1981) ‘Community: the Struggle for a Key Concept in Soviet Ethnography’, Dialectical Anthropology, 6.2: 183–91. ——(1986) ‘Towards an Understanding of Soviet etnos Theory’, South African Journal of Ethnology, 9: 157–66. ——(1988) ‘Union Soviétique – Afrique du Sud: les théories de l’etnos’, Cahiers d’Etudes africaines, 28.2: 157–76. ——(1990) ‘Soviet Etnografiia and the National(ities) Question’, Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique, 31.2–3: 183–92. ——(ed.) (2002) A Post-Communist Millennium: The Struggles for Sociocultural Anthropology in Central and Eastern Europe, Prague: Prague Studies in Sociocultural Anthropology. Slezkine, Y. (1991) ‘The Fall of Soviet Ethnography, 1928–38’, Current Anthropology, 32: 476–84. ——(1992) ‘From Savages to Citizens: The Cultural Revolution in the Soviet Far North’, Slavic Review, 51.1: 52–76. ——(1994a) Arctic Mirrors: Russia and the Small Peoples of the North, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

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——(1994b) ‘The USSR as a Communal Apartment, or How a Socialist State Promoted Ethnic Particularism’, Slavic Review, 53.2: 414–52. ——(1994c) ‘Naturalists Versus Nations: Eighteenth-Century Russian Scholars Confront Ethnic Diversity’, Representations, 2: 170–95. Sokolovskiy, S. V. (2005) ‘Za stenami akademii: antropologiya i obshchestvo v Rossii’ [Behind the Walls of Academia: Anthropology and Society in Russia]’, Etnograficheskoe obozrenie, 2: 14–17. Solovei, T. D. (1998) Istoriya otechestvennoi etnologii pervoi treti XX veka: ot ‘burzhuaznoi’ etnologii k “sovetskoi” etnografii [A History of Russian Ethnology in the First Third of the 20th Century: From ‘Bourgeois’ Ethnology to ‘Soviet’ Ethnography], Moscow. ——(2004) Vlast i nauka v Rossii. Ocherki universitetskoi etnografii v distsiplinarnom kontekste (XIX-nachalo XXI vv.). [Political Power and Science in Russia. Sketches of University Ethnography in a Disciplinary Context (19th–early 21st centuries)], Moscow: Prometei. Sorlin, I. (1990) ‘Aux origines des études typologiques et historiques du folklore: L’Institut de linguistique de N.Ja. Marr et le jeune Propp’, Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique, 31.2–3: 275–84. Ssorin-Chaikov, N. (2007) ‘Political Fieldwork, Ethnographic Exile, and State Theory: Peasant Socialism and Anthropology in Late-Nineteenth-Century Russia’, in A New History of Anthropology, H. Kuklick (ed.), Oxford: Berg, 191–206. Stocking, G. W. (1992) The Ethnographer’s Magic and Other Essays in the History of Anthropology, Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press. Takakura, H. (2006) ‘Indigenous Intellectuals and Suppressed Russian Anthropology: Sakha Ethnography from the End of the Nineteenth Century to the 1930s’, Current Anthropology, 47.6: 1009–16. Tishkov, V. (1992) ‘The Crisis in Soviet Ethnography’, Current Anthropology, 33.4: 371–82. ——(1998) ‘US and Russian Anthropology: Unequal Dialogue in a Time of Transition’, Current Anthropology, 39.1: 1–7. See also his ‘Reply to Comments’, ibid., pp. 14–16. ——and Tumarkin D. D. (eds) (2004) Vydayushchiesya rossiiskie etnologi i antropologi XX veka [Outstanding Russian Ethnologists and Anthropologists of the 20th Century], Moscow: Nauka. Tumarkin, D. D. (ed.) (1991) Repressirovannye etnografy [Repressed Ethnographers], Moscow, Vol. 1. ——(ed.) (2003) Repressirovannye etnografy [Repressed Ethnographers], Moscow, Vol. 2. Van Meurs, W. (2000) ‘Ethnographie in der UdSSR: Jäger oder Sammler?’, in Inszenierung des Nationalen, B. Binder, P. Niedermüller (eds), Berlin: Böhlau, 107–35. Verdery, K. (1992) ‘Comment’, Current Anthropology, 33.4 : 392–93. Vitebsky, P. (1989) ‘Rethinking Soviet Anthropology?’, Anthropology Today, 5.5: 23–24. Vucinich, A. (1965) ‘Theoretical Problems of Soviet Ethnography’, in The State of Soviet Science, W. Laqueur (ed.), Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 173–85.

2

Female taboos and concepts of the unclean among the Nenets1 Elena Liarskaya Translated by Adam Fergus

In Nenets culture, as in most others, women’s behaviour is closely regulated by a system of prohibitions. Thus it is forbidden for a woman to step over tools, or equipment used in reindeer-breeding, reindeer harnesses, and lassos for catching reindeer, nor may she step over men or children. If she comes across bear tracks on the road, she may not cross them, but she must efface the tracks from the road; only then may she continue on her way. A woman may not take part in sacrifices, and she may not visit sacred sites. She is forbidden to cut through the spine of certain kinds of fish. Ethnographers have repeatedly pointed out the existence of these regulations in their works (see e.g. E. Atsusi 1997: 177–79, Golovnev 1995: 212–19; Lekhtisalo 1998: 90–91; Kharyuchi 2001: 155–58; Khomich 1966: 185–86, 1988: 75, 1995: 195–96; Kostikov 1930: 40–41; Verbov 1937). Indeed, commentators invariably noted these rules straight away, as women were sometimes so obviously inconvenienced by observing them: More than once we happened to notice how a woman leading an anas (a convoy of sleighs) had to mend a harness that had broken en route. She kept going round from one side of the sleigh to the other, never stepping on the traces, but instead she always crawling under them and passing them over her head. (Kostikov 1930: 40) The oddity of women’s behaviour was striking, and for this reason not just ethnographers, but almost all travellers who have come into contact with this people have noticed the existence of particular rules for women in Nenets culture (see e.g. Pallas 1788: 94; Lepekhin 1805: 115; Islavin 1847: 25–33; Shrenk 1855: 407; Kastren 1860: 312). The issue of restrictions on women’s behaviour attracted the attention not only of travellers and ethnographers, but also of the Soviet authorities engaged in the ‘construction of socialism’ in the region.2 For the representatives of state power, the Nenets women’s observance of their own rules was a serious obstacle: traditional ideas about what Nenets women might or might not do made it difficult to attract them to join collective farms or to employ

Female taboos among the Nenets

51

them in reindeer-breeding, fishing, hunting, etc. (Brodnev 1950). Between the 1920s and the 1950s, restrictions on women’s behaviour were often looked upon as a ‘primitive survival’ of tribal society, and of the division of labour according to age and sex, both of which it was necessary to overcome to enable women to achieve ‘full equality of rights’ and to participate fully in modern life. It is worth noting at the outset that the Soviet regime achieved little in this respect in spite of the pressure it applied to Nenets culture over many years. Materials gathered in fieldwork on Yamal in 1998 and 2001 show that the system of prohibitions has survived almost entirely intact, and has undergone almost no change. Today not only old women, but also schoolgirls, are conversant with it (Liarskaya 1999: 273). Curiously, this system of prohibitions has for many years not been the subject of separate, independent analysis by ethnographers. Yet, even though the latter often only mention the Nenets taboo system in passing, with reference to lists of prohibitions of varying completeness, they nonetheless usually express precise judgements about its operation. The interpretation of the prohibitions has traditionally been based on two postulates. 1. A woman, being an outsider in her husband’s family, i.e., a stranger, exudes a danger to clan deities, reindeer, and tools of trade, and on these grounds she needs to be isolated as far as possible from these objects. (Such opinions have been ventured by Kostikov (1930: 40) and Khomich (1966: 185).) 2. A woman of child-bearing age is fundamentally unclean, because she menstruates, and hence harbours within herself a danger to her surroundings (almost all researchers have commented on this, e.g. Golovnev 1995; Kharyuchi 2001; Khomich 1966; Kostikov 1930. I should start by saying that, in my view, explaining the prohibitions on the grounds that women belong to an alien clan, and are therefore a source of danger, is an insufficient, and often quite simply inadequate, argument. Both previously published materials and those we collected during fieldwork (Author’s Field Notes, Yamal, 1998, 2001) show that the prohibitions applied not only to wives (who by definition come from a different clan – this is an exogamous society – but also to young daughters, and to unmarried sisters living with their brothers (i.e. women who had remained among members of their own clan into childbearing age). Furthermore, in Nenets culture, restrictions on women’s behaviour fall into two categories: those which all Nenets women observe, and those which apply to women of a particular clan (Liarskaya 1999: 289–91). When a woman gets married, she ceases to observe the rules of her own clan, and is then subject to those observed by all the women of her husband’s clan (e.g. his sisters) (Author’s Field Notes, Yamal, 1998, ENO, KUKh; Author’s Field Notes, Yamal, 2001, PF-7). Therefore,

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one cannot claim that restrictions are imposed on a woman simply because she is an outsider in her husband’s clan. Recently, ethnographic surveys carried out by Nenets have appeared, which are notable both for the selection of material analysed and for the standpoint of the author. G. P. Kharyuchi states in her recent study that among the Nenets of the Yamal Nenets district, special sacred sites for women existed, in addition to the sacred sites for men that were extensively documented in classic ethnographical studies (Kharyuchi 2001: 97). Furthermore, there is a particular sort of funeral wake in Nenets culture which is held inside the chum (Nenets tent) and is attended only by women. All women who live in the chum take part in it irrespective of their paternal tribal affinities (Author’s Field Notes, Yamal, 2001, PF 7). Thus it is not the case that a woman is surrounded by prohibitions and excluded from participating in religious events on the basis of her being a ‘stranger’. Let us return to the second basis upon which explanations for the prohibitions and interpretations of them are based. It is that a woman of child-bearing age is considered unclean because she menstruates. ‘Uncleanliness’ of some kind is without doubt ascribed to women in Nenets culture, as can be adduced from a whole variety of material. But this begs the question of the nature of this uncleanliness, of what it is connected with in the Nenets consciousness, and of how it is imagined. In the Nenets language, this uncleanliness is designated by the particular concept of sya”mei. While an analysis of the entire system of ideas connected with this concept has never been the subject of separate independent research, much work has been done by Y. B. Simchenko on accomplishing this task with reference to the culture of another Samoditic people, the Nganasan (Simchenko 1990; 1996: 93–111). It is worth noting that researchers on the Nenets usually associate concepts of uncleanliness exclusively with women. Thus Tereshchenko’s Nenets-Russian dictionary (Tereshchenko 1965: 608) defines this term as follows: ‘sya”mei – ethn. 1.) menstruation; 2.) “unclean”, “filthy” (in relation to a menstruating woman and her belongings)’. However, after analysing material gathered during field-work as well as published material, one can claim that in practice things are slightly different; the definition given in the dictionary is not wholly accurate. It is not just a woman and her things that are sya”mei, but everything which has become ‘unclean’ as a result of rules having been broken (the term sya”mei is also applied to a lasso a woman has stepped over, or to a child who has crawled beneath an unclean sledge, etc.) As analysis has shown, the source of sya”mei is not understood by the Nenets to refer to menstruating women only. A newborn child and its mother, those who have died and everything connected with them (all their things, the place of burial, etc.); and everyone connected with them (relatives,

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anyone with them at the time of death or who took part in the funeral, etc.) are also sources of the same form of uncleanliness. So if a child is born during a journey, then the sledge on which it was born becomes ‘unclean’; it may not be used any longer and is immediately burnt, the deer hauling it are slaughtered, and their meat is fed to the dogs (Maksimov 1890: 541). A chum in which someone has been born or has died is sya”mei, and is unsuitable for habitation until it has been cleansed. In literature there are references to the fact that women used to give birth in a special, separate chum (Khomich 1966: 177), whereas now, if the birth takes place in the tundra, then it is most likely to be in the same chum as the family lives in, but everyone leaves it apart from the woman giving birth and the midwives. Furthermore, all objects that, according to the Nenets, have the capacity to spread dangerous contamination (Kharyuchi 2001: 43), are taken out of the chum in which a person dies (ibid.). When describing funerals and births, researchers tend to draw attention to the particular status possessed by the participants in these rituals, and to the rules governing the use of things forming part of them, but they do not mention the Nenets term used to describe this condition ( Atsusi 1997; Khomich 1966: 180, 185, 221; Lekhtisalo 1998: 103–4, and even, in a few cases, Kharyuchi 2001). Even if this idea is named, the authors restrict themselves to merely mentioning it, and do not provide any commentary on it at all (e.g. Khomich 1966: 208, 1995: 188). Let me emphasise once more that though the perception of dead bodies and funeral-goers, of new born babies and mothers, and of women of child-bearing age, as unclean manifestations, has repeatedly been described by researchers, this has never been regarded as a single system of ideas of cleanliness/purity and uncleanliness/ impurity. The circulation and effects of all sources of sya”mei are strictly regulated. Thus, it is not just the behaviour of women of child-bearing age that is regulated by this system of prohibitions and rules concerning uncleanliness: a man returning from the cemetery may not take part in everyday activities until he has undergone a rite of cleansing, in exactly the same way as a woman who has just finished menstruating (Kharyuchi 2001: 159), and a newborn child may not be put in a cradle, otherwise the cradle will be ‘defiled’ (Author’s Field Notes, Yamal, 2001, PD). By linking the particular concept of uncleanliness that is sya”mei exclusively with women, we run the risk of seriously distorting our perception of the Nenets world-view. In my opinion, the notion of sya”mei is one of the fundamental concepts of Nenets culture. An analysis of some of the constituent parts of the principle of sya”mei has already been given in my earlier article (Liarskaya 1999). In the present article, I should like to set out a few basic points to clarify the arguments of my previous article. The materials which I have had at my disposal permit the hypothesis that everything connected with this concept is in some way related to the perception of another, ‘different’, world. Likewise, Y. B. Simchenko (1996: 98–99) and

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E. D. Prokofyeva (1976: 127) came to the conclusion that concepts of feminine uncleanliness and of the other world were linked, after analysing Nganasan materials and Selkup data respectively. By extension, analysis of the origins of perceptions of uncleanliness says much about the connections between Nenets ways of seeing uncleanliness and their ideas of ‘the other’ world. As mentioned above, sources of uncleanliness are, firstly, people, when they are sya”mei; and secondly, objects considered by bearers of the culture to be sya”mei. Those who attend funerals, new-born babies and their mothers and all women of child-bearing age fall into the first category.3 It needs to be emphasised that the claim that women are fundamentally ‘unclean’ in themselves is false. Views concerning this ‘uncleanliness’ are more complicated. Women are constantly a potential source of sya”mei. Mary Douglas has defined the concepts connected with ‘desecration’ as a particular class of dangers, ‘which are not powers vested in humans, but which can be released by human action’ (Douglas 1970: 136). My materials confirm this in every respect. The assertion that women are not basically unclean is corroborated, first, by the fact that a woman can be sya”mei to varying degrees. And second by the fact that it is, in the overwhelming majority of cases, the woman herself who performs rites of purification when, during her menstrual period, or immediately after giving birth, the level of her perceived ‘uncleanliness’ increases sharply. And, finally, by the fact that a woman herself can become the object of ‘defilement’ (when, by contrast, it would be hardly possible to ‘defile’ the source of uncleanliness itself).4 Objects connected with the source of sya”mei (e.g. items belonging to a dead person, the chum in which a woman has given birth, floorboards, hearth sheet,5 women’s shoes and bags for keeping them in, women’s clothing worn below the waist,6 sleighs used for carrying these things and the reindeer that pull them, etc.) fall into the second category. The spreading of uncleanliness attracts misfortune, illness and bad luck to the ‘defiled’ person, his or her family or to the owner of a ‘defiled’ object. Certain rules need to be observed to prevent the spread of sya”mei. Should they be broken, voluntarily or involuntarily,7 misfortune can be avoided by carrying out procedures of purification. The classic principle forbidding the mixing of ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’ forms the basis of rules for the prevention of the spread of uncleanliness. While people are sya”mei, they must be isolated as far as possible from the rest of society; they can only return to normal life after undergoing procedures of purification. At other times, the spread of ‘uncleanliness’ is prevented by the observation of established norms. According to Nenets tradition, in the majority of cases, ‘defilement’ occurs not through physical contact, but when the source of sya”mei happens to pass over that which may be defiled. A woman may touch a lasso, a reindeer harness or a simzy (sacred tent-pole) – which she is expected to pitch

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whatever happens – as much as she likes with her hands. Nor will anything bad happen if a woman touches a child or a man. The only things (according to our materials, which we do not claim to be exhaustive) a woman may not touch during her menstrual period are the objects kept in the sacred sleigh. In all other cases, both those recorded by us, and those described in the literature, a woman has to sit on or lie on, or step on or step over, an object to make it unclean. From this is derived the fundamental rule that can be seen operating in Nenets culture: ‘clean’ people and objects must avoid coming beneath the source of uncleanliness, and conversely, whoever can pass on ‘uncleanliness’ must not pass over anything or anyone clean. Thus, for example, a woman may not step over a man, a child, clothes, equipment used for reindeer breeding and hunting, or fishing tackle. She may not enter a chum from behind the hearth (the Nenets regard this as a ‘clean’ space), or walk around the outside of the chum, nor may she visit ‘male’ sacred places. It should be noted that although such prohibitions are often characterised as prohibitions for women, not just women of childbearing age, but anybody else as well, has the capacity to break these rules and thus make someone or something sya”mei. Men (and children) may not therefore pass beneath women’s clothing when this is hung out to dry, put on women’s shoes, or clean or lay down floorboards; nobody may put boots in the ‘clean’ area behind the hearth (Kharyuchi 2001: 138), nobody may pick buttons and belts up off the ground (by tradition, the belts and buttons of a dead person’s clothes are cut off and thrown away – if one picks up a belt it may belong to a dead person (Kharyuchi 2001: 149), one must not put tools on an unclean sleigh, etc.). And conversely, this same system of rules assigns particular actions to men: only they may prepare pike, sturgeon and burbot, they must sit cross-legged, and never stretch their legs out, etc. Thus the rules connected with the concept of sya”mei regulate the life of the entire group. The spread of ‘uncleanliness’ beyond the permitted boundaries, as we have said, endangers the life, health and fortunes of the family in which the ‘defilement’ has taken place. This can be avoided by observing the rules and, if necessary, carrying out the rites of purification.8 What happens, then, if a prohibition is broken, but no purification takes place? It has long been noted that breaking a prohibition does not endanger the transgressor herself (see Simchenko 1990; Golovnev 1995: 214). The principle of the effects of the prohibition is simple – if reindeer lassos, harnesses and staffs become sya”mei, then one will be out of luck where reindeer are concerned, if fishing tackle is defiled, fish will be hard to catch, and if a woman steps over a man’s legs, the man may become unwell or suffer ill-fortune, primarily where reindeer are concerned. This set of perceptions undoubtedly placed a great responsibility on women for the well being of their family and clan: they were seen, in most cases, as the source of danger, and by breaking

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the prohibitions they could harm not so much themselves personally, as the health of their immediate family and household. Sya”mei, then, is a particular kind of uncleanliness; the concept has no parallels in Russian. It is a type of uncleanliness associated with ‘another’ world. In my view, sya”mei is one of the central concepts of Nenets culture: rules and norms regulating the life of the entire group are connected with it. The prohibitions and prescriptions concerning women undoubtedly occupy a particularly important place in this system of ideas, but nevertheless only form part of it; in seeing them in isolation from other parts of the system, we run the risk of severely distorting the overall picture. In conclusion, I should like to return again to the question of why the persistent and single-minded campaign against the observation of traditional female norms by the Soviet authorities ended in failure. If the uncleanliness ascribed to women had been related only to their inferior status, and women had been declared unclean only because they were women, the activity of the Soviet campaigners for equal rights for women might have met with some success: they would have been able to convince Nenets women that they were in no way inferior to men, and that it was only prejudice that prevented them from hunting, from cutting through the spines of fish, and from going where they liked. But in fact, the Nenets regard these rules as being connected with much more profound concepts. And in addition, so far as I know, Nenets women did not in fact (and do not in fact) feel that having to observe these prescriptions meant that they were being denigrated or their rights constricted. A Nenets woman of the Yamal considers that the life and well-being of her nearest and dearest and the fate of her family and children, rather than her own health as such, depends on how she behaves and how precisely she observes these regulations. In my view, this very sense of responsibility prevented Nenets women from breaking age-old laws. Their position is comparable to that of workers in a plant handling dangerous chemicals, who have their own individual means of protection; it is not primarily their own safety, but that of those around them, that depends on whether or not they observe established regulations on the production line. If one is to extend the metaphor, the struggle for equal rights for women would appear akin to a call to ignore elementary safety precautions in a dangerous industrial process.

Notes 1 Reprinted from Forum for Anthropology and Culture 2 (2005). 2 I.e. the campaign to ‘Sovietise’ the local population. [Editors] 3 See (Liarskaya 1999) for a more detailed treatment of which women are considered sya”mei. 4 See (Liarskaya 1999) for more detail. 5 (Golovnev 1995) suggests that this object is considered ‘unclean’ is because it covers the opening to the ‘underworld’. 6 This appears primarily to be outer clothing and that worn below the waist. See (Liarskaya 1999) for a more detailed description.

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7 In this sense, Nenets views on uncleanliness completely coincide with the rule formulated by Douglas: ‘pollution can be committed intentionally, but the intention is irrelevant to its effect’ (Douglas 1970: 136). 8 For a more detailed description see (Kharyuchi 2001: 159–61).

References Atsusi, Y. (1997) Kultura pitaniya gydanskikh nentsev (interpretatsiya i sotsialnaya adaptatsiya) [Food and Eating Among the Gydansk Nenets (Interpretative Schemas and Social Adaptation]. Moscow: IEA RAN. Brodnev, M. M. (1950) ‘Ot rodovogo stroya k sotsializmu (po materialam Yamalonenetskogo okruga)’ [From the Clan Structure to Socialism (A Study of Materials from the Yamalo-Nenets Region)], Sovetskaya etnografiya, 1: 92–106. Douglas, M. (1970) Purity and Danger: An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo, Harmondsworth: Penguin. Golovnev, A. V. (1995) Govoryashchie kultury: traditsii samodiitsev i ugrov, [Speaking Cultures: The Traditions of the Samodics and the Ugrians], Ekaterinburg: UrO RAN. Islavin, V. (1847) Samoedy v domashnem i obshchestvennom bytu [The Domestic and Social Life of the Samoyeds], St Petersburg. Kastren, M. (1860) ‘Puteshestvie po Laplandii, Severnoi Rossii i Sibiri 1838–44, 1845–49’ [A Journey to Lapland, Northern Russia, and Siberia, 1838–44, 1845–49], Magazin zemlevladenii i puteshestvii, 6.2: 1–496. Kharyuchi, G. P. (2001) Traditsii i innovatsii v kulture nenetskogo etnosa (vtoraya polovina XX veka [Traditions and Innovations in the Culture of the Nenets Ethnos in the Second Half of the Twentieth Century], Tomsk: Izdatelstvo Tomskogo universiteta. Khomich, L. V. (1966) Nentsy: istoriko-etnograficheskie ocherki [The Nenets: Historical and Ethnographical Sketches], Moscow and Leningrad: Nauka. ——(1988) ‘Obychai i obryady, svyazannye s detmi, u nenetsev’ [Customs and Rituals Connected with Children Among the Nenets], in Traditsionnoe vospitanie detei u narodov Sibiri: Moscow and Leningrad: Nauka, 63–80. ——(1995) Nentsy: ocherki traditsionnoi kultury [The Nenets: Sketches of Their Traditional Culture], St Petersburg: Russkii Dvor. Kostikov, L. V. (1930) ‘Zakony tundry’ [The Laws of the Tundra], Trudy Polyarnoi komissii Akademii Nauk SSSR, 3: 3–68 Lekhtisalo, T. (1998) Mifologiya yurako-samoedov (nentsev) [The Mythology of the Yuryak Samoyeds (Nenets)], Tomsk: Izdatelstvo Tomskogo Universiteta. Lepekhin, I. (1805) Dnevnye zapiski puteshestviya po razlichnym provintsiyam rossiiskogo gosudarstva [Diary of a Journey to Different Parts of the Russian Empire], Part 4, St Petersburg: Imperatorskaya Akademiya Nauk. Liarskaya, E. V. (1999) ‘Kompleks zhenskikh zapretov i pravil u nentsev Yamala (po materialam ekspeditsii 1998 g.)’ [The System of Female Prohibitions and Rules Among the Yamal Nenets (Materials from Fieldwork in 1998)], in Problemy sotsialnogo i gumanitarnogo znaniya: Sbornik nauchnykh rabot, St Petersburg, 1: 272–92. Maksimov, S. V. (1890) God na Severe [AYear in the North], Moscow: M. K. Pryanishnikov. Pallas, P. S. (1788) Puteshestvie po raznym provintsiyam Rossiiskogo gosudarstva [Travels to Different Provinces of the Russian State], 3, St Petersburg: Imperatorskaya Akademiya Nauk. Prokofyeva, E. D. (1976) ‘Starye predstavleniya selkupov o mire’ [The Archaic Perceptions of the World Among the Selkups], in Priroda v chelovek v religioznykh

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predstavleniyakh narodov Sibiri i Severa vtoroi poloviny 19 – nach. 20 vv., Innokenty Vdovin (ed.), Leningrad: Nauka, 106–28. Shrenk, A. (1855) Puteshestvie k severo-vostoku evropeiskoi Rossii cherez tundry samoedov k Severnym Uralskim goram [A Journey to North-Eastern European Russia Through the Samoyed Tundra to the Northern Ural Mountains], St Petersburg. Simchenko, Y. B. (1990) ‘Ponyatie ‘ngadyuma” u nganasan’ [The Concept ‘Ngadyuma’ among the Nganasan], in Traditsionnaya obryadnost i mirovozzrenie malykh narodov Severa, Ilia Gurvich and Soia Sokolova (eds). Moscow, 6–33. ——(1996) Traditisionnye verovaniya nganasan [The Traditional Beliefs of the Nganasan], 1, Moscow: Institut etnografii RAN. Tereshchenko, N. M. (ed.) (1965) Nenetsko-russkii slovar [A Nenets-Russian Dictionary], Moscow: Sovetskaya entsiklopediya. Verbov (1937) Archive of the MAE RAN f. 2 (Verbov fond, opis 1, delo 65, formerly No. 149a) ‘O shamanstve, zhenskikh zapretakh, okhotnichikh zapretakh i obychayakh, kosmogonicheskikh predstavleniyakh’ [On Shamanism, Female Prohibitions, Hunter Prohibitions and Customs, Cosmogonic Concepts]. (Record of Field Research, 1936–37).

3

‘The wrong nationality’ Ascribed identity in the 1930s Soviet Union1 Albert Baiburin Translated by Catriona Kelly

Official Soviet documents, such as circulars, decrees, and instructions, of the kind held in archives are customarily endorsed with stamps emphasising the confidentiality of the material. ‘Not for Publication’; ‘Do Not Circulate’; ‘Return after Reading’; ‘Strictly Confidential’; ‘Secret’; ‘Top Secret’ etc. This lays bare a feature of the Soviet (and indeed post-Soviet) legal system that is familiar to anyone who has made a study of the subject: its binary character. The public face of the law (as presented in the legal acts published in the Soviet press) was countered by a web of regulations that was created by officials for their own purposes, and carefully concealed from view. Obviously, it was this second level, what one might call ‘Legality-2’ (pravo-2), that was of primary importance in guiding officials’ actual behaviour and their interpretation of statute. While some of this sub rosa material consisted of inter-office memoranda of little or no public interest, much of it was of fundamental relevance to rank-and-file citizens’ everyday lives, setting out ‘rights and duties’ (prava i obyazannosti),2 in the standard Soviet formulation, of which they were expected to be aware, and rules that they might be penalised for violating. The material relating to the definition of natsionalnost, nationality, that I am discussing here was of this order. In the Soviet Union, nationality (by which was meant not citizenship of the nation-state, named as grazhdanstvo, but a person’s ethnic identity), was a category of primary importance in social regulation, invoked in censuses, the residence permit (propiska), and the pasport (internal passport, identity card). It is usually argued that this classification by nationality was actually invented in the Soviet period, but that is a misrepresentation of the facts. During the last two decades before 1917, the rubric natsionalnost was more and more commonly included in different types of documents relating to personal identity, including service records [sluzhebnye attestaty], medical cards, and military and police records (Ukazatel vidov 1998–99). The gradual shift from a state whose primary bases of legitimation and classification were social estate (soslovie) and religious affiliation to a state where nationality was the primary factor had many different causes, but among them was certainly the breakdown of the traditional estate relationships after 1861,3 which in due course resulted in the equation of the passport

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rights of the higher and lower orders of Russian society (the Ukaz of 5 October 1906 on the introduction of a unified system of ‘passport books’ for all subjects of the Russian Empire) and the declaration of equal rights for all the religious confessions of the Russian Empire (the Ukaz on Religious Toleration of 17 April 1905). Against this background, nationality started to seem a more reliable and stable identifying factor than estate or religious affiliation.4 That said, for the time being the indication of ethnic affiliation did not replace the indications of confessional or estate affiliation, but supplemented these. The novelty of the Soviet passport, on the other hand, lay in the fact that the indication of nationality replaced the indication of religious affiliation, and in due course, of estate affiliation as well. This project was the more difficult to realise in that a significant proportion of the population had rather vague understandings of their ethnic affiliation, and there was also no canonical inventory of the ‘nationalities’ resident in the USSR (in the post-Soviet period also, the inventories are ‘corrected’ every time a census takes place). Before 1918, the basis upon which nationality was determined was usually the person’s religious affiliation. This official practice meant that, for instance, all Germans were automatically deemed to be Lutheran, but on the other hand, a German who had converted to Orthodoxy was assumed to be of Russian nationality.5 By extension, Udmurts, Mordvins and others who had converted to Christianity were counted as Russians, while those who had not continued to be counted as Udmurts, Mordvins, etc. In the Western provinces of the Russian Empire, on the other hand, language played more of a role in determining nationality than religion. Some so-called ‘small peoples’ were not included in the official inventories of ‘nationalities’ and to all intents and purposes lost the right to existence.6 In the first decade of Soviet rule, the definition of natsionalnost by language and religious confession that had been employed in the first General Census of the Russian Empire in 1897 underwent a significant process of adaptation.7 One of the central forces in this process was the Commission on the Study of the Tribal Composition of the Population of Russia (KIPS), which had, in fact, been set up under the Provisional Government in 1917. The members of KIPS put together the List of Nationalities of the USSR that was used to determine ethnic identity. After a great deal of argument, a two-step process of doing this was evolved. First, the respondent was to be asked a series of questions relating to his or her native language, religion, and the population group that he or she considered himself to belong to; then, as a second phase in processing this information, the information on nationality obtained from the respondent was to be compared with the list of nationalities that had been put together by the Commission.8 The result was that it was fairly common for the respondent to refer to a nationality that was ‘incorrect’ (i.e., which, so far as the official list was concerned, did not exist). In addition, Soviet ethnographers also had their own, and different, views about which Soviet nationalities were the ‘correct’ ones. ‘I. I. Zarubin,

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the well-known specialist on Central Asia, recommended that if native speakers of the Uzbek language answered “Sart” when asked what nationality they belonged to, then they should be recorded as “Uzbek”.’9 But whatever the process of ‘editing’ responses, at some level, the ethnic affiliation of a respondent was always based on his own words.10 Immediately after the Revolution, the categorisation of Russian citizens into estates was abolished, and from 1918, it was forbidden to specify a person’s religion in any identity document.11 Instead, new social categories were introduced: ‘worker’, ‘collective farmer’, ‘individual peasant farmer’, ‘white-collar worker’, ‘student’, ‘writer’, ‘artist’, ‘artiste’, ‘sculptor’, ‘craftsman’, ‘pensioner’, ‘beneficiary’,12 ‘no fixed occupation’. In reality, it was less ‘social position’ than occupation that was recorded by these classifications. The list of possible professions and jobs was decidedly peculiar, but it was generally understood that the denominations were temporary (after all, full social equality was supposed to be just round the corner). At the same time, the new authorities needed reliable and definite categories into which they could group the population for the purposes of more effective control. It would appear that ‘nationality’ appealed because it was not ‘contaminated’ by pre-revolutionary associations, and at the same time depended on characteristics that were perceived as relatively stable and to all intents and purposes obvious. When the passport – abolished in 1917 as an instrument of exploitation visited by the Tsarist regime on the population – was reintroduced in 1932, nationality was one of the categorisations specified. The question about nationality in the first Soviet census of 1926, with the process of determination of a respondent’s nationality by harmonisation with the official list of recognised nationalities, worked as a kind of dress rehearsal for this. Nevertheless, large numbers of people were confused about what was expected from them, and about what nationality was being ascribed. The ‘Decree on the Soviet Passport’ of December 1932 stipulated that the rubric ‘nationality’ should be completed according to the information given by the person to whom the passport was being issued. In other words, everyone receiving a passport was entitled to specify the nationality to which they themselves believed they belonged. This triumph of Soviet constructivism was to last, outwardly at least, for 21 years. Only in the Decree on the Passport System of the USSR of 1953 were the regulations for determining nationality changed. ‘Nationality in the passport is recorded on the basis of the nationality of the holder’s parents. If the parents belong to different nationalities, then when the passport is issued, the nationality recorded may be that of the father or the mother of the holder, depending on what he or she may prefer. From that point, the holder may not change his or her nationality.’ In effect, before the 1953 Decree was passed (i.e. between 1932 and 1953), the holder was, according to the letter of published law, officially entitled to determine his or her own nationality.

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Stories from the Archives How did this process of negotiation of nationality actually work in reality? One source that helps answer this question is the materials held in the fond of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR at the State Archive of the Russian Federation, which include petitions addressed to the Supreme Soviet’s Council of Nationalities. Among these are some 20 petitions dating from 1937–39, which will form the basis of my discussion here.13 The authors of these petitions state that they have been assigned an ‘incorrect’ nationality in their passport and request the Supreme Soviet to correct the mistake, or to determine what their ‘correct’ nationality would actually be. In the first example, the author complains about the inaccurate transcription of his father’s nationality:14 From cit[izen]. Shubert Yuri Iosifovich resident Belorussian SSR town of Zhlobin typography of the newspaper Shlyakh sotsializma[.]15 Declaration16 I hearby request you to perruse my letter and help me. On 20 June 1939 I went to Zhlobin passport office to renew my passport. On 21 June I received a new one. The Assistant Supervisor of the passport office a woman (I don’t know her name) put the following note in my passport: mother Russian, father Pole. When I started objecting that my father was never a Pole he was a Czech she (no doubt because she doesn’t know one foreign name from another) she said to me based on the fact that my grandfather on my father’s side was called Franz she said quite categorically ‘I’m going to put down Pole and that’s it. If you don’t like it you can do without a passport at all.’ I implore the Supreme Soviet to process my request as quickly and understandingly as possible and to help me. Who gave rude bureaucrats the right to wish a different nation on us. I am a worker at the typography of Shlaykh sotsializma newspaper and a shock worker and a Komsomol member since 1921 half-Russian and half-Czech and I don’t want to be called something I’m not a half Pole. And I request you to relieve me of it. (6. III-39) The character of the petitions is well conveyed by this example, but here are some complementary examples from others: Respected comrade secretary! Recently I was supposed to be confirmed as a candidate member of the VKP(b) [All-Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks)] at the general meeting of the works Party organisation, only when they were going through it I was accused of hiding my real nationality. This is how things stand: My grandfathers on my mother and father’s side, my mother, my father, and I were all born in Belorussia, but our religious affiliation was

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Roman Catholic (in the old days). So based on that I am now being told I’m a Pole, while my parents and me always gave ourselves as Belorussians and thought of ourselves as that and no-one ever said that wasnt right. I request you to issue a response with regards to what nationality I should be, but my former religion shouldnt be the basis of my nationality. If it was then any Frenchman would be a Pole because of being a Catholic.(Stanislav Stepanovich Zalivako).17 Please answer my question. Can I consider my wife to be a Russian subject and must she change her nationality because of her origins? My wife is an Estonian from Gdov district in Leningrad province she’s lived all her life there since she was born and her parents too before the revolution and after. But they’ve been telling me that if she I mean my wife isn’t an Estonian subject then she shouldn’t have her nationality as Estonian in her passport cos neither she nor her parents have anything to do with Estonia in the sense of the place existing since the revolution (Chibisov F. I.).18 My granddad who passed away long before I was born was I am very sorry to say by nationality a Greek. That nationality passed to my father by descent who practically grew up and died in Russia and had nothing in common with the Greek nationality at all. I was born in the Soviet Union, studied here, grew up here, my mother is a Ukrainian. I have the passport of a citizen of the Soviet Union, I am on the list for military service in the Red Army and everywhere I am hounded by the black mark [crossed out] nationality – Greek. Wishing that in my documents I could have recorded the nationality that reflects reality – Russian. (N. M. Magula).19 Most of the appellants headed their texts Zayavlenie [Declaration], but in some, no indication of the genre was given, and they launched straight into the address: ‘To the Supreme Soviet of the USSR’, ‘To the Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR’, ‘To dear Comrade Stalin’, ‘To Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin’, etc. The key word is always request, because that is the only imaginable kind of relationship you can have with authority: you can only ask, not require, let alone demand.20 Of course, these conventions of genre were of crucial importance, and the petitioners’ need to espouse the necessary rhetoric opened up a gulf between their self-portraits and reality. All the same, the arguments used by the letter-writers allow one to draw some inferences about their understanding of nationality. Most often, petitioners’ assignation of themselves to a particular nationality was based on their origins, in two senses: genealogical (who their parents and more generally ancestors were) and geographical (was born in Poland, Estonia, Lithuania). In the latter case, nationality could be equated with the country of which a given person was a subject (citizen). On some occasions, nationality was equated with language, upbringing, customs and more broadly, culture. Sometimes religion was mentioned. And

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then one sometimes got what might, so to speak, be called the ‘scientific’ approach, as in this letter from a certain N. V. Grushkovsky: I request you to Give an Explanation of whether I have decided on the right nationality. By reading the works of Marx I grasped that the nation is a historically determined, stable community defined by language, territory, economic life, and cast of mind, as expressed also in the community of culture [ … ] My father was born on the territory of Volhynia province. [ … ] After he had finished military service, he married an Orthodox woman and so he changed his nation. [. … ] within his passport21 and his military ID card his religion is given as Orthodox. My mother is a Ukrainian. I was born in 1911. Until 1930 I lived on the territory of my birthplace the Belorussian SSR. The community of language and culture I share is Belorussian no doubt of it. So I also consider meself to be one of the Belorussians. And me and my brothers and sisters we all give ourselves as Belorussians in our documents. But when I was applying to be a candidate member of the Communist Party they asked me why arent I a Pole? Of course theres nothing Polish about me or in our family neither. Why should I be a Pole by nationality? The Bureau of the City Party Committee of the town of Stalino objected to accepting me as a candidate member of the CP(B) [Communist Party (Bolsheviks)] because I hadnt given my nation right and put down Belorussian in the form [ … ] And now Im stuck. I dont know who I am by nationality Pole or Belorussian. [ … ] Its all the same to me whatever nationality I am Pole Belorussian Jew. All I mind is I get good reports at work. And that till the end of my life I should be faithful (to the end of my life) [sic.] to the cause of the Party of Lenin and Stalin [ … ] I request the chamber the Council of Nationalities to send me an answer what nation should I be from (Grushkovsky N. V.).22 Notable in this unusually elaborate text is the presence of a quotation from higher authority: By reading the works of Marx I grasped that the nation is a historically constituted, stable community of language, territory, economic life and cast of mind, as expressing itself in the community of culture.23 Grushkovsky, who was responding to an accusation that he had concealed his true nationality as a Pole, an accusation that had led to a refusal to accept his application to join the Communist Party, had obvious reasons for demonstrating his familiarity with the canonical texts. At the same time, his main arguments were the standard ones – genealogical and geographical origin, religion, language and culture: My father was born on the territory of Volhynia province. [ … ] After he had finished military service, he married an Orthodox woman and so he

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changed his nation. [. … ] within his passport and his military ID card his religion is given as Orthodox. My mother is a Ukrainian. Grushkovsky also noted that he too had been born in Belorussia and had lived there till 1930. He concluded his letter by throwing himself on the mercy of the Supreme Soviet with an appeal to Soviet internationalism: Its all the same to me whatever nationality I am Pole Belorussian Jew. All I mind is I get good reports at work. And that till the end of my life I should be faithful (to the end of my life) [sic.] to the cause of the Party of Lenin and Stalin [ … ] I request the chamber the Council of Nationalities to send me an answer what nation should I be from.24 The phrase, ‘all the same to me’ was intended for rhetorical effect. The very act of writing to the Supreme Soviet indicated the opposite (and the letter also laboriously described the many other places that Grushkovsky had petitioned before he got that far). What Grushkovsky evidently meant to emphasise was that the nationality question, vital as it was, was nevertheless not as important as loyalty to the Party – the Party to which he was denied entry on the grounds that he was suspected of concealing his ‘true’ nationality. One way and another, in the different letters addressed to the Supreme Soviet (and in the case of Grushkovsky’s petition, within just one document) it is possible to see a whole range of different understandings of what constitutes nationality. But the same criteria come up repeatedly: origins, language, religious confession, customs, culture. These letters to the Supreme Soviet are interesting for a variety of different reasons. To begin with, there are no earlier cases of petitions on matters to do with the passport that address the issue of nationality. The letters also point to the fact that (contrary to the letter of the regulations) the passport holders had not been allowed to decide which nationality to choose for themselves, but had it ‘wished upon’ them. And finally, all the letters sent to the Supreme Soviet at this period were from representatives of ‘external’ nationalities, from those who in the terminology of the secret police were known as ‘persons holding the nationality of foreign states’, or sometimes simply as ‘nationalities’ pure and simple – Poles, Greeks, Germans, Estonians. It is natural to wonder what caused the writers to send their petitions at this particular point. Why should they have had problems, given that nationality was supposed to be determined on the basis of the passport-holder’s own statements? And why was it so important to avoid having an ‘external’ nationality ascribed?

The practices of passport management When obtaining a passport, one had to complete a form with biographical information, basing one’s replies on the so-called ‘metrical records’ or ‘household books’.25 However, before 1917, there was no state system of registration, and the ‘metrical records’ were the responsibility of religious denominations. They accordingly specified the faith that the child had been

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born into, but not his or her nationality. If the applicant for a passport no longer had a copy of his or her ‘metrical record’ (as commonly happened), the ‘household books’ would be used to make up the deficiency. But these included neither records of nationality, nor indeed of religion (the recording of which had been explicitly prohibited in 1918). So, when passport officials imposed ‘some other’ nationality on an applicant, they had no legislative basis for doing this, there being no evidence about what his or her ‘correct’ nationality actually was. Of course, there may have been cases where officials made decisions by proceeding on the basis of what an applicant had written in his or her form, and told a person that if he was born in Ukraine, he was a Ukrainian, or that if she was born in Belorussia, then she should count as Belorussian. One of the letters in the file seems to suggest exactly this: I request you to restore my nationality. I was born in 1885 in Poland in the town of Sandomir, my parents are Russian, during the Imperial War [i.e. World War I] I moved to my husbands homeland and now I live in Odessa, but when they were making out my passport and I didn’t have a metrical certificate, they obviously decided that if I was born in Poland, they put down my nationality as Polish, when I went to get my passport I told them that isn’t my nationality, I’m Russian, I’m not a Pole, and they told me same difference, we [in the Soviet Union] don’t have any nationalities … 26 The response recorded by this woman is highly characteristic. It was in fact the case that when the first Soviet passports were given out in 1933, nationality was the least of any official’s concerns. Applicants themselves had other anxieties as well, the first of which was whether they would be allocated passports at all.27 People were also convinced that the category of ‘nationality’ was to all intents and purposes meaningless in a country that proclaimed itself the capital of internationalism. At the same time, the emphasis on inherited origins was something familiar to them – responding to questions about one’s class origins by referring to the social background of one’s parents (particularly father) was standard practice by the late 1920s.28 The fact that passport officials sometimes made mistakes or imposed their own authority when they should not have is obviously not sufficient explanation for people’s desperate desire to ‘change nationality’. The emphasis that the petitioners placed on the amount of effort they had already expended on trying to get something done about their problems, not to speak of their insistence in asserting that they were not Poles, Greeks, and so on, is already an indication of how important the issue of nationality was to them. The other side of the dialogue – the response from the authorities – is harder to pin down. Almost no evidence is available about this. One has the impression that the officials in the Supreme Soviet were uncertain about how to treat these cases; at any rate, in none of them is a decision recorded. On the other hand, the file does contain the following memo (written on the

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letterhead of the Reception Centre [Priemnaya]29 of the President of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, M. I. Kalinin): Comrade Arkhipov! The question about nationality may at first sight seem trivial, but it seems to me it has a general principled significance.30 Our reception centre is unable to provide one or other interpretation. Hence, I am sending this for you31 to have a look at yourself.32 But the letters kept on coming in, which seems, in turn, to have prompted the Supreme Soviet to consult with the All-Soviet Legal Academy. The Academy’s answer has survived, and deserves quoting at length, since it gives a strong sense of the strategies employed by academic institutions when put on the spot by the organs of political power: The Department of Civil Law has discussed the question of whether it is possible to engage in court action with reference to the determination of nationality. Following the discussion, two opposing viewpoints emerged. Some members of the Department held that court action of this kind is not possible. In accordance with Article 123 of the Stalinist Constitution, the question of nationality has no juridical significance and has no implications in law. Further, court action of this kind has never been heard of. The members of the Department holding this view were, however, also of the opinion that Soviet citizens whose nationality had been incorrectly determined in official documents (such as the passport) would be entitled to demand through administrative channels that the errors should be corrected. Such a demand would automatically have to be honoured, since the nationality of a passport-holder is determined, in law, on the basis of his or her own statement of what that nationality might be. For their part, other members of the Department do consider that Soviet citizens would be entitled to serve a writ requiring the determination of their nationality. They support this case by referring to the fact that, while Soviet Law does not permit any restrictions to be imposed or advantages allowed on the basis of nationality, the question of nationality is not a matter of total legal indifference. We have a whole range of regulations concerning aid to backward nationalities, the rights of national minorities, and so on. These include, for example, the norms relating to the language used in legal hearings, the quotas for national minorities in institutions of higher education in major cities, and so on and so on. Those members of the Department holding this view consider that serving a writ with regard to the determination of nationality is possible in law, and accords with accepted legal practice.33 The Delphic Oracle could hardly have put it more cryptically. On the one hand, the legal experts indicated their familiarity with the regulations

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stipulating that ‘nationality is recorded in documents exclusively on the basis of the citizen’s own declaration of what he or she deems his or her nationality to be’. But they also made clear their awareness that these legal norms were functioning in a rather peculiar way, and so they allowed the possibility of serving a writ requiring the determination of one’s nationality by the authorities (the issue of the basis on which such a writ might have been served was not addressed). This ambiguity was not resolved, and it seems more than possible that the conflict between the different answers had a cause that was not so much to do with the intricacies of the law as with the fact that the members of the Department of Civil Law did not know what answers they were expected to give, and so ‘covered their backs’ by providing a response that was diplomatically indeterminate. Thus, the significance of nationality in high politics was still, as of late 1938, not fully resolved. However, this was a time when the subject was becoming steadily more important. By the mid-1930s, the image of the Soviet Union as a country surrounded by enemies was starting to be pervasive. ‘Stalin himself ’, in the words of N. V. Petrov and A. B. Roginsky, ‘saw the Soviet frontier as a kind of continuous front line.’ The countries whose territories bordered the USSR were ‘carrying out a never-ending campaign of subversion (an unavoidable fact of life, in Stalin’s view, since inter-state relations were always antagonistic, and particularly between neighbouring states). That is, the conditions along the Soviet borders essentially amounted to undercover war – which would all too soon come out in the open’ (Petrov and Roginsky 1997). The well-known obsession of the NKVD with suppressing ‘espionage’ and ‘diversion’ was a wholly logical consequence of this perception of international relations.34 The first nationality to bear the brunt were the Poles.35 In August 1937 was promulgated the so-called ‘Polish Decree’, initiating police operations to round up supposed subversives on the basis of nationality. The text of the Decree referred to the activation of Polish espionage on Soviet territory and on the measures being taken to ‘render harmless’ (obezvrezhivat) those engaging in espionage, diversionary, wrecking, and the incitement of social unrest. ‘Despite the fact that the Decree referred to “Polish spies”, rather than to ethnic Poles as such, the result was to place under suspicion almost the entire Polish population of the USSR’ (Petrov and Roginsky 1997). Thus, while in theory Polish spies did not have to be Poles (or Greek spies, those of Greek descent, etc.), the purge had a totalising character. How the efforts to ‘render the spy network harmless’ worked on the ground is clear from eyewitness testimony. Here, for example, is an extract from a family history, describing the fate of the author’s grandfather and his family: They lived in Smolensk. Granddad’s brother was married to a Pole called Jadwiga. She was an orphan, brought up by her aunties. Everyone remembers what a lovely woman she was, they used to call her Dosenka in the family. She worked as a nurse. Then, in 1937, she was arrested. Her

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crime was owning a radio set and having relatives in bourgeois Poland. She got 10 years. After she got out, she was living in Solikamsk. Either she was officially in exile, or she couldn’t manage to get back for some other reason. Finally, she did manage to return to Smolensk, in 1958 or 1959, but she died not long after. All I have left as a memento is her Medical Guide for Orderlies, published in 1948. Her husband, my granddad’s brother, he soon got arrested as well. He spent a year in jail, but they never put him on trial, and then they let him out. He was lucky. They had a little wooden house, but it was taken away. He had nowhere to live, so he moved in with granddad, got a job as a book-keeper in a canteen. In 1941, he hung back and didn’t join the evacuation straight away, he had things to finish up in the canteen. Before he could leave, the Germans got there, and that was the last we ever heard of him. He must have got killed. None of them could understand why the Soviets had arrested poor Jadwiga, who never hurt a fly, and then kept her husband in prison. Now we know they were lucky it wasn’t worse.36 In provincial archives, a great deal of evidence has survived of how NKVD operatives, under pressure to comply with norms for the number of ‘Polish spies’ rounded up and arrested, would get hold of members of other nationalities and sign them up as Poles under physical duress.37 ‘In compliance with the order issued by Volsky, a senior officer in the Donetsk Directorate of the NKVD, 60 arrestees of Ukrainian, Belorussian, and Russian origin were beaten into stating that they were actually Poles.’38 The NKVD operatives suspected that Poles had exploited the right to define their own nationality, and signed up as Russians and Belorussians: Since the records from the 1930s were incomplete, the Chekists lacked full information about Soviet citizens who were not of Russian nationality. There were not even full records of Polish citizens who had voluntarily resettled in the USSR. As a result, a full-scale operation to track down ‘non-Soviet nationals’ was mounted, using evidence from outside police records as well as from these. For example, Vatslav Gridyushko, an operative of the Counter-Revolutionary Section of the Novosibirsk Regional Directorate of the NKVD posed as an electrician in order to gain access to the household books in the district, and compiled a list of 8–10 non-Russian families every day (that’s the way you get the quotas fulfilled – if you don’t have an electrician to supply that information, you’re sunk!) Exactly the same strategy was used in the other parts of the province (Moshkovsky district) and in Barnaul – where they saved themselves trouble by simply making lists of everyone whose family ended in ‘sky’. (Archive of the Directorate of the Federal Security Service, Novosibirsk Province (A UFSB NO), file Д.П-4505, l.352)39

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The secret police were determined to clarify the situation with regard to nationality, and this was duly done, in a document under the heading, TOP SECRET: To: All Heads of Registration Sections (OAGS), NKVD and Directorate of the NKVD: Circular No. 65 of the NKVD dated 2 April 1938 (circulated to heads of the Directorate of the Worker and Peasant Militia) has instituted new procedures for the determination of nationality when passports are issued or renewed. According to these, the sole criterion for the registration of nationality is to be the applicant’s nationality by descent (i.e. parental nationality). In connection with this, the established procedure, according to which nationality was recorded on the grounds of the applicant’s own statement of his or her nationality, has now been abolished. In all official records, the nationality shown must reflect the nationality as stated in the passport presented by the applicant at the time of registration. In cases where the applicant is not already in possession of a passport, the issue of nationality is clarified at the point when the registration takes place, on the basis of cross-questioning of the applicant. It should be borne in mind that registration of nationality must reflect the national origins of the applicant’s parents. If the applicant’s parents were Germans, Poles, etc., then place of birth, length of residence in the USSR, or the adoption of Soviet citizenship do not constitute a reason to register the person concerned as Russian, Belorussian, etc. In cases where the nationality indicated does not correspond to the native language or surname of the person concerned – for example, in cases where the surname of the applicant is Papandopoulo or Müller, and he or she claims to be Russian or Belorussian, and it does not prove possible to establish what the real nationality of the applicant is, then the ‘nationality’ rubric is not completed until the applicant is able to present documentary evidence of the nationality to which he or she actually belongs.40 The authors of the petitions to the Supreme Soviet naturally had no idea of the existence of this secret circular, but they did have every awareness that being a Pole, Greek, German etc. was now extremely dangerous. Changing one’s nationality, however, was no longer possible: it was determined according to parental background, which in fact meant according to your name, surname, and so on (since at that point in Soviet history, there was no documentary evidence of parental nationality in existence). For their part, the passport offices, with the backing of the new circular, were able to begin a detailed ‘inventory’ of those belonging to ‘external’ nationalities. The gap between the period when it was possible to select one’s own nationality at will, and the period when compulsory registration ‘according to descent’ was instituted (i.e. the move to a concept of nationality as something

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inherited and inalienable) was, therefore, much shorter than printed sources would suggest – not 21 years, but six, and the alteration in practices is directly traceable to the exigencies of political repression. The case also provides an exemplary illustration of how the double system of legal regulation in the USSR functioned. Outwardly, the original ‘Decree’, according to which the ‘nationality’ rubric was completed in line with the applicant’s own statement, remained in force. But Soviet citizens soon learned that it was less helpful to rely on the letter of the law than to go by the practices that officials were actually using. Passport clerks started to demand that Soviet citizens with ‘suspect’ names and surnames, and other uncomfortable biographical details, should provide documentation of their parents’ nationality. All of this filtered down the system long before the public alteration to the procedures of passport registration in 1953. One could say that the content of the ‘top secret’ circular was made clear to rank-and-file Soviet citizens by the behaviour of officials and came as no surprise to these citizens, who by the late 1930s had already had experience in the functioning of Soviet legal practice on the ground. What is more, the procedure of establishing nationality ‘by a person’s parents’ rapidly came into general force, and started being used not just for ‘suspicious’ cases, but for all citizens. This article has shown how the introduction of ‘nationality’ as one of the ascriptive characteristics in the Soviet passport (national identity card) was followed by uncertainty about appropriate ways to express ethnic affiliation. As in the case of state censuses, Soviet citizens struggled to adapt to official categorisations and to maximise benefit to themselves (and minimise harm) in their self-descriptions. When local officials imposed categories they saw as inappropriate, they went ‘up the line’, attempting to negotiate identities that would be suitable both in official terms, and in their own eyes. At the same time, this process was accompanied by an increasingly sharp awareness of the importance of this category of personal description, and of the rationale behind it. From the behaviour of officials, passport holders were able to ‘read’ the content of secret circulars and to grasp some of the procedures of the second layer of legality governing their lives. In a remarkably short time, ‘nationality’ was transformed from an essentially optional and vague category into something extremely definite and clear: a characteristic that defined every person from his or her birth and that was inherited from his or her parents. Not coincidentally, this was the way that the majority of citizens of Russia saw the situation in the post-Soviet period too: nationality, in their view, was ‘in the blood’ and was not a cultural, but a biological feature.41

Notes 1 This article was written specially for this collection. The research for it was supported by the AHRC as part of the project, ‘Russian National Identity since 1961: Traditions and Deterritorialisation’ (2007–11). Our thanks to the project participants, particularly Dr Andy Byford, for useful discussions.

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2 The word pravo is broader than any single English term. In some contexts it is appropriately translated by the word ‘right’ (pravo na trud, ‘the right to work’), in others by the word ‘law’, ‘legal system’, ‘legality’, or ‘justice’ (krestyanskoe pravo, ‘serf system’, pravo-2, ‘legality-2’), and in yet others by the word ‘authority’ (my ne imeem prava ‘we don’t have the authority to … ’). [Editors] 3 On the history of the Russian estates, see e.g. (Freeze 1986). 4 The process by which nationality came to be the primary identifying factor in the final decades of the Russian Empire’s existence has been extensively studied. See particularly (Steinwedel 2001; Cadiot 2005). 5 As A. A. Melenberg observes (Melenberg 1998: 127): ‘P. A. Zaionchkovsky, who had an expert knowledge of such topics, emphasised, in his analysis of the Russian officer corps in the First World War, that the rubric Nationality did not exist, being replaced by the rubric Religious confession. However, in the 1912 Annual of Military Statistics for the Russian Army [Voenno-statisticheskii ezhegodnik armii na 1912 god], the rubric Nationality did appear. According to Zaionchkovsky: “The Russian Army was to a high degree stable in terms of its ethnic [natsionalnyi] composition. The overwhelming majority of officers (over 86 per cent) were Russian. (As was customary at the time, these included Ukrainians and Belorussians.) If one compares the 1912 figures with the 1903 figures, only two changes can be remarked: the proportion of generals of Polish origin had dropped slightly (from 3.8 per cent to 3.3 per cent), as had the proportion of Germans (from 10.3 per cent to 6.5 per cent)”. According to the evidence of the Annual, 61 out of 1299 generals were Germans (6.55 per cent), and 63 Protestants (6.76 per cent); and respectively 212 and 218 staff officers out of 8340 (3.26 per cent and 3.3 per cent), and 878 and 949 officers in the lower ranks [oberofitsery, holding the ranks of cornet to major – Trans.] (2.61 per cent and 2.82 per cent). The category ‘Protestant’ included Lutherans, evangelical Christians, and members of the Reformed Church. The statistics make clear that Zaionchkovsky, like the compilers of the Annual, simply assumed that all Lutherans were Germans, and conversely, that all members of the Russian Orthodox Church were Russian. But if we turn to the actual lists, we find that those given as “Russian” include the following: Hüber von Greifenfels, Schaffhausen-Schönberg-Eck-Schaufuss, Graf Grabbe, Baron Budberg, Baron von Mehrscheid-Gillessen, Baron Stahl von Holstein, Baron Meyendorff, Baron Fitinhof, Baron von Hettelhorst, Baron von Medem, Baron Ixkul von Hildebrand, and also Schmidt, Vogel, Flug, Siewere, Elsner, Schulz, Hartwig, Olderogge, Scheideman and others. All of these were listed as “Russian” because they had given themselves as “Orthodox”.’ 6 In this context, it is interesting to note the petitions by Mazurs and Ingrians to the Supreme Soviet with requests to ‘legitimise’ their natsionalnost (State Archive of the Russian Federation (henceforth GARF), f. 7523, op. 9, ed. khr. 99, l. 21, l. 23). 7 There were 14 questions included in the census form: 1) surname, name, patronymic or nickname (the blind, deaf and dumb – the deaf were not counted as a separate category – and mentally incapable were to be noted as such here); 2) sex; 3) relationship with the head of the family and head of household; 4) age; 5) marital status and number of children (if any); 6) social estate and social position or title; 7) place of birth; 8) place where registered; 9) place of usual residence; 10) present or absent at time census carried out; 11) religion; 12) native language; 13) literacy; 14) occupation: craft or trade, nature of profession or service, main occupation and other occupations to be noted separately. Military service and physical infirmities (other than blindness and incapacity to speak) were also to be noted here. When the form was completed, the head of the family was always noted first, followed by all the other members of the family in order of their relationship to him: wife, sons, daughters (or children in order of age), husbands and wives of grown children, grandchildren, mother and father (if beyond the age to be considered heads of the

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9 10 11

12 13 14

15 16

17 18 19 20 21 22 23

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family), brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces, uncles and aunts, etc. In the case of daughters-in-law, grandchildren and nephews and nieces, additional information about the nature of the family relationships was included. ‘V. P. Semenov-Tian-Shansky, the chairman of the subcommittee on the census, prepared a list of five questions to help the census officials determine what a respondent’s nationality might be. In line with this, the officials were supposed to establish the nationality of the respondent’s parents, the religion “that he was born into”, the language that he had spoken as a child, and also the language that he now used at home, and finally, the level of his knowledge of Russian.’ (Sokolovskiy 2002). Ibid. On the contribution made by ethnographers to the construction of ‘nationality’, see also (Hirsch 1997); on the Sarts (Abashin 2009). On ‘national construction’, see ( Hirsch 2005; Martin 2001; Slezkine 1994; Weitz 2002). Anti-discrimination legislation began to be introduced under the Provisional Government (e.g. the ‘Decree on the Abolition of Religious and National Restrictions’ of 20 March 1917) and the process continued after the October Revolution. For the 1918 stipulation that ‘all indication of religious affiliation, or the absence of this, is to be removed from official documents of all kinds’, see the ‘Decree on the Separation of Church and State and School and Church’ [Dekret SNK RSFSR 23 January 1918] (Sobranie 1919: no. 18, statute 263). Izhdevenets: i.e. someone financially supported by another person (such as an elderly relative, non-working adult child, etc.). [Editors] GARF, f. 7523, op. 99. d. 9. Ibid., l. 37. Here and below, the translation attempts to convey a sense of the orthographical, grammatical, and stylistic peculiarities of the Russian originals. The departures from the norms of educated Russian are, it should be said, characteristic for native speakers from non-intellectual backgrounds, rather than pointing to the fact that the letter-writers had traits of language use associated with ‘non-Soviet’ nationalities. [Editors] The Path of Socialism (shlyakh is an archaic word for a route, which in recent times has persisted in southern Russian dialects). [Editors] The standard term for a petition or solicitation in the Soviet period was zayavlenie [literally, ‘Declaration’], replacing the pre-revolutionary term, proshenie [from prosit’, to request]. Despite the more assertive ring of their title, these ‘declarations’ were, as the author points out, phrased ‘I request’, rather than, for instance, ‘I demand’; for this reason, in the discussion of these texts here, the English word ‘petition’ has been preferred. [Editors]. Ibid., l. 26 Ibid., l. 18. Ibid., l. 43. On the rhetoric of petitioning in the Stalin era, see e.g. (Fitzpatrick 1996; Alexopoulos 1999). In the original, ‘u pasporte’ – a case of contamination from Belorussian. [Editors] GARF, f. 7523, op. 99. d. 9, l. 15. In fact, the quotation does not come from Marx. It is a slightly inexact quotation from Stalin’s 1913 treatise, Marxism and the National Question, Chapter 1 (Stalin 1946: 293): ‘The nation is a historically constituted, stable community that emerges on the basis of language, territory, economic life and cast of mind, expressing itself in the community of culture.’ This no doubt deliberate mistake, in which Marx is credited with adumbrating Stalin’s views, testifies to the significance of Stalin’s article as a key text in Soviet national relations, and also to the petitioner’s knowledge of the leader’s writings, which was supposed to give additional weight to his arguments.

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24 Undated. 9 November 1938 by stamp of receipt. GARF, f. 7523, op. 99, d. 9, ll. 15–16. 25 The ‘metrical records’ were records of births, christenings (or other religious naming ceremonies), marriages, deaths and funerals. The ‘household books’ held information about the persons registered at a given address. [Editors] 26 GARF, f. 7523, op. 99, d. 9, ll, 24–24 ob. 27 The process of issuing passports was used as a form of ‘social filtering’, and those who belonged to ‘socially hostile groups’, such as former aristocrats or merchants, officers in the Tsarist army, members of the clergy, delinquents and vagrants, along with much of the rural population, often had their applications refused, a step that was usually a preliminary to internal exile. See (Baiburin 2012). 28 For example, in 1930, a report from the ‘Old St Petersburg – New Leningrad Society’ included a list of 11 members of the Society’s Council. Of these, two specified class origin by reference to category: ‘iz meshchan’ (‘from plebeian townsdwellers’), ‘dvoryanin’ (‘gentleman’). The other nine referred to descent: ‘son of a worker’, ‘son of a private tutor’, ‘son of an official’, etc. (‘Spisok chlenov Soveta Obshchestva’, Central State Archive, St Petersburg (TsGA-SPb.), f. 1000, op. 48, d. 99, ll. 11–12). 29 ‘Reception centre’ refers to the department of a public organisation, such as a ministry or Party authority, deputed to work with the general public (by answering letters, forwarding petitions to the relevant department, and so on). [Editors] 30 i.e. ‘a general significance’. The writer used the figure pritsipialnoe obshchee znachenie instead of the customary printsipialno vazhnoe znachenie (‘a considerable significance in principle’), but evidently had in mind that large numbers of people were expressing anxiety about the question of nationality. 31 The informal word for ‘you’ (ty, ‘thou’) is used, as was customary in Party circles, particularly from superiors to inferiors. [Editors] 32 GARF, f. 7523, op. 99, d. 9, l. 29. 33 Ibid., ll.14–15. The document bears the signature of the Chairman of the Department of Civil Law (Liptsker), and is dated 15 October 1938. In the top left-hand corner is a hand-written note: ‘Case material’ (signature indecipherable). 34 See also (Martin 1998: 846–56), which gives a detailed account of the shift in policy from the provision of advantageous conditions to minority nationalities in the 1920s to the targeting of diaspora populations from 1933 on. The institutional role of passportisation in the ‘national operations’ of the NKVD is discussed, with reference to police officials’ understanding of the categories rather than the self-perception of members of minority nationalities, in (Shearer 2009: 243–84) and (Hagenloh 2009: 296–305). Deportations of the Tsarist period are discussed in (Lohr 2003). 35 The exile of some ethnic groups began earlier, for example, the Finns began to be expelled from Leningrad province in 1935, but this was done as part of the campaign for dekulakization. 36 The material is presented in the blog at http://corporatelie.livejournal.com/15053. html 37 Ibid. 38 Ibid. 39 ‘Iz istorii “national’nogo voprosa” v SSSR’ (Memorial-Aspekt 1994:12). 40 As Dmitry Khmelnitsky puts it, ‘It was never directly asserted in Soviet textbooks etc. that national identity had biological foundations, but the conviction that this was so was pretty well universal. And the term “mixed marriage” still has a racist resonance: it is used to refer to a marriage of individuals from different [ethnic] origins (“nationalities”), even if the husband and wife come from the same culture and have no other [as might happen, say, with Russians whose Ukrainian and German ancestors had lived in Russia since the 1800s]. And most Russians would assume that the statement that someone who is unusually swarthy or has slanting eyes may come from any national group was meant as a joke.’ (Khmelnitsky 2010). (For confirmation of this, see e.g. the forum, ‘Chto opredelyaet natsionalnost –

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krov ili kultura?’, http://wap.rrr.b.qip.ru/?1-4-40-00000104-000–10001–0.) In 1991, the then eminently liberal newspaper Vechernii Leningrad published an item about the daughter of the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky and Elizaveta Zibert (also known as Ellie Jones), Patricia Thompson (alternatively, Elena Vladimirovna). She had been born in the United States, educated there, had never lived in Russia, and spoke no Russian. However, the journalist constantly insisted on her Russianness, ending the article thus: ‘I look at Vladimir Mayakovsky’s daughter as she departs, and I cannot see anything American about her’ (Alekaeva 1991). On the other hand, since the late 1990s, the government of the Russian Federation has been actively promoting a different understanding, as expressed both in the official term rossiiskii (someone with Russian citizenship), and in the concept of sootechestvennik (a looser term, cf. ‘compatriot’). In the latter concept, both (legal) citizenship and (primordial) ethnicity are essentially sidestepped: ‘loyalty to the Russian Federation as a state’ replaces citizenship and ‘loyalty to Russian culture’ (however vaguely, diversely, abstractly and provisionally this might be understood, to include simply the promotion of this culture outside Russian borders) replaces ethnicity. See e.g. (Byford 2012; Kostomarskaya 2006; Laruelle 2006, 2008).

References Abashin, S. (2009) ‘Vozvrashchenie sartov? Metodologiya i ideologiya v postsovetskikh nauchnykh diskussiyakh’ [The Return of the Sarts? Methodology and Ideology in Post-Soviet Scholarly Discussions], Antropologicheskii forum, 10: 252–78. Alekaeva, G. (1991) ‘Ya by russkii vyuchila za to, chto im razgovarival papa’ [I Want to Learn Russian Because That’s the Language Daddy Spoke], Vechernii Leningrad, 31 October, 1. Alexopoulos, G. (1999) ‘Victim Talk: Defense Testimony and Denunciation under Stalin’, Law & Social Inquiry, 24.3: 637–54. Baiburin, A. (2012) ‘Vvedenie pasportnoi sistemy v SSSR’. Byford, A. (2012) ‘The Russian Diaspora in International Relations: “Compatriots” in Britain’, Europe-Asia Studies. Cadiot, J. (2005) ‘Searching for Nationality: Statistics and National Categories at the End of The Russian Empire (1897–1917)’, The Russian Review, 64.3: 440–55. Fitzpatrick, S. (1996) ‘Supplicants and Citizens: Public Letter-Writing in Soviet Russia in the 1930s’, Slavic Review, 55.1: 78–105. Freeze, G. L. (1986). ‘The Soslovie (Estate) Paradigm and Russian Social History’, American Historical Review, 91: 11–36. Hagenloh, P. (2009) Stalin’s Police: Public Order and Mass Repression in the USSR, 1926–1941, Washington, DC: Johns Hopkins University Press. Hirsch, F. (1997) ‘The Soviet Union as Work-in-Progress: Ethnographers and the Category “Nationality” in the 1926, 1937 and 1939 Censuses’, Slavic Review, 56.2: 251–78. ——(2005) Empire of Nations: Ethnographic Knowledge and the Making of the Soviet Union, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Khmelnitsky, D. (2010) ‘Stalinskii rasizm’ [Stalinist Racism], 27 June 2010, www.snob. ru/profile/blog/9069/20673 (last accessed 22 August 2011). Kostomarskaya, N. (2006) ‘Deti imperii’ v postsovetskoi Tsentralnoi Azii: adaptivnye praktiki i mentalnye sdvigi (russkie v Kirgizii, 1992–2002) [The ‘Children of Empire’ in Post-Soviet Central Asia: Practices of Adaptation and Mental Shifts (Russians in Kirgizia, 1992–2002)], Moscow: Natalis.

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Laruelle, M. (2006) La question des Russes du proche-étranger en Russie (1991–2006). Les Etudes du Centre d’études et de recherches internationales, 126, Paris : CERI. —— (2008) ‘Les Russes de l’étranger proche: le thème diasporique et ses lobbies en Russie’, Revue d’études comparatives Est-Ouest 4: 5–28. Lohr, E. (2003) Nationalizing the Russian Empire: The Campaign Against Enemy Aliens during World War I, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Martin, T. (1998) ‘The Origins of Soviet Ethnic Cleansing’, The Journal of Modern History, 70.4: 813–61. ——(2001) The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923–1939, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Melenberg, A. A. (1998) ‘Lyudi. Sobytiya. Fakty. Nemtsy v Rossiiskoi armii nakanune Pervoi mirovoi voiny’ [People. Events. Facts. Germans in the Russian Army on the Eve of the First World War], Voprosy istorii 10: 127–30. Memorial-Aspekt (1994) Memorial Aspect: Informatsionnyi byulleten’ Obshchestva Memorial, 10–11 September. Petrov, N. V., Roginsky, A. B. (1997) ‘“Polskaya operatsiya” NKVD 1937–38 gg.’ [The NKVD’s ‘Polish Operation’ in 1937–38] (first published in Repressii protiv polyakov i polskikh grazhdan, A. E. Guryanov (ed.), Moscow: Zvenya, 22–30, www.memo.ru/ HISTORY/Polacy/00485ART.htm (last accessed 22 August 2011). Pilkington, H. (ed.) (1997) Migration, Displacement and Identity in Post-Soviet Russia, H. Pilkington (ed.), London: Routledge. Shearer, D. (2009) Policing Stalin’s Socialism: Repression and Social Order in the Soviet Union, 1924–1953, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Slezkine, Yu. (1994) ‘The USSR as a Communal Apartment, or How a Socialist State Promoted Ethnic Particularism’, Slavic Review, 53.2: 414–52. Sobranie (1919) Sobranie uzakonenii i rasporyazhenii rabochego i krestyanskogo pravitelstva 1918g. [Legislative Acts and Regulatory Measures of the Worker and Peasant Government, 1918], Moscow: Gosizdat. Sokolovskiy, S. (2002) ‘Etnicheskaya identichnost v sovetskikh perepisyakh naseleniya’ [Ethnic Identity in Soviet Censuses], paper presented at the conference, ‘Demograficheskaya modernizatsiya, chastnaya zhizn i identichnost v Rossii’, Institute of Demographic Forecasting of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow (http://old. iea.ras.ru/topic/census/doc/sokol_paper2002–1.htm). Stalin, I. V. (1946) Sochineniya v 16 tomakh [Collected Works], vol. 2, Moscow: Pisatel. Steinwedel, C. (2001) ‘Making Social Groups, One Person at a Time: The Identification of Individuals by Estate, Religious Confession, and Ethnicity in Late Imperial Russia’, in Documenting Individual Identity: The Development of State Practices in the Modern World, Jane Caplan and John Torpey (eds), Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 67–82. Ukazatel vidov (1998–99) ‘Ukazatel vidov dokumentov, soderzhashchikh genealogicheskuyu informatsiyu (XVI v. – 1917 g.)’ [Index of Types of Document Containing Genealogical Information], comp. S. N. Romanova, I. I. Glukhovskaya, Vestnik arkhivista, 4–6 (1998), 1–3 1999). Weitz, E. D. (2002) ‘Racial Politics without Race: Reevaluating Soviet Ethnic and National Purges’, Slavic Review, 61.1: 1–29.

4

The queue as narrative A Soviet case study1 Konstantin Bogdanov Translated by Victoria Donovan

To sum up social development, in a short space of time, is more difficult than summing up the economy – the dynamic of social progress cannot always be represented in figures. (Brezhnev 1979: 575) The face of the queue is hypertensive, red-white. (Gorenshtein 1997: 146)

The queue was a constant and immediately recognisable attribute of Soviet everyday life. In ideological terms, it signified the ‘temporary’ hardships the country was facing. For those having to queue, it was an inescapable quotidian ritual, a waste of time, and a source of irritation. If queues exist across time and space, they nevertheless had a special or, at the very least, fairly specific role to play in the life of the Soviet individual. Right up until the 1990s, the phenomenon of the queue caught the attention of Soviet citizens and foreigners, in particular, those among them who were able to compare the living conditions in their home countries with those in the USSR.2 Today, things have changed: queues are less common, and, most importantly, the very concept of the queue has ceased to occupy the place in social discourse that it did back then. In sociological terms, this is reason enough for further discussion. Obviously, changes to the economic and political life of a society do not necessarily signify immediate changes to the forms of self-identification of the people who make up that society. To what extent does the transformation represented by the social changes that took place in the former Soviet Union (the disappearance of Soviet symbolism or the shifts in phraseology, for example) fit with people’s established psychology, the character of the cultural tradition itself? Before trying to answer this (essentially, sociological) question, it might be useful, in more ways than one, to borrow from the methodological tools of the folklorist/ethnographer. By ‘folklore’ I mean here not only fairytales, epic poems, legends, and so on, but also the ‘common places’ of collectively meaningful experience, rules and taboos, jokes and rhetorical clichés, everyday sayings, adages, citations, and authoritative cross-referencing. In this sense, folklore is a realm of meaning where specialised everyday discourses

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take on the quotidian nature of language itself and perform a comparable role in social construction.3 From this perspective, the spectrum of ‘folkloric’ meanings for the notion of the ‘queue’ stretches from recognised folkloric genres, such as the chastushka,4 to works of highbrow and popular literature that touch on the theme. For a person of Soviet culture, the idea of the queue was coloured by feelings and emotions that reflected, on the one hand, the phenomenon’s status as a ritual of everyday life and, on the other, the ideological discourses of the time. The concept of the ‘queue’ existed alongside the reality of the queue, an object that acted as an almost constant focus of social attention.5 The queue, as an emblematic feature of Soviet life, was a favourite target of fun in foreign guidebooks (see, for example, Lehrer 1994: 109ff.). In the Soviet Union itself, information about the everyday reality of queues was, unsurprisingly, censored and, where it was available, was concentrated in ideologically peripheral – and, in particular, literary – sources right up until perestroika. One rare example of a critical appraisal of the queue situation in the official press was the satirical ‘Who’s Last in Line?’ (Ryklin 1961), a story of two strait-laced citizens, who, on encountering a queue at the dairy shop, contrive to get to the bottom of the matter by going through all of the necessary channels. The protagonists never achieve their goal: at each point on their way they encounter yet another line, not to mention those at the hairdresser’s, canteen, bakery, and, finally, at the bus-stop that they stop in at on their way. The official they are looking for turns out not to be in, the whole matter remains unresolved, and the story ends with the regretful and ambiguous words: ‘Unfortunately, some other places too, different streets and neighbourhoods, are emerging where one can observe, to a greater or lesser degree, the same problems as those we have described above’ (Ryklin 1961: 25). According to the statistics cited by Ilya Zemtsov, writing in the US-based Encyclopedia of Soviet Life (1991), Soviet citizens spent more than 80 billion hours a year standing in queues, approximately the same amount of time as 40–45 billion people spent at work each year (Zemtsov 1991: 261).6 While the great diversity of Soviet queues makes it impossible to classify them clearly in sociological terms, Zemtsov nevertheless identifies four groups into which queues can fall: spontaneous queues, administrative queues, shortage queues, and ‘invisible’ queues designed according to an individual hierarchy for the planned distribution of social and material goods, as well as two possible forms in which queues can exist – ‘real-life’ queues and paper queues, or ‘list’ queues. Clearly, classifying queues in this way is arbitrary and not always logical. Every queue is defined by the real or imagined existence of shortage, and all ‘real-life’ queues exist simultaneously as ‘list’ queues. Zemtsov’s system of classification nevertheless provides a rough visual metaphor for understanding the role that ‘queues’ played in the everyday life of the Soviet individual, for whom there was no place in society that was completely free of real-life or virtual queues. A psychological reading of this situation compels the academic to note a condition that might be described as the ‘perversion of

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the structure of personhood as a consequence of the time and energy wasted in connection with shortages’ (Deineka 1999: 29ff.) and by extension, the specific character of public consciousness as a whole and of economic psychology in particular. Queues surrounded the Soviet individual independently of the precise space and time she or he inhabited. The significance of the queue in Soviet culture is clear from the fact that, during the 1970s and 1980s, a children’s game was reported to exist that was called ‘in the queue’. Queues for food, clothing, and household goods were part of everyday life, as were any goods that were in short supply, women’s boots, bed linen, children’s tights, tooth paste, toilet rolls, decorations for New Year trees, and so on and so on. Not all of these queues were especially Soviet in nature, particularly those which Zemtsov refers to as ‘spontaneous queues’, that is, the queues for cinemas, concert halls, sports stadiums, public transport, etc. It would also be wrong to perceive administrative queues as an exclusively Soviet phenomenon, although they were a defining feature of the Soviet bureaucratic machine – in offices, doctors’ surgeries, hospitals, post offices, banks, and so on. The defining symbol of these queues was the number which the queuer was given when they first arrived in the queue and which they had to hang on to come what may. One particular ‘sub-genre’ of administrative queue was the queue for apartments, cars, furniture, white goods, tourist excursions, and so on. This type of queue could last for months, or even decades, giving rise to and perpetuating something that (by contrast with other queues) can be legitimately called the ‘invisible’ queue phenomenon – a psychological expression of social expectations that permanently oriented the Soviet individual towards the future rather than the present. This psychological orientation of Soviet people towards the future was a crucial aspect of Soviet ideology that was constantly reinforced. Whatever reservations one might have, the map of the future was drawn up and made known in advance: future developments were all pre-scripted, and all that was needed for their realisation was the ability to wait and the strength to endure. Mikhail Epshtein shrewdly interpreted the queuer as an individual manifestation of the fundamental character of Soviet ideology (Epshtein 1998: 54–60). And, in actual fact, Soviet discourse was saturated with metaphors of journeys, movement (forward), and queuing. In the vocabulary of socio-economic development theory, the historical process was understood through the chronotope of the queue: primitive society, slaveholding, feudalism, capitalism, and finally, communism – ‘the highest and most progressive stage of societal development’, ‘the end goal of the revolutionary struggle of the workers of every country’ (Politicheskaya ekonomiya 1954: 555). This brings to mind a well-known Soviet joke. A parade is taking place in Ancient Rome. The participants march under a banner that reads: ‘Long Live Feudalism – the Bright Future of Humanity!’ The political parlance of the time, espousing the eschatological utopianism of Marxism (Eliade 1965), tended make use of images that could be found in the oeuvre of V. I. Lenin: ‘One step forward,

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two steps back’, ‘This may not yet be socialism, but it is no longer capitalism. This is a great leap forward towards socialism’ (PSS, vol. 34, 194); ‘the most important thing is not to reject those skills we acquired in the past, but rather to keep moving forward, shifting from easier to more difficult tasks’ (PSS, vol. 37, 196); ‘the immediate tasks of the Soviet government’; ‘today the history of mankind is facing one of its most important and difficult crossroads’ (PSS, vol. 37, 196); ‘the only true leader of the workers and exploited masses is the class that moves without hesitation along its path, that is those who are not faint-hearted and do not fall into despair at the most trying, onerous, and treacherous junctions. Fits of hysteria are of no use to us. We require the measured step of the proletariat’s iron battalion’ (PSS, vol. 36, 208); and so on and so on. In the ideological imagery of Soviet society, history is depicted as a queue for a bright future; and the Soviet Union is at the front of that queue.7 Of course, the symbolism of the queue is not restricted to or limited by such ideological or historical analogies. The metaphors used in association with the Soviet queue do, however, allow us to understand the individual specificities of these analogies, to draw parallels between the macro-level symbolic representations of Soviet society and the micro-level symbols of Soviet everyday life. In other words, they allow the large to be perceived through the small, and the small through the large. Among the symbolic analogies that were traditionally drawn with the everyday Soviet queue, the queue for the Lenin mausoleum, a constant of the Moscow tourist circuit, occupied a special place. In the ideological hierarchy of Soviet queues, this was obviously the most ‘important’ queue. The queue for the mausoleum was the very apotheosis of the queue, the symbolic promise of prolonged or even eternal life. In the trickle (or rather the treacle) of Soviet literature, it is easy to find representative accounts of this phenomenon – for example, A. V. Gusev’s poem ‘At the Mausoleum’: On the Kremlin’s firs the sunlight dances, The clock chimes. The guards change. And the queue grows longer at the mausoleum– People arrive. For the first time, I range Onto the smooth granite steps Anxiety burns so keen my heart– As if Lenin were lost in thought, Only a sheet of glass separates us … With the passing of years from the planet will vanish, The hungry deserts, the ice-frozen seas, But of this I am sure, in one hundred years time Here a queue will still stand at the Moscow mausoleum. (Gusev 1960) The description of Lenin’s burial serves to underscore the specific nature of the queue that formed around the leader’s body. People would stand for hours

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in the biting cold for just a minute’s proximity to Lenin’s coffin and the chance to absolve themselves in the dead man’s presence (Tumarkin 1997: 131). It is worth noting that all subsequent funerals of party bigwigs followed more or less exactly the format of Lenin’s internment, and notably the leave-taking ceremony, which always took the form of a queue of people clambering over each other in an effort to get their fair share of farewell wishes. These queues became more visible and habitual as a result of state propaganda – newspaper readers, radio listeners, and later television watchers of the Soviet era were always caught up in the funeral of one person or another, if not as invited guests then, at the very least, as spectators of the next line in line.8 It is worth noting that the semantic correspondence between the concept of the ‘queue’ and the funeral is bolstered linguistically in Russian by the potential ambiguity in the implied meaning: the queue to pay respects to the dead [ochered k pokoiniku] – the queue behind the dead man [ochered za pokoinikom] – a queue of the dead [ochered pokoinikov] (see for example Pushkin: ‘In the Fatal Queue I Stand’ (Ushakov 1938: 1032). Kornei Chukovsky’s humorous, but nevertheless revealing example from children’s discourse also deserves to be mentioned in this context, since it makes clear this latent connection with reference to the funeral procession: ‘Along came a dead man with a long queue behind him’ (Chukovsky 1958: 141). Returning to the poem cited above, it is worth noting one thing in particular. For the poet Gusev (and, to be sure, he is not alone) it is not the mausoleum, but the queue itself which seems to be eternal. The queue is an integral part of life and the universe: one has the impression that this queue will not only exist forever, but has always existed. In Soviet ideology, the history of the USSR was understood as total history, which surpassed and ‘superseded’ any period of history that had preceded it. Thus, as far as it was a feature of Soviet history, the queue outside the mausoleum can be understood in a more abstract sense, as the concept of the queue itself, merging with a limitless number of other real-life, everyday queues. Indeed, these ordinary queues, according to official historiography, were the trigger for the October Revolution. On the one hand, there was the queue for bread on the eve of the February Revolution and, on the other, there were the queues of destruction – the Civil War, the Blockade, the postwar system of rationing, and so on.9 It is thus hardly surprising that, for people at this time, the emblematic image associated with Lenin was that of the simple, everyday queue. Take the story ‘In the Queue’, from the collection of supposedly folkloric Tales of the Works of Lenin. The tale, recorded in the Leningrad factory, ‘The Red Vyborger’, is set in a barber’s shop. There is, of course, a queue ‘of around six people’. ‘All of a sudden Lenin walks in, looking for a shave,’ Lenin is recognised, people stand up and greet him, but the leader modestly takes a newspaper out of his pocket, sits down and becomes absorbed in his reading. Naturally, the hairdresser invites Lenin to be served without having to wait his turn, but no: ‘“I’m much obliged” – Lenin says – “but we have to respect

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queues and orderliness. We made the laws ourselves after all.” – And he began to wait for his turn’ (Mirer and Borovik 1937: 36). The queue was a projection of the law, which, as Lenin himself puts it here, we ‘made ourselves’ and as such are bound to observe: these two things even bind Lenin. In this way, assuming the mantle of the postmodernist for a moment, it is possible to say that, when it comes down to it, Lenin is standing in the queue for his own mausoleum. The opposite of Soviet reality was bourgeois reality, and, as such, the Soviet queue also had its antipode. If the apotheosis of the Soviet queue was the queue for Lenin’s mausoleum, then the apotheosis of the queue in the West was the queue of jobseekers. Images of these queues, the symbol of the western world, abound in illustrated newspapers, magazines, and propaganda posters. It would be wrong to suggest that such symbolism only resonates with Soviet people. For evidence of this, one need only consider Giuseppe De Santis’s film Roma ore 11 (1952), in which a scene featuring queues has the same symbolic function. In this case, a queue of unemployed people snaking up a staircase ends up bringing the stairwell crashing down with its weight. The symbolism of the scene is obvious to even the least savvy cinemagoer, but in the Soviet context the comparison of queues became an implicit (or, at times, explicit) comparison of ideologies.10 In semantic terms, this comparison is interesting not only from an ideological point of view, but also from the perspective of proxemics. One of the ethnographic phenomena that struck Soviet people when they visited the West was the difference between queues there and in their homelands. First, personal space was more important in western queues. A certain distance had to be maintained between the person ‘exiting’ the queue (i.e. the person at the counter) and the next person in line. Elias Canetti, who wrote with annoyance about the repulsiveness of coming into physical contact with strangers and interpreted this feeling of repugnance as a natural right guiding the behaviour of human beings (Canetti 1960), would most probably have felt that his theories about the psychology of queues were entirely vindicated had he found himself in a Soviet line. In the mind of the Soviet individual, the idea of the queue was inextricably bound up with the sensation of the crowd, claustrophobia, and being crushed, with the characteristic features, in Canetti’s opinion, of quotidian urban reality. Yet, in the context of Soviet ideology, the centre of social life was traditionally understood as those places characterised by crowds (or euphemistically speaking, the masses), orderliness, and crampedness, in other words, places where there were queues. Places where there were no queues, on the other hand, belonged to the periphery. As the social historian Elena Osokina put it: ‘The queues in Moscow were really like an atlas of the Soviet Union, Muscovites could only have made up a quarter of the people standing there’ (Osokina 1999: 277). Thus, in the Soviet Union, the ‘most’ cramped conditions were always associated with the capital cities and, in particular, with Moscow.

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Throughout the entire period of Soviet rule, one of the most iconic images of state propaganda was that of the country bumpkin harassed and, inevitably, lost in the capital city. For evidence of this, one need only think of the heroes of films such as Pop By Tomorrow (1963), Three Poplars on Plyushchikha Street (1968), and Kinsfolk (1981). But there was more than history at hand here. The tedium of the ordinary Soviet queue can be understood as a specific feature of the national character, similar in nature to the intimacy of Arab conversation, which occurs at a proximity that would be impermissible for Europeans. The well-known and widely used Russian expression ‘to scramble in without queuing’ [‘(v) lezt bez ocheredi] is best explained by the example of a real queue, which, by its very structure, precludes such an action. The ‘aggressive’ nature of the Soviet queue and the desire of those standing in it to make sure a strict sense of order prevailed (although from the outside, and especially to foreigners, it could appear that order was entirely absent) clearly separated it from the types of queues one finds in western Europe and the USA, and would appear to lend weight to the analogies usually drawn between the Soviet (or for that matter Russian) mentality and the principles of collectivism, ‘conciliation’ [sobornost], communitarianism, and so on (Fedotov 1991; Losskii 1957; Rodan 1997). From a sociological perspective, however, the characteristics mentioned above, even today, need to be carefully defined; in order to determine how collectivist or individualistic a particular nation is, it is worth asking how far the real social status of the collective (in this case, the queue) correlates with the psychological and reflexive outlook, which, in theory at least, should correspond with this status (Basina 1998: 89 ff.; cf. Lebedeva 1996: 49–51, 57). In other words, how does the queue function in the ethno-psychological imagination of Russian informants in terms of how they understand themselves, others, and the world around them? The organising ethical principle which defines the semiotics of any queue is the principle of justice – an idea that also supplies the rationale for the established societal order and forms of social control that govern human relations.11 Indeed, it might be contended that the queue in fact constitutes an absolute of natural law, in a similar way as, for example, the practice of mutual gift-giving in traditional cultures, (potlatch), which has been described by Mauss. The queue institutionalises the equity of social exchange and, as such, exposes the ontological foundations, the pre-reflexive or, at least, not fully rational ‘scale’ of justice, the tangible reality of the ‘natural law’ (cf. Henkel 1964: 228ff.; Maihofer 1958: 172–74; Radbruch 1963: 123ff.).12 With this in mind, it is easy to see how the queue has become the focus of idealistic reminiscence. However bad Soviet queues were, people will remark today, one good thing about them was that everyone in that queue was equal, that things were distributed fairly. The queue provides an excuse for resigning oneself to the fact that the values of Christianity and (or) Communism are eternal. A poem by the Leningrad poet Nonna Slepakova (1936–98) provides

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a notable illustration of the ambivalence at the centre of people’s attitudes to the Soviet queue: Why do they stand in heaven or hell? What’s to brag about once the purchases are made? And when I come along, with malicious glee, They’ll say to me: ‘Comrade, go to the back of the queue’. Comrade, not commodity, and a long cry from ‘Missus’ To me ‘Missus’ sounds as bad as ‘old cow’ Between the dead and the living I don’t vie for the dividing line, Hidden within that luxuriant sound. It’s not that, lamenting for youth, I desire To be called in a simple way, the Soviet way, But seemingly nothing can completely stamp out This age-old draw to equality in Christ. On first impressions, the ‘idea’ of the queue appears to complement the idea of justice. Chaïm Perelman, who carried out research into diverse types of justice, believed that it was possible to bring different people together in such a way that the principle that divided these people into separate classes and groups would also be understood as the principle of justice that united them as a group (Perelman 1963). In other words, in order to say that something is or must be fair, one must have in mind a situation that would allow different people to be united as one group. In my mind, the queue is an obvious example of a situation in which different people are united through a common structure and a shared understanding of their goal. In this case, the requirement of justice comes in the form of a demand for civilised relations between people who are divided in the realm of social production, but are unified in the realm of social demand. A number of anthropologists have noted an analogy between the order of these relations and the ritualistic order of human integration in archaic societies. Daniel Miller, for example, has pursued this line of enquiry in an anthropological study of the practices of ritual sacrifice: ritualistic elements can be identified in the practice of going shopping. The earning and spending of money is an allusion to the ideas of transcendental order and ritualistic teleology, and, more specifically, to the collective partaking of food during the moment of sacrifice (Miller 1997, 1998). From the point of view of the socialist system and Communist ideology, the same analogies might be seen to apply to the Soviet queue. The theme of the equality and legitimacy of those who make up the queue constitutes the common denominator of any discussion, serious or flippant, that emerges during the act of queuing itself. Practices of etiquette serve as a good example here, ranging from verbal question-answer formulations (‘Who’s last in line?’) to collective condemnations of ‘queue jumpers’. Of course, people talk about all sorts of things too – the weather, prices, work,

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family issues, politics, and so on. But the bottom line in all these conversations is always the same – each person must submit to the rules of ‘justice’ inherent to the queue they are standing in. Subordinating oneself to the rules of ‘justice’ raises a (psycho)logical problem: the difficulty of reconciling the abstract invariable of justice as such with the different understandings of this obtaining in practice. The Soviet individual was always involved in more than one queue at any one time, and each operated according to a different understanding of fairness. One queue could be working according to the rule of ‘to each the same’, another by the rule of ‘to each according to his need’, and yet another ‘to each according to his status’, and so on. Thus, while silently recognising the principle of ‘queue justice’ in and of itself, the Soviet individual would also have to take on board the fact that what constituted justice in one queue did not constitute justice in another. Dmitry Prigov paints a realistic, if creative, picture of all this: In the convenience food store, I bought some azu, To take home in my bag without anyone knowing, And from under the counter, with bare-faced cheek, And a mighty hunk of illegal meat, Comes some old cunt, The piece is enormous, too big to lift, And it’d be alright if she even worked in the shop, Everyone’s got rights, she’d deserve it, But that! Some stranger, and an ugly one at that, And here I am, a poet, the pride of Russia and everything, Waiting half the day with a bunch of strangers, But the luck’s on the side of those cunts. (Quoted from Zorin 1998:164) The chances for conflict are high in any queue, but for the people standing in Soviet queues it was a foregone conclusion, an eventuality that they prepared themselves for in advance. The typical associations of the queue for someone who lived in the Soviet Union – the arguments, squabbles, and verbal wrangling over who’s right and who’s wrong13 – reflect the Soviet and Russian propensity for soul-searching and moralism that has been described in fiction, academic and journalistic writing. For some writers, this is the defining feature of the national character, and, according to K. Kasyanova, it plays an important ‘non-entropic’ role in Russian culture, permitting ‘a measure of clarity about one’s own and others’ modes of behaviour’ and counteracting ‘the gradual breakdown of value-normative ethnic conceptions’ (Kasyanova 1994: 235 ff.). Whether this is entirely true or not, the existence of a ‘judicial mindset’ in the Soviet ideological context is indisputable: throughout the Soviet period, the ideological regime compelled people either to condemn others (counterrevolutionaries, capitalists, foreigners, ‘enemies of the people’, cosmopolitans and other ‘foreign elements’) or to repent themselves. The Russian national

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characteristic of ‘soul-searching’ can thus be understood, not in metaphysical terms, but as something with concrete historical foundations. The character of Soviet queues is instructive in this regard, in as much as it demonstrates the social and psychological consequences of those conditions, tendencies and inconsistencies connected with the emergence of the ‘judicial mentality’ of Soviet ideology itself. By understanding the queue as a permanent attribute of Soviet history, the history of the USSR itself is transformed into the history of the queue. Social transformations are reflected by changes to the character of the Soviet queue. No account of the changes that have taken place in this domain would be complete without some inspired histrionics. Thus, in the poetry of Valentina Saakova, the stoicism of the wartime and post-war queues is juxtaposed with the lowbrow character of the queues of the ‘stagnation’ era: In the bread queue: ‘Who’s next?’ The queue answers sullenly With a hungry glint in its eye, A laddie, pallid, Stepped aside, Giving way to an old woman, The queue curls round In a grey loop A noose round one’s neck As it were Here comes the bread – there’ll be no jam today Everyone will have their turn … [ … ] And queues today For imported gear: Deafening screams ring out Relatives at each others’ throats An old woman crushed between the doors. (Saakova 1990: 3, 8) The difference between these queues reveals the axiology of historical and existential experience, which exposes the supra-individual values of morality, conscience, and so on. Indeed, Saakova cannot hold herself back from apocalyptic analogies: Wake up, people, Stop and think – You’re not a flock of savage birds Today it’s consciences that are in short supply And a conscience is so much dearer than rags!

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Even the poor ones, Can be conscientious, Don’t grease your soul until it’s black Who’ll be last in line When they’re doling out consciences In the ultimate Queue of all? For a Soviet individual who was generally aware of such supra-individual values, the everyday queue was just one more opportunity to apply these values to himself and those around him. The queue somehow ‘transcends’ those who comprise it to embody values of a universal order, while, at the same time, providing a means of judging how likely it is these values will be put into practice and what form this would take. Thus, in the context of the queue, one form of justice can be replaced by another, while, at the same time, the idea of justice in general is maintained. One notable exception in this case, which would appear to reinforce the rules of the queue (as well as the rules of justice that the queue represents), but, in fact, constitutes a fundamental revision of those rules, is the possibility of getting ahead of the queue, of being above it. A register of individuals and groups within society who were officially excused from queuing was established in the earliest stages of Soviet rule and remained a feature of society throughout the history of the Soviet Union. The instruction manuals, familiar to anybody who grew up in the Soviet Union, which ranged from hastily hand-written texts to monumental red and gold stencils, attributed this right to different people at different times, from the Heroes of the Soviet Union and of Socialist Labour, to Deputies of the Supreme Soviets of different unions, to veterans of the Civil War and the Great Patriotic War, to pregnant women, to women with many children (dubbed ‘hero-mothers’), to the disabled. In the perestroika period, this list was extended to the survivors of the Siege of Leningrad, those who had been held in German concentration camps and GULAGs, and veterans of the war in Afghanistan. The concessions were only applicable at certain times and in certain places (moreover, at certain times they applied to different groups in society: conscripts, policemen, long-distance sailors, pensioners, etc.), but were nevertheless taken for granted. In historical retrospect, the presence of non-queuers of various sorts within the structure of common queue provides an interesting illustration of the vicissitudes of Soviet history, a list of sorts of its officially recognised heroes and victims. Deputies and the disabled interwove with each other, while, at the same time, acquiring the right to be the leaders of the queue. Those allowed to the front of the queue are, on the one hand, those who, in ideological terms, are the leaders of Soviet society, and, on the other, those who, in psychological and social terms, complete that society. The principle of justice is thus expressed in a direct but, at the same time, very vague way, while the point of view justifying the equality of queuers becomes difficult to formulate. It is far

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from surprising that attempts at such formulations have become fodder for jokes that play on the lack of commitment and coordination in the implied order of the queue: – – – –

That’s just barefaced cheek: pushing in at the front of the queue! I’m disabled. Doesn’t look like it to me! Have you had a look at my X-rays? (Ionin 1999: 34, 4)

It was not quite clear why heroes of war and labour, deputies and the disabled, servicemen and pensioners should all enjoy equal rights to go to the front of the queue. In each case, the condition was justified by diverse arguments and differently formulated axiologies: from the constitution to panhuman morality. It might also be noted that by grouping under the category of non-queuers war heroes and concentration camp victims (in particular, victims of the Stalinist camps), for example, the queue shattered the ideologemes that, in the past, had been fundamental to the self-perception of heroes and former prisoners, yesterday’s adversaries (people’s hero – people’s enemy), today’s equals. The official regulations awarding the right to be excluded from queues to particular individuals worked on the assumption that queues would accept these regulations as obligatory, but in actual fact this didn’t always happen. Both latent and direct conflicts ensued: for the queue itself, it was not the external order, but the internal one that ascribed legitimacy to individuals. Framing this situation in the language of social self-identification, one might remark that Soviet society understood itself not only in terms of class stratification into workers, peasants, and the trans-class ‘stratum’ (prosloika) of intellectuals, but also through stratification according to the rules of real and virtual queues. Otherwise put, society was divided into those who queued and those who did not, those who queued for one thing and not for another, and so on. The communist always, And everywhere cries: ‘Forwards’! But without waiting his turn Takes everyone else’s share. (Kulagina 1999: 220 № 1157) The grasping Communists, Don’t take us for living souls, And for the Leninist-Marxists, There’s no standing in queues. (Kulagina 1999: 105 № 1216; see also № 1208 б 1215 б 1217) Cut the apples early – Tiny they will be,

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They don’t stand in queues, The powers that be. (Kulagina 1999: 222 № 1196) One queue expressed one system of values, which might or might not correspond with those of an alien (or, to be more precise, an ‘otherqueuely’) order. Anna Akhmatova, in her cycle of poems condemning the Stalinist regime, Requiem, evoked the perfect image for this condition, addressing herself not only to those who had stood in the mournful queue that her poem commemorates, but also those who could ever imagine standing in it: ‘Through ferocious cold and the dead July heat / Under a red, sightless wall’ (‘I learned how a face could lose its form’, 1940). Lidiya Ginzburg has described the queues during the Leningrad Blockade with reference to that same psychological condition of the Soviet individual – the inexplicable sense of existential unity between those who were queuing, brought together in their hope of being awarded their individual, but at the same time collective, part or lots. The queue equals the forced communion of people, one against the other, agitated but at the same time collectively oriented towards a common, unified sphere of interests and goals. From this arises the blend of rivalry, animosity, and sense of the collective, prepared to join forces at any minute against the common enemy – he who does not abide by the rules. Conversations come undone here through forced idleness and at the same time cohere around a distinct subject matter, geared towards the business of queuing itself. (Ginzburg 1989: 548) The forced idleness of the people standing in queues is second only to the centripetal force that binds them together in their common task. The sense of collective unity that this sort of behaviour creates, which is not, of course, a unity of the likeminded, nevertheless presents its own particular form of interactive like-mindedness – the group remains a group only as long as those individuals who comprise it share something in common in an objective sense. For Akhmatova, this unity is between the victims of repression; for Ginzburg – with all the complexities of the attendant detail – of those fighting against German fascism. It is essential to understand the sociological function and structured meaning of the queue in order to grasp the significance of the descriptions and references to it in Russian literature, journalism, and folklore. The queue can be taken as a clear expression of a taxonomy that corresponds to the inevitability of collective existence (‘It is impossible to live in a society and be free from that society’). It is a form of socialisation, which is itself a mode of transcendence. As Brodsky puts it: But, saving space, how can the masses be moulded into shape Except the cemetery and the black queue at the cash register.14

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Logical or absurd, laudable or laughable, terrifying or pathetic, the organising principles of the queue nevertheless possess a primary ontological significance as a reality of a given, pre-existing structure. Sergei Gandelevsky, for example, rewords one of Blok’s poems (‘Night, road, streetlamp, pharmacy’) as ‘Pharmacy. Queue. Streetlamp. / Girlies right under your nose. Ash everywhere’ (Gandelevsky 1995: 62). A queue for alcohol is also both a reality and a symbolic structure. In his autobiographical story ‘Trepanation of the Skull’, which takes its subject and title from an incident experienced by the author in a queue for beer, Gandelevsky provides an opportunity to reflect on the organising principles of these sorts of queues: In the train compartment at Klimentovsky, the hungover throng was bellyaching and it reeked of brawling. Someone had already managed to transcend the boundaries of good and evil and jump the queue. And there were two queues: the first was a queue for twenty-kopeck pieces, and the other – for beer, obviously – was a queue up to a cramped hanger on the left. After forty torturous minutes waiting in the queue for change, we joined the line for beer. The rabble clamoring around the communal water station had not yet turned into a homogenous mass, like the Chinese, and could be grouped into several categories. A large subsection was made up of despondent drunks with parched mouths, like me and Kovaly. Jars, string bags, and coins in their clammy fists. A second group, fairly thin on the ground but nevertheless remarkable, was made up of five or six people with a sleazy air and a wolfine plasticity. [ … ] Me and Vitya had already arrived at our goal and even caught sight of vending machines selling beer when things came to a standstill. Some big shot had turned his back to the queue and was having an animated discussion with one of his pals. It was getting embarrassing. I touched this robust back and suggested that perhaps it was time to let us through. [ … ] But I could never have expected such a swift pounding as that. (Gandelevsky 1996: 27) From the inside, it often appeared as if the queue had its own very specific rules. Soviet legal scholars were wont to point out, with some chagrin, that cases of rule bending by those who should really know better (merchants, cashiers, etc.) often met with sympathy from the people waiting in the queues. In 1986, the newspaper Labour [Trud] reported a typical incident of this sort from one shop, where, after the shop assistant was revealed to be under-weighing goods, he simply stopped what he was doing and disappeared into the utility room with the words: ‘I’ve stolen before and I’ll steal again. Everyone does it’. The reaction of the queue? They defended the shop assistant and turned instead against anyone who wanted to accuse him of stealing (‘be fair, so the guy was a gram out, he has to live somehow, doesn’t he?’) (Kondrashkov

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1989: 94 ff.). When goods and services are in short supply, the most diverse and even underhand modes of distribution are endorsed since, given the potential costs, they ensure, firstly, that everyone gets access to the limited supply and, secondly, that those in the queue are treated as equals. What might appear intolerant, unlawful, and just plain odd to the outsider is entirely permissible and legitimate within the context of the queue, as long as it doesn’t stop the queue from being a queue – in the same way, society will tolerate marginal elements so long as they conform to the norms of social unity (Bespalov and Salnikov 1991: 85 ff.). A humorous scene from the short story ‘The Chauffeur’s Gloves’ by Sergei Dovlatov, in which the protagonist appears in a beer queue dressed as Peter I, eliciting no response from his fellow queuers, has some relevance here: No one says anything; no one bats an eyelid. No questions are asked. What questions could there possibly be? [ … ] I hear the railway worker explaining to someone: I’m after the bald guy. The tsar’s after me. And you, you’re after the tsar … . (Dovlatov 1991: 86) In Zinovy Zinik’s novel The Mushroom Picker, a queue in a shop for smetana becomes the last straw, following which the English heroine, who has married a Russian and moved to Moscow, decides to leave the country. The heroine’s good intentions to ‘lighten up’ are crushed by reality, which bears a mysterious resemblance to the everyday absurdity of the queue: Puddles from the street slush and the stamping of a hundred or so legs were spreading across the tiled floor. Ignoring the abusive language and the crush of bodies, a cleaner in a blue pinafore and with a mop and bucket in her arms was pushing her way through the crowd and was flinging sawdust with an air of sad disenchantment right onto the customers’ feet. The latter cursed, but the attention of all was fixed on the spiraling queue for the meat and dairy counter, invisible among the hubbub and the mass of bodies. A second invisible queue also led up to the cash register, and the point where these two coils ended, or started, or how they inter-joined was impossible to tell. People with iron wills nevertheless followed one another through the invisible hierarchy of the queues, shouting down anyone who dared to question the logic of the hierarchy. (Zinik 1991: 109)15 At its most extreme, the world of the queue appears entirely self-sustaining, oblivious to anything that exists outside of itself. This is the way that the queue is depicted in Mark Kharitonov’s story ‘The Queue’ (1990), a snapshot of a life entirely dependent on the rules of an unspecified queue. In this allencompassing and unavoidable queue, the meaning of life is the survival of the queue itself. The reader is not aware what those queuing up will

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eventually receive. One of the characters in the story remembers another queue without a beginning or an end, which grew ever longer, seemingly of its own accord: There were a couple of guys standing over there, by that round house, not for any particular reason, just standing there, and straightaway a fourth one comes up to them, then a fifth, and a sixth, not even bothering to ask what they were there for, just saying: ‘Who’s last in line?’ [ … ] And eventually the whole town’s standing there with no idea where the thing starts or ends. (Kharitonov 1994: 148)16 A queuer’s life is defined by her ‘number’, which she must earn in the eyes of the queue by turning up there everyday and observing the established rules of the game. Here, as in any other queue, the enthusiasm for equality (declared in slogans such as ‘Respect those around you, everyone is equal here’ and ‘Order is the guarantee of equality’) has its limits: the queue pushes forward the selected few, leaving those who have erred behind. The queue has its own police and ideologues, its jesters and its victims. The story (which reproduces a favourite theme of the utopian novels of Orwell and Zamyatin) ends with one of the characters – half-priest, half-soldier – delivering a fiery tirade, a call to arms against all those who sow the poisonous seeds of ‘distrust and doubt’ throughout the queue, stripping fellow-queuers of ‘faith in the future’, and ‘hope’, and in which the queue emerges as sacred place where man ‘was born, lived until old age, and would hope to die’ (Kharitonov 1994: 149). An important point can be raised in connection with this story: while attention must be paid to the specific ethnographic (or even ethnological) character of the Soviet queue, it is also important to note the particular configuration of social roles that the queue produced. As a structural equivalent to Soviet society, the queue was just as heterogeneous as the social space that it reflected. If a person played a leadership role in some (sub)structure of Soviet society, this did not necessarily determine that they would have a leadership role in the ‘society’ of the queue. The queue was a (sub)structure with its own distribution of roles. Moreover, the queue functioned not only as a repressive, but also as a constructive (therapeutic) mechanism of social interactivity, undermining the fixity of social roles by situating these in contexts in which these roles are challenged (be it: ‘No, you weren’t standing here’, or: ‘I don’t give a toss if you were standing here’). In other words, by bringing different leaders into conflict, the queue determined its own leaders, while at the same time setting an axiological precedent which might or may not correspond with existing social and ideological (sub)structures.17 From this point of view, the ‘essence’ and ‘existence’ of the order established in the queue reflected one of the most characteristic aspects of Soviet discourse, in which any contradiction at the level of the interpretation of existence was removed by the ‘essential’ monotony of ideologised ritual

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actions. Ritual weighs upon myth: a person standing in a queue may not understand why he submits to the established order, but he submits all the same. This was the basis for the ideologisation of ritual, and shaped the conditions for totalitarian ideology.18 Official discourse played on the symbolic significance of the Soviet queue, presenting it as a phenomenon that, while appearing absurd to outsiders, provided the lives of Soviet individuals with structure and definition. A grotesque example of this sort comes from Fridrikh Gorenshtein’s tale ‘Little Purse in Hand’. The goal of the story’s heroine, an old woman called Avdotyushka, is not so much to be able to purchase things in the shops, as to be first in line for those things. Of all the characters in Gorenshtein’s oeuvre, this is the most easily recognisable for anyone who has lived through the Soviet experience: ‘an archetypal food-shopping old bird’, ‘a character who never showed up in Soviet statistics, but one who nevertheless took an active part in the consumption of socialist goods’ (Gorenshtein 1997: 141). The consumption of the products the heroine queues up for – ham, salami, kidneys, tomatoes – was essentially indistinguishable from the semiotic consumption of the act of queuing itself. Through its production and consumption of goods, the queue constituted a closed system, a situation with sadomasochistic and cannibalistic overtones. These associations were born out by the heroine of the novel by Zinovy Zinik cited above, who, while standing in the queue for Lenin’s mausoleum, was tormented by erotic and at the same time cannibalistic visions of devouring her husband’s lover, the Kremlin, or Lenin himself (Zinik 1991). The preceding discussion leads us neatly on to the question of gender and its importance in Soviet’s people’s understanding of queues. Despite the fact that they are made up of members of both sexes, queues tend to be associated with women in particular. There was no need to explain to the Soviet public, for example, the reasoning behind the preamble to the much talked about play I Am a Woman (written by D. Merezhko, ‘Lensovet’ theatre, directed by I. Vladimirov) which featured a noisy queue outside a shop. From a male perspective, the queue was a feature of a female subculture, an expression of a collective, deep-rooted, ‘motherly’ instinct rather than of individual need. Thus, in an unpublished story by Natalya Pinezhaninova, the hero, standing in a queue for boots for his daughter, sighs ‘the sigh of vexed womankind’, helps to hold someone else’s baby, and eventually, ‘losing all sense of reality’, ends up ‘at the source, the site of the entrance-exit’ (Pinezhaninova 1983). The reality of the queue is depicted as a ‘non-male’, or even an ‘anti-male’ world. The fact that the ‘female’ semiotically prevails over the ‘male’ is illustrated not only, and not so much, by the debatable prevalence of women over men in the queues themselves, as by the attributes associated with the queue, the particularities of the ‘queue’ vocabulary (the passive-object forms of the verbs: to be chucked out [vybrosili]; to get something [dostalos]; to get yourself a place in the queue [zanyat ochered]; to queue up until you get served [vystoyat ochered]; to ‘obtain goods’ [otovaritsya]), and also the particularly ‘female’

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semantics of handbags, purses, paper bags, and so on.19 Sociologists have detailed the factors contributing to Soviet women’s awareness of ‘their ability to resolve everyday problems without the help of men thanks to their independence and the adoption of a number of “masculine” traits (some of which have remained with them to the present day)’ (Arutyunyan 1992: 144). But the queue is not only a clear illustration of the ‘masculinisation’ of female behaviour, but also an indication of the ‘feminisation’ of one of the most fundamental features of everyday social life. The ‘female code’ of the Soviet queue is undoubtedly written into the semiotic parts of the Soviet person’s socio-psychological outlook. Tatyana Shchepanskaya has written about the prevalence of this code in political discourse, perceiving ‘female’ metaphors – ‘mother’, ‘mistress’, ‘whore’ – as dominant semantic ideas connected with political power in the responses of Russian informants (Shchepanskaya 1998: 177–94). Soviet queues, originating in the actions of the political authorities, are reminders of the existence of indirect social and ideological control. The constitutive and formal dimensions of the manifestation of power in the Soviet queue are mutually complementary: the ‘queuer’ is both the object of the authorities’ control (someone in search of her niche of consumption within the ideologically sanctioned hierarchy of distribution of goods and services), and, at the same time, its subject (the person in control of how this distribution is ordered). The ‘female’ semantic thus appears to be the dominant one in this context, corresponding, in a general sense, with the ‘female code’ of Soviet ideological doctrine, which placed the emphasis on self-reproduction and self-reference (Clark 1981: 114–29). It is perhaps unsurprising that the canonical image of the seemingly endless queue, a common trope of literary texts and folklore, was also a feature (and a staple) of texts in which the symbolism of reproduction was compounded by the symbolism of autoeroticism. For the respondent, the important thing was not why the queue existed and what function it served, but simply that it was a queue, and that it existed. In this case, connotative meanings were subordinated to denotative meanings, ontology displaced metaphysics: ‘objective reality determined consciousness’.20 As anyone who has ever been in a queue will tell you, the psychological experience of the queue is an experience of waiting. Indeed, this is reflected in the very vocabulary of queuing, in particular the interesting and not entirely unjustified use of verbs of stasis and movement: for example, the queue ‘moves forward’, while the queuer ‘stands’ in it. Queues are not the place for those who do not wish, or are not able to wait. It goes without saying that in Soviet society, where waiting – albeit in long and short, serious and lighthearted, real and virtual queues – constituted one of the most fundamental features of social life, the capacity to wait developed not only in those psychological domains that were imposed on the Soviet individual from without, but also in those that he sought out for himself and acquired voluntarily. Waiting was necessary, but it was also productive, formalising individual activity in the domain of choiceless and, as such, pre-determined social meaning. As

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Heineman has shown, the existential indeterminacy of social choice is compensated by the social determinacy of emotional trust in the economic system: it is easier for a person to believe in the determinacy of expectations sanctioned by society than to rely upon rational experience and her own knowledge of a situation in the absence of that trust (Heineman 1987; see also Sventsitsky 1997). Thus, by forming social expectations, the queue constitutes not only an effective catalyst or tool for manufacturing social trust, but also the objective of such trust: in order for a person to wait in a queue, she must first believe in that queue, that is, she must have faith in the rules of its organisation and the commitments it entails. From an anthropological perspective, the dependence of queuers on others’ belief in the system also doubles up as a way of organising individual demands and, in particular, neutralising the feelings of jealousy that give rise to psychological tensions (cf. Shrader 1999: 28; Nisbet 1982: 109). Indeed, the equality of queuers does not only mean the equality of those who believe in the system, but also the equality of those who believe in equality itself. One cannot help noticing that, despite the diversity of literary and poetic depictions of the queue, a strong continuity exists between the interpretative models employed in Soviet cultural discourse. When it comes to twists and turns in plot, indeed, anywhere where there is space to develop fantasies about the queue, authors tend to limit their creative decisions to the most conventional and obvious choices. The fact that no great difference exists between the way that well-known and relatively obscure authors deal with the theme is indicative of the recognised or unrecognised existence of a collective, rather than individual, folkloric notion of the queue. The much played upon and emotionally charged idea of the specificity of the Soviet queue, while subject to intense exaggeration, nevertheless constitutes, if not a literal illustration, then at least a familiar reworking or sketch of a typical social experience. Another colourful example on this theme, which may be added to those above, is the description of a queue in Vladimir Sorokin’s novel, The Queue (1985). The phantasmagoria of a queue leading nowhere culminates with a scene at the end of the novel that symbolises, on the one hand, unconscious autoeroticism, and, on the other, the natural teleology of the queuer: having waited in the queue until the very end, the hero of the novel receives in return a night with the woman behind the counter. The experience of desire is sublimated to the experience of anticipation (cf. Smirnov 1996: 28 ff.). In his summary of the data pertaining to the socio-psychological make-up of individuals raised in the Soviet Union, Yuri Levada writes that, in today’s Russia, several years after the collapse of the Soviet ideological machine, ‘according to tests, around 50 per cent of the national population still agrees with the statement “life is difficult, but we can wait”. The waiting man (homo patiens) is still the central figure in the post-Soviet political and societal consciousness’ (Levada 1997: 13). Patience, as we have said before, is a fundamental requirement of the Soviet project of global social transformation. The individual in the queue fulfills this requirement, unwittingly (or consciously) infusing

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everyday life with ideology, and ideology with everyday life. By establishing everyone as nominal equals, ensuring everything works according to the laws of the queue, and that the existing rules and regulations are observed, a situation is created which both paves the way for and puts into practice the social project formulated in Soviet ideology and adapted for everyday life. The Soviet queue, unlike other social institutions such as the family, the school, and the church, but with analogies in other ideologically saturated institutions of Soviet power, is a form of social experience that might be described as an ‘intermediate’ or, to use the terminology of Ionin (1997: 316 ff.), a ‘diffuse’ form of socialisation. From this point of view, the synchronous existence of Soviet power and the queue makes perfect sense. The Soviet queue, like Soviet power itself, constitutes an institution of the social world order that is simultaneously under construction and already in existence. History today exists in the context of the future that was projected and pre-determined in Soviet ideology; Soviet society thus exists almost as if there had been no history, or, more accurately, as if history existed only as dramatised ritual, a ritual of eternal return and enduring Origin (cf. Žižek 1989 passim; see also Papernyi 1996: 41–45, 59; Vail and Genis 1996: 12–18). The social project that was Soviet society assumed a willingness to believe and a willingness to wait. From a socio-psychological perspective, these same prerequisites can be discerned in the eschatological project of Christian ideology – in this case, a future exists which is, on the one hand, pre-determined in the past, and, on the other, borne out in the present. In Christian iconography the symbol of the Resurrection and Judgment Day is the image of an apocalyptic Queue for the Kingdom of Heaven – an analogy which, in the Soviet context, obtained a somewhat separate, but nevertheless comparable, mythologised (and, in this context, mythologising) significance. Given the (quasi-)religious character of Soviet ideology, narratives of everyday experience were subject to immediate and perpetual ritualisation. This ritualisation manifested itself not only in words, that is, in a metaphysical sense, but also in deeds, that is to say in specific bodily and behavioural practices, in those emerging schemas of movement which, according to Bourdieu, themselves constitute the basis of ritual (Bourdieu 1987). Evidence for this can be found in the establishment of an entire complex of specific Soviet rituals that either experimented with or transformed the nature of traditional rituals.21 Apart from the most obvious, ideologically explicit rituals, Soviet life also comprised a number of latent, implied rituals that were diffused in everyday practices, but which nevertheless informed the basic strategy of existence that was dramatised in Soviet ideology. It is my contention that the queue constitutes one such ritual. If the ritual (and, as such, the socially institutionalised) function of the queue is, for the most part, latent in form, its potency, in my opinion, cannot be emphasised enough. This potency derives from the fact that, first, the queue corresponds with the paradigm of societal development espoused by Soviet ideology and, second, it is perceived to be and, more importantly, is experienced by the Soviet individual as a familiar and specifically Soviet phenomenon.

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In the perestroika and post-perestroika periods, the significance of these experiences, as the examples cited above go some way to show, became not only the basis, but also the criterion of socio-cultural and ideological identification. When the recognisable quotidian queues disappeared, the context, which had derived its meaning from the existence of those queues, also disintegrated. The synchronic coincidence of the disappearance of queues for everyday goods outside of shops and the ritualistic queues for the Mausoleum underlined the significance of what was taking place. Lev Rubinshtein described the situation in the following words: The queue for the Mausoleum was in its own way a test of ‘Sovietness’ [sovetskost]. The Soviet individual, recognizing himself as such, felt obliged to stand in it at least once in his life, to become a part of it, to ‘inhabit’ it. [ … ] With the coming of perestroika, the queue began to lose its monolithic quality, to thin out and drift away. A whiff of the West became detectable on the air and the Queue, drifting apart around the Mausoleum, soon reformed around the dazzling, unearthly light of the walls of the newly opened ‘McDonald’s’. This was the same old queue, but now it no longer led to a grave draped in red calico, but rather to a ‘celestial’ America, glittering like a Christmas tree. Gradually and almost imperceptibly, this queue also broke apart, and both the queue and the abundance of ‘McDonald’ses’ ceased to be ‘America’ and started to be plain old Moscow. After that even the most ordinary of queues disappeared and an entirely new era began. (Rubenshtein 1998: 58) The ‘new era’, which, according to Rubenshtein, can be linked with the disappearance of queues, remains an abstract concept. Its ideological representations, however, have turned out to have no need for this particular practical justification.

Notes 1 This chapter is an abridged and slightly reworked version of an article that originally appeared in Die Welt der Slaven, vol. 46 (2001), no. 2. 2 Hendrick Smith, the author of the bestselling The Russians, which was republished several times in the West, provides the best account of the particularities of the Soviet queue. Smith underlines the ‘hidden magnetism’, the ‘internal dynamic’, and the ‘specific etiquette’ that characterise the Soviet queue (Smith 1976). Peter Collet (1993), in an attempt to approach the theme of the queue from a cultural anthropological perspective, also pays particular attention to the Soviet queue, judging it to be a particularly important phenomenon that reflects the national mindset (the author nevertheless draws conclusions that are too general). 3 Among works that have applied this method (although not necessarily explicitly) in their analysis of everyday discourses of the Soviet period are (Boym 1994; Kozlova 1996; Vail and Genis 1996). 4 The chastushka is a four-line rhymed ditty, often of humorous or ironic content, not unlike the limerick in terms of its cultural semantics. [Editors]

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5 For more on the sphere of ‘objects’ in socio-psychological interpretation see (Toennis 1906). 6 The data cited by the economist Yury Orlov is slightly different: around 30 billion hours and 50 million people respectively (quoted in Collet 1993: 133). 7 ‘The Victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution brought our country into being and placed our people at the pinnacle of socialist progress. Today, sixty years down the line, we occupy the most distinguished place at its helm. We were the first in the world to construct a socialist society and the first to build communism’ (Brezhnev 1978: vol. 6, 582); ‘The economic laws of socialism and its advantages are coming to full maturity in advanced socialist society. The complete and comprehensive realisation of the socio-economic potential and requirements of socialism will ensure the gradual, logical, and natural progression towards Communism’ (Suslov 1973: 23). 8 Russian ocherednaya ochered (punning on the adjective ‘routine’ and the noun ‘queue’). [Editors] 9 ‘Complaints about the “shortages of goods” that endured throughout Soviet history did not cease with the collapse of the Union: the history waiting to be written on this theme might be given the title “The Time When There Was Nothing”’ (Kozlova 1996: 31). 10 Another example that might be cited in this context is the well-known anti-Labour poster designed by Saatchi and Saatchi for Margaret Thatcher’s election campaign (1979), in which an endless queue of unemployed people is depicted above the punning caption ‘Labour isn’t working’. 11 On justice in the Soviet economic context see (Grinko 1980). 12 For more on the work of these philosophers and sociologists see (Die ontologische 1965). 13 See Oleg Grigoryev’s marvelous grotesque: ‘Queuing up for sausage. // From the outside, all seems calm // Rounds [ocheredi, also the word for ‘queues’] of machine fire ricochet, // Curses, peril, and moans’ (Grigoryev 1993: 31). Another example of a punning play on the meaning of the word ‘queue’ is a joke from a series of anecdotes about Stirlitz [the Soviet agent posing as a Third Reich officer made famous by the 1970s TV serial Seventeen Moments of Spring – Editors]. ‘Müller and Stirlitz fired a round each in turn [po ocheredi]. The queue slowly disappeared’ (Sannikov 1999: 258). 14 See also his ‘Kellomiaki’: ‘in small towns you recognise those around you // Not from their faces, but from behind in endless queues’ (Brodsky 1994: 59). 15 This publication has the wonderful annotation: ‘This book [ … ] charts the difficulties encountered by a foreigner as she tries to adapt to another culture and social class’ (p. 3). 16 First published in Znamya, 1992, 3–4. Cf. a similar image in Oleg Grigoryev’s ‘Where?’: ‘People standing somewhere– // Straight, and then backwards, // In the passage alongside the house, // At the corner and back around. // We checked with a friend, // There isn’t a shop or a seller, // People just stand in a row, // Without a beginning, without an end.’ (Grigoryev 1993: 39). Moreover, the ease with which queues could be created provided inspiration for theatre performances, particularly in the 1990s. One of these was an event organised by the members of the ‘Laboratory of Life’ society (Viktor Snesar): a number of people stand in a queue outside the entrance of the ‘Vanda’ shop, which is closed for restoration (Staronevskii prospect). Bit by bit, passersby join the queue. As the queue grows and grows, reaching impressive proportions, those who have initiated it unexpectedly walk away. 17 Contemporary sociological surveys have revealed that corporate identity – the shared motivation of members of a particular group – as opposed to national or social identity is the dominant form of identity in Russia today, while regional

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identity is more prominent than all-Russian identity (Yadov 1995; Levada 1996). In my opinion, this hierarchy reflects, and perhaps is even the result of the situational motivation of the queuer, who is axiologically bound to his immediate environment through the endorsement of a set of narrowly defined group interests. Cf. (Žižek 1989 passim); for the ‘Marxist-Leninist’ philosophical discourse on the impact of rhetorical ritualistics see also (Chernyak 1992: 464–66). For more on the connotative meaning of the concept of the ‘bag’ see (Braica 1996: 223–32). It is difficult to overestimate the importance of such connotations in Soviet culture; cf. the insightful discussion of (Epshtein 1998: 60–62). The smash hit of the band ‘Primus’ in the 1980s is also worth citing in this context: ‘All around the same old faces // Not a brain-cell to rub together. // Plastic bags in their hands, // Rushing to get home.’ As far as the language usage of the Soviet period is concerned, the pragmatics of such texts would appear relatively standard and to correspond with the rhetorical models of the established functional-speech style. Cf., for example, the article (an apologia) in the collection (Gorovaya 1983); and one of the few analytical studies of the question of Soviet rituals (Adonyeva 1999: 368–88).

References Adonyeva, S. (1999) ‘Istoriya sovremennoi novogodnei traditsii’ [The History of the Modern New Year Traditions], Mifologiya i povsednevnost: materialy nauchnoi konferentsii, 24–26 fevralya 1999 g., St Petersburg: RAN, 368–88. Arutyunyan, R. V. (1992) Russkie. Etno-sotsiologicheskie ocherki [The Russians: Ethno-Sociological Studies], Moscow: Nauka. Basina, E. S. (1998) ‘Individualizm i kollektivizm v postsovetskom obshchestve (differentsiatsiya sotsialnykh ustanovok)’ [Individualism and Collectivism in Post-Soviet Society: Differences in Social Attitudes], in Chelovek v perekhodnom obshchestve. Sotsiologicheskie i sotsial’no-psikhologicheskie issledovaniya, G. G. Diligensky (ed.), Moscow: Institut mirovoi ekonomiki i mezhdurarodnykh otnoshenii, 86–94. Bespalov, V. E. and Salnikov, L. V. (1991) Vvedenie v funktsionalistiku [Introduction to Functionalistics], Sverdlovsk: Izdatelstvo Uralskogo universiteta. Bourdieu, P. (1987) Choses dites: Le sens commun, Paris: Minuit. Boym, S. (1994) Common Places: Mythologies of Everyday Life in Russia, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Braica, S. (1996) ‘A Woman and a Bag’, Narodna Umjetnost, 33.1: 223–32. Brezhnev, L. I. (1978) Leninskim kursom. – Rechi i stati [In the Footsteps of Lenin. Speeches and Articles] 6, Moscow: Politizdat. ——(1979) Aktualnye voprosi ideologicheskoi raboty KPSS [Current Questions of the Ideological Work of the CPSU], 2 vols, Moscow: Politizdat. Brodsky, I. (1994) Sochineniya [Works], St. Petersburg: Pushkinskii fond. Canetti, E. (1960) Masse und Macht, Hamburg: Clausen. Chernyak, L. (1992) ‘Obyektivnyi podkhod kak osnova ne-ponimaniya’, Minuvshee: istoricheskii al’manakh, vol. 6, Moscow: Feniks, 451–70. Chukovsky, K. (1958) Ot dvukh do pyati [From Two to Five], Moscow: Sovetskaya Rossiya. Clark, K (1981) The Soviet Novel: History as Ritual, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Collet, P. (1993) Foreign Bodies. A Guide to European Mannerism, London: Simon & Schuster.

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Deineka, O. S. (1999) Ekonomicheskaya psikhologiya: sotsial’no-politicheskie Problemy [Economic Psychology: Socio-Political Problems], St Petersburg: Izd. SanktPeterburgskogo universiteta. Dovlatov, S. (1991) Chemodan [The Suitcase], Moscow: Moskovskii rabochii. [English version as The Suitcase, trans. A. Bouis, New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1990]. Eliade, M. (1965) Le sacré et le profane, Paris: Gallimard. Epshtein, M. (1998) Bog detalei. Narodnaya dusha i chastnaya zhizn’ v Rossii na iskhode imperii, Moscow: Izd. R. Elinina. Fedotov, G. (1991) Sudba i grekhi Rossii [The Fate and Sins of Russia], 1, St Petersburg: Sofiya. Gandelevsky, S. (1995) Prazdnik [The Holiday], St Petersburg: Pushkinskii fond. ——(1996) Trepanatsiya cherepa: Istoriya bolezni [Trepanation of the Skull: The History of a Disease], St Petersburg: Pushkinskii fond. Giatsintova, S. (1968) ‘Chto znachit byt’ vospitannym?’ [What Does Being Well Brought Up Mean?], Yunost, 3: 62–64. Ginzburg, L. (1989) ‘Zapiski blokadnogo cheloveka’, in her Chelovek za pismennym stolom, Leningrad: Sovetskii pisatel, 517–78. [English version as Blockade Diary, trans. A. Myers, London: Harvill, 1995]. Gorenshtein, F. (1997) ‘S koshelochkoi’ [Little Purse in Hand], in Russkie tsvety zla. Sbornik, V. Erofeev (ed.), Moscow: Podkova, 140–62. Gorovaya, V. N. (comp.) (1983) Traditsii, obryady, sovremennost, Kiev: Naukova dumka. Grigoryev, O. (1993) Dvustishiya, chetverostishiya i mnogostishiya [Couplets, Quatrains, and Other Verses], St Petersburg: Kamera khraneniya. Grinko, I. A. (1980) ‘O raspredelenii materialnykh blag v kommunisticheskoi formatsii’ [On the Distribution of Material Benefits in the Communist Formation], Vestnik Leningradskogo universiteta. Ser. ekonomiki, filosofii, prava, 17.3: 14–19. Gusev, A. V. (1960) ‘V Mavzolee’ [In the Mausoleum], in Lenin – nashe solntse. Sbornik sibirskogo narodnogo tvorchestva i poezii, Tomsk: Tomskoe knizhnoe izd., 143. Hall, E. (1966) The hidden dimension, New York: Doubleday. Heineman, K (1987) ‘Die Soziologie des Geldes’, in Die Soziologie des wirtschaftlichen Handels. Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie, 28: 322–38. Henkel, H. (1964) Einführung in die Rechtsphilosophie, München and Berlin: Beck. Ionin, L. (1997) ‘K antropologii povsednevnosti’ [On the Anthropology of the Everyday], in Ionin, L., Svoboda v SSSR, St Petersburg: Universitetskaya kniga, 316–61. ——(1999) Kaleidoskop, 34. Kasyanova, K. (1994) O russkom natsionalnom kharaktere [On the Russian National Character], Moscow: Institut natsionalnoi modeli ekonomiki. Kaufmann, A. (ed.) (1965) Die Ontologische Begründung des Rechts, Darmstadt: Gentner. Kharitonov, M. (1994) Izbrannaya proza, vol. 2, Moscow: Moskovskii rabochii. Kondrashkov, N. N. (1989) Tuneyadstvo: protiv zakona i sovesti [Parasitism: Against Law and Conscience] Moscow: Yuridicheskaya literatura. Kozlova, N. (1996) Gorizonty povsednevnosti sovetskoi epokhi: golosa iz khora [Boundaries of Soviet Everyday Life: Voices from the Chorus], Moscow: Institut filosofii RAN. Kulagina, A. V. (1999) Zavetnye chastushki iz sobraniya A. D. Volkova [Forbidden chastushki from the Collection of A. D. Volkov], 2 vols, Moscow: Ladomir. Lebedeva, N. (1996) Vvedenie v etnicheskuyu i kross-kulturnuyu psikhologiyu [Introduction to Ethnic and Cross-Cultural Psychology], Moscow: Klyuch-S. Lehrer, B. (1994) The Fresh Guide to St.Petersburg, St Petersburg: Fresh Air Publications.

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Lenin, V. I. (1967–1981) Polnoe sobranie sochinenii v 55-ti tomakh [Complete Works in 55 Volumes], 5th edn, Moscow: Izd. Politicheskoi literatury. Levada, Yu. (1992) ‘Ukhodyashchaya natura? “Chelovek sovetskii”: predvaritel’nye itogi’ [AVanishing Species? The ‘Soviet Person’: Preliminary Conclusions], Znamya, 6: 201–11. ——(1996) ‘Kompleksy obshchestvennogo mneniya’ [The Complexes of Public Opinion], Ekonomicheskie i sotsialnye peremeny: monitoring obshchestvennogo mneniya. Informatsionnyi byulleten VTsIOM, 6 (32): 3–14. ——(1997) ‘Sotsialnye tipy perekhodnogo perioda: popytki kharakteristiki’ [Social Types of the Era of Transition: Towards a Characterization], Ekonomicheskie i sotsialnye peremeny: monitoring obshchestvennogo mneniya. Informatsionnyi byulleten VTsIOM 2 (28): 10–17. Losskii, N. O. (1957) Kharakter russkogo naroda [The Character of the Russian People], Paris: YMCA-Press. Maihofer, W. (1958) ‘Die Natur der Sache’, Archiv fur Rechts-und Sozial-Philosophie, 44: 172–74. Miller, D. A. (1997) Capitalism: an Ethnographic Approach, Oxford: Berg. ——(1998) The Theory of Shopping, Cambridge: Polity. Mirer, S. and Borovik, V. (1937) Rasskazy rabochikh o Lenine [Tales of Working Men and Women about Lenin], Moscow: OGIZ, 1937. Nisbet, R. (1982) Prejudices: A Philosophical Dictionary, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Osokina, E. (1999) Za fasadom ‘stalinskogo izobiliya’. Raspredelenie i rynok v snabzhenii naseleniya v gody industrializatsii, 1927–1941, Moscow: ROSSPEN. [English version trans. by G. Monk and K. Transchel as Our Daily Bread: Socialist Distribution and the Art of Survival in Stalin’s Russia, 1927–1941, New York: Armonk, 2001]. Papernyi, V. (1996) Kultura ‘Dva’ [Culture ‘Two’], Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie. Perelman, C. (1963) Justice et raison, Brussels: Editions de l’Université de Bruxelles. Pinezhaninova, N. (1983) Vse po planu, ili Sapogi vsmyatku [Everything According to the Plan, or, Soft-Boiled Boots]. Unpublished typescript. Politicheskaya ekonomiya (1954) Politicheskaya ekonomiya. Uchebnik [Political Economy: A Textbook], Moscow: Gospolitizdat. Radbruch, G. (1963) Rechtsphilosophie. Stuttgart: Koehler Verlag. Rodan, G. (1997) ‘Civil Society and Other Political Possibilities in Southeast Asia’, Journal of Contemporary Asia, 27.2: 156–78. Rubenshtein, L. (1998) Sluchai iz yazyka [An Incident of Language], St Petersburg: Izd. Ivana Limbakha. Ryklin, G. (1961) Prostite, chitatel [Beg Pardon, Reader], Moscow: Sovetskii pisatel. Saakova, V. (1990) ‘Ulitsy vospominanii’ [Streets of Recollection], Kuban, 3: 8–10. Sannikov, V. Z. (1999) Russkii yazyk v zerkale yazykovoi igry [The Russian Language in the Mirror of Word-Play], Moscow: Yazyki slavyanskoi kultury. Shchepanskaya, T. (1998) ‘O materinstve i vlasti’ [On Maternity and Power], Mifologiya i povsednevnost: Materialy nauchnoi konferentsii 18–10 fevralya 1998 goda, St Petersburg: Izd. Russkogo Khristianskogo gumanitarnogo institute, 177–95. Shrader, Kh. [=Schrader, Heiko] (1999) Ekonomicheskaya antropologiya [Economic Anthropology], St Petersburg: Izd. Sank-Peterburgskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Slepakova, N. (1996), Ochered [The Queue], St Petersburg: Vsemirnoe slovo. ——(1998) Polosa otchuzhdeniya [Fields of Alienation], Smolensk: Amipress. Smirnov, I. P. (1996) Bytie i tvorchestvo [Existence and Creation], St Petersburg: Almanakh Kanun.

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Smith, H. (1976) The Russians, New York: Quadrangle. Suslov, M. A. (1973) Marksizm-leninizm – internatsionalnoe uchenie rabochego klassa [Marxism-Leninism: The International Doctrine of the Working Class], Moscow: Politizdat. Sventsitsky, A. N. (1997) ‘“Pozitivnoe neznanie” kak component sovetskoi mental’nosti’ [‘Positive Ignorance’ as a Component of the Soviet Mentality], in Rossiiskoe soznanie: psikhologiya, kultura, politika. Tezisy mezhdunarodnoi conferentsii, Samara: Izd. Samarskogo gosudarstvennogo pedagogicheskogo universiteta, 3–15. Toennis, F. (1906) Philosophische Terminologie in Psychologisch-Soziologischer Ansicht, Leipzig: T. Thomas. Tumarkin, N. (1997) Lenin zhiv! Kult Lenina v Sovetskoi Rossii, Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie. [Translation of Lenin Lives! The Lenin Cult in Soviet Russia, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983]. Ushakov, D. N. (ed.) (1938) Tolkovyi slovar russkogo yazyka [A Defining Dictionary of the Russian Language], 4 vols, Moscow: Gosizdat inostrannykh i natsionalnykh slovarei. Vail, P. and Genis, A. (1996) 60-e. Mir sovetskogo cheloveka [The 1960s: The World of the Soviet Person], Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie. Watson, O. M. (1970) Proxemic Behavior: A Cross-Cultural Study, The Hague: Mouton. Yadov, V. A. (1995) ‘Mozhno li verit oprosam?’, Argumenty i fakty, no. 14 (April), 1. Zemtsov, I. (1991) Encyclopedia of Soviet Life, London: Transaction Publishers. Zinik, Z. (1991) Russofobka i fungofil, Moscow: Ruslit. [English version as The Mushroom Picker, trans. M. Glenny, London: Heinemann, 1987.] Žižek, S. (1989) The Sublime Object of Ideology, Oxford: Verso. Znakov, V. V. (1997) ‘Ponimanie pravdy i lzhi v russkoi istoriko-kulturnoi traditsii’, in Etnicheskaya psikhologiya i obshchestvo, Moscow: Nauka, 119–26. Zorin, A. L. (1998) ‘Ot Galicha k Prigovu’, in Rossiya/Russia. Semidesyatye kak predmet istorii russkoi kultury, K. R. Rogov (ed.), Moscow: Venetsiya, 153–66.

5

‘I didn’t understand, but it was funny’ Late Soviet festivals and their impact on children1 Catriona Kelly and Svetlana Sirotinina

From 1956, and more particularly 1961, Soviet official festivals went through a significant process of transformation.2 The main ‘high days and holidays’ [krasnye dni] remained the same – 7 November, 1 May, New Year, while Victory Day was reinstated as a public holiday in 1965. However, numerous new festivals were added to the calendar (Soviet Miners’ Day, Fishermen’s Day, Alphabet Book Day for primary schoolchildren, among many others). Though not public holidays in the strict sense (because they did not bring a day off work), such festivals were widely publicised and appeared in official printed calendars. Alongside new calendar festivals, a large number of new rites and rituals were also invented, such as ‘First Pay-Packet Day’ [den pervoi poluchki], ‘Ceremonial Presentation of the First Passport’, ‘Baby Naming’, and others. Both the new holidays, and the new rituals, were described in the voluminous normative literature dedicated to ‘new Soviet traditions’.3 The general topic of Soviet holidays embraces a good many issues that are central to the understanding of post-Soviet society more generally. These include the political strategies current in the final phase of ‘democratic centralism’; the relationship between official culture and folk culture; the missionary and didactic ambitions of the political elite and of the intelligentsia; the development of popular entertainments during the so-called ‘era of stagnation’; the struggle between ‘archaists’ and ‘innovators’ in late Soviet culture; and, not least, the conflict between an understanding of ‘happiness’ as a moral phenomenon (‘duty rewarded’) and as a state of mind generated by material well-being.4 The importance of the festivals lies also in the fact that debates about them were connected with a central preoccupation of cultural administrators during the post-Stalin years: how to give young people a sense of Soviet patriotism. As A. N. Shelepin, the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Komsomol, argued at the Thirteenth Congress of the Komsomol in April 1958, Soviet young people had ‘never seen a landowner, a kulak, they’ve no idea what unemployment or exploitation or any of those other social evils afflicting capitalism are. Some of them have very little idea of the high price paid, the blood and sweat poured out to fight for the conditions in which they now

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live’ (Trinadtsatyi Syezd 1959: 30). On the one hand, moral commentators were especially concerned to preserve ‘Soviet’ values in this age group. Purely political rituals such as entry into the Pioneers continued to have significance – indeed, their significance was enhanced at this period. In the 1930s and 1940s, Pioneers had generally been signed up as a class, without any particular formalities. From the late 1950s onwards, however, pupils – or at any rate, the ‘best pupils’ in a given class – were often welcomed into the Pioneers in some place associated with the high points of Soviet history (such as, in Leningrad, the Museum of the Revolution or the Aurora, or one of the various museums of Lenin in the city). At the same time, at schools and in kindergartens, such non-political days as Alphabet Book Day, Teachers’ Day, the birthdays of pupils and of the institution itself, were more and more widely celebrated. The festivals for the start and end of the school year, ‘The First Bell’ and ‘The Last Bell’, continued to include speeches and reports by the headmaster and other members of staff, but associated rituals – giving flowers to your teacher, having the honour of ringing the ‘first’ or ‘last’ bell – were just as important. In the 1930s and 1940s, only elite schools had organised a ‘school leavers’ ball’: by the 1970s, this was a ubiquitous event.5 In this way, the personal significance of such events started to matter as much as their political significance. Normative literature encouraged ‘privatisation’ of major state holidays, and the creation of new family festivals. For example, parents were urged to turn New Year into a wonderful day for their children and to celebrate children’s birthdays. In circumstances where the consolidation of the family was a major state objective (because of anxieties about rising divorce rates), any family holiday was perceived as a positive event – provided it did not have religious connotations.6 The official photographs of such mass holidays as 1 May and 7 November were quite differently presented depending on the era when they were taken. In the 1930s and 1940s, it was usual to present children as members of collectives, above all Pioneer troops (see Figure 5.1). While photographs of this kind still appeared in the post-Stalin era (Figure 5.4), it was more typical for children to be represented now as part of family groups (Figures 5.2, 5.3). Official documents from the first decades of Soviet power, for example, the minutes of a meeting of the Children’s Sub-Committee of the Krasnopresnensky District of Moscow held on 13 January 1923, emphasised that children’s groups were to be kept separate from adult groups: ‘Com. Yakovlev is to be assigned the task of making urgent corrections to the routes of the processions, so that adult and child demonstrators do not come in contact with each other’ (TsAODM f. 3, op. 11, d. 131, l. 21). In the 1930s, senior Pioneers were often expected to man nurseries during demonstrations so that parents were able to march alongside their workmates.7 But by the late 1950s, the ‘holiday norm’ included mixed groups of adults and young children – if the participants in the demonstration included exemplary Soviet families, so much the better.

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Figure 5.1 A group of senior school pupils at a demonstration in Leningrad, 7 November 1935. Photographer unknown. State Archive of Film, Photographs and Sound Recordings (TsGAKFFD), St Petersburg. Catalogue Ар 30789.

Figure 5.2 Parents and children taking part in a procession at the 1 May 1962 demonstration in Leningrad. Photographer M. Blokhin. TsGAKFFD, St Petersburg. Catalogue Бр 18138.

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Figure 5.3 Spectators standing by the Hermitage on the official birthday of the Young Pioneer organisation, 19 May 1960. V. E. Ritov. TsGAKFFD, St Petersburg. Catalogue Aр 162298.

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Figure 5.4 Senior school pupils at a demonstration in a village in Leningrad province, 1 May 1964. Photographer unknown. TsGAKFFD, St Petersburg. Catalogue Ар 110122.

Another stimulus to the new, ‘family’ orientation of the Soviet holiday (a process that sometimes nearly spilled over into its ‘infantilisation’)8 was the fact that the value assigned to direct participation in the celebrations had also began to decline. The spread of access to television meant that more and more Soviet families were able to take part in the ‘official’ part of the holiday at long distance. It was in principle possible for the local side of the celebrations to be limited to a party meal shared by relatives and close friends. In such cases, the feeling generated was likely to be less the sense of joyful fusion with a huge crowd (as remembered by informants when recalling the Stalin years)9 than pleasure in the chance for some relaxed socialising with people one knew well already. However, the question of how far the ‘everyday life’ of Soviet festivals accorded with the ideals set out in normative literature, and of how much these ideals resonated with the Soviet public, was complex. And children were in signal respects a highly specific group of festival participants, whose reactions deserve consideration in detail. Here it is important to clarify the age thresholds and temporal boundaries that have shaped the discussion below. By ‘childhood’ we primarily understand what is often referred to as ‘early childhood’ (i.e. the period from age two to three until about thirteen or fourteen). However, youth or adolescence (fourteen or fifteen to eighteen) also figures at the fringes of the discussion. The 1960s and 1970s were a period at which the population of secondary schools significantly increased, meaning that increasing numbers of teenagers were in loco pupillari. Even the older pupils at secondary schools (especially those offering an academic education, the so-called ‘general schools’) were

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not considered adult either in terms of legislation or of social practices. What they experienced was the so-called ‘extended childhood’ characteristic of family relations in modern societies (see e.g. Cunningham 1995).10 A high degree of homogeneity was also evident in temporal terms, since the emphasis on institutions of ‘horizontal surveillance’, such as comradely courts, the druzhina militias, and ‘socio-political sessions’ in schools and workplaces that characterised the Khrushchev era persisted into the Brezhnev era,11 as did many of the principles behind the ‘revival of traditions’ initiated from the late 1950s onwards. Indeed, many elements in the latter, if not the former, are still relevant in post-Soviet Russia. Here we shall discuss how these ‘invented traditions’ were perceived by members of what Alexei Yurchak (2006) has called ‘the last Soviet generation’ – or to be more accurate, the last generations to rise to maturity under Soviet power. Our main sources are interviews carried out with informants born in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and largely conducted in St Petersburg and Perm.12

‘Louder the ovations instantly thundered’: children and early Soviet festivals During the early years of Soviet power, the expectation was that children would respond to the key event of the Soviet public holiday, the demonstration, in the same way that adults did. ‘Parade’, a poem by sixteen-year-old Aleksandr Kobelyansky, published in a collection of verse issued to mark Stalin’s sixtieth birthday in 1939, represents the Soviet festival as a carnival of colour, sound, and stormy emotions: Red Square is festively joyous, The grey walls of the Kremlin rise up, With the bright flame of red banners The flags glimmer, burning in the sun. With gold the stars on the towers shine, A loud cry of greeting is heard. It is our leaders taking their places On the tribune. Everyone greets them. And there, rising in his grey greatcoat, Near, dear, familiar, down-to-earth … Louder the ovations instantly thundered: ‘Long live Stalin – the helmsman of the country!’ (Rodina i Stalin v tvorchestve detei 1939: 14) It is typical of the times that Kobelyansky did not depict the festivities in his own city (Mariupol), but in Moscow. The ‘heart’ of the Stalinist festival was Red Square, and it was here that all loyal citizens of the Soviet Union longed to be, hoping against hope that they would have the highest happiness of all – a meeting with the Leader himself.13

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Enthusiastic representations of the festivities and the holiday crowds on Red Square pervaded the cultural production of the 1930s and 1940s. Posters, newspapers, documentaries, and feature films all abounded in such scenes. Provincial revels, on the other hand (which in fact constituted reality for the majority of the Soviet population) appeared alongside these as a kind of simulacrum, a pale imitation of what was going on in the capital.14 Kobelyansky’s poem also points to the central role of festivals and material about them in the socialisation of Soviet children. In the first days after the February Revolution, children streamed out on to streets and squares spontaneously, motivated by interest in what was going on, feelings of solidarity with ‘the people’, or idle curiosity. However, soon attending demonstrations and meetings became part of the official school round, a process accelerated when the Bolsheviks took power.15 In the new alphabet books and readers produced for Soviet primary schools, children could read about the May and October holidays and about imaginary Soviet children who took part in political festivals: ‘The Red Wagon. We joyfully give the first and most cherished load of grain to the state,’ read a text in one of the most widely-used reading primers (Novyi put 1930: 23).16 In kindergartens and schools, children drew pictures of firework displays and flags, wrote poems about festivals and demonstrations, and organised their own festivals with songs, dances, speeches, and public readings (Krasnye zori 1919).17 After the school reforms of 1932, when good school work became the number one expectation of the ideal Soviet child, children started to be assigned a less active role in political life, but their future duties as faithful citizens of the motherland were constantly emphasised. From the end of 1935, the repetition of the slogan ‘Thank You Comrade Stalin for a Happy Childhood’18 was used as a ritual affirmation of gratitude for the benefits conferred on Soviet children by the nation, the Communist Party, and the leader (Detskii karnaval 1939; Grishin 1939; Prazdnik na ploshchadi 1940). Children were not now expected to make speeches, as they had been in the 1920s; they fused joyously into the huge chorus, the big happy collective: Bright sun All for us! Love and presents All for us! New schools All for us! Cheery leisure All for us! Camps and resorts All for us! Brand-new clothes All for us!

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Catriona Kelly and Svetlana Sirotinina The roads are open For us! The canals are dug For us! […] The earth is in flower For us! The Kremlin stars shine For us! (Grishin 1939: 14)

The lives of Soviet children were depicted as a fairy tale, a dream, an unending celebration. And, like all the other inhabitants of the ‘broad motherland’, children were supposed to revel in their fusion with all the other countless and nameless Soviet people celebrating the festival day. ‘The sense of the particular significance of this wonderful day [i.e. election day], the sense of one’s unending fusion with the collective, the sense of calm and full joy seized hold of millions of workers, peasants, and intellectuals’ (Velikii prazdnik 1938: 5). This was the ideal, the ‘socialist realist’ vision of the bright future. As Andrei Sergeev has described in his memoirs, the sense of universal love could indeed give little children a pleasant sense of peace and security (Sergeev 1997: 9). Older children, such as top pupils in the higher classes at school, saw things rather differently: one had to earn one’s happiness through exemplary schoolwork and devotion to the ‘genius of all nations’ and ‘best friend of all children’ (a case in point was Lev Anninsky, who made vast efforts to write his jubilee eulogy to Stalin in verse, rather than in the prose that had been suggested by his teacher) (Kobo 1989: 54). For children of this type, such as eighteen-year-old Boris Rodoman, writing in 1949, Soviet festivals were a high point of existence: I remember the lively and bright demonstrations for the First of May, with their banners and transparencies, their red ties and red scarves, the national costumes, the brass bands, the huge drums and kettle drums, the Red Army caps and helmets, the caricatures of chamberlains19 on long sticks, the flocks of excited children … 20 Yet there were also children, even in the Stalin era, who celebrated ‘red letter days’ in less admirable ways, for example, the eighteen-year-old schoolboy Yakov Tverdin and his friends: Today is the Twenty-First Anniversary of the October Revolution. [ … ] We ended up in a small room belonging to the family of some workman. [ … ] We started with vodka. I drank half a glass myself. Then I poured the mixture of beer and vodka that I’d been given into a glass under the table, which I’d concealed there so I could pour the booze into it. After

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my very first glass some idiot came up to me and said, ‘You’re drunk.’ But I wasn’t, I was still sober, it was that fool who was drunk himself. After the second glass, we had a third, and then a fourth, and so on. From vodka we moved on to beer, and then to liqueurs, till eventually we were all absolutely legless.21 It is impossible to tell how many children took a pious attitude to official celebrations, and how many (like Tverdin and his comrades) found the opportunity to ‘relax’ more enthralling – or indeed, how many combined the two roles with no particular sense of split consciousness or ‘cognitive dissonance’.22 However festivals were perceived at the time, it is notable that official celebrations, demonstrations, and parades play a relatively minor role in recollections of those who were children in the Stalin era.23 The main theme in their memories is how tough life was, and a ‘holiday’ or ‘festival’ (prazdnik) meant anything that signified a break from their day-to-day struggles: We only ever had this soup stuff. [ … ] And then one day in this radish brew I suddenly tasted something so unbelievably delicious, something alien and quite amazing. It turned out my mother had managed to find a whole extra potato somewhere and crumble it in. [ … ] So I’d ended up with a piece of potato. And that was a real holiday for me. [ … ] And school was a holiday for me too. Because it was so crowded at home. (Oxf/Lev P-05 PF3А: 10. F., b. 1936; parents from the village, moved to Perm in 1928. Our emphasis – CK, SS) People imagine their lives, in retrospect, as a process of survival, and any small pleasure seems like a ‘holiday’ against this background. Special family celebrations for state holidays are seldom, if ever, recalled.24 Both in Soviet propaganda and in private memories of the Stalin era, the ‘holiday’, in the sense of a state festival, had the role of a public event.

‘You walk with your parents and the big crowd …’: the child’s eye view of the demonstration in post-Stalinist Russia After the denunciation of the ‘cult of personality’ in 1956, the attitude to children’s role in celebrations changed once more. Along with the Stalin portraits, vanished the rituals expressing gratitude; although the 1960s and 1970s witnessed an attempt to boost the Lenin cult in order to help fill the gap left by Stalin, these rituals were not readdressed to him. Holidays and celebrations also occupied a very modest role in children’s literature and cinema of the Khrushchev and Brezhnev era. In the most significant representation of them – the Pioneer ‘Queen of the Maize’ festival in Elem Klimov’s 1964 film Welcome – and Keep Out! – the celebration is treated as a comic event.25 Comparison of Stalinist and post-Stalinist alphabet books and readers for primary schools also points to a diminution of the importance of Soviet

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festivals. In Stalinist books, ‘Stalin and Children’ was placed at the beginning of the book, while ‘The New Year Tree’ and ‘Summer’ (as festival occasions) were placed together in the middle. However, in post-Stalinist primers, the arrangement of texts was according to the ordinary chronology of the year: thus, in the autumn, children read about the 7 November along with mushroom-picking, while New Year was located, along with skating, in the winter section (Bukvar 1963: 3, 37, 60, 82–83). It is hardly surprising that the memories of informants from ‘the last Soviet generations’ are also markedly different from those of informants from earlier generations. One striking change is the sheer amount of attention given to holidays and celebrations. In the words of a woman who grew up in Perm province in the 1960s and 1970s, ‘holidays were seen as more of an event, all ordinary days were kind of the same’ (Oxf/Lev P-05 PF12А: 1. F., b. 1960, small town in Perm province, parents working class). Against the backdrop of a way of life that was at once stable and rather monotonous, holidays seemed real ‘events’, where, on the other hand, getting more or less enough to eat had seemed like an ‘event’ twenty or thirty years earlier. In addition, the transformation of official definitions of the holiday (the efforts to ‘decentralise’ and ‘humanise’ this) fostered a tendency in children to ‘privatise’ holidays (that is, to see them as ‘family’ events rather than as ‘public’ ones). In memories of the Stalin era, it is common to come across recollections of how everyone in the communal apartment celebrated holidays together: Our apartment was a real international mix. But I remember that we were all friendly, there were no misunderstandings. Our parents even organised joint celebrations for holidays, New Year, for instance, all in the shared kitchen. (Oxf/Lev SPb-02 PF8А: 1–2. М., b. 1933, Leningrad; from a Bashkir family, parents working class) In memories of the 1960s and later, this once standard scene of ‘celebrating with the neighbours’ became a relative rarity (no doubt the governing sense of the ‘separate family flat’ as the social norm is a factor behind this).26 Recollections are fixated instead on celebrations in the family circle. Of course guests might turn up, and they are remembered, but on the whole, they are recalled to have been relatives, not neighbours. ‘I can’t remember neighbours coming along to the celebrations … I remember they always had their own festival tables’ (Oxf/Lev P-07 PF13A: 1. F., b. 1961, Perm; parents from the intelligentsia). Some public holidays are remembered as being ‘just like any other days off’ [prosto vykhodnye], but others had more of a significance, and hence play a large role in memories. It is usually the ‘family’ resonance of such days that is highlighted. Among these, the most important are New Year27 and Victory Day, which was regularly commemorated unofficially before it was promoted to the status of a public holiday in 1965. Many people considered such days ‘special family days’ even if the traditions they observed were not peculiar to

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their family. ‘9 May was a special day. 9 May was celebrated in our family too. It was a celebration day for us’ (Oxf/AHRC-SPb-07 PF 2А SA: 9. M., b. 1977, grew up in Leningrad, mother librarian). Holidays were remembered largely as sources of pleasure and entertainment, not as times when the red flag flew high. Going to demonstrations simply meant having an exciting time:28 You’d walk along with your legs stepping out like a real grown up. Everyone would be looking at you thinking what a good girl you were. They always gave out balloons, that was so cool. [ … ] Before the demonstration everyone would gather at a square somewhere, and that’s where they gave out the balloons. They weren’t the sort that burst and collapse, they were the sort that last and last. Gel ones. The only time you got those was once a year, at the demonstrations. (Oxf/Lev P-05 PF15А: 7. F., b. 1977, Perm, parents working class) The lack of precision here – ‘a square somewhere’ – is interesting. The informant’s sense of the point of the procession is equally limited: it was not the destination, but the motion itself which mattered: ‘You’d walk along with your legs stepping out like a real grown up’. Thus, the ‘decentralisation’ of the prazdnik in a general sense (the undermining of the canonical status of Red Square) was matched by a ‘decentralisation’ in the way the procession was experienced locally. Equally, a generational, rather than political, sense of self had started to predominate: the idea was to behave ‘like a real adult’, not like a Communist hero. For other informants, the ‘live’ demonstration made little impact: they and their families traditionally watched the parades file past out of the window, or made use of the new opportunity to witness everything long-distance. ‘We used to set the table, watch the parades and the demonstrations on television’ (Oxf/Lev M-04 PF24A: 5. M., b.1968, from a small town in Moscow province; father worker, mother teacher). But even if the family attended the demonstration, the family group would be the main point of orientation for many children.29 In Sergei Mikhalkov’s classic Stalin-era poem ‘Uncle Styopa’, the friendly hero lifts children on to his shoulders. In the post-Stalin era, the same experience acquired family, rather than collective associations. Our informants uniformly remember sitting on their own father’s shoulders:30 We’d celebrate all the public holidays at home [ … ] we even went to Moscow a few times, for the gun salute. We’d stand on Borodinsky Bridge over the river, people … there was just this huge crowd, and I’d sit on my father’s shoulders. When the salute flew up into the sky and went rolling round, everyone shouted ‘Hooray!’ even though you couldn’t even see it for the clouds, only hear it, everyone would still shout ‘Hooray’, and I didn’t understand, but it was funny. (Oxf/Lev M-03 PF25А: 5. M., b. 1968, from small town, Moscow province; father worker, mother teacher)

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It was usually less the banners and slogans that made an impact on children than the ‘balloons and flags’ they carried themselves:31 We really loved going to the demonstrations [ … ] All those little flags, those transparencies. There were all different kinds of balloons and those inflatable … toys and so on. Whistles, all sorts of … those chocolates and things, yes, those little cockerels, those lollies. You could walk right up Nevsky, where the cars usually go. But we could go right up the middle of the street, in broad daylight. And all that … you got this feeling it was a holiday, a celebration. I don’t know … I loved things like that [ … ] It’s a holiday feeling, see. Loud music. It was such a wonderful … such a wonderful thing. (Oxf/Lev SPb-02 PF15А–В AP: 51. F., b. 1969, parents manual workers)

‘All I remember about holidays is the party meal ’ The ‘retreat into the family’ of the holiday meant that the party meal, zastolye, became more and more important. In the 1930s and 1940s, any food treat had been seen as a prazdnik; by the 1960s, the prazdnik itself was largely reduced to the status of a feast. In this vein, a woman who grew up in Perm in the 1980s reminisces: All I remember about holidays is the party meal. And here’s something else I remember. There was a shortage of everything, including condensed milk. And I remember my mum used to work in some shop where she could get hold of those goods that were short. And she’d always bake ‘walnuts’ with condensed milk filling.32 And she’d only make a few, so there were never enough to go round. If you managed to grab one, you got one. But I’d been brought up not to grab things. [ … ] And by the time I got round to stretching out my hand, those ‘walnuts’ were gone. I remember the feeling – I really wanted one, but I haven’t got one, and Mum can’t do anything to help me. (Oxf/Lev P-05 PF15А. F., b. 1977; parents working class) As here, it was, above all, food that was short which was associated with celebration meals; it was no accident that the classic party dish, salat olivye (Olivier or Russian salad) changed its composition once some of the traditional ingredients you could never get hold of, such as tinned peas, began to be generally available (Kushkova 2006).33 But it is fairly rare for informants to recall in detail what they ate.34 On the whole, memories of the celebration meals of one’s childhood are less definite. The main thing is that there was something nice to eat.35

‘You only got pocket money on holidays’ It was not just food that made holidays special. Children tended to get particularly indulged on these days:

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They’d only let you out on holidays, that is, you only got pocket money on holidays. (Oxf/Lev P-05 PF12А. F., b. 1960, small town, Perm province, parents working class) Maybe Mum used to save up, maybe she’d borrow money from someone, but on big holidays, New Year and my birthday, I’d get something, yes. But on 23 February [Soviet Army Day] it used to be some very small present, for some reason. Why, I don’t know. And that’s probably why I still don’t like 23 February! [Laughs]. (Oxf/Lev SPb-02 PF28В AP. M., b. 1972; mother manual worker)36 True, children were still expected to behave properly on holidays. Sometimes they were seated at their own small table away from the adults.37 If they did sit at the common table, they were not, naturally enough, given any alcohol: INF.:

Parents and children, we all sat at the one table. Everyone together? INF.: Yes, everyone together. Though of course we didn’t get anything to drink. Well, some fruit compote or something … All the daughters-in-law, the younger women, they’d prepare the meal, the men’d sit round smoking, go off here and there … . (Oxf/Lev M-03 PF16А. F., b. 1952, Elektrostal, parents manual workers) INT.:

Children not only expected to get presents; they also gave presents themselves: Well, you’d save up so much, then 23 February would arrive, and maybe I’d buy my stepfather – only I didn’t call him that, I called him ‘dad’ – a book or whatever. (Oxf/Lev P-05 PF8А. F., b. 1959, settlement, Perm province, mother book-keeper, father manual worker) Often presents were home-made, especially for 23 February and 8 March. They might well be produced during ‘labour education’ classes at school: We loved doing that: cutting out a circle of some kind, then you’d stick something on it, a flower, a figure eight [for 8 March – CK, SS], and then you’d hang it on the wall from a piece of ribbon. Mind you, the masterpieces I made weren’t really fit to go on a wall, but they [i.e. her parents – CK, SS] used to keep them stored somewhere. (Oxf/Lev P-05 PF21А. F., b. 1958, grew up in Perm and Krasnokamsk, parents doctors)

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Catriona Kelly and Svetlana Sirotinina They [i.e. the children in the orphanage where the informant worked – CK, SS] used to embroider things for the holidays. I remember some boys used to draw the designs for the hankies. And then the girls would do the sewing – a dove, say, or an anchor, a star – whatever [for 23 February, CK, SS]. (Oxf/Lev P-05 PF19А. F., b. 1936, Perm, worked as senior Pioneer leader in an orphanage)

In some families, making presents was a collective activity: We’d always put together a home newspaper for the holidays. My dad was an engineer, he’d do the drawings, we’ve still got them, he’d draw and write, and my mother would write stories, and there’d be big photos. (Oxf/Lev SPb-02 PF26А. М., b. 1960, lived in Leningrad from 1961; father civil servant, mother teacher) Even if the child was not always in the centre of attention, holidays induced a sense of well-being; the family was together, doing things as a group, and the sense of shared happiness was infectious.

‘There was a kind of holiday feeling’ – celebrations outside the family For adults, drinking was an essential part of the holiday mood: ‘Out in the village people are more straightforward, you might say, and that goes on every holiday’ (Oxf/Lev P-05 PF5А. М., b. 1973, Perm; parents workers, moved from the village in the 1960s). But it was not necessary to have village roots to think that vodka was vital to celebrations: this attitude was more or less universal. Children, on the other hand, were not only unlikely to drink themselves, but often found the sight of adults getting tipsy alienating or even frightening: Of course, what I remember about kindergarten is also that a celebration really was a celebration. The children were all dressed up, there was a big New Year tree, Father Frost, the Snow Maiden. But at home, if my father came back from work with presents – and they used to give them out back then – then he’d invariably turn up like this [i.e. drunk, CK, SS]. If we had guests, then by the time he got to a certain stage he was quite capable of turfing them out. So there was never a real sense of a celebration at home. Or maybe there was, someone might give you a toy or whatever, but my father wrecked it all. (Oxf/Lev P-05 PF12А. F., b.1960, from small town, Perm province; parents working class)38 For children from ‘deprived’ families of this kind, celebrations in schools and kindergartens were likely to be a salvation. Such official celebrations also played a special role in the lives of children who lived in institutions. As a

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woman who worked as a supervisor in a boarding school during the 1960s and 1970s recalled: We used all to go to the demonstration for the First of May, we’d go with the organisations that supported us [nashi shefy]. Yes, we’d all go, we’d go across Palace Square, we used to stop there and sing and play, we were so beautiful, we’d walk there. We’d always be asked to take part. (Oxf/Lev SPb-04 PF50A)39 But ordinary ‘family’ children also often enjoyed celebrations in the kindergarten. They used to dress us up and put ribbons on us. All the little boys had nice clothes, shorts and so on. We all tried to dress up for holidays. We’d all learn poems by heart. Almost all of us, anyway. (Oxf/Lev P-05 PF24A. F., b. 1958, Perm; parents working-class) School celebrations were equally good fun for many – the ‘First’ and ‘Last Bell’, the school New Year tree, the celebrations for 23 February and 8 March with gifts and cards and so on.40 Even if the official side of things was a bore, the general socialising was a delight: It [the 1 September, CK SS] was supposed to be a real celebration. But I never liked it all that much. The usual formal assembly [lineika]. They were always so boring. I never liked them. But the effect of the whole occasion, everyone meeting up after a long holiday, well that, that really … Yes, there really was a holiday feeling about all that. (Oxf/Lev SPb-02 PF15B AP. F., b. 1969, parents working class)41 A strong ‘family’ element often inflected these school celebrations as well, not simply because parents might actually attend (as they did, for instance, on 1 September), but because they helped with decorating the school building, buying presents for the teachers, and so on.

‘Growing out’ of holidays For very small children, the holiday was a purely family occasion – a kind of funfair or street party with their parents alongside. The effects were very similar to a visit to the ‘park of culture and rest’ or the zoo. By the time children had started attending school, they were more likely to be aware of the presence of other children the same age – in memories of this age group, the pronoun ‘we’ becomes more common. Occasionally, people remember celebrating separately from their parents: Once my parents went away, and I organised a do for the other children on our floor – now I remember, it was Christmas. We all met up and drank tea. But that only happened once, and we were all fairly big by then. (Oxf/Lev P-05 PF10A. F., b. 1977, Perm, working-class background)

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But such independent celebrations were rare. Indeed, the family tended to remain an important point of reference even when holidays were celebrated by children on their own: And then later, Misha and I went and drank vodka on 9 May in the Summer Garden. And I felt so ashamed, I was thinking, ‘God, I used to come here with my mum and collect leaves, and now here I am sitting drinking vodka like some street yob.’ I felt so ashamed. It was very unpleasant psychologically. (Oxf/AHRC SPb-07 PF2B SA. M., b. 1977, Leningrad, mother librarian)42 Among older schoolchildren, from the late 1960s onwards there were signs of the kind of disillusion with the ‘routinisation’ of the public holiday that one also finds in the adult public of the ‘era of stagnation’ (Baiburin and Piir 2009).43 Even now, however, holidays were still generally seen positively by young people, if only because they allowed you a break from classes: INT.:

So did you attend the demonstration on 7 November? Well, they made us go at school. INT.: So you didn’t enjoy it? INF.: Why ever not? Of course we did, everyone enjoyed going on the demonstration. What’s more, on 1 May the school would march right to the centre of Ordzhonokidze district. There were all these posters: ‘Peace to the World’, ‘May’, ‘Lenin Lives’. I wrote all that out on those red rag things. (Oxf/Lev P-05 PF6B. M., b. 1949, Perm, working-class background) INF.:

The contradictory phrasing – ‘made us’ and ‘enjoyed’ – illustrates the ambivalence of someone who is having a pleasurable experience forced on them.44 But attitudes also changed over the course of historical time, as well as over the course of an individual’s lifetime. In the Stalin era, children were expected to react to holidays with religious awe, to offer them a kind of mystical assent. By the late Soviet era, public holidays were seen more as offering a chance to relax. In turn, this increased the likelihood that the ‘social integration’ mission of the prazdnik would be a failure. Following the classic model of Jan Assmann (Assmann 1992: 17), one could say that the prazdnik had ceased to be a form of ‘repetition of the past’ [Wiederholung] and begun to be a form of ‘bringing into the present’ [Vergegenwärtigung]. In religious rituals, repetition is not only expected, but is essential to the entire effect (its tranquillising and elevating effects); in entertainments repetition has to be strictly limited, or else a sense of boredom and déjà vu will set in. When those who lived through the Stalin years record a negative reaction to prazdniki, they phrase this in terms of fear and disgust;45 boredom does not come into it. With the rise of the idea that celebrations should be entertaining grew the risk of boredom and disillusion when they were not.46

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‘We weren’t divided by it’: Soviet festivals seen from the present The representatives of the ‘last Soviet generations’ are in some respects less prone to nostalgia than those ten or twenty years older than they are, but the idea of childhood as ‘paradise’ is particularly characteristic of these age groups.47 And regret for the past is a frequent motif in their memories. What is felt to have been lost is often a sense of equality, community: ‘Everyone’s parents gave them money, everyone went to the cinema together, then we all ate ice cream on the way back. We weren’t divided by it’ (Oxf/Lev P-05 PF12B: 16. F., b. 1960, small town, Perm province, parents working class). This emphasis on the non-commercial essence of the holiday is typical.48 Holidays represented, by and large, a respite from shortages (because food had been carefully hoarded to prepare for them). In people’s reminiscences days like these get transformed into a myth about the virtues of Soviet reality, when everything was cheap.49 Economists generally agree that the low cost of Soviet goods was part of the reason for shortages in the first place, but adults recalling their ‘golden childhood’ are not much interested in the subtleties of economic theory. Their reveries are driven by memories of deficit and abundance, and each of these qualities is unimaginable without the other. If shortages could be survived more easily when you were looking forward to a holiday, then holidays also seemed much more significant against the background of mild but continuous everyday deprivation.50 In the 1930s and 1940s, a piece of white bread, or even a piece of bread, could seem a memorable experience; by the late 1960s, nostalgia had richer experiences on which to fixate. This article has depicted the processes by which the Soviet mass festival was transformed from the end of the 1950s to the beginning of the 1990s. The attitudes of political administrators and Party workers to the prazdnik, as in the case of many other cultural phenomena, were contradictory. On the one hand, public holidays and celebrations were seen as instruments of social solidarity that were supposed to weld together the collective and Soviet society in general, while on the other, they were seen as having particular significance in terms of a given locality, and understood as a way of inculcating togetherness in individual families. In another, separate, but complementary process, the ideological function of the holiday became increasingly undermined by its function as entertainment. Even the high days of the Soviet political calendar started to be accompanied not just by military cadets doing drills, tank and aircraft displays, speeches and wreath-layings, but by fireworks, balloons, bouquets, and other such non-political elements. By the end of the 1980s, some holidays, in particular New Year, had undergone almost complete ‘de-Sovietisation’. In its turn, this process had an impact on the role of children and young people in the holidays. Soviet political propaganda and pedagogy continued to emphasise the positive role of Soviet holidays in ‘Communist education’. Young people were supposed, in recalling the past, to learn to respect the political status quo and the ideals of

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the Soviet state. But at the same time the powers that be were secretly anxious that the canons of the Soviet holiday as established in the Soviet period were now obsolete, that the established practices and procedures were not appropriate for today’s children and young people and would fail to inspire and attract them. Hence, alongside state and public festivals, there was new attention to ‘family festivals’, and the ‘family’ side of state holidays was also emphasised (as in the articles and photographs published by the Soviet press and focussing on family groups). While some accounts of the popularity of the new holidays and new ways of organising old ones are suspect because they were produced by the same people who were advocating the changes, there is none the less quite a lot of evidence, both from archives and from oral history, that prazdniki altered in reality as well as ‘on paper’, and that attitudes to established state holidays also shifted, especially among children. In the 1930s and 1940s, occasions such as 1 May and 7 November were experienced primarily as times for merging with a collective from one’s peer group, and feeling the power of the patriotic crowd. In the 1960s and 1970s, on the other hand, the experience of the prazdnik was dominated by the street-party side of the demonstration – the balloons, chocolates, and little flags, the chance to walk down the centre of big city streets – and by the celebrations that took place at home, particularly the chance to indulge oneself on hard-to-find delicacies.. The effects of the changes were as paradoxical as were the changes themselves. On the one hand, informants who spent their childhood in the postStalin years recall Soviet holidays with great warmth and with feelings of nostalgia. But on the other hand, they do not link these emotional reactions with the ‘Soviet’ character of the celebrations, which stays ‘outside the frame’ of their narratives. For small children, 1 May was not a ‘day of international solidarity’, but a pleasant parade that marked the start of Spring. Parades were at once strange and entertaining: ‘hard to understand’ and ‘funny’, in the child-like formula of one of our informants. For older children, the political content of parades and school celebrations was often simply ‘boring’: what mattered was the human contact with people one already knew that came with the festivities. Thus, the alterations to Soviet festival culture that took place from the late 1950s did not so much hold Soviet society together as foster the fragmentation of social values; to put it crudely, they contributed to the collapse of the political order that they had been intended to renew.51

Abbreviations TsАОDМ TsGAIPD

Tsentralnyi arkhiv obshchestvennykh dvizhenii Moskvy [Central State Archive of Political Movements of Moscow]. Tsentralnyi gosudarstvennyi arkhiv istoriko-politicheskikh dokumentov [Central State Archive of Historico-Political Documents (St Petersburg)].

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TsGAKFFD Tsentralnyi gosudarstvennyi arkhiv kino-foto-fonodokumentov [Central State Archive of Cinematic, Photographic, and Phonographic Documents (St Petersburg)].

Notes 1 The present chapter is an abridged and reworked version of an article first published in Forum for Anthropology and Culture 5 (2008). We are grateful for financial support from the Leverhulme Trust (grant F/08736/A, ‘Childhood in Russia: A Social and Cultural History’) and to the Arts and Humanities Research Council (grant no. AH/E509967/1, ‘National Identity in Russia from 1961: Traditions and Deterritorialisation’). Our thanks also to Albert Baiburin and Andrei Zorin for useful advice on earlier drafts. 2 On early Soviet festivals, see e.g. (von Geldern 1993; Lapin 2007: 80, 102–5, 125– 27; Malysheva 2005; Petrone 2000; Rabinowitch 2007: 356–88; Rolf 2006). Post1956 festivals have received relatively little attention. Most studies (e.g. Lane 1981; Glebkin 1998) are entirely based on official normative sources, such as pamphlets for festival organisers. The recent study by Rouhier-Willoughby (2008) draws on a wider range of material, but addresses only the rituals of the life cycle (birth, marriage, and funerals, though not including threshold rituals such as birthdays and entry to the Komsomol, or baby naming rituals). For a general discussion of post-Stalinist prazdniki, see the full version of the present article. 3 See e.g. (Borodkin 1963; Bromlei 1981; Gerodnik 1964; Klimov 1964, 1965; Prazdnik nashei ulitsy 1967). A fuller list of these materials is available on the site www.mod-langs.ox.ac.uk/russian/nationalism/bibliography. 4 Compare, on the one hand, (Bondarev 1986: 197): ‘One way or another, freedom is associated with the concept of duty, without which freedom is devoid of any inner moral discipline, and happiness lacks the energy of action’, and on the other, an admiring paraphrase of a lecture given by a visiting activist to the small town of Priozersk (Leningrad province) in 1971, in which he had listed ‘the conditions of a happy existence’ in the following terms: ‘nice things, new furniture, motorboats, how working people spend their summer holidays’ (TsGAIPD, f. 27, op. 145, d. 3, l. 94). 5 See e.g. the memories of Rimma Mamontova about School no. 25 (the so-called ‘Kremlin school’) in Moscow: the headmistress ‘organised a school-leavers’ ball in 1937 and 1938, the first in the Soviet Union’ (Golubovich 2006: 68). 6 Material on ‘strengthening the family’ and on ‘traditions’ often appeared together in late Soviet normative texts on the subject of leisure. For example, one 1989 brochure (Lyubitelskii klub: 2) describes collecting antiques etc. as ‘one of the traditional and interesting ways of spending leisure time in a productive way’ which can also be ‘a family form of spending time, embracing several generations at one time, and being transmitted from generation to generation’. 7 ‘While their parents march along with all the proletarians of Moscow in the October columns, we will entertain the little ones’ (Vo vremya 1935). 8 The ‘child-centred’ nature of the late Soviet holiday became especially evident in the late 1980s. For example, in 1988, Vechernii Leningrad described the New Year festival thus: ‘In the endless crowds, spreading over the whole Prospekt, here and there are heard the sounds of children’s voices – despite the late hour, they are cheery and wide-awake. You even meet mums and dads out with their prams’ (Prazdnik na nashei ulitse 1988: 1). Cf. the housewarming party organised by those living in the Youth Housing Complex on Leninsky Prospekt, Leningrad, during which a little boy dressed as Buratino handed the symbolic ‘keys of the house’ to

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the chairman of the complex. The occasion was rounded off with a fair ‘at which children’s toys, sweets, and consumer goods were sold’ (Na ikh ulitse – prazdnik 1988: 4). (Baiburin and Piir 2009). This broad understanding of ‘childhood’ [detstvo] is characteristic of many postStalinist Soviet texts: see e.g. the photo-reportage ‘Dvorets-molodets!’, Vechernii Leningrad, 3 January 1990, where the ‘kids’ (detvora) depicted having fun in the Tauride Palace included people in their late teens. See e.g. (Kharkhordin 1999; Kushkova 2006). Interviews from the project supported by the AHRC are cited with the prefix Oxf/ AHRC, and those from the project supported by the Leverhulme Trust appear with the prefix Oxf/Lev. The interviews were carried out by Svetlana Sirotinina (Oxf/Lev P), and also by Alexandra Piir (Oxf/Lev SPb AP), Svetlana Amosova (Oxf/AHRC SPb SA), Alexandra Kasatkina (Oxf/AHRC SPb AK), Catriona Kelly (CKQ), and Irina Nazarova (Oxf/AHRC SPb IN) in St Petersburg, by Yuliya Rybina in Moscow (Oxf/Lev M) and by Lyubov Terekhova in Taganrog (Oxf/Lev T). We offer our thanks to everyone for their help. The material cited comprises in-depth semi-structured life-history interviews with 36 informants (16 men, 20 women), and also testimony from 4 teachers and orphanage supervisors and 7 cultural administrators with experience of organising official holidays. For further details, see the project sites, www.mod-langs.ox.ac.uk/russian/childhood, www.mod-langs.ox.ac.uk/ russian/nationalism and www.ehrc.ox.ac.uk/lifehistory See e.g. the bibliography published in Literatura v shkole to mark Stalin’s sixtieth birthday, which includes, among other sections: ‘Stalin – the creator of a new happy life for the peoples of the USSR’. Three-quarters of the publications listed relate to meetings between heroes and the leader, e.g. G. Baidukov, Vstrechi s tovarishchem Stalinym, M. and L., 1938. One of the canonical representations of the demonstration in Soviet propaganda was a view of the tribune with some lucky small child being lifted up to greet the leaders (the earliest example seems to be the picture of Nina Zdrogova in Pravda, 1 July 1935). On the theme of Stalinism as ‘life à la Baudrillard’, see (Dobrenko 2007: Ch. 1). On the February Revolution, see the extremely interesting selection of memoirs by 8–12 year olds from schools in Moscow (Voronov 1927), e.g. ‘We went on the street where all the Moscow peoples were walking with their flags and printed mateeriel and sang about freedom And everyone wanted to shout Hurrah! to the sojers becos they’d stood up for the Russian people and given us all freedom I was verry happy along with everyone else’ (Voronov 1927: 6) (punctuation and spelling is rendered to convey the unorthodox character of the original). Cf. (Deti russkoi emigratsii 1997: 42, 186). Оn organised visits to demonstrations, see e.g. ‘Informatsionnoe pismo o provedenii prazdnika’, 18 March 1926 (TsАОDМ f. 1884, op. 1, d. 50, l. 17), describing the celebrations for the Day of the Paris Commune in Serebryanye prudy Komsomol cell: 33 women, 18 men, and 33 children took part in this, and the children’s group and the Komsomol put on various shows. Cf. ‘Kak ustroit v shkole prazdnik urozhaya’ (Novyi put 1930: 15); (Zak 1926). It is interesting that holidays and festivals had already had a role to play in teaching at schools before 1917 as well. See e.g. (Ushinsky 1912: 63–64): ‘Holidays: The Birth of the Mother of God. The Presentation in the Temple. The Annunciation. The Birth of Christ. Palm Sunday. Transfiguration. The Radiant Resurrection of Christ. The Ascension. Trinity Sunday. Pentecost. The Dormition of the Mother of God’. See e.g. the essay by Kolya Kapitanov, a schoolboy at one of the Kaluga primary schools run by the First Experimental Station of Narkompros, ‘How the Harvest Festival was Organised: ‘We all sang songs in chorus, and then we went to the square where torches were burning, we burned all the kulaks [i.e. effigies of these]’. (NА RАО f. 1, op. 1, d. 245, l. 107).

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18 This was the commonest variant of a slogan that existed in other variants as well: ‘Thank You Dear Stalin … ’ ‘Thank You Dear Comrade Stalin … ’; sometimes the leader was thanked for children’s ‘joyful’ existence, etc. See also (Kelly 2009). 19 The diarist has in mind caricatures of Neville Chamberlain (1869–1940), Prime Minister of Britain from 27 May 1937 to 10 May 1940, and the initiator of ‘peace in our time’ with Germany in 1938. 20 B. Rodoman, ‘Tetrad po grafomanii byvshego uchenika 1–10 klassov shesti raznykh shkol Moskvy, Omska i Kolosovki Rodomana Borisa’. P. 22–23. Archive of B. Rodoman. We are grateful to him and to Vitaly Bezrogov for permission to quote from the text, part of which was published in the collection Gorodok v tabakerke: Detstvo v Rossii ot Nikolaya II do Borisa Yeltsina, V. Bezrogov, C. Kelly (eds), with the participation of A. Piir. Vol. 1. M., 2008. 21 From the unpublished diary of Yu. Tverdin. Personal archive of Professor Yu. B. Orlitsky. See also Bezrogov and Kelly (2008). 22 Tverdin, for example, was a highly active member of the Komsomol who dreamed of making himself useful in the Far East of the Soviet Union. 23 Of course, if informants from earlier generations are asked directly about holidays, they will talk about them, but most often in a fairly indefinite way. (See e.g. (Oxf/ Lev SPb-03 PF 36А: 28) (brother and sister, b. 1940 and 1946, Leningrad, working-class background.) 24 On the whole, celebrating things in a family setting is recalled as something exceptional: ‘INT.: How did you celebrate New Year? INF. 1: I remembered the last New Year [i.e. before the War, CK, SS] quite well, we did celebrate that. INF. 2: We had a huge tree, in Granny’s big room from floor to ceiling, just this enormous tree’ [Oxf/Lev SPb-02 PF7А: 38. Inf. 1 – F., b. 1908 St Petersburg, working-class parents, grew up in orphanage from 1918; Inf. 2 – F., b. 1931, Leningrad, parents working class; daughter of Inf. 1]. 25 The scene strikes anyone with some knowledge of the cinema as working like a parody of the ‘harvest festival’ in Eisenstein’s film The General Line, although this association would scarcely have struck Soviet children of the 1960s. Another instance where Soviet festivals are parodied is Eduard Uspensky’s children’s story The Festivals of Prostokvashino, the characters in which, Matroskin the Cat, Sharik the Dog and Uncle Fedor, wonder why ‘there’s a Poultry Day, there’s International Women’s Day, but there’s no Cows’ Day’. They accordingly decide to fix up a festival for Murka the cow with a celebratory table of food and slogans reading, ‘Long Live Our Dear Moo-Cow!’ Unfortunately the object of the revels displays little gratitude: she eats not only the paper tablecloth, but also the banners with greetings to her (Uspensky 2002: 466). 26 Of course, the family flat was not necessarily an actual social norm (in Leningrad, for example, even in the late 1980s, the percentage of those living in communal flats was a minimum of 19 per cent and a maximum of 65 per cent, depending on district). However, in Soviet journalism and behaviour literature, didactic texts, etc., the separate family flat was, from the 1960s, presented as the normal experience: see. e.g. a model sentence from the school alphabet book of 1963: ‘We have a separate flat’ (Bukvar 1963: 80). 27 ‘INT.: So what festivals did you celebrate? INF.: New Year, of course, but that was all, really’ (Oxf/Lev P-05 PF6В: 13. F, b. 1949, Perm, parents working class); cf. ‘INT.: So did you have any special holidays in the family? INF.: Well, not really. New Year was traditional – we always had a tree. We bought a ticket in the plantation and my dad cut it down, it cost maybe 50 kopecks, that wasn’t too dear back then. It was a real tree, and the toys … The first tree we had, I remember we made the toys ourselves. In fact it wasn’t a tree as such, we got hold of this branch, me and my brothers, we still had a small house, an old one, and so we hung up that branch and made some toys and from then on we had a tree [ … ] we’d have a big tree, and we

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bought the decorations.[ … ] And I remember New Year when I was a child because we always got an orange or a tangerine as a present. We were country children, we only got oranges or tangerines once a year, we only saw them when we got that present’ (Oxf/Lev P-05 PF8А: 10. F., b. 1959, settlement, Perm province, mother book-keeper, father manual worker); ‘We used to celebrate New year. We’d always make costumes, like everyone. Every New Year you got a new one. An astronaut, maybe, or the Snow Maiden, or once I wanted to be a butterfly, once it was a snowflake … ’ (Oxf/Lev P-05 PF23А: 7. F., b. 1957, Perm, father in armed forces, mother secretary). The generally enthusiastic attitude of our informants is shared by the participants in an online forum held to coincide with 7 November 2007: see http://community. livejournal.com/opinion_ru/1140.html It is worth noting also that the view taken of the demonstration by the informant quoted above is not one of ‘joyous fusion’ with the collective, but of an egocentric, even narcissistic, sense of enjoyment: ‘You’d walk along with your legs stepping out like a real grown up. Everyone would be looking at you thinking what a good girl you were.’ Compare V. Golubovsky’s photographs, taken for the Leningrad press in the 1970s. reproduced (Nikitin 2000: 92). Cf. ‘Oh, it’s such a holiday feeling, the First of May, the birches are all out, yes, you can go out really lightly dressed, with balloons in your hands. Mind you, back then they weren’t those gas ones, you just blew them up … with your mouth, so they didn’t fly off anywhere, but never mind. They were still balloons, and flags too, we even have photographs showing us out on the march’ (Oxf/AHRC SPb-07 PF1 SA); ‘Such joyful memories, experiences, it was so good. Balloons, flags, and it was such fun, lots of people having fun’ (Oxf/Lev P-07 PF9). These ‘walnuts’ were small pastries made to look like a walnut; in the inside was condensed milk boiled down to a toffeeish consistency. Cf. (Davidson 2006: 94), recording that at the celebration meals she took part in when living in Moscow in the late 1970s, the same friends and relations were always invited, and the same dishes always served. One such memory is: ‘The cooking always included a fish pie, shangi or pelmeni. For holidays’ (Oxf/Lev P-05 PF4А. F., b. 1936, Perm, parents working class). This memory relates to the late 1950s or early 1960s, when the informant was already an adult. Shangi is a local name for what in standard Russian are known as vatrushki (which have a plain bagel-like dough and a filling of e.g. sweetened curd cheese in the centre); pelmeni are boiled pasta envelopes with meat inside. It should be noted that children’s concept of what constituted ‘festival food’ was not always the same as adults’. For instance, an informant of ours who worked as a supervisor in a boarding school in the 1970s, remembered how surprised she was when one of her charges told her how delicious the pickled herring and macaroni served to him when he went home for a state holiday had been (Oxf/Lev SPb-04 PF49B). These were both workaday, indeed cheap, dishes, and her inclination was to pity him; the child, who had never been served ‘proper’ festival food, was very happy. Cf. (Oxf/Lev SPb-04 PF36В. Brother and sister, b. 1939 and 1946, Leningrad, parents working class). There were also efforts made to give presents to children in orphanages. See e.g. the memories of a boarding-school supervisor in the 1970s (Oxf/Lev SPb-04 PF45B): ‘Despite our Soviet poverty, despite all that, the children always got presents. Of the simplest kind, the humblest kind: a cockerel [i.e. a sweet shaped like one], a lolly, an apple, a tangerine – we always had that, always.’ This practice goes back earlier as well: see e.g. (Oxf/Lev SPb-02 PF7A): ‘INF.: the children never sat at table. INT.: So why not? INF. A separate table, we had our own low table’ (New Year in the 1940s.: F., b. 1931, parents working class). Compare an anonymous school essay from 1926: ‘Otchet o provedennykh zimnikh kanikulakh’ (NА RАО f. 1, op. 1, d. 245, l. 107): ‘ONLY WE DON’T LIKE IT WHEN

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OUR MUMS AND DADS ARE DRUNK WE’RE SCARED OF THEM AND IT’S NOT FUN AT HOME THEN’ [Capital letters in original – CK, SS]. Cf. the memories of other orphanage supervisors also working at this period: (Oxf/ Lev P-05 PF18; Oxf/Lev SPb-04 PF47B). See (Kelly 2004) on the ‘bell’ festivals and 23 February and 8 March. On New Year celebrations in schools, see e.g. ‘INT.: So did you celebrate any holidays in the boarding school? INF.: Yes, them too. New Year, for instance. Not just in the boarding school, in the school generally. We’d put a New Year tree up. [ … ] A big New Year tree. In the school’ (Oxf/Lev P-05 PF24B. F., b. 1958, Perm, parents workers). Many informants also remember with affection the ceremonies by which they were received into the Pioneers: ‘We were initiated in the Museum of the Armed Forces [ … ] The hall was so very huge, I felt kind of lost there, even though there was a whole troop of us, but that hall, I don’t know … I’m not sure exactly how big it is. But I had this feeling … I couldn’t see the ceiling at all! [ … ] And I remember stumbling when I was saying the promise, of course I stumbled, I couldn’t control my feelings, and then they tied our ties on us, and we all went off so very happy’ (Oxf/ Lev M-03 PF10. F., b. 1968, Moscow, mother manual worker). But this type of initiation comes more into the category of ‘new rite’ than of ‘calendar festival’ (though Lenin’s birthday was a popular date for scheduling Pioneer initiations), and is therefore not discussed at length here. In the same interview, PF2A, the informant recalls one of his school friends who never celebrated 9 May with his family as some kind of ‘Martian’. See e.g. the comments by participants in an online forum organised by Zhivoi zhurnal in October 2007: http://community.livejournal.com/opinion_ru/1140.html. ‘When I was little, I used to love that holiday [7 November], because I went to the demonstration with my parents and the grown-ups let me carry a flag on a long stick. I was so happy! But at school, by the time you got to the middle school, and they started to send us to the demonstration in lines from school, the holiday just turned into something dreadful, because they didn’t give me the chance to carry the flag, it was the girls and boys from the top class who did that, and it was so dreary dragging over the frost and snow to the central square of Penza.’ This is typical. Cf. (Oxf/AHRC SPb-07 PF1 AK. F., b. 1951, Ukraine, grew up in Tatar Republic): a lyrical memory – ‘Oh, what a happy, holiday mood!’ is immediately followed by a reference to ‘compulsion’: ‘They made us go along at the institute, I used to go when I was in Kazan, yes. They just made you. And they made my parents when we were living in Zelenodolsk. They didn’t like turning up for that holiday at all.’ One of us (CK) recalls from personal experience as a visitor in 1980–81 that the student population of Voronezh State University treated the demonstration itself with a good deal of contempt (they tried to fob off carrying banners on naive foreigners so that they could leave early, and so on). As Henri Lefebvre has put it, leisure too can be a source of alienation (Lefebvre 1991: 39). See e.g. the memoirs of Naum Korzhavin, who recalled his sense of indignation when the ‘revolutionary spirit’ of the early 1930s was eroded by what he termed ‘misty-mystical abracadabra’ (mezhumochnaya abracadabra) (Korzhavin 1992: 7). This was not unique to children: Emma Gershtein remembered her feelings in 1928: ‘I was glad to be here [out at a Home of Rest in the countryside] and not in Moscow, where everyone would be going to the demonstration [ … ] I could well imagine the impossibility of seeing anybody, because the trams would have stopped and the streets would be full of people, and all those songs, and people tossing each other in the air when the procession had to come to a halt … I couldn’t stand all that’ (Gershtein 1998: 11). In the Stalin era, celebrations did not have to be ‘cheerful’ and ‘joyful’ (veselye), any more than comedies necessarily had to be ‘funny’. The grandeur of the occasion was

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of paramount importance. On the other hand, in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s there was generally a direct link between prazdniki and veselie: cf. the description of the TV entertainment show KVN (The Club of Cheery and Inventive People) as ‘prazdnik vseobshchego uchastiya’ (a holiday/celebration everyone joined in) (Vail and Genis 1988: 133). The conviction that cultural enterprises should be ‘interesting’ is typical of the final decades of Soviet power, and is, of course, an indication of anxieties that ‘interest’ was actually in short supply. Cf. this vignette from a report made by the Priozersk city committee of the Communist Party to the Regional Committee of Leningrad Province in 1971: ‘The session consisted of Com. VISHNEV N. M. reading aloud from newspapers in a dreary monotone, which made people in the audience call out, “What’s he reading us the papers for, we can read can’t we, and we’ve read all that already.”’ (TsGAIPD f. 27, op. 145, d. 3, l. 93). Here we take a slightly different view from L. Goralik (2007), who has seen nostalgia tout court as especially characteristic of the ‘last Soviet generations’. But there does not seem to be an easy correlation between sentimental maunderings on one’s childhood and regret for the past as a political position. People may take a ‘child’s eye’ view of Soviet holidays, yet distinguish their own attitudes as adults from what they felt back then. Cf. the following example from the Live Journal discussion cited above (http:// community.livejournal.com/opinion_ru/1140.html, where the participant recalls how much his grandmother disliked Soviet holidays: ‘In today’s way of seeing, she was a dissident. And I was completely brainwashed back then, thanks to the kindergarten and school. Thank God I was able to beg her forgiveness for having doubted her before she died.’ That is, we are dealing with an atomisation of memory (what a Bakhtinian would term ‘narrative double-voicing’): the child’s view of things comes through as discrete ‘quotations’ that are not integrated into an overall worldview. Cf. e.g. the assertion that back in Soviet days New Year trees ‘weren’t expensive’ (P-05 PF8A. F., b. 1959, from settlement in Perm province; mother book-keeper, father manual worker). Compare the interesting remarks in (Shor-Chudinovskaya 2006) on the stereotypes of post-Soviet autobiography. Interestingly, in the post-Soviet period this attitude has started to vanish, being replaced by widespread indifference to holidays. See e.g. (Oxf/Lev M-03 PF43A. M., b. 1956, Moscow, parents technicians): ‘I’m tired of the way we keep beating our head on a concrete wall, the way nothing we do is necessary to the country, the way whatever we try to do gets replaced by military and sporting holidays that we need like a hole in the head’; or (Oxf/AHRC SPb-07 PF6B IN. F., b. 1986, Leningrad, mother typist): ‘I’ve been [at Scarlet Sails], but there are too many people there, you’re better off watching it on TV. I can see it’s better to see it with your own eyes, but … ’ However, there are some exceptions. For example, a fifteen-year-old schoolgirl’s prize essay in a 2005 collection of essays about national identity, the demonstratsii are the source of patriotic pride (Chto znachit byt russkim 2005: 289): ‘What magnificence you can see on Red Square when there’s a parade taking place. The neatness and smoothness of the soldiers’ gestures is quite amazing.’ Here we are closer to the views expressed by Ronald Suny, who emphasises the role of cultural differentiation (sponsored by official policy) in the collapse of the USSR (Suny 1993), than to those expressed by Francine Hirsch, who argues that such factors had only peripheral importance (Hirsch 2005).

References Assmann, J. (1992) Das kulturelle Gedächtnis: Schrift, Erinnerung und politische Identität in frühen Hochkulturen, Munich.

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Baiburin, A. and Piir, A. (2009) ‘Happy Holidays: Remembering Soviet Festivals’, in Petrified Utopia: Happiness Soviet Style, M. Balina and E. Dobrenko (eds), London: Anthem, 161–86. Bezrogov, V. and Kelly, C. (eds) (2008) Gorodok v tabakerke: Detstvo v Rosii ot Nikolaya II do Borisa Yeltsina, Vol I. Bondarev, Yu. (1986) ‘Chto takoe schast’e?’ [What is Happiness?] (Speech at the 6th Session of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR) in his Sobranie sochinenii, Moscow: Sovetskii pisatel, 6: 196–97. Borodkin, A. (1963) Sila velikikh traditsii [The Power of Great Traditions], Moscow. Bromlei, Yu. V. (1981) ‘Novaya obryadnost’ – vazhnyi komponent sovetskogo obraza zhizni’ [The New Ritualism is a Vital Constituent of the Soviet Way of Life], in Kryvalev I. A., Kogan D. M., Traditsionnye i novye obryady v bytu narodov SSSR, Moscow: Nauka, 5–27. Bukvar (1963) Bukvar [Alphabet Book], Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe uchebno-pedagogiches koe izdanie. Chto znachit byt russkim (2005) Chto znachit byt russkim segodnya? Sochineniya starsheklassnikov-uchastnikov konkursa, provedennogo v marte-iyule 2003 goda [What Does It Mean to be Russian Today? Essays by Senior Schoolchildren Written for a Competition in March–July 2003], I. M. Ilinsky (ed.), Moscow, 2005. Cunningham, H. (1995) Children and Childhood in Western Society since 1500, London: Longman. Davidson, P. (2006) ‘Food and Community in Soviet Russia: From Bulgarian Beans to Polish Plums’, in Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings, 2: 90–98. Deti russkoi emigratsii (1997) Deti russkoi emigratsii, L. Petrusheva (ed.), Moscow: Terra-Terra. Detskii karnaval (1939) Detskii karnaval. Letnii prazdnik dlya detei srednego vozrasta, Moscow: Tsentralnyi dom khudozhestvennogo vospitaniya detei. Dobrenko, E. (2007) Political Economy of Socialist Realism, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. von Geldern, J. (1993) Bolshevik Festivals, 1917–1920, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Gerodnik, G. I. (1964) Dorogami novykh traditsii [By the Route of New Traditions], Moscow: Politicheskaya literatura. Gershtein, E. (1998) Memuary [Memoirs], St Petersburg: Inapress. Glebkin, V. (1998) Ritual v sovetskoi kulture [Ritual in Soviet Culture], Moscow: Yanus-K. Golubovich, N. (2006) ‘Rodom iz 25-i obraztsovoi. Vospominaniya “odesskoi” moskvichki’ [From Model School no. 25: Memoirs of an ‘Odessa’ Muscovite], DNK: Informatsionno-analiticheskii zhurnal 4 (19): 66–69. Goralik, L. (2007) ‘“Rosagroeksporta syrka”: Simvolika i simvoly sovetskoi epokhi v segodnyashnem rossiiskom brendinge’ [‘Some Rosagroexport Processed Cheese’: The Symbolism and Symbols of the Soviet Era in Modern Russian Branding’, Teoriya mody, 3: 13–30. Grishin, A. (1939) Prazdnik schastya [Festival of Happiness], E. A. Bogolyubov (ed.), Perm: Permskii oblastnoi dom pionerov, 1939. Hirsch, F. (2005) Empire of the Nations, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Kelly, C. (2004) ‘“The School Waltz”: The Everyday Life of the Post-Stalinist Soviet Classroom’, Forum for Anthropology and Culture, 1: 104–55.

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——(2009) ‘A Joyful Soviet Childhood: Licensed Happiness for Little Ones’, in Petrified Utopia: Happiness Soviet Style, M. Balina and E. Dobrenko (eds), London: Anthem, 3–18. Kharkhordin, O. (1999) The Collective and the Individual in Soviet Culture, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Klimov, E. (1964) Novye obryady i prazdniki [New Rituals and Holidays], Perm: Profizdat. ——(1965) Prazdnik prishel v tvoi dom, Perm: Profizdat. Kobo, Kh. (comp.) (1989) Osmyslit kult Stalina [Making Sense of the Stalin Cult], Moscow: Progress. Korzhavin, N. (1992) ‘V soblaznakh krovavoi epokhi. Vospominaniya o neproshedshem vremeni’ [Under the Spell of a Cruel Era: Memoirs of a Time Not Yet Past], Novyi Mir 7: 154–212; 8: 130–93. Krasnye zori (1919): Krasnye zori [Red Dawns journal], 1919: 1–2. Kushkova, A. (2006) ‘V tsentre stola: zenit i zakat salata “Olivye”’ [In the Centre of the Table: The Rise and Fall of Salad Olivier], Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie 76: 278–313. Lane, C. (1981) The Rites of Rulers: Ritual in Industrial Society: The Soviet Case, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Lefebvre, H. (1991) A Critique of Everyday Life, vol. 1, Introduction, trans. J. Moore, London: Verso. Lapin, V. (2007) Peterburg: Zapakhi i zvuki [The Smells and Noises of St Petersburg], St Petersburg: OOO Lapin. Lyubitelskii klub (1989) Lyubitelskii klub kollektsionerov. Problemy, resheniya [The Amateur Collectors’ Club: Problem and Solutions], Moscow: VNMTsNTIKPR. Malysheva, S. (2005) Sovetskaya prazdnichnaya kul’tura v provintsii: prostranstvo, simvoly, mify (1917–1927) [Festival Culture in the Soviet Provinces: Spaces, Symbols, Myths], Kazan: Ruten, 2005. Na ikh ulitse – prazdnik (1988) ‘Na ikh ulitse – prazdnik’ [It’s a Holiday on Their Street], Vechernii Leningrad, 29 June. Nikitin, V. A. (2000) Optimizm pamyati: Leningrad 70-kh [Remembered Optimism], St Petersburg: Limbus-Press. Novyi put (1930) Novyi put: vtoraya kniga dlya chteniya i raboty v selskoi shkole 1 stupeni [New Path: Second Reader and Work Book for the Village Primary School]. 7th, amended edn, M. A. Melnikov (comp.), A. G. Kalashnikov (ed.), Moscow and Leningrad: Gosudarstvennoe izdatelstvo. Petrone, K. (2000) Life Has Become More Joyous, Comrades: Celebrations in the Time of Stalin, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Prazdnik na nashei ulitse (1988) ‘Prazdnik na nashei ulitse’ [A Holiday on Our Street], Vechernii Leningrad, 2 January. Prazdnik na ploshchadi (1940) Prazdnik na ploshchadi [Holiday on the Square], Moscow. Prazdniki nashei ulitsy (1967) Prazdniki nashei ulitsy, V. L. Bulvanker (comp.), Leningrad: Lenizdat. Rabinowitch, A. (2007) The Bolsheviks in Power: The First Year of Soviet Rule in Petrograd, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Rodina i Stalin v tvorchestve detei (1939) ‘Rodina i Stalin v tvorchestve detei’ [The Motherland and Stalin in Works by Children], Literatura v shkole, 6: 3–15. Rolf, M. (2006) Das sowjetische Massenfest, Hamburg: Hamburger Edition. Rouhier-Willoughby, J. (2008) Village Values: Negotiating Identity, Gender and Resistance in Contemporary Urban Russian Life-Cycle Rituals, Bloomington, IN: Slavica.

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Sergeev, A. (1997) Omnibus, Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie. Shor-Chudovskaya, A. (2006) ‘Biografiya svoei strany’ [A Biography of Your Own Country], in I. Flige (ed.), Pravo na imya: Biografiya XX veka. Metodologiya sostavleniya i izucheniya biografii. Chetvertye chteniya pamyati Veniamina Ioffe, St Petersburg: Memorial, 47–58. Suny, R. (1993) The Revenge of the Past: Nationalism, Revolution, and the Collapse of the Soviet Union, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Trinadtsatyi Syezd (1959) Trinadtsatyi Syezd Vsesoyuznogo Leninskogo Kommunisticheskogo Soyuza Molodezhi, 15–18 aprelya 1958. Stenograficheskii otchet [The Thirteenth Congress of the Komsomol, 15–18 April 1958. Stenographic Record], Moscow: Molodaya gvardiya. Ushinsky, K. D. (1912) Rodnoe slovo dlya detei mladshego vozrasta. God pervyi. Pervaya posle azbuki kniga dlya chteniya [The Native Word for Younger Schoolchildren. Year One. First Reading Book after the Primer], 4th edn SPb. [N. S. Ushinskaya]. Uspensky, E. (2002) Prazdniki v Prostokvashino [Holidays in Prostokvashino], Moscow: Zolotaya biblioteka. Vail, P. and Genis, A. (1988) 1960-e: mir sovetskogo cheloveka [1960s: The World of the Soviet Person]. Ann Arbor, MI: Ardis. (Velikii prazdnik (1938): ‘Velikii prazdnik narodov sovetskoi strany’ [The Great Holiday of the Soviet Peoples], Literatura v shkole, 1: 5. Vo vremya (1935): ‘Vo vremya demonstratsii budem igrat s malyshami’ [During the Holiday We’ll Play with the Little Ones], Pionerskaya pravda, 4 November. Voronov, V. (1927) ‘Fevralskaya revolyutsiya v detskikh zapisyakh’ [The February Revolution in Children’s Memoirs], Vestnik prosveshcheniya, 3: 3–11. Yurchak, A. (2006) Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Zak, S. (1926) Kak Pasha provel 1-oe maya [How Pasha Spent the First of May], Moscow and Leningrad: Gosizdat.

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The practices of ‘privacy’ in a South Russian village (a case study of Stepnoe, Krasnodar Region)1 Alexander Manuylov Translated by Edmund Griffiths

Introduction The issue of whether a sense of ‘privacy’ exists in Russia (and if so, from what date) has been extensively debated. This article looks at the problem from a new angle, taking issue with the rigid division into public and private ‘spheres’ propounded in post-Habermasian social theory. Using material from interviews and participant observation, it argues that the creation of private/ intimate situations and relationships takes place in a performative way. Thus, a shop-keeper (someone inhabiting what would usually be understood as ‘public space’) may ‘privatise’ relationships with some customers, e.g. by supplying from his or her own household stocks goods that are not for sale. Privacy (or conversely, publicness)2 becomes a matter of social practices, rather than of social institutions or ingrained social structures. The fieldwork site to which my discussion relates, the village of Stepnoe in Krasnodar region, southern Russia, was selected as a case-study for the Fernab der Städte [Far from Any Cities] project, and members of the Krasnodar Centre for Anthropological Research worked there over the whole course of the project. Before this research began, I had already had quite intensive contacts with many residents of the village over many years, and had conducted folkloric and ethnographic research there in 1995, accompanied by archive work on the history of the village’s formation. My contacts there knew I was an academic, and we had quite often discussed various topics of scholarly and political interest. It could be said that I was already partly incorporated into the everyday life of some residents of the village. This point was decisive in my choice of Stepnoe as an object of study. Before beginning my field work, I told the people I knew in the village about it, and received their permission to ‘study them’. But it was quite difficult to persuade local residents to make contact with other members of the research group. This ‘closed’ character is typical of villages and stanitsas3 in both the steppe and the mountain districts of the territory. Only on the Black Sea coast, where village residents are actively engaged in receiving tourists over the summer, and have become accustomed to the presence of outsiders both in their homes and in the streets of their villages, are things a little different.

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We could hardly avoid being treated by locals like ‘government officials’ or ‘journalists’ when we arrived in Stepnoe. Even an article about us in the district newspaper changed little. From the start, we were firmly associated with people who ‘poke their noses into other people’s business’ – people in front of whom you shouldn’t talk. (Of course, we also encountered people who made contact easily and spoke openly about everyday village life from the moment we met them. There were very few of these, however, and their ‘openness’ can itself be viewed as a ‘discourse of openness’, a presentation strategy.) There is no ‘social niche’ in the village for researchers; villagers are not familiar with the practice of anonymising informants, required by the ethics of field work; they do not understand who could possibly need to study them, and see any recording as potentially aimed at the entire world. All these factors made the realisation of field techniques much harder, but at the same time made our work more nuanced. We began by working only with those local residents who expressed trust towards us and our activities, i.e. with pre-prepared informants. Subsequently we came to use some of them as ‘mediators’: the mediators themselves found new informants for us, explained our interests to them, and themselves arranged meetings and introduced us to new people. In the course of the first two months of field work, we did not use recording devices or video cameras. We only started recording interviews when our informants had become accustomed to us and had stopped feeling anxious if their words were taken down by recording devices. We avoided making contact with new people ‘in the street’ (as is accepted practice, for instance, in ethnographic fieldwork). Encounters with locals were only made in situations with a ‘quasi-public’ character. In this way, we got to know our neighbours, people we had given a lift to in our car, hairdressers, shopkeepers, etc. According to a standard process, the researcher in the field is ‘privatised’ by his or her informant, and is subsequently viewed by other locals only through the prism of his or her acquaintance with that informant. In this connection, we had to pay considerable attention to maintaining our neutrality (which in a village is, of course, impossible to manage completely: whatever happens, you are always on someone’s side). Of course, mistakes inevitably happened, and these prevented us from gaining the trust of some very interesting individuals. In some cases, people refused to have any contact with us at all. But the employment of mediators had a significant result: we quickly entered into warm and friendly relationships with representatives of the most varied social groups and professional communities. As time went by, local residents themselves began inviting us to visit their homes or to attend various family or work events, including ones outside the village. Sometimes a sense of our autonomy did arise, but in the majority of cases our friendships in the village played a very weighty role (for good or ill) in how willing informants were to meet with us. These issues of ‘field approach’ bear directly on the question that interests us. The problems that we encountered shed at least a partial light on the place

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of the researcher in the privacy of the village, a privacy that is so complex and so tense (even hostile) in the face of external interest, yet which is ready at any moment to be transformed before the eyes of the researcher into an equally impenetrable publicness.

Constructing the object of study The topic of the present investigation was originally formulated as ‘the relations between private and public spheres in the village’. But observations of village life, and the ‘socially sensitive’ organisation of our fieldwork, led me to conclude that the only form of ‘public sphere’ we observed in the village of Stepnoe was ‘generated’ by our research group itself. Further, only a few situations in the village’s communicative space can be viewed as contexts and conditions for interactions that resemble the ‘urban public sphere’ with which we are familiar. This conclusion demanded that we refine our object of study as a construct. In the analysis presented here, this object is the practices relating to privacy, and the activity that I denominate as the co-ordination of a privatised publicness. The categories of ‘private’ and ‘public’ are so fluid and multi-dimensional that the spheres we have defined could equally successfully be the object of study in a whole variety of scholarly disciplines.4 Besides this synchronic breadth, the concept of ‘privacy/publicness’ has significant diachronic depth and becomes relevant for European thought quite early: Arendt, for example, traces the distinction between the two, like the division between the household and the political sphere, to the ancient world, arguing that these distinctions emerged, at the latest, around the time of the emergence of the city-state (Arendt 1958). The relevance and mobility of the boundaries between private and public in the communicative space of Stepnoe village were the background for our field research work. Wherever the researchers might be, whatever relationships they might form with local residents, a boundary was always constructed to separate the existing communicative field from ‘privacy’ whenever this made itself felt. We can say, using Dan Graham’s metaphor, that when the researchers tried to peek through the window into the sphere of the private, they generally provoked a closing of the curtains.5 Many years’ experience observing social interactions in urban and rural settings have led me to the conclusion that, in analogous circumstances, urban and rural residents justify their communicative choices differently. This difference is directly derived from their stable and typical ideas about everyday life. What we understand by privacy is the field of relationships, contacts, and things (in their functions and meanings) where actors interconnect in their capacity as unique persons, and where statuses obtained in other fields as the product of seriality (as it is understood by Baudrillard) are irrelevant to the given interaction and are consequently ignored. Similarly, publicness is the field of contacts, relations, things, and interactions where actors appear as manifestations of seriality, i.e. what is important is not a given person but his or her status, legitimised publicly (i.e. by the state). Finally, quasi-publicness (which

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will also be discussed here) is an area of privacy that has been transformed or deformed as the result of a strategy one might term playing at publicness. Here play as a manipulation of meanings has a key significance, because actors do not lose their personality in interaction. As far as quasi-publicness is concerned, this kind of interaction arises in the course of private contact when one of the actors demonstrates his or her public status and tries to abolish the personal in him- or herself and in his or her partner. (Such situations can arise both on an initiative ‘from above’, and on one ‘from below’.) Thus the present scheme can be considered a development, with due corrections, of Erving Goffman’s proposition: ‘The characterization that one individual can make of another by virtue of being able directly to observe and hear that other is organized around two fundamental forms of identification: the categoric kind involving placing that other in one or more social categories, and the individual kind, whereby the subject under observation is locked to a uniquely distinguishing identity through appearance, tone of voice, mention of name or other person-differentiating device. This dual possibility–categoric and individual identification–-is critical for interaction life in all communities except bygone small isolated ones, and indeed figures in the social life of some other species as well’ (Goffman 1983: 3–4). Of importance for the description, analysis, and interpretation of practices in the everyday life of the villagers is the concept of coordination, recently proposed by Laurent Thévenot and understood by him in the perspective not of a ‘stabilised order’ but of a focus of creative dynamics.6 Refining Thévenot, I would say that coordination is non-stop experimentation, when the actor in any arbitrarilychosen point of his/her social trajectory checks the changes taking place in his/her own position in relation to the X-Y-Z axes, etc. Coordination is a kind of bricolage in a space defined by social engineers and appropriated by a novice bricoleur (with all the novice’s customary expenses and bonuses in terms of status.)7 I have no right to exclude (either methodologically or in fact) my presence, the presence of the observer, from the scenes of everyday life I have observed; I am not in any position to annul the reception of local practices solely through the prism of the researcher’s own socialisation and of the discourses that form his own lifeworld;8 but I have nonetheless tried to realise the desire to see the lifeworld through local residents’ eyes in a presence/participation format.9

The syntagmatics of privacy First of all, I shall briefly describe the public (and quasi-public) context in relation to which village practices might be seen as private and which villagers use to be in a condition to ‘be public’ in principle. The macro-perspective of communications By a macro-perspective we understand the very smallest scale of the social map, characterised by the totality of public interactions carried out by

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residents of Stepnoe within a certain space where the village marks one point only. First, this refers to interactions with human agents who cannot be assigned to the local community, and on territory that does not belong to it. And, second, it refers to interactions we might call ‘exported’: i.e. where a fragment of the network of customary interactions is transferred by its participants beyond the limits of the village, either on to territory outside any settlement, or into other settlements (with or without the possibility of external contact). If the first case is thoroughly satisfied by the criterion of publicness that I gave above, since the vector of communications has a centrifugal direction, then I would classify the second case, where the vector of communications is centripetal, as ‘quasi-publicness’ (i.e. public interactions are not excluded, but neither are they necessary). According to our observations, many local residents carry out regular trips outside Stepnoe (although there are also those who say it is a long time since they have travelled anywhere outside the village). Journeys for extended periods. People travel furthest, and for the longest periods, for reasons connected with working outside the region. Variant 1. A local family leaves the village for many years (as a rule, to travel north), and members of the family return to their native village when they retire.10 Variant 2. One member of the family (normally a man) leaves ‘to earn money’, returning only for holidays from work.11 Variant 3. Study outside the region: school graduates apply to both regional universities (for instance, in Ivanovo or Ryazan regions) and to those in the capitals (Moscow, St Petersburg), with an uncertain prospect of returning; but they do visit the village during the university holidays. Regular journeys. A significant part of the working-age male population, and an insignificant part of the female, are employed or in education outside the borders of the village administration; in this case local actors regularly leave the village and return to it. Variant 1. Employment in remote districts of the territory, or work trips around the territory, permit return home only at weekends and on public holidays. Variant 2. Employment within the district or in neighbouring districts, or in the city of Krasnodar, makes it possible to return home every day, which is not always done (for instance, when temporary accommodation is available at the workplace). The same category includes education in the district centre, Nizhnyaya stanitsa, Dalnyaya stanitsa, the town of Yarsky, and the city of Krasnodar. Irregular and one-off journeys. Trips that are not connected with work: trips to see relatives (including in other regions of Russia); visits to markets in the district centre, the town of Yarsky, Krasnodar; visits to see friends and acquaintances in nearby settlements or in Krasnodar; trips to ‘nature’ or to the seaside (in summer) (having participated in such trips, I would allocate them exclusively to the category of quasi-public); visits to healthcare facilities, etc. Journeys to the outskirts of the village belong entirely to the private sphere. It seems to me that journeys to the immediate surroundings of the village are

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most typical for local residents. To be precise, villagers might have a number of different reasons for leaving Stepnoe: (1) to work the fields and maintain agricultural equipment and various structures in the fields (this takes place during working hours and refers to those who work for the Association of Peasant Farms or on private farms); (2) to prepare hay for livestock (on a few meadows and on territories alongside the field roads); (3) to visit lakes and water courses (for fishing, swimming, picnics); (4) to enter the forest (for picnics, rendezvous); (5) to hunt. All these categories have a seasonal character. Points (3) and (4), and also in part (5), are difficult to differentiate: a picnic can be combined with fishing (or hunting) and can take place on a riverbank in a forest, but each of these activities can take place separately. It should be noted that fishing and hunting are purely recreational activities for some residents of Stepnoe, while for others they are a significant element in their economic life12 (here, too, combinations are possible in some cases). The micro-perspective of communications Institutionally, the social space of the village differs little from that of the city. Of course, no-one is likely to come across such institutions within the village infrastructure as a theatre, a large factory, a hotel, or a golf club.13 On the level of employment, the dominant scheme until recently was that one village area would have one or two agricultural enterprises, including stock-raising farms and processing, etc., subdivisions. On the level of ‘recreation’ practically all functions (theatre, cinema, museum, library, discothèque, hobby groups for particular interests, sports groups, etc.) were and still are carried out by the village House of Culture, and also by the school. Medical facilities are weakly specialised and have a limited range of practitioners. Communications departments function little. Technical, judicial, tax, financial, religious, and other institutions are located in the district centre. It would be possible to continue this institutional comparison between the city and the village, but that would be a matter for a separate investigation. There are not many places in Stepnoe village where communications reach a high intensity. Among them are the two markets (plus two markets on khutors);14 the buildings of the village administration and the Association of Peasant Farms (the former collective farm board); the House of Culture (plus the two Houses of Culture on khutors); the kindergarten, the comprehensive secondary school (plus three primary schools on khutors); the post office (plus three on khutors); the polyclinic, the hospital (plus three MMPs15 on khutors), the pharmacy, the militia station, shops, the hairdresser’s shop, three café-bars, the library, and bus stops. It should be borne in mind that all these institutions have strictly defined opening hours (the bus stops fulfil the function of places of intensive communication only immediately before the arrival of the bus, with the exception of the two stops nearest to the exit from the village in the direction of the

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district centre, which are visited practically all the time during daylight hours by villagers hoping to catch a lift). According to our observations, the most heavily visited places are the shops, and for young people also the cafés, which latter are also open at night. Out of all these places, only the ‘big’ market structurally resembles ‘publicness’ in an urban sense. The ‘little’, everyday market marks one of the centres of the village, where some of the village shops are concentrated (both private shops and state-owned ones). It is basically local residents who visit the ‘little’ market, both as sellers and as buyers. The ‘big’ market, which is held weekly, takes the place of the ‘little’ market on Fridays. Traders from various districts of the territory, and from the Adygeya Republic, regularly travel to the ‘big’ market. For this reason, relations between buyers and sellers on the floor of the market approximate to ‘publicness’ in the city sense.16 Yet the places of intensive communication listed above can be called public only in a very specific sense. What is ‘public’ in a typical urban sense is irrelevant, I think, to such places in the village. Commercial, medical, and educational institutions are all without exception drawn into the network of private practices. In some cases (e.g. in the hospital or the school) administrative and hierarchical practices are present, but in a reduced form: there is a certain kind of playing at publicness. Thus, villagers who know one another do not entirely abandon the demand that one address people by name and patronymic. They address respected people in the second person plural (but they very easily go over to the second person singular), and use the patronymic alone – Vladimirovich, Petrovna.17 But the involvement of an outsider (e.g. the researcher) in villagers’ interactions provokes the construction of a public situation. I myself heard the chief of the administration address an entrepreneur of high status by name and patronymic (and in the second person plural), while on another occasion I happened to witness a conversation between the same two people where they used the second person singular and first names.18 In both instances, they were discussing problems of village administration. As far as the shops and cafés are concerned, interactions between staff and customers/visitors bear an entirely private character (second person singular, first names), because there is no administrative hierarchy in this field. Therefore, based on these facts, one can say that a public dimension easily arises in private interactions that are superficially observed from without, as soon as circumstances require it. To the extent that private forms of address are typical in quasi-public places, one should see them above all as a manifestation of personalistic relations (relations based on the ready capital of the person and his/her family, i.e. where the actor’s role is ‘marked’ in some way). The construction of publicness takes place not just in the presence of an outsider (i.e. an ‘unmarked’ actor), but also in the event of one interlocutor addressing another not as a person, but in terms of his/her public status, and where communication is mediated through state or economic power.19

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Additional arguments for viewing village ‘public’ places as sub-spaces of the private sphere are provided by the following characteristic episodes from village life (taking the relationship between buyer and seller as an example). 1 A customer in one of the private shops was dissatisfied with the service and wrote an entry in the complaints book. This unique case involved Elena V., a university lecturer from Krasnoyarsk, who had bought a house in Stepnoe several years previously, and regularly spent the summer holidays there. Elena, feeling that she had received poor quality service, acted as she would have done in a public situation in a big city. But a little later, evidently recognising the ineffectiveness of making an entry in the complaints book, she decided to employ a personal acquaintance and informed the shop’s owner about the incident. As far as we know, nothing was ever said to the shop assistant concerned.20 2 The daily ‘little’ market, as noted above, is characterised by the fact that both traders and customers are local residents, i.e. it is private relationships that are realised at this market. So it is no surprise that we observe the practice of interest-free credit, guaranteed by the personal ‘reputation’ of the customer. We know many villagers on low money incomes who make efforts to buy goods at this market, where expensive items are not usually sold. They can always rely on the fact that the stallholder will let them have the goods on credit for a period of several months (which is also characteristic of the shops, but with smaller sums and for a shorter credit period: no more than one month). The fact that it is the personalistic approach that prevails in such interactions is demonstrated, for instance, by a case where a close relative of a customer who had bought some clothes ‘on tick’ died. The stallholder, hearing of this, allowed the customer not to pay the agreed sum that month, and resume payments the following month.21 3 One of the sales assistants at a private shop admitted that she tried to find out as much detail as possible from each visitor about his/her plans for the day. She does this so that if anyone asks her ‘Where’s auntie Masha? Where’s Petrovich gone?’ she will be able to give an exhaustive answer. That is, as the informer emphasises, she ‘has to work like an information office’, otherwise, as she thinks, fewer people would visit the shop.22 These examples could easily be multiplied. At the same time, evidence of manifestations of publicness either in these quasi-public places or in genuinely private places (e.g. the home) is very sparse and seems always to be linked with the process of constructing new groups of the village elite.23 The data given refer to a sphere of communications that is external to the greatest possible degree, where both typical (traders) and atypical (researchers) unmarked actors can appear without posing any threat to the community – which easily restructures itself in a public key, and successfully parries outside interest by recourse to a language associated with publicness in the

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outside world. But if we bear in mind that an extreme degree of privacy can be given by a paradigm like ego-ego communication (or ‘interior dialogue’), then there might be an unlimited number of ‘steps’ between such a manifestation of privacy and that which was described above; and on each ‘step’ privacy is transformed along with the transformation of identity and local social boundaries (e.g.: father – neighbour – senior doctor – the elected representative), while nevertheless remaining ‘privacy’ of a kind. It seems impossible to give a complete description of these ‘steps’, because the boundaries between them are flexible and permeable, and the very act of fixing such boundaries expresses no more than the whim of the observer. I will confine myself to noting some fields of privacy that can easily be observed in the course of villagers’ everyday life (with the proviso that ease of observation does not necessarily generate ease of understanding). We should note that it is not only the above-mentioned quasi-public places in the village that are places for meetings and communications between villagers. Any locus of a quasi-public character can become such a place – for example, the street, where any of the villagers can meet and enter into communication. The space of the street is ordered in an uneven manner, with regard to its quasi-public characteristics. We can identify as the most intensive loci of communication the streets that are near those institutions that form the centre both of the village and of the area. In addition, we should point to the bus stops already mentioned, and also the benches along the yard fences, put up specially for such quasi-public meetings (in the warm season, of course) with neighbours and passers-by sharing the quasi-public space of the street.24 The benches are also used for games by the children, who form groups by neighbourhood. Villagers communicate no less intensively in shops (see e.g. the shop assistant’s opinion adduced above). Communication arises both among visitors and also between buyers and sellers. At the stage when the members of the research group were still not known to the shop staff, any of us who entered a shop where there were no other customers found him- or herself in something like a ‘public’ realm in the urban sense. But as soon as the researcher became ‘known’ to the shop staff, situations (initiated by the staff themselves) began to arise that could be classed as related to local practices of privacy. To give an example: I went into a shop to buy some bread and, not finding any bread on the counter, I asked the shop assistant whether there was any bread for sale. She told me that there wasn’t any bread, but she could sell me one loaf, and pulled out a loaf of white bread from under the counter. On another occasion she advised me not to take the stale bread from the counter and instead sold me fresh bread she had put aside ‘for her friends’. A few times shop assistants couldn’t find change for a big note and suggested that we change it somewhere else and bring the money in later (but they let us take our shopping in the meantime). Finally, one evening I was looking around the shops for raw potatoes (one of the members of our research group had decided to cook a potato dish, because we were expecting some villagers

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for ‘a visit’). But in the village you can only buy potatoes at the morning produce market, and they are not sold in shops at all. One of the shop assistants offered to sell me her own potatoes (which her family grows on a private holding as a sideline). An hour later I went into the same shop and the assistant had already fetched me 5kg of good potatoes, which she sold me at a very reasonable price. One more example: I had decided to have my car serviced by the local ‘shadow’ mechanic, who was also employed as goods manager in the local private car shop. The service included replacing various parts of the steering and of the braking system. The mechanic telephoned the salesman and told him exactly which spare parts he needed to find and sell me (he had chosen higher-quality versions of the parts). In one instance, there was no good-quality replacement to be had, so he took me in his own car to the town of Yarsky, where there are several car shops. There he picked out the necessary brake discs and we went back to Stepnoe, where he continued with the service. When the work was finished I asked him how much it cost him, and he said, ‘Whatever you think is right.’ Of course, I didn’t know the going rate, and at random, so as not to offend him, I suggested 500 roubles.25 That seemed to suit him fine. Before then, he had done bits of minor maintenance (regulating the clutch, charging the battery, etc.) and refused any payment at all, with the phrase ‘You don’t charge people you know’.26 These examples show that private practices edge out public ones if personal relationships exist between the actors. In the village, the shop staff are personally acquainted with the majority of residents (and, if they don’t ‘know the face’, they can easily establish the customer’s status and relationship to themselves through family or network affiliation, once they enter into communication), so their relation to local customers is formed not by practices intrinsic to publicness – which would demand that the customer-actors be unmarked and that the shop staff relate in the same way to all the shop’s customers when communicating with them, but by practices of privacy, demanding the selection of ‘friends’ and the provision for them of more favourable conditions for obtaining goods and services.27 I am far from intending to portray Stepnoe village as a ‘community of friends’. More than once we were the witnesses of conflicts, which in some instances were resolved by fights. The reasons for these conflicts were sometimes on the surface, and sometimes remained a mystery. But in all the cases we encountered where conflicts were resolved, the opposing sides acted on the basis of what social capital stood behind their opponent. Modern city-dwellers are well aware of the model of dividing one’s personal time into public and private: there is a public space at work, and a private space at home. I have several times encountered the opinion that a person’s reason for hurrying home will be to change his/her situation, to be with people – close relatives – whom he/she is fond of. Or it can be the other way around: someone isn’t in a hurry to get home after work, because he/she has more intimate forms of private communication, such as the company of friends, a lover, etc. Thus there are boundaries between these fields, expressed

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in temporal, spatial (topographical), and role categories. In the social space of Stepnoe, according to our observations, such boundaries can be established with great difficulty, if at all. In speaking of the temporality of privacy, we should consider that the village certainly does know the category of ‘working hours’, but on closer examination this category looks fictional, because ‘working hours’ can arise at any moment when someone needs the services of some specialist (or indeed if someone needs to work on their own account – in cases that the economic literature terms ‘self-employment’). A friend of mine, the local veterinarian, Dmitry V. (born 1963), was ‘on a hospital note’28 but it was almost impossible to catch him at home. At any time of the day or night, his fellow villagers might come and call him away in connection with various problems that had arisen with their animals. It is quite a large village, so making the round of all the necessary addresses can sometimes be difficult. But Dmitry never turns anyone away, even when he is ‘on sick leave’.29 In another case the schoolteacher Tamara Z. (born 1976) complained that the head had told her off for visiting a local private café ‘outside working hours’, on the basis that an educator should not be seen in a place that has a ‘doubtful’ reputation.30 As we see, within the social space of the village, public interactions assume the character of private ones, and private that of quasi-public (if they are assessed on the basis of one’s experience of urban publicness).

The paradigmatics of privacy Let us turn to a more detailed analysis of social relations in a private organisation: the limited company (OOO) Aist (‘Stork’). OOO Aist is engaged in retail trade and has several shops in the villages of Stepnoe and Lesnoe and the khutor of Vostochnyi. About 60 people work in the organisation. The leadership of the organisation is made up primarily of relatives (see Table 6.1). Economic and family relations in this group are so intertwined that it is impossible to say whether any situations exist in which anyone from the group carries out exclusively economic practices. The superimposition of economic onto family roles is typical of modern Russian small business. Here we can discern above all economic profit: a greater proportion of the wage fund returns to the family. The director in his interview cites, as another plus of this superimposition, mutual trust and simplified control by means of extra-economic connections. But an important minus, in his (and my) opinion, is the possibility of family conflict that might put the enterprise in the firing line.31 In this connection I would like to pause briefly and analyse such a protracted conflict, which can lead both to the breakup of the group and to a division of the enterprise. OOO Aist was established by Aleksei K., who died in 1999. His business was formally inherited by his widow, Natalya K., but it appears that her children – Viktor K. and Irina S. – are the real owners of the organisation

VASILY

PYOTR

VALENTINA

IRINA

NATALYA

Deputy director Deputy director for supply Chief accountant Deputy chief accountant Goods manager Filing clerk

Director

VIKTOR

IGOR’

Status

Name

Husband sister-in-law’s husband fellow godparent —

brother

husband

fellow godparent



son-in-law

brother-in-law

Igor

son

brother-in-law

Viktor

Relationship





Mother-in-law

Mother

mother-in-law

Mother

Natalya

Table 6.1 Personal composition of the leadership of OOO Aist

fellow godparent —

sister-in-law

daughter

wife

sister

Irina

fellow godparent



sister-in-law

brother-in-law’s wife daughter-in-law

Wife

Valentina



fellow godparent —

fellow godparent —





fellow godparent —

— fellow godparent —

Vasily

Pyotr

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(no-one tries to clarify their shares, they only emphasise the equality of Viktor and Irina32). Some of the lands bought to extend the company, and the commercial premises built on them, belong jointly to Viktor and Irina, some jointly to Viktor and Natalya K. (his mother), and some to Viktor alone (although it is hard to establish the proportions of the three). As we see, the mutual ‘trust’ that Viktor proclaims as a positive factor in the leadership of the organisation leads to an extreme confusion and uncertainty concerning individual contributions and individual shares of the capital. The fact that the enterprise belongs to Natalya and the land to Viktor, Irina, and their mother Natalya, does not at all mean that these individuals have contributed their own resources in proportion to the property they hold. Financial investments in erecting new buildings and repairing old ones, buying land and equipment, etc., pass through the prism of family ‘trust’ and give a picture of property that does not correspond to the investments themselves, if viewed from an economic perspective. It seems that this fact is not to the taste of another important actor in the group: Irina’s husband Igor S., who is the deputy director, i.e. deputy to Irina’s brother Viktor. Igor himself is from a family that we classify as part of the local ‘collective farm’33 elite: the family’s reputation in the village in the post-Soviet period has depended on the strength of one or another discourse. Igor has two higher education qualifications, which already distinguishes him from a group where all the members (except Vasily and Natalya, who have secondary technical education) have nothing beyond a university leaver’s diploma. Conflict within the organisation began under the old owner: one side was represented, unsurprisingly, by Igor, the other by his father-in-law, the owner of the company, Aleksei. Irina, Igor’s wife and Aleksei’s daughter, seems even then to have adopted the position of a mediator, aimed essentially at supporting her husband. It is interesting that at that time relations between Viktor and Igor were, they admit, very warm; but as soon as Viktor became director and co-owner of the organisation, Igor entered into a state of conflict with him. From his exposition it is already possible to conclude that Igor is only interested in power, while the K. family (actually his wife’s family, not his) cannot and does not intend to include him in the list of real owners of Aist, just as they do not intend to support his ambitions for power (whether financially or socially34). The most he could get from the K. family (thanks to his wife’s support) was the post of deputy director. So what does Igor do to satisfy his desire for power? In 2000 he stood as an independent candidate for the district local authority. But he was not elected,35 which he himself ascribes to the fact that he chose an incorrect strategy, made a number of tactical mistakes, and was up against strong rivals. Soon after his election defeat his activity won Igor the public status of chair of the street cooperative: he started to deal with questions of gas provision and water pipes and to advise representatives of other cooperatives and help them tackle problems. At the following elections (in 2004) he decided to prepare

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more effectively. Igor joined the United Russia party and received instructions to form a party cell in the village (which he did form and of which he became the leader) and became a member of the party’s district political council. By the time of the elections he had access not only to organisational capital and capital inherited from his father’s family,36 but also to ‘social’ capital acquired from his work as chair of the street cooperative, and, finally, political capital derived from party membership.37 The legitimisation of his status in the latter two fields had demanded initiative and leadership capability from Igor. As a result, he did obtain his coveted position as a councillor, by winning in 2004. Thus we see that Igor’s overall status consists of: (1) the high status of the families with which he is connected (by birth and marriage); (2) his high public status (as deputy director of the village’s largest private organisation and chair of a street cooperative); (3) his high political status (as head of the area party cell, member of the party’s district political council, and councillor). But Igor has very weak capital in the financial and economic fields. Consequently, the conflict with director Viktor results from Igor’s desire to receive high status in these fields and, at the same time, acts as a mechanism to obtain financial and economic power. How he will carry out the seizure of these fields and the legitimisation of his status within them, only time will show. The only thing that can be said is that the very process of this seizure is bound, I think, to take place exclusively through private practices, or else any capital that Igor had somehow managed to achieve would never be seen as legitimate in his home village. This history shows how capital outside the field of family communications is formed and expanded in order to foster struggle within the private sphere and achieve victory in this struggle. Igor uses all means at his disposal to get outside the framework of privacy into publicness, which for residents of Stepnoe is embodied by the big city (Krasnodar) and also by the district centre. But even those interactions that would seem to be furthest from the village and to demand most publicness return him to the village, return him to private village practices. Thus, when he wanted to join the United Russia party, Igor did not approach the district organisation, but applied for membership to the regional organisation, based in Krasnodar. Yet, although he had joined the party in the city, they recommended him to register with the district organisation, where he was instructed to form a party cell in Stepnoe. In this case, Igor employed his own family and business capital and invited Pyotr and Vasily (see Table 6.1) and their wives to join the party branch, which is once again explained by his ability to put pressure on his colleagues/party members through work and family. Other villagers (five more people) also joined the party cell, because they knew Igor as an energetic ‘public worker’. As for the political council, Igor was recommended as a member of it thanks to his father’s authority: elderly members of the district council knew his father well from joint work in the ‘collective farm’ period.

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As we see, this person, who does not enjoy absolute power in the K. family (his wife’s family) and in the firm, wants control over both the family and the organisation: to get it, he accumulates statuses in other fields, where he can have recourse to state legitimisation. ‘The representative of the state is the repository of common sense: official nominations and school certificates tend to have a universal value on all markets’; while various certificates accord that someone ‘is appointed to produce a point of view which is recognized as transcending individual points of view’ (Bourdieu 1990: 136–37). Igor understands perfectly that in the public (state) sphere he has almost no chance to win the struggle for mastery in the family and the enterprise, but he is developing a force accessible to few in the village for conducting this struggle in the private sphere itself. This situation has another element as well. According to my and my colleagues’ observations, there are two people in the group represented in Table 6.1 who might be described as ‘speakers’ (unlike the others, who are ‘listeners’). One of these people is Vasily B’s wife, Anna B. Her activity is directed chiefly at the women of this group (for details see Kasyanova 2008). The second person is Igor, who makes use of the right (since having arrogated it) to speak both within the male section, and throughout the group. (Here we should add his dominating position in his own nuclear family. Irina, one of the people the group recognises as owning the company, thus falls under a ‘triple strike’ of discourses translated and produced within the group.) Igor’s seizure of the position of ‘speaker’ within the group led to the fact that he also came to appear externally as the spokesperson for the interests of the group. The conflict between Igor and Viktor, the director, arose for the same reason as the previous conflict between Igor and Aleksei, the previous director, Viktor’s father: Igor disagreed with the course of entrepreneurial activity undertaken by the firm. To defend his position, Igor needed the right to speak. It should be noted that the head of the firm – Viktor – says very little about the character of what his organisation does, and only discusses plans for its development if I ask him a question (and the plans he does describe have little to do with the resources he currently possesses). It seems that Viktor does not have even an approximately clear opinion of his own concerning Igor’s activity in the firm, and he tries not to discuss their conflict at all. With the director thus remaining silent, his deputy (Igor) is able to form discourses about the organisation both for ‘internal’ and for ‘external consumption’, and his leadership role is manifested in the very act of speaking about the organisation. At the present time, Viktor and Igor’s routine duties in the work of Aist are divided roughly equally: each of them serves four trading points, but the restaurant38 that was recently opened in a neighbouring village is under Igor’s patronage. Igor himself conducts employment policy on his ‘own territory’, decides each day’s order for the filing clerk, long-term orders to suppliers, etc. And I would not say that Igor, in our conversations, crossed the boundaries of subordination. He does not challenge Viktor’s leadership status and his role as the ‘boss’, but he employs all means to demonstrate a strong interest in the effective work and successful development of the Aist firm.

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Thus, all the resources available in the village, acquired in various fields, excepting those fields for control of which a struggle is under way, are concentrated in the person of Igor. Functionally (in decision-making within the organisation) he has equal rights with those of the director, who nonetheless is responsible for taking decisions directed outside the company, and in addition Igor – through speech – presents himself in all respects as the ‘face’ and ‘brain’ of the organisation. On the face of it, little now stands in his way: the K. family must, in time, recognise him as the unquestioned leader of the group and grant him a status in line, i.e. access to economic capital and the right to take decisions on behalf of the organisation as a whole. Any factors that might hinder this line of developments would only emerge were one to do extensive further investigation.

Conclusion In the present article I have chosen to assign a crucial role to the types of connection between signs (syntagmatics and paradigmatics) that have been developed by structural linguistics and semiotics, founded on a concept of structuredness that is not only (and not chiefly) characteristic of structuralism itself, but rather of the poststructuralist paradigm. For ‘never has structure been the exclusive term – in the double sense of the word – of critical description. It was always a means or relationship for reading or writing, for assembling significations, recognizing themes, ordering constants and correspondences’ (Derrida 2001: 17). Out of the whole multiplicity of meanings of the terms ‘syntagmatics’ and ‘paradigmatics’, those that are important for us are, (1) for syntagmatics: the interdependence and intercomplementarity of elements of the syntagmatic series (see e.g. Lotman 1970: 58), and also the fact that ‘syntagmatic relations hold in praesentia’. They hold between two or more terms co-present in a sequence’ (Saussure 1983: 122); and (2) for paradigmatics: the systemic character of a paradigm that unites various elements that belong structurally to ‘different levels’, the escape from the framework of being present ‘here and now’, in relation to which the elements are always ‘in absentia’ (Saussure 1983: 122). The syntagmatics of privacy is thus understood, in the first section of my article, to apply to villagers’ manifestation of the village’s social structure in the presence of, and in communication with, a researcher or researchers from outside. When employing fieldwork techniques, I am presented with the façade or ‘front’ of village privacy, as it is displayed to me in interactions, and it is displayed to the extent that local actors have an interest (sometimes desired, sometimes coerced) in conveying something about themselves and others. Just as Alan Westin has defined it, privacy is the ‘claim of individuals, groups or institutions to determine themselves when, how and to what extent information about them is communicated to others’ (Westin 1967: 7). I have tried to show what kind of relations make up everyday village life, and in what the unity of village communication consists – i.e. what might be defined

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in abbreviated terms like this: an interaction will not take place if both sides do not bear its private character in mind.39 Here by ‘interaction’ I mean not any mutual action, but interaction on the part of residents of this village, among local marked actors. No public practices operate in the village that have not previously been brought into line with private practices. The village is at once the subject and the object of privatisation, it privatises itself, and it is this very process of ongoing, self-consolidating privatisation that creates the village as an ensemble of communities. For a public space to appear in the village would require the presence of a certain number of faceless and unmarked actors, who would nonetheless not occupy the marginal positions of outlaws, dropouts, temporary residents, travelling traders, etc., but would have permanent and fully valued status in the village. I can confidently say that there are no such actors in Stepnoe today. Any arrivals who intend to live permanently in the village (and there are more than a few of them) make efforts to coordinate their activity so as not to be ‘outsiders’, i.e. they enter into a multitude of private relations with local residents, which itself is the guarantee of their successful ‘acclimatisation’ into one or other community, on the one hand, and acceptance by the community, on the other.40 Thus the syntagmatics of privacy comes into being. The paradigmatics of privacy was analysed by me on the basis of an example of the escalation of incorporated capital of different types (political, economic, social, etc.) in the pursuit of a power struggle in the private sphere. In 1956, Eisenstadt proposed that different societies be viewed as types on the basis of the criterion of the presence or absence of links between family and social status. He distinguished three types of societies, which might be represented thus: (1) high family status implies high social status; (2) high social status implies high family status; and (3) these two types of status are independent (Eisenstadt 1956: 54–55). I would not attribute such a strict structural dependence to a whole society, but with regard to the situation presented above, it can be said, extending this scheme from objective reality to subjective reality, that Viktor (the director) clearly stands by a discourse corresponding to Eisenstadt’s first type; Igor stands by a discourse that he himself has produced, which might correspond to the second type; and all the other members of the group realise practices that might arise from a discourse about the absence of such links – which explains why they do not attempt to consolidate or raise their status in any way. Igor’s move into publicness acts as a paradigm both of the village social structure as a local construct and of his communicative choices. The village is thus integrated into external social formations (through a representative) and at the same time, these social formations themselves are incorporated into village life and infuse this from within. Igor is the person who represents publicness in the village (in OOO Aist, in the party cell, in the street cooperative, and in the K. family), while at the same time he is the representative of the village (i.e. of the syntagmatic village privacy) in government and in politics, which are beyond the reach of actors within the village (even if government is realised in the village, even if it is

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the village that elects a deputy, it is impossible for government to be legitimised without publicness coming into existence). Using Niklas Luhmann’s conception of means of communication in its application to the theory of power, we might designate Igor as an actor who puts into practice a selection of complexity. ‘For whatever reason, alter has at his disposal more than one alternative. He can produce and remove uncertainty in his partner when he exercises his choice. This deviation via the production and reduction of uncertainty is an absolute precondition’ of power and a condition for ‘generalization and specification in a particular communication medium’ (Luhmann 1979: 112). In conversation with Viktor, the director of Aist, one might form the impression that it was he who had initiated the decision to divide leadership in Aist with his deputy, Igor, that it was Viktor who decided ‘as an experiment’ to leave his firm entirely in Igor’s hands for a month and go and visit relatives in the Altai (Viktor recalled saying of Igor: ‘I think he’ll cope. And he too needs to learn [how to lead the organisation]’41). Thus we see how, in full agreement with Luhman’s model, the choice in fact made by Igor was converted, in Viktor’s speech act, into Viktor’s own decision to hand over power voluntarily (a choice that, practically speaking, was difficult to motivate, albeit that the surrender of authority was partial, temporary, and clearly without any de jure confirmation). Viktor’s exercise of choice, that is, depends on the choice made by Igor. As in Luhmann’s model, the selectivity by the Alter [ = Igor] permits communication only under definite and narrowly prescribed conditions, and thus limits the possibilities for selectivity on the part of the Ego [ = Viktor]42 (Luhmann 1979: 116). If we look at the pragmatic relation of the village with ‘publicness’ in a large sense, as expressed in the types of communication outlined above, then, from the village-private point of view, ‘publicness’ includes justice43 (just authorities), ‘big money’ and ‘a decent life’, big opportunities (‘if you have connections’), good healthcare, etc. This village discourse about publicness also has negative parameters, but in practice they can all be reduced to one: the absence of privacy. By extension, the role of mediator in relations with publicness (such as the role of Igor) is seen in terms of access to private contacts in various fields associated with publicness, ‘knowing the right people’,44 the ability to ‘fix yourself a position’ in governmental bodies, etc. If we look at the same paradigmatic relation from the other side, that of publicness, then people from communities with genealogical-total privacy often try to ‘get ahead fast’ and, as far as possible, to privatise the field into which they have ‘got ahead’ and install ‘their people’ at all key points. In other words, village actors have little difficulty in privatising publicness, and creating favourable and even comfortable conditions for their own existence. In those Russian regions or even districts where a so-called agrarian élite exists, whether this is actually in power or simply engaged in a struggle for power, these forms of coordination in actors’ activity are also strong. In effect, actors try to construct privacy in all fields accessible to them. The struggle for power thus becomes a privatisation of power in the village

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manner, and this in turn is possible only with the establishment of (and/or the utilisation of already existing) private practices in other (non-governmental) fields. This privatisation conflicts directly with the declared values of publicness, as constituted by government, and practically cannot coexist with the institutions of civil society. The realisation of power hence becomes, above all, the pursuit of private values, accompanied by the manufacture of specific discourses ‘to pull the wool over people’s eyes’. This form of coordination among political actors easily transmogrifies and becomes detached from its original roots – those of ‘village privacy’ – without thereby losing its specifically private institutional character.

Notes 1 This chapter is a slightly abridged and reworked version of an article that first appeared in Forum for Anthropology and Culture 5 (2009). It was written as part of the Fernab der Städte: Leben auf dem Lande in Osteuropa. Ländliche Lebenswelten in Rußland, Estland und Bulgarien project, with financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. 2 The terms used in the original Russian discussion are privatnost (privacy) and publichnost (publicness). Both are characteristic of academic, rather than vernacular, usage. The decision to use the terms ‘privacy’ and ‘publicness’, rather than, say, ‘public sphere’ and ‘private sphere’ is because the author is precisely concerned with modulating practices, rather than denominated spheres. [Editors] 3 Stanitsa: Cossack settlement [Editors]. 4 Thus, the mutual relations between state institutions ( = public) and the non-state sector ( = private) in the economy, politics, and the cultural and social spheres of the state are studied and interpreted in the framework of a ‘political science’ paradigm (see e.g. Barsukova 1999). The ‘jurisprudence’ paradigm studies the sphere of the state and the law; the establishment and implementation of rules in the spheres of private and other property; secrets of various kinds; so-called ‘private life’, etc. The ‘gender’ paradigm provides for research into the harmonisation of the private with the feminine and the public with the masculine (Okin 1991). And so on. 5 Cf. (Graham 1993): ‘Public versus private can be dependent upon architectural conventions. By social convention, a window mediates between private (inside) and public (outside) space. The interior seen defines or is defined by the publicly accepted notion of privacy. An architectural division, the house, separates the private person from the public person and sanctions certain kinds of behavior for each. The meaning of privacy, beyond its mere distinguishability from publicness, is more complexly connected to other social rules.’ 6 ‘We need a notion of coordination which is much more open to uncertainty, critical tensions and creative arrangements than the ideas of stabilised and reproductive orders. I feel suspicious of the use of such notions as values, collective representations, rules or habitus, when they serve to ascertain order. The characterisation of modes of coordination should point to their dynamics, not to the resulting orders’ (Thévenot 2001: 406). 7 In the ideal case, this actor finally adopts the position of a social engineer and tries to transform the trajectory of his/her coordination into a strategy. Those who have accepted the model he or she proposes as being a strategy are less attentive in following minimal social changes along these very axes: they know what they want and they know how to obtain it, they have a strategy, and a successful one.

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9

10 11

12

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(Of course, errors are always possible: see Erving Goffman’s work Frame Analysis (Goffman 1974: 31–35, 441 ff.) Here, it seems to me, is the difference between strategy and coordination, which are entirely comparable on the levels both of terminology and of practice. But coordination cannot be viewed as a manifestation of reflexivity (on which more will be said in the appropriate place). It is indicative that even Talcott Parsons felt it necessary to introduce into his system constructs the ‘subjective viewpoint’ (based on Max Weber’s concept of Verstehen) in order to describe the role of the researcher as an actor within the field he or she observes (Parsons 1961). For a recent Russian discussion on this topic see (‘The Researcher and the Object of Research’ 2005). Records cited below from field notes represent in part the researcher’s interactions ‘as they took place’, i.e., as he perceived them, as they were impressed on his memory and transferred post factum onto paper; but in part they are records that generalise on the basis of observations and reflections, that draw conclusions as to some current state of experience in the field. The social security agency informed us that this circumstance explains the high number of pensioners living in the village (Interview with Anastasia F., born 1962, conducted by the author.) Gold miners who worked previously in Bolivia, now in the Russian Far East (Kasyanova’s field notes), oil workers working in the far north (author’s field notes). As far as the gold miners are concerned, there is a certain ‘quasi-public’ perspective here too: the brigade was formed of men originally from Stepnoe, and, by the nature of their occupation, they have very little contact with the ‘outside world’, since they are located a significant distance from the nearest settlements. From author’s field notes: ‘Morning. 9.00. I return from the district centre to the village. At the stop in the district centre I acquire a travelling companion, a woman aged about 55, carrying empty buckets. During the journey I find out that she has been at the bazaar. She succeeded in selling her fruit: a bucket costs 30 or 40 roubles more than it would in the village. This does not often happen. I ask her what she sells. Sometimes I take apricots, sometimes apples … [I take] whatever there is. Plus, my husband and my brother-in-law go fishing, and I’ll take fish as well, sell that. Where do they fish? On the reservoir. They’ve got their nets there. Day before yesterday, in the evening, they went there, took in the nets, and there was enough for fish soup, some to cook, and some to sell as well. Yesterday I sold fish. (She smiled.) Don’t they get chased away [by the conservation authorities, for using nets]? Yeah, but whether they get chased away or not, what are you going to do? You’ve got to live somehow … . [Author’s field notes]

13 But such institutions can exist (and do) in district centres that are classed as villages. 14 i.e. a farming settlement. [Editors] 15 MMP: Medical assistant and midwife point [i.e. somewhere providing first aid and basic medical treatment, but not staffed by a qualified doctor – Editors]. 16 We have no doubt that the practices that characterise urban publicness are familiar to villagers and are mastered by them, since there is not going to be any family in the village that would not visit markets in town. 17 It seems that the only exception to this use of patronymics alone is represented by the village teachers. At any rate, members of several generations of villagers recall their first teacher (one and the same person) with great piety and refer to her exclusively with respect, as Anastasiya Ivanovna. 18 Goffman calls such presentations ‘team performances’ (Goffman 1959: 77–105), but what is important here for me is the fact that this duality is only characteristic

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of the town in cases where an official encounters personal acquaintances in the course of professional work; in the village, by contrast, where all the residents are to a greater or lesser extent personal acquaintances of the chief of the administration and other officials, the situation of duality arises only when an outsider is present. We cannot find a better term here than ‘economic’ in the sense of relating to an enterprise, meaning an enterprise that might be either public or private. But in both a private and a state enterprise, the same means are used to construct publicness in interactions between marked actors, from which we can conclude that the mediating force that gives participants in communication a status at different levels of the hierarchy, and that is relevant only in publicness, is actually state power in both cases. Author’s field notes. Interview with Nadezhda S., born 1965, conducted by A. Kasyanova. Author’s field notes. See (Kasyanova 2008). I have once already described and analysed data relating to groups of women who assemble in village yards (Manuylov 1998: 47–49). This is a small amount of money by Russian urban standards: the lowest unit of exchange in a city is often 1000 roubles. [Editors] All materials given concerning privacy in shops are from the author’s field notes. Of course, such patterns of relationships are characteristic also of shop staff in town, but there they are not fundamental and they have a somewhat different structure. Which officially gives its bearer time off work with pay; usually issued by a local therapist. Author’s field notes. Interview with Tamara Z., born 1976, conducted by A. Manuylov. Can yours be called a family organisation? Hm … yes … Yes, in principle you could call it that. A family organisation, family enterprise, because all our administrative structures [laughsl, all our responsible positions are occupied by relatives. Is that a policy, or did it just happen that way? You know, well, it’s probably a policy, more than anything else, because it couldn’t just have happened that way. It was done deliberately, because we’re a family. It’s just, anyway, some problems you can solve easier in the family, in your own circle, than with someone you don’t know. Trust, control’s simpler, because you don’t need to keep such a strict control on your relatives as with an outsider. But you know, however friendly everyone is, you do need some control. Money splits everyone up, whatever you do. (From an interview with Viktor K., born 1971, conducted by A. Manuylov)

32 Indicative in this connection are the relations between the brother / director and the chief accountant / sister (as presented by the sister): But you have to tell Viktor somehow that you’re not going [to work]? No, of course not. No? Well, you understand, he’s the director of the enterprise, but I realise that for us that’s just a formality. He’s not answerable to me, I’m not answerable to him. He and I are equal owners, so why should I answer to him? (From an interview with Irina S., born 1977, conducted by A. Kasyanova)

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33 In the present case the term ‘collective farm’ refers not to a collective as such, but to the collective period of the village’s history. The élite of that period included not only the leadership of the collective farm, but also the party and administrative leadership and the directors of various state enterprises that were not part of the collective farm. 34 Igor nonetheless does receive symbolic support from the K. family, which is defined by his high position in the family enterprise and by the very existence of family and friendly relations within the group, which although they might not be actualised are still well-known in the village. 35 So the first time was three years back, yeah? [ … ] So I stood, right, for local councillor, so to speak. Well, hm, I was inexperienced, I ran over there, of course, to be the first one to register, I thought I wouldn’t make it, and I made a lot of silly mistakes. [ … ] Although, I’m saying, a group of electors (five people) nominated me, an initiative [group], they call it; ‘nominated by a group of electors’, well, that sounds a different thing altogether. Then, we didn’t get it quite right with the leaflets, the photos and so on. I picked some campaign workers who weren’t right—you know, that’s still the face of the candidate. Well, that cost finances as well. They don’t give out finances. The idea is, the law is, they’ve got to give them it, but nobody does, of course. [ … ] And on your own finances you won’t get far, there’s the family as well, so even it’s not the right level. [ … ] So to speak, it’s tough for a simple mortal to get anywhere. So the first time I lost. Well, there were candidates from Fatherland, Kondratenko’s party, Papa Kondrat, so to speak, [they had] a lot of support. [ … ] Well, we had twenty-seven, twenty-eight [candidates] for five seats. Yes. [ … ] Well, and people who weren’t standing for the first time. Well, I tell you, politics here is all the same techniques just like in Moscow, it’s the same here. So whether it’s there or here there was underhand stuff as well, plenty of that too. And what happened then? From what I know, Petrovich and Pasha got in, didn’t they? Petrovich got in. He got the very first place. Well, I’ll put it this way, people here hadn’t learnt how to choose yet. Petrovich: what’s he popular for? Well, all his life he’s cured people, you understand, he’s saved their lives, so he had this popularity. Plus he was from Kondratenko’s Fatherland, he was first. But people don’t get it that they’re not electing someone to cure them, you understand, they’re electing someone to deal with concrete questions. There’s people who are pessimists on these questions, and there’s people who are optimists, you understand? That is, it’s a completely different line of work, deputy-ing, it’s not the same. You understand, if it’s someone, so to speak, of course, I don’t want to find fault, but [Petrovich] is a pessimist all his life. [ … ] Everyone’s got his own thing, right? What’s he doing being a deputy!. (Interview with Igor S., born 1974, conducted by A. Manuylov) 36 It should be borne in mind that the family from which Igor comes are considered by locals to be ‘indigenous’ (i.e. his ancestors were among the first settlers of Stepnoye village). Those who belong to such families will say as much with undisguised pride. Yet Viktor’s family are new arrivals: both Viktor and his sister (Igor’s wife) were born in the Altai Territory, and Viktor’s wife is originally from Armavir. Thus Igor’s family are accepted in the village as ‘old, respected folk’, while Viktor’s family have no local history at all and cannot boast of any ‘glorious ancestors’. Both these families could be ascribed to the village elite, but if Igor’s family belongs, as already noted, to the ‘collective farm’ elite, Viktor’s family belongs to the new trading elite. In connection with this, Igor accumulates in himself the

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capital of both these elites (or, since it is not a question of any great personal merit of his, it is better to say that the capital of village elites of two distinct types is incorporated into his person), which for the village under study seems to be unique. 37 It is important to note that Igor wanted to join the party of the authorities, which includes the most influential part of the district leadership. But when asked about the reasons for his choice – whether it was the party’s relation to the authorities or its political programme – he indicated, rather incoherently, that his motive was the political programme: Igor, listen, can we say that if a different party had been the most powerful, you’d have used that one? Well, what can I tell you … That is, it’s not your party allegiance itself that moved you, it’s the fact that … No, well, there’s also a sense that their ideology satisfies me, right? That’s exactly what I’d wanted to ask. If Papa Kondrat had a purely communist orientation, right, practically, well, maybe not entirely, but the basic orientation, then United Russia [ … ] order, that’s their orientation. They’ve taken something from the communists, something from the democrats. They call them centrists, well, now, maybe, in a way leftists, but their ideology at the moment it’s closer to me, it satisfies me. Order’s got to be order, everyone’s already sick of this chaos and so on, so the ideology of this party satisfies me. What’s more, I joined before the elections, almost six months before, even more. I didn’t know yet what would happen, the polls were changing over the course of a month, so to speak. So even though they were predicting it, everything could change, like, you know? Like Spain, with the parliament. (Interview with Igor S., born 1974, conducted by author) 38 It has now been decided to close this restaurant, which has existed for about a year, because it is not making a profit. 39 This definition has a mass of ‘buts’, and in practice what operates is frequently not the definition itself but an exception to it. Nonetheless I insist on its relevance to the complex and ambiguous social relations of Stepnoe village. 40 In one interview our informer, listing her work colleagues, described the majority of them as ‘locals’, while we knew that they had all arrived from outside. When we tried to be specific about individuals, who was local and who was from outside, the informer gave contradictory replies: People from outside, we’ve got [ … ] probably just Anna B., they moved here from Grozny. And … who else moved here? Probably that’s it. Well, look, Nina – she’s not local, is she? She’s lived here all her life. Look, when she got married, she was … her son’s already twelve … So she’s already counted as local, is she? Well, yes, she’s already lived here nearly twenty years. Yes, probably, no-one remembers any more that she moved here. Imagine, it’s such a long time. And the Vasilyevs? The Vasilyevs, they also moved here. From Barnaul, they’re both from Barnaul. Biisk or Barnaul, somewhere like that. I was just talking about some of the people I know here. The director’s from outside, isn’t he? I mean, do you think of people like that as being local by now? Well, we probably do. But … well, you know, in principle we do. I think of them as outsiders for a year or two, and then they fit in, they get to be one of us.

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But people probably always remember that they moved here from somewhere. They didn’t use to be here. That is, they’ve moved here. [Interview with Tamara Z., born 1976, conducted by A. Manuylov; my emphasis – A.M.] 41 Author’s field notes. 42 As Lyotard points out in The Postmodern Condition, that ‘a narrative tradition is also the tradition of the criteria defining a threefold competence – “know how”, “knowing how to speak”, and “knowing how to hear” [savoir-faire, savoir-dire, savoir-entendre] – through which the community’s relationship to itself and its environment is played out. What is transmitted through these narratives is the set of pragmatic rules that constitutes the social bond’ (Lyotard 1984: 21). 43 I’ll go all the way to Tkachov [the governor of Krasnodar region], but I’ll force them [the village authorities] to supply water to us on the first floor! I’ll write a letter! I know someone at the [regional] administration, she’ll pass it on to Tkachov! [Author’s field notes, ‘a commotion at the water tap after the water had been turned off’] 44 These qualities were also ascribed to the members of our research group, so we were simply snowed under with requests from people who had plans for employment or for their children’s education, or relatives in the city, or those who were trying to resolve some problems of theirs by appeal to ‘publicness’.

References Arendt, H. (1958) The Human Condition, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Barsukova, S. Yu. (1999) ‘Privatnoe i publichnoe: Dialektika dispozitsii’ [The Public and the Private: A Dialectics of Location], Polis, 1: 137–47. Bourdieu, P. (1990) In Other Words: Essays Toward a Reflexive Sociology, M. Adamson (trans.), Cambridge: Polity. Derrida, J. (2001) Writing and Difference, A. Bass (trans.), London: Routledge. Eisenstadt, S. N. (1956) From Generation to Generation: Age Groups and Social Structure, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Goffman, E. (1959) The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, New York: Doubleday. ——(1974) Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ——(1983) ‘The Interaction Order (American Sociological Association 1982 Presidential Address)’, American Sociological Review, 48.1: 1–17. Graham, D. (1993) Public/Private (Exhibition catalogue), Philadelphia, PA: Goldie Paley Gallery, Levy Gallery for the Arts in Philadelphia, Moore College of Art and Design. Kasyanova, A. (2008) ‘Platitse ot Ani’ [A Little Dress from Anya], in Selskie Metamorfozy [Village Metamorphoses], Krasnodar: Dedkoff, 93–110. Lotman, Yu. (1970) Stati po tipologii kul’tury (Materialy k kursu teorii literatury) [Essays on the Typology of Culture: Materials for a Lecture Course on the Theory of Literature], Vol. 1, Tartu: Tartu Riiklik Ülikool. Luhmann, N. (1979) Trust and Power, H. Davis, J. Raffan and K. Rooney (trans.), Chichester: Wiley.

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Lyotard, J.-F. (1984) The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, G. Bennington and B. Massumi (trans.), Manchester: Manchester University Press. Manuylov, A. N. (1998) Status zhenshchiny v obychnopravovoy sisteme kazachei semi i stanichnogo obschestva na Kubani (vtoraya polovina XIX – 20-e gody XX veka) [The Status of Women in the Customary Law System of the Cossack Family and Stanitsa (Cossack Settlement) Community in Kuban, 1850–1930], Armavir: Armavirskii gosudarstvennyi pedagogicheskii institut. Okin, S. M. (1991) ‘Gender, the Public and the Private’, in Political Theory Today, D. Held (ed.), Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 57–90. Parsons, T. (1961) ‘The Point of View of the Author’, in The Social Theories of Talcott Parsons, M. Black (ed.), Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 311–66. The Researcher and the Object of Research (2005) ‘The Researcher and the Object of Research’, Antropologicheskii forum, 2: 7–134. Saussure, F. de. (1983) Course in General Linguistics, edited by C. Bally and A. Sechehaye with the collaboration of A. Riedlinger, trans. and annotated by R. Harris, London: Duckworth. Thévenot, L. (2001) ‘Organized Complexity: Conventions of Coordination and the Composition of Economic Arrangements’, European Journal of Social Theory, 4: 405–25. Westin, A. F. (1967) Privacy and Freedom, New York: Athenaeum.

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Believers’ letters as advertising St Xenia of Petersburg’s ‘National Reception Centre’1 Jeanne Kormina and Sergei Shtyrkov Translated by Edmund Griffiths Yes, we receive a very large number of letters from various corners of our Orthodox Russia … A very large number of the letters are about miracles. We have booklets and pamphlets in which we cite these miracles. And we will reissue these books, and produce new publications describing new miracles. When people write to us, I specially pick out the letters dealing with miraculous occurrences and we include them in our new publications. (From an interview with Archpriest Viktor Moskovsky, Parish Priest, Church of the Smolensk Ikon of the Mother of God, Blagovest internet newspaper, 26 December 2003)

Evgeny Rakhmanin, a clergyman at the Church of the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God, Smolenskoe Cemetery, Vasilievsky Island, St Petersburg, wrote in 1913 in a pamphlet on the Blessed Xenia (whose tomb is housed in a chapel adjacent to the church), that: ‘Rumours concerning many cases of intercession through prayer by the slave of God, Xenia, spread not just through Petersburg but throughout Russia, to the remotest borderlands. Hundreds of letters arrive from everywhere – from Siberia and the Caucasus, the Western Territory and the central provinces of Russia – with the request to pray at the grave of the slave of God, Xenia, so people may be rid of some sorrow or trouble’ (Rakhmanin 1913: 89). In letters of this kind, Xenia’s admirers made offerings and asked for Masses to be said in her memory. Correspondents received in reply a notification written on a special form. Here is an example of this type of document, published in V.I. Kozachenko’s book (2006: 139): St Petersburg Chapel of the slave of God, Xenia Smolensk cemetery 16 January 1915 Most gracious Madam C.J., We acknowledge with gratitude the offering you sent and consider it our duty to notify you that, as requested, the clergy held a service of remembrance [panikhida] at the grave of the slave of God, Xenia, on 16 January 1915.

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Jeanne Kormina and Sergei Shtyrkov Trusting in the mercy of God, we sincerely hope that all your good intentions and wishes will be fulfilled through the prayerful intercession of the slave of God, Xenia. (On behalf of the Smolenskoe Cemetery clergy Archpriest Nikolai Triodin, PP)

The correspondence between petitioners and clergy did not always end here: if what was asked for then came true, another letter would arrive at the Smolenskoe Cemetery, bearing witness to Xenia’s miraculous aid and expressing gratitude to the clergymen involved. How the system worked is clearly seen from a case mentioned in Fr Evgeny Rakhmanin’s book: In the Kuban region, a man named Stefan had been ill for two years [ … ] One of the patient’s relatives, Honoured Citizen2 Ivan Osipovich Andrienko, wrote a letter to the Parish Priest of the Smolenskoe Cemetery, with a heartfelt plea to say a service of remembrance for the blessed Xenia and to remember Stefan and his illness in his prayers. Andrienko’s request was carried out, and a notification was sent to him. Soon afterwards, Andrienko informed the Parish Priest: ‘I am extremely grateful to you for your prayers to the Lord, and to the blessed slave of God, Xenia, for her warm prayer to the Lord: I am writing to inform you that our Stefan, who was ill, has now recovered through your prayer and that of the slave of God, Xenia. He was ill for two years, and now he is well’. (Quoted from Kozachenko 2006: 232) Sometimes letters of this kind asked for a second Mass to be said as a sign of gratitude (Kozachenko 2006: 236). These letters were included in the lists of the blessed Xenia’s miracles alongside oral testimonies, popularising the emergent cult, and providing a frame for the then-unusual practice of ‘miracles by correspondence’. In addition, the testimonies formed the image of something like an office working for the blessed Xenia (consider, to begin with, the use of the bureaucratic term notification): an institution that the twenty-first-century compiler of a recent collection of letters calls ‘the blessed Xenia of Petersburg’s national reception centre’ (Yakovleva 2006). Finally, such publications promoted the idea of the effectiveness of that particular institution’s work. Thus, the miraculous help was received not just through the prayer of a saint whom the Church had not yet got round to recognising, but ‘through your prayer and that of [ … ] Xenia’. So it was necessary to thank not only the Blessed One, but also the staff of her ‘office’. In the Soviet period the ‘reception centre’ was closed and the correspondence was brought to an end, only to be resumed with renewed force in the 1990s. Services were restored at the newly-opened cemetery chapel (although it is true that instead of services of remembrance for the slave of God, Xenia, these were now Masses for St Xenia of Petersburg, canonised in 1988). The

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‘office’ too resumed its work, with its staff receiving letters of the most varied character, replying to them (enclosing with the notifications a ‘little relic’, a rose petal dipped in holy oil sanctified at the tomb), and also presenting ‘selected passages from the correspondence’ between Xenia and her admirers for publication. It is these publications that form the object of our analysis. In our article we try to establish the reasons prompting the Church in general, and the Smolenskoe Cemetery parish in particular, to publish believers’ letters. To that end, we analyse the way the addressees and the writers of these messages are represented in various ecclesiastical publications. But we begin with a brief sketch of the social conditions under which the Russian Orthodox Church conducts its media work in contemporary Russia.

Peter Berger and the metaphor of the religious market Peter Berger’s study The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion (published in the US in 1967, and in Great Britain in the same year under the title of The Social Reality of Religion), put forward an influential conception of the mechanisms of secularisation in modern society. For Berger, as for many of his contemporaries, there was a clear and indisputable connection between the processes of secularisation and modernisation. The problem lay in how to relate these two phenomena. Berger considered that he could do this by introducing a ‘missing link’. The link was ‘pluralisation’. If prior to the onset of modernisation there was a monopoly on the creation of meanings in society and this monopoly belonged to a dominant religious institution (the Church), then in a modernising society the monopoly would inevitably break down. The hegemonic Church would face new rivals in the form of other religious institutions, and also non-religious institutions that claimed an equal right to produce meanings – for instance, modern positivist science and the ideology of secular humanism. This process resulted in a relativisation of any single institution’s perceived right and ability to provide a symbolic ordering of the world. First in the realm of economics, then in that of politics too, people’s actions would start to be determined by non-religious motives. Thus there occurred what Max Weber called ‘the disenchantment of the world’. One of the chief peculiarities of this logical construction was the evolutionary determinism that it implied: modernisation inevitably led to secularisation. In other words, secularisation could be halted or reversed only by means of demodernisation. However, events since Berger’s study was published, and also studies carried out by sociologists and anthropologists of religion in a wide variety countries and social groups, have shown that Berger’s hypothesis was fundamentally mistaken (which he himself has also acknowledged: Berger 1999). The hyper-modernised United States of America is in no hurry to secularise, and the rapidly developing countries of Eastern Asia and Latin America are undergoing an era of religious renaissance. Even Europeans, at one point seemingly quite indifferent to religion, in many respects remain religious people, abandon though they may their traditional denominations

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(Davie 1994). What is more, it is precisely in those countries where some kind of religious monopoly is still maintained by a state church (as in Scandinavia), and where religious pluralism has been relatively slow to emerge, that secularisation has the greatest success. As we see, Berger’s fundamental idea was either wrong, or else applicable only to a limited set of social (national) contexts. However, as frequently happens, this pioneer of constructivism put forward some propositions that remain relevant to this day – they are even used by Berger’s critics to rebut his views. For the purposes of our further considerations, the following points from Berger’s book are important: 1 Describing a pluralist society in which various religious institutions cannot count on a monopoly in their own sphere, Berger used the extended conceptual metaphor of a market of religious services. The participants in this market – religious organisations, which play the role of enterprises – compete with one another, using such mechanisms as cartel formation and advertising. This metaphor has proved very attractive, and is widely used in sociological studies of religion. In particular, it was taken as a fundamental methodological device by supporters of what is called the ‘religious economy theory’ (see, for instance, the work of Rodney Stark and his colleagues: (Stark 1985; Stark and Iannaccone 1997; Introvigne and Stark 2005). 2 Berger remarks that in the modern situation of a pluralist society religious organisations, presenting their own definition of reality, are forced to compete not only among themselves but also with various non-religious rivals, both organised (secular political nationalism) and otherwise (the modern value system of individualism) (Berger 1990 [1967]: 137–38). We will try to define our own preconceptions on the basis of these propositions. At the foundation of our study there lies the following assumption, which provides a general theoretical and methodological framework for further exposition. Any social institution (a company, a political party, a religious institution) is interested in accumulating material and symbolic resources to secure and extend its activity, and also to support and reinforce its legitimacy. It is obvious that in particular societies there exist aspects of social life in which the relevant institutions possess something like a ‘natural monopoly’ on ‘entrepreneurial activity’ in their own field (ibid.: 135–36). If in such a society there is an idea of the structure of necessary demands that makes it obligatory to visit a segment of the social field that is completely controlled by institution X, then the individual’s prospect of avoiding direct contact with it practically vanishes. In these circumstances the institution does not need special techniques to support its dominance. But there have been and there are societies in which the necessity (or at least the beneficial character) of a particular institution’s activity, and also its (exclusive or predominant) right to carry out such activity, are questioned or

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may be questioned by a significant part of society, even if only passively, through an avoidance of those segments of the social field in which the given institution tries to function or, where possible, to dominate. In these conditions it is forced to undertake special steps to show, firstly, that a significant part of society has a ‘natural’ need to occupy the field in which the institution operates; secondly, that the institution is effective in its activity; thirdly, that this effectiveness is linked with (or defined by) the specific nature of this institution; and, fourthly, that a significant part of the population supports the institution in its activity. In other words, an institution that feels the prospect of losing its functionality and legitimacy and that is trying to preserve and even to extend its access to resources, needs to conduct an ‘advertising campaign’. Let us imagine a commercial firm that produces particular goods or provides a particular service. The staff of the company are aware that it has competitors (although sometimes they pretend that the competitors are producing a completely different product, i.e. are not competitors). What is more, the staff of the company know that in certain circles of society there is an opinion that the firm’s product is outdated and that modern people have no need for it. Nonetheless, the firm cannot utterly change its profile. Under these circumstances, it must promote its product by convincing the potential consumer that he or she, either as a person or as a member of a particular social group, must naturally consume or try to consume whatever it is that the company produces. At the same time, the advertising might exploit demands that are assumed already to exist (i.e. when there is a certain consensus that the individual, whether as a member of the species Homo sapiens or as someone playing a particular social role, has such demands). But in a particular market situation an advertising campaign might be directed instead at the creation of new demands on the basis of ideas that already exist in society concerning people’s ‘natural’ needs. This general conception is adduced here not on the strength of its independent significance in understanding the phenomenon of the politics of institutional representation, but rather in order to indicate the different scales of the four aspects of an advertising campaign. The first (functional) aspect is linked above all with the dominant ideas about human and social needs, while the other three concern more concrete problems of promotional activity: demonstration of the quality of the product itself, the producer, and the consumer. Now let us take as an instance of such an enterprise the Russian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate (ROC MP) (and here we would emphasise that our construct is essentially of a metaphorical kind, and is far removed from stereotypical anticlerical ideas about the essentially commercial nature of any religious institution). The ROC MP lost its monopoly right to produce symbols for its actual and potential flock long ago – decades, indeed over a century, back. For instance, neither public opinion nor the logic of rational capitalism will allow Orthodoxy (whether as a Church or as a worldview) to exert a determining influence in the economy. A characteristic fact is that most

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modern Russians feel that explaining the behaviour of a hierarch or an ecclesiastical structure by a desire for economic gain means rejecting any religious (spiritual) explanation for such behaviour. The ROC MP is supported by state structures, which gives it certain advantages in comparison with many competitors, but this support is relative. The Church is forced to reconcile itself to the fact that ‘administrative resources’3 cannot be directly employed to recruit new church members or to retain existing ones. In addition, the church enters into a ‘cartel agreement’ with the so-called ‘traditional religions’4 of Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism in order to guarantee loyalty from the authorities and from a section of the public. The condition of this unwritten treaty is that structures representing the ‘traditional religions’ should limit their activities to certain ethnic groups (which also, to a certain extent, applies to the ROC MP’s relations with the Catholic and Lutheran churches). But the main competitors that the church faces as an institution are the other Christian denominations, the new religious movements of a postChristian kind (like the Church of the Last Covenant (Vissarionites)), and the secular worldview held by a significant part of society, which relegates the church and religion as a whole to a restricted segment of public space which is regarded as its legitimate field of operations. The ROC MP’s task is made yet more difficult by many people’s lack of confidence in institutional forms of religious life, which conflict with ideas of the individual nature of spiritual needs. Under these conditions, church managers at various levels need to create an image of their institution, and of the product that it produces and distributes, that is likely be attractive to what Berger terms ‘the man in the street’ – the central figure in his book.

Believers’ letters as advertising As is well known, the church (which here we understand as a social structure laying down rules of religious life for the ‘simple believers’), is an institution of authority.5 On this level its basic functions are to define what is right and what is wrong, to see to the maintenance of the norm and correspondingly to root out the non-norm. But things can work in other ways too. In a pluralistic society the church – which needs the legitimacy of its activities to be continuously supported in the eyes of the (‘imaginary’, and also quite real) consumer – has little chance of restricting itself simply to what Foucault termed ‘surveillance and punishment’. What is more, the limits of the church’s controlling activity are themselves not defined. How far the ecclesiastical institution can exercise these functions is a matter for constant negotiation between the institution itself, other institutions (above all those of the state), broad public opinion, and the ‘clients’ themselves: the laity and (often) the rank-and-file clergy. It is difficult to define unequivocally who is the initiator of this debate, the church itself or its real or potential protégés. But it is clear enough that the religious institution

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consciously and consistently tries to justify its power by attempting to demonstrate that ‘simple believers’ are happy to enrol themselves in the church’s flock. In this situation the church takes special steps to create particular platforms for communication with the faithful, which is also where the limits of what is allowed and permitted are felt. What is more, the church’s ‘advertising managers’6 put forward an image of a church for ‘simple people’, and, consequently, an image of a church which listens to laypeople (and rank-and-file clerics) – the people of the Church – as well as dictating to them. Finally, strategies are sketched out for a ‘correct’, successful communication between simple believers and the institution – both in itself and as a mediator between the elevated and the profane worlds. The format of publishing ‘letters to the editor’, i.e. letters addressed to various ecclesiastical structures, turns out to be a very useful technique for realising the strategic aims described above. Though not unique to the ROC, this type of advertising is not a straightforward borrowing, as might appear, of practices from the Soviet era (when the state represented its legitimacy and stability through the publication in the mainstream press of what were then known as ‘letters from working people’).7 These days, believers’ letters are published in many different fora: ecclesiastical and quasi-ecclesiastical periodicals (both paper and electronic), and books; they are also posted on Internet sites. But one should not imagine that the pages of all Orthodox publications are full of letters. They appear rarely, if at all, in the official diocesan newspapers. This is understandable enough: the intended readers of official gazettes such as the N Diocesan Informer [N-skie eparkhial’nye vedomosti] will be first and foremost clerics and lay functionaries living within the diocese of N, who only need to be provided with official information. Most other Orthodox periodicals, though, are eager to print believers’ letters. Editorial policy on precisely which such letters will be published can vary greatly from one publication to another. Thus, the back page of the Pravoslavnyi Sankt-Peterburg [Orthodox St Petersburg] newspaper carries the following announcement: ‘Dear readers! Please be aware that we do not accept poetry, or print advertisements soliciting financial aid to private persons, and we cannot enter into correspondence with people in prison.’ But there are other publications that are keen to correspond with prisoners, and that publish their letters. Thus, the Pravoslavnaya gazeta [Orthodox Gazette], which is the official publication of the diocese of Ekaterinburg, has for several years carried a feature entitled To our Brethren Confined in Bondage, which by the mere fact of its existence encourages such ‘brethren’ to write letters to the editors. The same can be said of the ‘verses by our readers’ which many parochial newspapers gladly publish – despite the egregious lack of artistry of these. It is obvious that the regularity with which a given publication carries readers’ letters, not to speak of the existence of a letters section of a permanent kind, speaks to the editors’ desire to create an image of their publication as

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‘of the people’. Thus, the Narodnaya pravoslavnaya gazeta vo slavu Svyatitelya Nikolaya “Pravilo very” [People’s Orthodox Gazette to the Glory of St Nicholas ‘The Rules of Faith’] (published twice a year since 1997 in St Petersburg), devotes a considerable proportion of its total column space (up to a third) to publishing letters. What is particularly distinctive is that it carries some of these on the front page.8 How a given editorial team understands and represents its claims to be ‘of the people’ is, of course, another matter entirely. In discussing the advertising function of publishing ‘readers’ letters’, we should distinguish two types of advertising items. The first type might be called ‘direct advertisement’ (‘Thank you, dear editors’). Letters in which readers thank the newspaper or magazine for the very fact of its existence are often published as independent items. For instance, the Dear Editors feature in the Orthodox St Petersburg newspaper (Pravoslavnyi Sankt-Peterburg, 2007, No 1), carried the following text under the headline Thank You For Your Work: I have subscribed to your paper for six years now and each month I wait impatiently for the next issue to come out. But even the old papers aren’t thrown away: I give them to my friends [ … ]. Thank you to everyone who works on the paper for your work [ … ]. It’s so interesting to read about the various monasteries and Russian holy places. You read it, and it’s as if you’d been there yourself. Another example, published under the title A Voice from Ekaterinburg in Russkii palomnik [The Russian Pilgrim], published in the USA (Letters to the Pilgrim feature, 2000, No 21–22, p. 94), ran like this: Your publication has material of a very high quality, set out in a language that is simple (but not vulgar) and calm (but inwardly solemn, almost like the divine service). The photographs, executed professionally and with love, show essentially a purely Russian way of seeing faces and landscapes. It’s a strikingly-expressed sense of beauty. Published letters are sometimes very emotional (a letter entitled I Weep as I Read, in the They Write to Us feature, in Rus pravoslavnaya [Orthodox Rus], 2004, No 1–2), ran as follows: Peace be with you, dear editorial staff! [ … ] I, the sinful priest Viktor would like to kiss you for the wondrous fruits of your labour! I weep as I read the articles in your paper. They are tears of joy and fear. Joy at the warm Russian hearts that have gathered around you, for whom I believe a great reward is waiting in Heaven. And fear because I am not myself as warm in my prayer as I should be [ … ]. My dears! The Lord save you! Such work strengthens faith and breeds boldness in prayer. And then nothing is frightening any more.9

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Frequently, however, the praise and gratitude expressed to the publication is a kind of introduction to the main text of the letter (or, more rarely, both an introduction and a conclusion). Mostly, these expressions of praise and gratitude are thematically unconnected with the main content, but have been retained by the editors nonetheless, for understandable reasons (it hardly needs to be said that letters for publication are edited and shortened by the editors of practically all publications). The content of these items is on the surface: in the words of its (real or possibly fictitious) readers the publication is saying: ‘We are in demand. Our publication resonates with people. People support us.’ And this message is aimed not just at potential subscribers, but at a wider audience, who receive a simple idea: ‘What’s standing behind this publication isn’t just the editors, it’s the people.’ How this ‘people’ is imagined depends on the ideological attachments of the editors, which is expressed not only in direct political (or, conversely, emphatically apolitical) utterances, but also through the types of letter published in the given journal. It is here that we encounter the second type of advertising: indirect advertising (or, more precisely, self-advertising). Indirect advertising gestures not at the publication itself, but at facts that seem at first glance to exist independently of it. The newspaper or magazine is simply informing us of these phenomena. Here too the genre of ‘readers’ letters’ is very useful: ‘We are not the source of the information or the authors of the judgements: we are just transmitting them, we are just intermediaries.’ Often, admittedly, this attitude admits the correction: ‘We are not the only ones who think so, our simple readers think so too.’ The They Write to Us feature in the above-mentioned Rus pravoslavnaya newspaper is a vivid illustration of this point of view. The newspaper is well-known in Orthodox circles and beyond thanks to the extremely fundamentalist position of the editors under Konstantin Dushenov. The chief ideological vector of the Rus pravoslavnaya can be dubbed ‘political eschatology’: there is an international conspiracy against Russia and the Russian people, which can only be resisted by restoring an Orthodox monarchy in the country. The ideas expressed about what mechanism might bring about the monarchist restoration can hardly be called clear or realistic. In any event, the editors seem less concerned with these mechanisms than with exposing the conspiracy itself and the individuals who take part in it and who voluntarily or unwittingly assist its realisation (the list of such individuals includes not only ‘natural enemies of all that is Russian’ but also many representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate establishment). As with any conspiracy theories, the utterances of the RP are open to criticism as being far-fetched ideas that only circulate among nutters. The editors therefore feel the need to show the existence of alarmist moods beyond their own regular writers. Here letters from ‘outraged readers’ can be very helpful: the authors confirm that the conspiracy exists, expose the treachery of particular individuals, and share the religio-political eschatological views of Konstantin Dushenov10 (see the proud boast in the title of one letter, I Consider Myself a Monarchist and an Anti-Semite, 2003. No 9–10).

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By publishing such letters, the newspaper creates an image of itself as a patriotic publication that expresses the longings of the masses and serves as a natural intermediary between the ‘simple folk’ and élites who are not interested in the monarchism and conspiracy theories of the ‘Russian people’. This is by the same token an indirect advertising campaign, according to which the RP is not only popular, but popular precisely as a patriotic publication – a tribune for all really Orthodox people who support the Motherland and the Church. It is relevant to remark that the ‘tribune’ and ‘speaking’ motifs are found in other features’ titles in the paper too, including The Voice of a Russian Pastor, A Reader’s Voice, Direct Speech, The Reader’s Tribune, Dialogue with the Reader, I Cannot be Silent, and, of course, The Voice of the People (as a variant: The Voice of the People – the Voice of God). Another publication, the Russkii palomnik,11 positions itself as a guardian of the traditions of pre-revolutionary Orthodox Russia, the traditions that have been preserved to this day in the Russian emigration, and sees itself as bringing this wealth back home (it is characteristic that the magazine uses the pre-1918, unreformed orthography). Published readers’ letters underline this mediatory role of the Palomnik. Many of them bear witness to how Orthodox life was maintained in the Soviet era, both in the USSR and overseas. There are also quite a large number of ‘local reports’ on the rebirth of Orthodox life in various corners of the former Russian Empire. The effect of ‘living antiquity’ is strengthened still further by the pre-revolutionary photographs of Russian Orthodox holy objects that are printed between the letters. But the most commonly published type of letters to the editor (or to the institution – a diocese, a parish, etc. – that stands behind it) consists of accounts of miracles that have been brought about by a particular saint or relic. Such items can also be regarded as a kind of indirect advertising. One would think that the saints and relics discussed in the letters existed independently of the publications that carry such testimonies. But in fact these very publications are the ‘promoters’ of particular cults. If we are speaking of veneration for saints, then a newspaper, journal, or Internet site that publishes information about miracles connected with a particular saint’s intercession is taking on the role of a mediator between the object of veneration and the faithful. Sometimes (as with the publication of letters about the blessed Xenia) we are dealing with the popularisation of an existing cult. But some periodicals are active players in the field of suggested or desired canonisations. Thus, in the 1990s the same Rus pravoslavnaya carried letters bearing witness to miraculous aid procured from the ‘imperial martyrs’ (Nicholas II and his family), who had not yet been canonised as saints by the ROC MP. Once they had been canonised, the newspaper started carrying reports from the faithful about miracles associated with the ideological inspirer of so-called ‘political Orthodoxy’,12 the late Metropolitan of St Petersburg and Staraya Ladoga Ioann (Snychev).13 A characteristic example of the policy of glorifying saints (and indirectly of advertising the publication that reports it) is the activity of the Blagovest

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[Good News] newspaper of Samara. Here it would be more accurate to speak of a fairly straightforward strategy pursued by the editor in chief, A.E. Zhogolev, in which various advertising techniques are curiously combined. In general, the newspaper used to be glad to print testimonials about miracles concerning the most diverse range of saints and relics. The situation changed in 2001 with the appearance of a book entitled The Blessed Sister Mariya, devoted to the blessed elder Mariya (Matukasova) of Samara, who had passed away the year before. The book’s author and compiler was the same A.E. Zhogolev, who seems to have collected material about Sister Mariya (including descriptions of miracles) while she was still alive. As is well-known, for someone to be canonised as a saint it is necessary that, firstly, they should be revered by the people, and, secondly, there should be evidence of posthumous miracles taking place as a result of that person’s intercession. These two criteria are obviously somewhat tautological: if the faithful are asking one of the deceased to intercede for them before God, then the fact of popular reverence is established whether or not the prayer is answered with miraculous aid. Be that as it may, the publication of collected testimonies about miracles is one of the chief instruments by which canonisations are secured. In the present case, the book about Mariya of Samara appeared too soon to include any large quantity of testimonies about her posthumous miracles. This lacuna was filled by letters to the editors of the Blagovest. It would seem to be an ordinary story, but it gains a particular colour from the fact that many of the miracles described involved the book that had been compiled by the editor in chief of the newspaper. We will quote one of the first testimonies. It was published in the issue for 23 November 2001, i.e. in the year in which the book came out. I want to share the abundant joy I experienced in reading The Blessed Sister Mariya. Sadly, I did not know Mother when she was alive, but when I read about her it was as though I came to know her face to face and to feel her prayerful protection. I have never found a religious book so easy to read: every word found a place in my heart. And the greatest miracle was this. I had a heavy cold, and I suddenly smelt a fragrance coming from the book! I didn’t believe it, I thought I was mistaken, but that evening, when I started reading about Mother again, there was the same wonderful fragrance! And we felt a grace from Mother Mariya’s prayers more than once. It is enough to appeal to Mother with some request, and at once she answers! Here is one example: my daughter can’t rock the baby to sleep and she asks with a prayer, ‘Mother, help me rock the baby to sleep!’ And—miracles of the Lord! Straight away little Mashenka calms down and goes to sleep. And there are many such instances! We thank the Lord that he has revealed to us such an intercessor and helper. Blessed Sister Mariya, pray to God for us! (Nina, Samara) As we see, the book itself – which, of course, was advertised by the Blagovest as being a product of the same publishing house – becomes an ‘agent’ for the

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saint not only in the life but also in the home of the newly-acquired follower. In her turn, the follower sends a grateful letter to the book’s author, who is presented as a representative of the saint. It is no surprise therefore that several new miracles were connected with obtaining the sacred publication itself: the saint herself helps the faithful to find out about her. In the issue of 4 March 2004 we find the following letter, published under the headline I Think It Was a Miracle. I found out that Blessed Sister Mariya had been reissued from the Books By Post feature in the Blagovest. I took the decision to write off for the book, even though it’s not cheap on my pension. Going to the bank and receiving the pension is a blessing, but always having to stand in a queue darkens the joy of that blessing. So I arrive at the bank and I can’t believe my eyes: there’s nobody there except the cashier. I got my money nice and quickly, and as soon as I was done people started pouring in. I went to the post office: and there wasn’t a soul there either, and suddenly I had a thought: it must be Mariya Ivanovna of Samara helping me get through my business quickly and with no trouble, so I can order the book about her! (Mariya (also Ivanovna) Krivobokova, Nesterovka village, Orenburg region)14 Thus the book and the newspaper, as well as the editorial team and A.E. Zhogolev himself (some of the grateful testimonies are addressed to him personally) become mediators between the saint and the faithful, providing a channel of communication between them.15 As we try to show below, the strategies by which letters to the chapel of the blessed Xenia are represented in the columns of the Smolensk church’s publications can be seen in similar terms: as indirect advertising for the institution that controls the veneration of the saint.

Letters to the Blessed Xenia We approached the present investigation with the understanding that any attempt to include all the publications in which letters of the kind that interest us have appeared would be unrealistic, given the staggering numbers in which books about the Blessed Xenia are brought out by ecclesiastical and quasiecclesiastical publishers. After visiting a number of church bookshops, the newspaper hall of the Russian National Library, and of course the Internet, we decided that we had enough texts to deal with the problems that interested us: the same letters started to be repeated, and the same representational strategies too. So, our basic sources are, firstly, the official website of the parish of the Icon of the Mother of God of Smolensk (page entitled Collection of Modern Testimonies to Miracles in Response to the Prayers of the Blessed Saint Xenia of Petersburg);16 secondly, the parish newspaper, the Smolenskii khram [Church

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of the Icon of the Mother of God of Smolensk] (section entitled Miracles in Response to the Prayers of Mother Xenia);17 and, thirdly, two collections of letters compiled by L.S. Yakovleva (2004; 2006).18 We brought these four publications together on a simple principle: their compilers and editors are people (clergy or laity) who are directly involved with the Smolensk parish and with the blessed Xenia’s ‘reception centre’. In addition, we have reason to suppose that the authors of the publications (not to be confused with the authors of the letters) had tried to avoid editing the letters too heavily. Of course, that last point does not imply a claim that everything they publish is necessarily ‘authentic’. The letters undergo a process of selection, and the texts are harmonised with the norms of orthography and grammar. It stands to reason that the letters are often shortened. (All this correcting work is visible from a comparison between versions of the same letter published in different collections.) All the same, we are inclined to believe that the editors’ chief way of proceeding was not correction in an overt sense, but tactful and intelligent ‘touching up’. Our grounds for holding such a belief are slender but significant. The editors did not, for instance, go about altering what the canon in an abstract sense would regard as excessively ‘simple-hearted’ expressions, which run through some sentences and even whole letters. We will give two examples. In one letter we can read the following: ‘I thank the blessed St Xenia for this too, and I believe she will definitely help [ … ] if, of course, it is within God’s will’ (SK 2001, No 2 (7)). Any believer knows that everything in this world is within God’s will, but here the term ‘if it [ … ] is within God’s will’ creates a suggestive ambiguity.19 The other example is a letter from a prison, included in Lyudmila Yakovleva’s collection (2006: 181–86). It contains a number of interesting points, but what is important for us is that it ends with the following passage: Please answer these questions, which other inmates have asked. 1. How much do you need to sleep and eat a day? 2. How old is humanity? 3. What are UFOs? 4. What are healers, sorcerers, psychics, and hypnotists (with details about their demonic power)? 5. Can you burn dead bodies? 6. Why do Catholics cross themselves left to right, what does the word Catholic mean, and what was the original reason why they split from us? 7. What are cloned people and zombies, how do they live, and what are they lacking compared to a person? 8. If a bandit attacked you and your mum and either he was going to kill you and your mum or you had to kill him, what should you do? The fact that this fragment found its way into an Orthodox publication does not, of course, indicate an absence of censorship: but it does show that the editors are capable of using direct quotations for their own ends. The print run of ‘parochial’ publications is quite modest, which cannot be said of books by ‘outside’ authors: these have gone into several editions with

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a run of up to 10,000 copies. Obviously these popular publications are practically uncontrolled by the clergy of the Smolensk church, who do not have the ability to influence the ideology of all the publications devoted to a saint who has become popular. But we will give a brief characterisation of these books with regard to their policy on publishing letters, in order to create a general media context. Here we will mention three books: (Gorbacheva 2003);20 (Kozachenko 2006);21 (Po molitvam blazhennoi Ksenii 2006). The first two stress the historical component in the representation of the blessed Xenia’s image and cult. Modern testimonial letters occupy a fairly modest place in them. The authors include them after many pages describing Xenia of Petersburg’s life and pre-revolutionary (lifetime and posthumous) miracles, accompanied with historical data and hagiographical comments. Texts of modern letters are published after mention has been made of the century-old practice of writing letters to the Smolensk church. The authors need these letters to underline the idea of an unbroken tradition, an idea that we feel is less important for the ‘Smolenskians’ themselves: ‘Decades have passed, but letters still arrive at the Church of the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God at number 24 Kamskaya St, St Petersburg’ (Kozachenko 2006: 241); ‘Testimonial letters still arrive addressed to the Parish Priest of the Smolensk Church’ (Gorbacheva 2003: 121). Somewhat different is the third book mentioned, Prayers to Blessed Xenia (Po molitvam blazhennoi Ksenii 2006), which consists entirely of testimonial letters. Most of these are borrowed from overseas Orthodox publications, though this is indicated only in one case: ‘The text is printed in accordance with the edition in Pamyatka, posvyashchennaya proslavleniyu blazhennoi Ksenii Peterburgskoi, New York, 1978’. A full 60 of the 98 testimonies are dated to the 1970s – a time when the Russian Orthodox Church abroad was preparing the Blessed Xenia’s canonisation (she was only canonised as a saint in the USSR ten years later). The other letters are generally taken from the Smolenskii khram newspaper, from the parish’s official site, and/or from Kozachenko’s collection. In including recent letters in their book, the compilers have been quite bold in editing their sources: they have corrected the style, changed accounts from the third person to the first, shortened letters, even combined two testimonies into one,22 and, most revealingly of all, mercilessly cut the appeals to specific addressees as they appear in the sources. All these letters were received and published by the Smolensk Church or with a reference to its archive, but only three carry the note ‘A letter to the Church of the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God’ with a direct appeal to an addressee (twice to a priest and once immediately to Xenia). The majority of letters have been shorn of any references to addressees, which could sometimes be quite extended (‘Peace be with you, dear Father Viktor! I have a request for you, listen to me’) and simple-hearted (‘Maybe I’m not writing this properly, but it comes from the heart. Thank you for existing’23); i.e. they have been denuded of everything that creates the atmosphere of a personal and almost intimate correspondence.

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‘Dear Father’, ‘Dear Aunts’, ‘Darling Xenia’: the image of the addressee Turning to our main sources – publications associated with the Smolensk parish in St Petersburg – we will try to show how the letters’ addressee is represented in these. Here too it is possible to identify two basic strategies. The first is followed by the ‘official organs’ of the parish: the Smolenskii khram newspaper and the official site. The published letters (which are all testimonies concerning miracles) are mainly addressed to the Parish Priest, Father Viktor Moskovsky. A typical opening for such a letter is ‘Hello, dear Father!’, or ‘Hello, Father Viktor.’ In some letters the addressee is both the priest and St Xenia. In the latter case the priest’s role as an intermediary between the faithful and the saint is particularly obvious: the request for help, and the gratitude, must be heard by both of those who are ‘responsible’ for the miracle.24 Much the same picture can be seen on the parish site.25 The frequency with which testimonial letters are addressed to the priest is probably not hard to explain: many (if not most) are the third element in a trio of correspondence between the believer and the Smolensk parish (the first element would be a letter from some believer asking the parish to say a Mass in St Xenia’s chapel; the second would be a reply containing the notification, signed by the Parish Priest). In other words, people might not know when they write their first letter who specifically will read it, but the answer they receive makes the situation more definite. However, it would be possible to cite the testimony to a miracle without including any reference to a concrete person. This is sometimes done in the published versions (as a comparison between different editions of the same letter makes clear). Thus, the inclusion of personal details suggests we are dealing here with a consistent publishing policy whose aim is to show the concrete person ‘responsible’ for successful communication with the saint (or relic). Further evidence to support this hypothesis emerges from a comparison of the newspaper and website publications with the epistolary materials to be found in the two books compiled by Lyudmila Yakovleva. Using material from the Smolensk parish, she chose a different strategy of representing the addressee. Not one letter in Yakovleva’s first collection (2004) contains an address to the priest. Here the compiler has tried not to draw the reader’s attention to the figure of the letter’s recipient(s); in only two letters can we read: ‘Hello, good people, dear servants of the church’ and ‘Darling St Xenia, bless us sinners’. It is clear from the context of the published letters that someone receives them and publishes them, but the image of the recipient is not entirely clear. The implication is that it is probably a group of people (servants of the church), behind or above whom there stands St Xenia; thus, the ultimate head of the ‘office’ is not the parish priest, but the saint herself. This representational strategy is pursued still more consistently in the second book compiled by Lyudmila Yakovleva (2006). At the top of the first

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page, where we might often expect see the name of the organisation on whose behalf the author is writing, we read: ‘National Reception Centre of the Blessed Xenia of Petersburg’. Later, among the numerous fragments from letters (of which, as noted earlier, there are 189) we find frequent references to addressees (in 125 letters). The general impression – as we can assume the collection’s compiler intended – is one of social variety. In defining his or her addressee, the correspondent lets slip information about his or her own status. A child writes ‘Dear aunties’, someone who is a regular churchgoer and ‘simple’ might address a letter directly to the Blessed Xenia, someone writes ‘Dear brothers and sisters in Christ’, and others again try to avoid naming any addressee, e.g. ‘Hello. My name is Andrei’ (Yakovleva 2006: 116). Let us try to sketch a portrait of the addressee of the letters published in Yakovleva’s collections. Most often here we encounter two types of greeting. Many writers address their requests directly to Xenia. ‘Mother Xenia, forgive me for pestering you so often. But I have no-one else to share things with, to get out everything that’s been troubling me’ (ibid.: 180); ‘Please, Mother Xenia, make Lyosha—you know who I mean—forget his old love and really deeply love me and never cheat’ (ibid.: 123); ‘Hello, Xenia of Petersburg. This is Tatyana from Transbaikalia, a long way from St Petersburg. But you can do anything, can’t you?’ (ibid.: 128–29). These letters closely recall the messages for the Blessed Xenia that are customarily left at her chapel (see Filicheva 2006a; 2006b). But most of the letters are addressed to intermediaries, to Xenia’s ‘office’, usually with a request to say a Mass for her, just to pray to her, or to pass on a request (64 letters in all): ‘I am writing to you in deep distress and I beg you on my knees: hear the wail of an unhappy mother. Say a Mass beside the holy relics of the blessed mother Xenia’ (Yakovleva 2006: 144); ‘Please, say a Mass on credit [ … ]. Mother Xenia is my only hope’ (ibid.: 163). Sometimes a letter shows confusion as to who is being addressed, which is one way of demonstrating the authenticity of the published letter ‘from the people’: ‘Pray to Mother Xenia of Petersburg [ … ]. Mother Xenia, step in, help … I beg the Blessed Xenia … ’ (ibid.: 28–29) or ‘I wrote my first letter and sent it to “the Blessed Xenia”, like to “Grandma. In the countryside”26 [ … ]. A deep bow to you because you fight for every little sheep, as it says in the Gospel’ (ibid.: 41–42). This whole seemingly contradictory picture adds up to a thoroughly palpable image: St Xenia has her representatives (her office) at the Smolensk cemetery, whose job it is to maintain a correspondence between the saint and her admirers. Letters addressed directly to the saint can be sent to this office, and they will be transmitted word for word, but one can also write to the reception centre’s staff and let them pass on something in their own words (‘Beg Xenia that the soul of my errant daughter be healed’: ibid.: 89). That is, a letter to the office equals a letter to Xenia, and a reply from the office equals a response from the saint herself:

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When I sent my letter to Xenia’s dear chapel I didn’t think about whether I would get an answer or not. But a short time went by, and suddenly for no reason at all I started to worry and insistently to ask Xenia to reply. My impatience grew like an avalanche. One day I kept looking at the letterbox, and – I saw a letter from Petersburg! Believe me, I felt such untold joy, it was as if I had won a car [ … ]. And suddenly there was a fragrance in the room, like incense. My husband came running from the other room and asked, ‘What are you doing, why does it smell like that?’ And I replied, ‘It’s because darling Xenia the Blessed has sent a letter’ [ … ]. [In my letter] I only asked darling St Xenia to pray for us. (Ibid.: 101–2; [emphasis in the published version – JK, SS]) The feeling that ‘reception centre’ correspondents frequently imagine their appeals to the saint in the terms of ‘asking her to intervene’ (in other words, as a ‘lobbying strategy’) is strengthened by the complaints against neighbours and officials that are often included. The publication of such texts is in full accordance with the image sketched in the collection, that of the office of a mighty patron.27 In a situation like this, the figure of the priest as an intermediary between the saint and the faithful is overshadowed: the collection contains no direct greetings to clerics (requests to say Mass can be regarded as indirect references). But this cannot be viewed as a manifestation of any anticlerical attitudes on the part of the compiler, who felt herself obliged to publish an appeal from the Parish Priest of the Smolensk Church asking for donations on the last page of her book. How does the Smolensk Church’s clergy react to this strategy of representing the addressee of letters to the chapel? With no great guardedness, so far as we can see. It is clear that the Parish Priest – without whose approval Yakovleva’s publications would have been impossible – sees no harm in the existence of letters addressed directly to the saint or to an office where some kind of ‘dear aunties’ work. It is likely that the cleric does not perceive any particular threat to his power in the simple-hearted avoidance of mentioning the church’s intermediary role, precisely because he understands that the ‘Orthodoxy market’ – like the services offered, and the demand for them – is segmented to a high degree, and it is necessary to offer suitable ‘products’ for various different groups of ‘consumers’. If Orthodox believers from the political or business élite need religious professionals and demand ‘high quality services’, then the simple folk make do with their own resources. And the faith of the simple folk, sincere, not always flawless from the canonical perspective, is necessary in that it offers other consumers of the product (Orthodoxy in general, and in our particular case, the cult of the Blessed Xenia) a quality that is beyond any price: authenticity. In the context of this analysis of published letters to the Blessed Xenia, the image of the ‘typical believer’, the object of her potential or actual protection, becomes a kind of rhetorical figure of the ‘consumer of Orthodoxy’.

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Poor people (the image of the letter-writer) So, the publication of letters to Xenia (and not only to her, of course) can be seen as advertising for Orthodoxy and for a concrete Orthodox sacred place. But a competently constructed advertising campaign, on behalf of any firm, hints, or directly states, who is the main and ‘correct’ consumer of the product; it paints a portrait in which the potential client might recognise him, or herself. Or else this image, being unattainable but representing a stimulus to ideal self-perfection, brings about a change in the consumer’s needs. In other words, an advertisement tells certain people that people like them who have made use of the ‘firm’ and its services have got what they wanted as a result (and therefore that the viewer / listener / reader ought to follow the same example). Meanwhile, it hints to another part of the audience that consumption of the same firm’s products can make them into part of a hitherto (or absolutely) unattainable world of ‘correct consumption’. Such an ideal consumer, in our case, is someone who is deprived, lacking something necessary for a normal ‘human’ life: a sufficient income, a family, health, simple everyday good sense (they are naïve). We will call them ‘poor people’. It is this status as social ‘invalids’ that creates an image of the ideal believer that is attractive to potential consumers. Speaking generally, this image of people writing to the saint or to her office is characteristic of all the publications we have examined. But our examples are taken from Lyudmila Yakovleva’s 2006 collection, for the following reason. The compiler of this particular book has divided the believers’ letters into thematic sections and accompanied them with brief commentaries which represent an attempt at a kind of sociological sketch of the modern Orthodox people (cf. Yakovleva’s focus on the correspondence as a ‘national reception centre’). Yakovleva herself understands her task in terms of a spiritual medical diagnosis. This is shown by the use of such images as ‘the way the social organism is feeling’, ‘the pulse of the national body’ and so on (Yakovleva 2006: 3). In other words, we are confronted with a project whose explicit goal is to represent a portrait of St Xenia’s (or her office’s) typical correspondent. It is this that makes Yakovleva’s collection a useful object for analysis. ‘They live independently, they work a lot, and they have enough coming in. That’s probably why they’ve got used to making do without God’ (Yakovleva 2006: 172). That is how Lidiya Ivanovna from the Altai Territory explains her lack of mutual understanding with her daughter and her son-in-law: she thinks it is the difference in their financial positions that is keeping them apart. Their success hinders them from coming to God. She would hardly want the parents of her beloved grandchild to give up work if they became religious. She is simply underlining a fact she finds obvious: economic success replaces the approach to God, making it unnecessary and impossible. Economic prosperity and faith are incompatible.28 Lidiya Ivanovna’s letter contains a formulation of an idea that is important for modern Orthodox culture: the idea that poor people are the bearers of the

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true faith. To be poor, in this value system, is a good thing. The ‘rich man’ has to prove his faith; the ‘poor man’ can simply point at his situation. The published letters represent (and understand) poverty in various ways. First, it is an economic condition. The overwhelming majority of the blessed Xenia’s correspondents, according to Yakovleva’s collection, are living in deprivation or on the edge of poverty. There are letters from single mothers, sometimes out of work and caring for a sick child; from small entrepreneurs deep in debt; from the children of parents who drink; from families with a large number of children and only one breadwinner; from migrants who have not managed to establish themselves after moving from other parts of the former USSR. Many correspondents live in the countryside or in other economically backward regions. Second, poverty is understood as a lack (of health, of children, etc.) or as unhappiness. ‘My poor one!’ says Xenia when she appears in a dream to a sick woman; she starts to ‘pity and embrace’ her, and also to heal her (Yakovleva 2006: 45). Many write about their status as social orphans: in other words, they lack what society regards as normal social connections, above all family connections. These are men and women who have left their spouses; parents who have lost contact with their children (‘I who write to you am an unhappy orphaned mother’ (ibid.: 101); prisoners; people suffering as real or imagined orphans; and single people looking for a partner. The collection’s compiler tries to extend the circle of potential admirers of St Xenia as widely as possible by indicating another group of the ‘poor’: young people who don’t know anything about Orthodoxy, i.e. who are deprived of something very real, but who sincerely believe in the protection of the saint.29 The rhetoric of humility further strengthens the sense that the source of real faith is to be found among the ‘downtrodden and humiliated’: ‘Help me just for no reason, because there is nothing I can offer in exchange [ … ]. Fervent slaves of God turn to you. But so do the simple and the weak’ (ibid.: 26; [publishers’ emphasis – JK, SS]). Curiously, the writer contrasts ‘fervent slaves of God’, who have the right to be helped from on high, with people like himself: ‘the simple and the weak’ who can only timidly hope for the saint’s favour. But it is precisely the writer’s humility that raises the chances of his being heard.30 The letters to the blessed Xenia are divided into three parts: thanks for aid rendered, testimony to miracles, and requests. The last are practically all worded in the manner of a lamentation (cf. Nancy Ries’s discussion of the extent of this genre in Russians’ everyday speech practices (Ries 1997)), which involves a detailed description of the writer’s orphan status and material poverty. We do not at all want to say that the letter-writers exaggerate the degree of their need and their pain. But they have to narrativise their sorrow, and they have to do so in such a way as to make the request look as convincing as possible, something that out of simple human feeling could not be refused. The authors employ a specific language of suffering and rhetoric of lamentation to achieve this end.31

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The principle is simple: a good person is suffering undeservedly, and asks for justice to be done. In one letter from Yakovleva’s collection, the author (Sinful Ekaterina) asks for her husband to get his wages back, for her son to find a good job, because (a) her husband is an ‘Afghanistan vet’ with many decorations, (b) he is sick, but still goes out to work, (c) ‘my pension is very small and my husband only makes a few kopecks, we barely have enough to live on’ (Yakovleva 2006: 103). The last two arguments are meant to persuade Xenia that these are genuinely poor people writing to her. Obviously, one does not have to be a model parishioner or fervent in prayer to receive help: the most important thing is to be sufficiently miserable. Not for nothing did the secular periodical Kommersant call the blessed Xenia one of the most democratic saints, one who even helps atheists (Florenskaya 2002). It is quite obvious that the writers and publishers of these letters are consciously or unconsciously basing themselves on the experience of addressing petitions to state bodies, in particular social security offices, in which a request for help is preceded by an argument to justify the request, arranged in the style of a lamentation. Those who venerate Xenia see her as an ordinary woman with an unhappy fate. Many letters include descriptions of meetings with her: in dreams, at the bus stop, at the market, in church, in the chapel at the Smolensk cemetery. She is an old woman, or simply a woman, or an elderly woman, dressed in an old-fashioned long dress and jacket (the colours are mentioned and are always different), with her hair covered. She usually appears at the critical moment, as a miraculous helper or adviser, and remains unrecognised. Later the person sees an icon and recognises the woman they met, and that is how they find out who it was. In other words Xenia is ordinary, like many other people, poor, and unhappy. And, of course, she helps those who are like herself. It is noteworthy that the image of the holy fool Xenia, with her strange behaviour and her (eighteenth-century) male dress, seems to be too exotic and is not popular. In any case, that is never how she appears to people. The subtitle makes clear that the compiler regards all the blessed Xenia’s correspondents as belonging to the category of ‘simple people’. ‘Simple’ here means powerless, poor, ordinary. It must be said that modern Orthodox discourse, whether in its official or its ‘democratic’ segment, is not generally marked by the Gospel’s condemnation of riches (e.g. at Matt. 19.24). On the contrary, strategies by which people can comfortably coexist in a society of powerful social inequality have been developed within the framework of Orthodox religious culture.32 For those who regard themselves as belonging to the category of ‘poor folk’, one such strategy is to represent their own poverty as a sign they have been chosen. A ‘simple’ person has a greater chance of being heard by God. This quality, enriched by a certain experience of religious life, can become an important source of symbolic capital. For other Orthodox, who do not regard themselves as ‘poor folk’, poverty might seem a necessary quality for the accumulation of spirituality and for authentic tradition (for more details, see Kormina 2010).

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Here it should be added that the above-described strategy for representing an image of the Orthodox people is not the only possible such strategy. If this portrait is compared with the evidence we find in some political or politicised Orthodox publications (Rus pravoslavnaya, Put khristianina [Way of the Christian], etc.), we see that there ‘the people’ look quite different. They do not humbly beg, they powerfully demand; they do not weep, they threaten; they do not endure, they struggle. ‘The people’ in fundamentalist publications are not confined to their own private needs. They are driven by Church-wide and even national interests. Even the testimonies to miracles here are distinctive. In letters to St Xenia people describe miraculous healings, help in getting married, job-hunting, and even obtaining potatoes at a discount price. These descriptions contrast sharply with, for instance, a miracle in a letter printed in the collection Miracles of the Imperial Martyrs (Chudesa tsarstvennykh muchenikov 1995). This vision, painted in the sombre colours of political eschatology – the visionary witnessed the Russian people ‘chanting their own requiem’,33 – is a typical example of ‘political Orthodox’ narrative. The practice of recording ‘small miracles’ represented in the Smolensk Church’s testimonial letters can be seen as an attempt to create an alternative image of Orthodoxy: a ‘social’ Orthodoxy.

Conclusion – Send us your letters … In a recent work on the cults of John of Kronstadt and the blessed Xenia at the start of the twentieth century, Nadezhda Kizenko concludes that there was an anti-modernist ideology behind the veneration of these saints (Kizenko 2003). This conclusion is based on the fact that the main addressees of the cults were representatives of the least modernised part of society: women and the poor. The specific practice of veneration by means of notes and letters, however, has been historically connected precisely with the cult of the blessed Xenia and in fact provides proof of that cult’s modernity. The idea of entering into a correspondence with a saint or his / her representatives assumes, first, a sufficient level of literacy. Since the overall literacy rate was fairly low in the Russian Empire at the start of the last century,34 we can draw conclusions as to the strata of the population that were able to participate in this ‘correspondence’. Second, the existence of such a correspondence assumes a regular postal service and a developed practice of letterwriting. The letter becomes a substitute for pilgrimage, and it is the postal service that makes such a substitution possible. Thus, the ways in which the blessed Xenia – an urban saint, belonging to the capital city – was venerated fully reflected the spirit of the age at the moment when the cult was initiated at the turn of the nineteenth to the twentieth century. In the Internet era, believers can also use modern means of communication to get through to the saints. In a discussion on the forum on http://ovulation. org.ua, whose target audience is women experiencing the problem of infertility, one participant – who was preparing to visit St Xenia’s chapel – suggested

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that users could send her the text of notes that she would convey to the chapel. The suggestion met with a lively response, and some eighteen people sent messages.35 It is quite obvious that this kind of ‘civic initiative’ is undesirable for the Church. Once people have written their request in a note, they can appeal to St Xenia directly or ask acquaintances who are setting out on pilgrimage far or near (the forum participant mentioned above, for instance, lives in Petersburg), and they have no need for other intermediaries: the priest or the ‘office’.36 The clergy doubtless know that it is not just notes with requests that people bring to the Xenia chapel. Among the pieces of paper lying around the chapel or poked into cracks in the walls there are also requests for the commemoration of the dead or dying, often written on special forms that can be picked up in the church. But they are not given, as prescribed, to the priest to be read during the liturgy, together with payment for the ecclesiastical ‘service’ ordered: they are taken to the chapel. Thus the faithful prefer to appeal direct to the saint, who will herself pray for the health or the repose of the people named in the note. And, while church representatives might take a tolerant attitude towards request notes as a manifestation of the naïve faith of simple folk who do not know the rules of Orthodox usage, notes of commemoration that do not pass through priestly hands must evoke a certain negative reaction. In these circumstances, the church needs special ‘advertising campaigns’ to preserve its position among modernised believers and to remind them that there are specific people who make it possible to communicate effectively with a saint. This article has dealt with the publication of believers’ letters as one form that this advertising takes.

Abbreviations ROC MP Russian Orthodox Church – Patriarchate of Moscow RP Rus pravoslavnaya (newspaper) SK Smolenskii khram (newspaper)

Notes 1 Vsenarodnaya priemnaya: A priemnaya is what would be termed in British English a ‘reception centre’ or ‘visitor centre’, i.e. the part of an official government institution, such as a ministry or government agency, responsible for handling problems and complaints, and processing unsolicited callers, letters, and visitors. The word vsenarodnaya, or national, gives this particular ‘reception centre’ a status beyond and outside the state. [Editors] 2 A title awarded before 1917 to some persons of non-noble origin, for example, to prominent merchants. [Editors] 3 The phrase administrativnyi resurs is usually used in a political context, where it means something like ‘incumbency factor’ – the advantages that a candidate can derive from already controlling the administrative machine in the runup to an election. [Editors]

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4 i.e. those that are deemed to be ‘traditional’ in the Russian Federation. [Editors].5 We admit the limited character of this definition, and its divergence from the Christian ecclesiological understanding of the phenomenon of the Church of Christ as the community of all the faithful. In this sense the faithful are not objects of the church’s activity, since they form part of its ‘body’. But there is a whole series of entirely Orthodox contexts in which the church and the faithful can be treated as separate. It is sufficient to recall the popular maxim ‘He who does not have the Church for his mother does not have Christ for his Father’. 6 There is, of course, no such position in the ecclesiastical apparatus, and we employ the term as part of the extended metaphor of treating the church as a business. From this viewpoint, the business’s ‘advertising’ is conducted by special figures, whether appointed to do it or engaging in it on their own initiative, who define, for instance, the editorial policy of ecclesiastical or quasi-ecclesiastical publications. 7 These publications also had an important ‘lobbying’ function, in that the letters departments of Soviet newspapers would forward concrete requests and suggestions to government institutions, with a request that they be answered within quite a strict timetable (usually 3 to 4 weeks). Sometimes government offices would then present projects as ‘already in train’ that had in fact been initiated only when the letter appeared. [Editors] 8 These materials are subsequently published as separate books, providing curious examples of devotional literature or even of Orthodox folklore (Rakov 2003; 2005). 9 These are a few more titles from this feature in the same newspaper: Everyone Reads the Paper (1999. No 12); They Won’t Let Me Subscribe! (2001. No 1); Stay As You Are! (2002. No 1–2); We Read It From Cover to Cover (2002. No 11–12). 10 Konstantin Dushenov (b. Leningrad, 1960) is General Editor of Rus Pravoslavnaya newspaper, and a virulent anti-Semite, sentenced to three years’ imprisonment in 2010 for incitement to racial hatred. [Editors] 11 A magazine with that title was issued in Russia from 1885 to 1917; the current magazine has been published in the USA since 1990. 12 We take this term from a work by Aleksandr Verkhovsky (2003). 13 We reproduce here one such letter: To I.V. Chipizubov, Ataman of Admiralty khutor, Neva stanitsa, city of St Petersburg, from S.Yu. Babicuk, Cossack. Report. [the original Russian uses the prerevolutionary term ‘raport’ – Editors] I hereby bring to your attention that on 31.12.2000 I was a witness of the following event, observed when I was voluntarily safeguarding public order beside the grave of Metropolitan Ioann from 16.00 to 20.00 hours in the company of V.N. Basargin, Cossack. At 17.45 hours a man and a woman aged approximately 30 years approached the grave, said a prayer, and placed candles. In order not to disturb them, Basargin and myself strolled down the perpendicular alley. After the man and woman had departed I observed that only one candle was burning at the Metropolitan’s grave, while the other had gone out. At that time the bells of the Alexander Nevsky Monastery rang out. Basargin said the service was beginning. The bells fell silent at 18.00, and we at once noticed a sharp crack and a bright flare by the grave: the second candle had flared up and was burning very brightly. I was struck by the fact that the light came on just as the bells stopped ringing. I don’t even quite believe it, but I simply feel that I was a witness to a miracle. But I am hesitant about telling others. They might say it was a trick. (Rus pravoslavnaya, 2001, No 7–8) [Metropolitan Ioann Snychev, 1927–95, who was Metropolitan in St Petersburg from 1990 to 1995, was notorious for his ultra-conservative, anti-Western, and anti-Semitic views. Editors]

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14 The title of the following letter is also eloquent: It’s a book I always have on the table. 15 We quote one more letter that appeared in the Blagovest (2006, 7 April). The basic motif is thoroughly traditional (the saint brings someone to reason who had doubted her sainthood), but the references to the role played by the newspaper and the book in what happened make this text a perfect example of indirect advertising. This Book Came Back to Me … Dear editors! I heard about the blessed Sister Mariya (Matukasova) from the Blagovest paper and started praying to her. On many occasions my prayers were answered thanks to the prayers of Mother Mariya. But one day it occurred to me that if she hadn’t been canonised, I was praying to her for nothing—and there are lots of great saints I don’t find the time to pray to—so I decided to stop praying to her. Then in church a woman came up to me and asked me to sell her the book about the blessed Sister Mariya for a sick patient. That woman couldn’t have known that I had the book. I decided to give it to the person who was sick. When I was getting ready to take the book, I looked at the cover and I thought: ‘Mother Mariya, you are departing from me! Forgive me, a sinner, inadequate, lazy, now I will pray to you again.’ After about two weeks they brought me the book back and told me that the blessed Sister Mariya had appeared to the patient in a dream and strictly ordered that the book be returned to me. Blessed Sister Mariya, pray to God for us! Lidiya Chebykina, Togliatti 16 17 18 19

http://st-xenia.spb.ru The site contains 47 letters. We took the issues for 2001 and 2002, containing 43 letters. These books contain 31 and 189 letters respectively. Characteristically, a different edition of the same letter (about which more below) corrects this phrase to read ‘if, of course, God wills it’ (Po molitvam blazhennoi Ksenii 2006: 124). 20 All the letters in book (8) appear to be taken from V. I. Kozachenko’s book. 21 This book, which first appeared in 2000, has gone through many editions which hardly differ from one another. It contains a section entitled ‘Letters about the Miracles of the Blessed Xenia’ (30 letters in all), which the copyright notice attributes to materials provided ‘by the Church of the Smolensk Ikon of the Mother of God at the Smolensk Cemetery in St Petersburg’. 22 We will give just one example of such editorial activity. In the Smolenskii khram newspaper (No 1) for 2002 we read: Dear Father! I have a big request for you: please say a Mass for the blessed Xenia of Petersburg with the request that the slave of God, Galina, be bestowed a child of the male gender. In February this year I asked for help with the construction of a church in our town, with the healing of a tumour, and with my desire for a child. So: the church is being built, the tumour has ‘vanished’, and in January (if, of course, it seems good to God) I will have a little boy. Since I am old (40) and not well (high blood pressure, kidney stones, etc.), I am praying to dear Xenia to help me in childbirth, and so that the baby is born nice and healthy, otherwise because of ecology we often have children born ‘yellow’ or with a destroyed nervous system. And I really want a boy. Pray for me, Father Viktor. With love for the Lord, a slave of God, Galina, Altai Territory, town of Gornyak.’ And below: ‘For 17 years they had been asking Xenia for a son. Then Dmitry was born. When they came to the

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chapel to visit the relics of Xenia, the little boy (who was just starting to talk) embraced the shrine and said ‘That’s my granny.’ They were amazed in the monastery: five-year-old Dima was behaving like a deacon. That’s what it means for a child to be from God, one you’ve prayed for. Story on Orthodox radio. In the book Po molitvam blazhennoi Ksenii the second testimony is attributed to the author of the first letter, Galina from the town of Gornyak (2006: 116). 23 Both of the phrases cut from the published text are included in Kozachenko’s book (2006: 260) and on the parish site. Cf. (Po molitvam blazhennoi Ksenii 2006: 131). 24 In the issues of the Smolenskii khram that we have examined, an addressee is named in 33 out of 43 letters; in 25 cases it is a priest, in 6 a priest and also St Xenia. 25 On the site of the parish of the Smolensk Ikon of the Mother of God some 28 of 47 letters name an addressee, in 21 cases a priest and in 2 cases both a priest and St Xenia. 26 A reference to Chekhov’s tragic-comic story ‘Vanka’, a staple of the Russian schoolroom, in which the ill-treated boy hero, an apprentice in the city, writes in desperation to his grandfather, addressing the letter, ‘To Grandpa. In the Countryside’. [Editor]. 27 ‘I have been subjected to attacks from my new neighbour. He appropriates my land (we have a shared allotment). We go to court. He plays tricks, he won’t submit to the court or the militia. All I get is threats. This new neighbour of mine is doing building work on our shared allotment. He’s got no permission, but he just does his thing. There’s no way of controlling him. I am appealing for the help of our holy intercessor Mother Xenia. Elena Dmitrievna’ (Yakovleva 2006: 85). Cf. ‘It’s hard for a simple person to break through the armour of bureaucratic indifference. People are afraid to fight for their interests, they don’t trust anyone. In 2002 the local administration issued an order to limit the use of land allotments in violation of the Constitution and the Land Code. Thanks to my prayers imploring Xenia of Petersburg to help the simple people (and I did not just ask for myself) this unjust order has now been overturned by our constitutional court’ (ibid.: 142). 28 This is very clear from a story included in a chapter under the characteristic title ‘Losing Everything Brought Them Closer to God’. Before: ‘I [ … ] worked as a lawyer for a prestigious firm [ … ], but despite all my worldly prosperity I was extremely poor before God!’ After: ‘I lost my money, my connections, my work, and my family. But I found God!’ (Yakovleva 2006: 111). 29 The compiler cites the following passage from a young person’s letter to St Xenia as a vivid illustration of the position of ‘modern youth’: ‘And also, please help me at school, so that the teachers like me. Make it so I get more and more beautiful, very classy, attractive, and happy. And make my parents let me go everywhere. And make it so I’m always successful in everything’ (Yakovleva 2006: 124). Ignorance of Orthodox discursive etiquette is compensated here by naïveté and sincerity. 30 There is an interesting conjunction in another letter of a description of the writer’s own piety (veiled by a modest ‘we’, meaning ‘my children and I’) with a demonstration of humility. The writer seems suddenly to wonder whether she isn’t praising herself too much, and to go over to the register of humility. ‘The children and I spend Sundays and holidays in church, we often go to confession and Holy Communion, we pray morning and night. While we have been doing this I have had a change in my views on life, on the whole of this world and on myself in it. There are also times when I would like to be a mote of dust on the road so all the people could walk over me and trample me for my sins’ (Yakovleva 2006: 111–12].

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31 About a third of the letters published in the collection include descriptions of the writers’ current poverty. Since such fragments tend often to be long, they do a lot to define the book’s overall tone. 32 The cases of social criticism that we are aware of refer rather to the Church’s behaviour towards the powerful. An example of such a scandal is the burial of Nikolai Gavrilenko, leader of the Tambov mafia gang, at the Pskov Monastery of the Caves. The scandal was so great that the Patriarch had to remove the incumbent, Archimandrite Roman (Zherebtsov), who was responsible for the decision. It is revealing that both the press and the religious, who are still glad to tell the story, concentrate not on the personality of the bandit who was buried in that holy place but rather on the sum that was paid to the monastery. 33 In a dream I saw our Holy Trinity church. As always, there were a lot of people there, but this time it was all somehow not church people, it was the kind you meet in crowds in the street, in the shops, and so on. They were standing closely packed together. I went into the church, and it was obviously a funeral service, but I heard a strange song: the choir was chanting a strange, unusual chant: ‘Nyne upokoi, Khriste Bozhe, nas … ’ [Lord God Christ, grant us eternal rest]. I couldn’t believe my ears: what were they singing? ‘Grant us eternal rest’ – us, they kept singing, the same thing over and over again, and with such inspiration, so harmoniously and loftily [ … ]. Then the priest stepped forward, gave a sign to the congregation, and the whole people started singing along with the choir: ‘Lord God Christ, grant us eternal rest … ’ The priest was conducting and the people kept singing and singing. Next to me a woman shook her baby roughly and told it: ‘Sing, sing!’ – and floating above us you could hear the words: ‘Grant us eternal rest!’. 34 According to the 1897 census, overall literacy in the Russian Empire was 24 per cent, and in European Russia 30 per cent (58 per cent in cities and 26 per cent in the countryside). Between 1897 and 1920, the proportion of the population aged 9– 40 that enjoyed literacy rose from 28.4 per cent to 44.1 per cent. (See Boris Mironov. ‘The Development of Literacy in Russia and the USSR from the Tenth to the Twentieth Centuries’, History of Education Quarterly, 31 (1991), 2: 229–52.) [Editors]. 35 This is a typical message addressed to the initiator of the communication: ‘Thank you so much for taking the trouble. May you have the best of health! Please take our request as well: blessed Xenia, we pray you to give us, Xenia and Evgeny, health, to conceive, have an easy pregnancy, and give birth to a healthy little one. Thank you. We are waiting for a miracle and we believe in it.’ 36 Religious practices venerating St Xenia outside the church’s control sometimes take on surprising forms. We encountered the following message on the ‘Help for homeless dogs’ forum at www.priut.ru : ‘I visit the blessed Xenia and I often leave notes on behalf of our dogs in the shelter, asking for help in finding them homes. You can believe it or not, but I feel better after visiting that place: calmer and more harmonious. They say she helps quickly to solve problems, reveal good and bad people, and sort situations out. It’s all real.’

References Berger, P. (1967) The Sacred Canopy, New York: Doubleday. ——(1999) ‘The Desecularization of the World: A Global Overview’, in The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics, P. Berger (ed.), Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1–18.

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Chudesa tsarstvennykh muchenikov [Miracles of the Imperial Martyrs] (1995), collected and compiled by Archpriest Aleksandr Shargunov. M. and SPb., ‘Novaya kniga’– ‘Tsarskoe delo’. Davie, G. (1994) Religion in Britain since 1945: Believing without Belonging. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. Filicheva, O. V. (2006a) Zapiski dlya Ksenii Blazhennoi: pozitsiya tserkovnosluzhitelei i narodnyi obychai [Notes for the Blessed Xenia: Clerical Attitudes and Folk Custom] // Sny Bogoroditsy. Issledovaniya po antropologii religii, J. V. Kormina, S.A. Shtyrkov, and A. A. Panchenko (eds), St Petersburg: Izdatel’stvo Evropeiskogo Universiteta v Sankt-Peterburge, 171–83. ——(2006b) ‘“Narodnoe pravoslavie” v gorode i derevne: svyashchennik i ozhidaniya pastvy (religioznye prazdniki v 2001–4 godakh)’ [‘Popular Orthodoxy’ in the City and the Country: The Priest in Search of a Flock (Religious Holidays in 2001–4)], Religioznye praktiki v sovremennoi Rossii, K. Russele and A. M. Agadzhanyan (eds), Moscow: Novoe izdatel’stvo, 254–72. Florenskaya, O. (2002) ‘Prostye chudesa Blazhennoi Ksenii’ [The Simple Miracles of Blessed Xenia], Kommersant, 1 February, No. 17 (2386), P. 17. Gorbacheva, N. (2003) Kseniya Peterburgskaya [Xenia of Petersburg], Moscow: OLMA-press. Introvigne, M. and Stark, R. (2005) ‘Religious Competition and Revival in Italy: Exploring European Exceptionalism’, Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion, 1, www.bepress.com/ijrr/vol1/iss1/art5 (last accessed 25 April 2007). Kizenko, N. (2003) ‘Protectors of Women and the Lower Orders: Constructing Sainthood in Modern Russia’, in Orthodox Russia: Beliefs and Practices Under the Tsars, R. H. Green and V. A. Kivelson (eds), Philadelphia: Pennsylvania State University Press, 189–218. Kormina, J. (2010) ‘Avtobusniki: Russian Orthodox Pilgrims’ Longing for Authenticity’, in Eastern Christians in Anthropological Perspective, C. Hann and H. Goltz (eds), Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 267–85. Kozachenko, V. I. (comp.) (2006) [2000] Kniga o svyatoi blazhennoi Ksenii Peterburgskoi [A Book about the Blessed Saint Xenia of Petersburg], Moscow: Kovcheg. Po molitvam blazhennoi Ksenii. Novye chudesa (2006) [Prayers to the Blessed Xenia. New Miracles], 2nd edn, Moscow: Prikhod khrama svyatogo Dukha soshestviya. Rakov, A. G. (comp.) (2003) Svyatoi Nikolai Chudotvorets. Sovremennye chudesa [St Nicholas the Wonder-Worker: Modern Miracles], St Petersburg and Moscow: NevaOLMA-Press. ——(comp.) (2005) Sovremennye chudesa Svyatitelya Nikolaya [Modern Miracles of Saint Nicholas], St Petersburg: Satis. Rakhmanin, E. Archpriest (1913) Raba Bozhiya Blazhennaya Kseniya, pochivayushchaya na Smolenskom pravoslavnom kladbishche v S.-Peterburge [The Servant of God Blessed Xenia, Laid to Rest in the Smolenskoe Orthodox Cemetery, St Petersburg], 4th edn, St Petersburg: Tipo-litografiya S.E. Balakina. Ries, N. (1997) Russian Talk. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Stark, R. (1985) ‘From Church Sect to Religious Economies’, in The Sacred in a PostSecular Age, P. H. Hammond (ed.), Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 139–49. ——and Iannaccone, L.R. (1997) ‘Why the Jehovah’s Witnesses Grow so Rapidly’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 12: 133–57.

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Verkhovsky, A. M. (2003) Politicheskoe pravoslavie: Russkie pravoslavnye natsionalisty i fundamentalisty, 1995–2001 gg. [Political Orthodoxy: Russian Orthodox Nationalists and Fundamentalists, 1995–2001], Moscow: Tsentr ‘SOVA’. Yakovleva, L. S. (comp.) (2004) Blazhennaya Kseniya Peterburgskaya i Smolenskii khram [Blessed Xenia of Petersburg and the Smolensk Church], St Petersburg: Izdanie Khrama vo imya Smolenskoi ikony Bozhiei Materi. ——(comp.) (2006) U nee lyubvi khvatit na vsekh. Divnaya pomoshch’ svyatoi Ksenii prostym lyudyam. Neizvestnye svidetel’stva nashikh dnei. Pis’ma nadezhdy i utesheniya [She Has Enough Love for All. The Wondrous Aid of St Xenia to Simple People. Unknown Testimonies of Our Era. Letters of Hope and Consolation], St Petersburg: Sobesednik pravoslavnykh khristian.

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‘The yellow peril’ as seen in contemporary church culture1 Mariya Akhmetova Translated by Emily Lygo

The eschatological motifs reflected in the texts of contemporary church culture have developed on the basis of a number of sources. First, at a superficial level, they express how popular consciousness experiences the realia of today. Images of disaster can reflect collective fears, including the threat of war. Second, they inherit concepts derived from a specifically Russian religious tradition. For example, the idea of a Jewish-Masonic conspiracy has changed little from that characterising church culture in the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. Thirdly, these motifs are closely associated with the apocalyptic tradition common to all Christianity, which is based on the church fathers’ exegesis of the images of the Apocalypse, as well as on apocryphal works. Lastly, they reflect the universal mythological representations which are manifest in various traditions, taking into account cultural and national specificities. Apart from this, representations of the end of the world exist closely interwoven with other mythological concepts: mysticism, demonology, rumours and gossip, quasi-scientific concepts, literary motifs, and so on and so forth. The motif, common to all of the Christian tradition, of an invasion of foreigners which precedes the end of the world is reflected in contemporary folklore and literature. An excerpt from Apocalypse, in which Satan gathers ‘the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog’ (Revelation 20: 7) for the battle before the second coming of Christ, is traditionally interpreted in relation to hostile tribes. Thus, in Byzantium, the Slavs, Arabs and Turks were seen in the capacity of something like ‘an eschatological nation’, in Medieval Rus it was the Polovtsians, the Khazars, Avars, TatarMongols and, later, the Polish, Lithuanians, and Turks (Gromov 2003; Karpov 2002: 4–5, 9). To this day in the North of Russia, oral stories about the devastating invasion by litva (the Lithuanians) have currency; one version describes this as having already happened, but others can be included in the range of eschatological images (Maslinsky 2000). In the texts of contemporary church culture, the Chinese have become the ‘eschatological nation’. The concept of the Chinese invasion is, primarily, the legacy of the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries. In the era of ‘Far-East politics’ the phantom of the ‘yellow peril’ [literally, yellow threat] – the impending rise of Asia, capable of subjugating the Christian

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world not only spiritually, but also militarily – has become ‘the most discussed problem of the domestic press’ (Mezhuev 1999). In this period, the invasion from the East – a motif that is more international than specifically Russian – has also found wide reflection in literature (see the short digest of literature in (Koshelev 2000)), achieving a truly apocalyptic taint in ‘A Short Story about the Antichrist’ by Vladimir Solovyov, in which the conquest of Europe by Asians occurs directly before the accession of the Antichrist. In this period, rumours about an impending war with the Chinese were spread in peasant circles as well. In the ‘Ethnographic Digest’ for 1901 the following interpretation of a vision was given: ‘The Chinese will come, slaughter the population, and burn the towns and villages’ (Ivanov 1901: 134). Specifically eschatological motifs appear in connection with China: according to a widely held belief, the Antichrist will appear when ‘the whole world rises up, and China begins to revolt’. (Novichkova 1995: 24): thus, China is incorporated into the scenario of apocalyptic catastrophe. Finally, in the popular imagination at the beginning of the twentieth century, China became the refuge and starting point of the Antichrist, instead of Western Europe, whence believers had expected him to come previously. At the end of the 1960s the expectation of a war with China became a reality: first of all when relations between the USSR and the People’s Republic of China worsened after China presented the USSR with territorial claims; and especially after the military encounter on the Sino-Soviet border in 1969. A new wave of expectation of war occurred at the end of the 1970s (Palamarchuk 1993: 28). The threat of war, intensively experienced by mass consciousness, brought about numerous rumours (as one contemporary recalls: ‘They said that it had been predicted, there, the yellows will go. There was such a prophecy. Well, then people said that the war and the yellow race were predictions’ (1)). On the other hand, the Chinese became the subjects of parody (compare the various jokes about the conquest of the USSR by China, the new versions of well-known songs (‘Yellow faces circle over the city’ – seemingly a song about Chinese paratroopers, etc.) Finally, the migrations of Chinese to Siberia and the Far East at the end of the twentieth and beginning of the twenty-first centuries were received in popular consciousness and, in particular, by inhabitants of the corresponding regions, as signifying a real threat of Chinese expansion, and were even interpreted in this way by independent commentators and political scientists. It is impossible to deny the influence of generally known concepts of the numbers of Chinese (‘every fifth person in the world is Chinese’) on the eschatological image of the Chinese. The size of the Chinese population is constantly played upon in jokes, including those in which the Chinese cause world-wide famine (having learnt to eat with forks instead of chopsticks) and even the end of the world (when all of them at once jump off stools and cause an earthquake; when they breathe out alcoholic fumes after a public holiday; when they each receive one tablet of Viagra, etc.) In the present paper, materials used include literature about the predictions of sage elders circulating in contemporary church culture, and, likewise, oral

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tales recorded in the largest centre of Orthodox pilgrimage – the village of Diveevo in the Nizhegorodskaya oblast, in the summers of 2002 and 2003.2 The church culture referred to is the religious subculture which formed at the beginning of the twentieth century and existed practically underground for the whole of the Soviet period (Tarabukina 2000). Since the beginning of the 1990s, a period that witnessed a great rise in religiosity in post-perestroika Russia, an active phase in the existence of this subculture has begun, but, at present, its social composition remains fairly heterogeneous. On the one hand, it includes a section of the Orthodox priesthood, monks, and parishioners. On the other hand, since the beginning of the 1990s (and most intensively since the mid-1990s) numerous brotherhoods and voluntary organisations have begun to develop in the heart of this subculture: these are more often than not of a nationalist, monarchist, and antiglobalist persuasion, and produce their own publications and/or websites. These movements, which find many sympathisers, are assigned by political scientists to the sphere of ‘Orthodox fundamentalism’ (Verkhovsky 2003). To enumerate all these organisations and publications is beyond the scope of the present article, so I will name only a few: The Orthodox Oprichnina Brotherhood (publishing the almanac Oprichnina), The Orthodox Brotherhood in the name of the Tsar-Redeemer Nicholas II (publishing the almanac Eternal Life), the television programme and journal Russian House, Konstantin Gordeev’s journal Serbian Cross, Leonid Sergievsky’s website ‘Standing for Truth’, and the publishing society ‘Benediction’. These groups may be in alliance, or in opposition to each other; their relationship to the Moscow Patriarchate ranges from loyalty to non-acceptance; they are characterised by a varying degree of politicisation. All this might seem to suggest that there is an inevitable element of abstraction in a construct like ‘church culture’; that the latter turns out on close analysis to be a union of many small groups with ideologies that are not always compatible. Furthermore, the ideology and self-consciousness of the representatives of some of these groups allow us to talk about them as kinds of subcultures within a subculture (as when the leader of one of the organisations proposes to his followers that they call themselves not Orthodox, but ‘monarchists, the tsar’s people’). However, as a whole the representatives of the culture are united by a shared, although somewhat contradictory, vision of a world imbued with ‘a mysticism that is based on Orthodox esoteric teachings’, common ideals and cultural symbols (Tarabukina 2000). Ideological disagreements do not, for the time being, prevent the representatives of the culture from speaking a common language or accepting information which derives from various sources. The Chinese invasion is a motif which is well-known to a significant number of the informants. In some cases it takes the form of rumours, in others it unfolds in a narrative which is abundant in detail. In their accounts, the informants refer both to an abstract source (‘They say war is coming’) and to the predictions of priests and elders respected in the church culture: John of Kronstadt, Grigory Rasputin, Serafim Vyritsky; Serafim Tyapochkin,

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the Schema-nun3 Nila, Pelagiya Ryazanska etc. Indeed, these zealots are credited with prophecies of a war with the Chinese or the conquest of Russia by China before the end of the world. The activity of V.P. Kuznetsov (chief editor of the almanac Eternal Life and ideologist of the Orthodox Brotherhood in the name of the Tsar-Redeemer Nicholas II) plays a not insignificant role in the interpretation of this motif. Collecting various prophecies, Kuznetsov builds up a fairly optimistic picture of the eschatological future in which the Russian tsar vanquishes the Antichrist. Thanks to the active publishing and evangelical activities of the Brotherhood, the number of people who share, to a varying extent, his ideology, is growing all the time. As a whole, the Chinese invasion can be described as a specific vision of the Third World War. Not infrequently, it is seen as the first event in a series of bloody wars, as a result of which one world ruler is chosen – the Antichrist. According to the most widespread version, the Chinese seize the territory of Russia as far as the Ural mountains (according to one text, the Chinese are prevented from travelling beyond the Urals by the intervention of the prayers of Nicholas II, who was shot in Ekaterinburg (PDZP)). The various loci (no comma needed) beyond which the Chinese do not advance, at any rate with the aim of conquering territory, are named as Ekaterinburg (PDZP), Chelyabinsk (Nastavleniya 2003), the river Tobol (2). In isolated cases other ‘eschatological nations’ act simultaneously with the Chinese – the Turks take over the Kuban, the Japanese the Far East, in Western regions the Germans take over, and in Karelia the Finns. According to a little known text attributed to the elders of the Sanaksarsky Monastery, China, the US and Europe will begin an atomic war, trying to divide the territory of Russia between them (PDZP). The bearers of the ‘Chinese legend’ have two versions of how the Chinese will conquer Russia as far as the Urals. According to one version, which is reflected primarily in oral texts, an invading army will come from China. In the other, the conquest will be bloodless. The elders are attributed with the following prophecy: ‘The Chinese … will start to migrate into Russia, will marry Russians and in the end, through stealth and cunning, will take over the territory of Siberia as far as the Urals.’ (Starets Serafim 1996: 56); ‘The greatest tragedy will be the seizure of Siberia by China. This will happen not by military means: the Chinese, after a weakening of power and opening of borders, will begin to immigrate to Russia en masse, will buy up property, businesses, apartments … All this will happen so that one morning, Russian people living in Siberia will wake up in a Chinese state.’ (Prorochestva 2003). The immigration of the Chinese to Siberia and the Far East is understood in the context of the predicted conquest. The informants, answering our question ‘Will China will conquer Russia?’, often affirm the truth of the prophecy with a story about the situation in the Far East. ‘ … someone came from Khabarovsk yesterday, a brother … And I said, “How are the Chinese?” – “Well, in Khabarovsk, a city of almost a million, half are already Chinese, already half … ” Well, in short, they say there are already 250,000 of them in Moscow … As

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Serafim Vyritsky writes, a Russian man wakes up in the morning, and he’s not the master anymore. There’s a prediction, I have been there, I have seen it myself, [I] am from Vladivostok’ (3). Here the prophecy cited above is retold: in fact, tradition ascribes it to the other Serafim, Serafim Tyapochkin. One female informant moved from a reference to the prophecy of the Chinese invasion to a story about personal contact with a Chinese man: ‘On my way here I shared a railway carriage with a Chinese man. What’s more, he spoke Russian very well. I said, “And where did you learn Russian so well?” Well, it turned out that this bastard was studying Russian right then, he was studying it in China. At that time Russo–Chinese relations were very strained, and he was studying it as the language of the enemy. As we’re travelling he says, “What a lot of land you have!” and there is a lot of land here, well, it’s beautiful everywhere, fields and forests … “What a lot of land you have! And we have just people. People, people, people. but you’ve got … ”’. But God gave it to us’ (4). This narrative was used to affirm a prophecy known to all parties in the conversation. Despite the fact that the informant did not draw a direct conclusion, the tone of the text presented an ordinary Chinese man whom the informant had encountered by chance as a potential conqueror, making claims on territory that was given to the Russian people from above. The Chinese conquerors are described as a faceless mass; they are always referred to in the plural. The informants name huge numbers which signify the magnitude of the Chinese troops: ‘They go to war three million at a time’ (5); ‘An army of 200 million will come’ (3); ‘Anytime now a billion are coming’ (2). The female informant V. affirmed that the Chinese invasion is referred to in the Revelations of Ioann Bogoslov,4 in which the Chinese are allegorically represented as locusts. Another characteristic of the Chinese is their cruelty. Discussing the horrors of the Chinese invasion, the informants talk about terrible tortures, the Chinese use of bacteriological and psychotropic weapons. The Chinese destroy the Russian population to the last man: for example, they cut off all of the Krasnoyarsk region and in Irkutsk they carry out a slaughter so dreadful that the Virgin Mary cannot bear it and floods the city (3). After the war with the Chinese only one third of the world’s population will remain (6) (in this case a motif characteristic of texts about the Third World War in general is used). This cruelty, as a rule, is entirely unmotivated: only in one text do the Chinese act as the scourge of Christians (the elder predicts to his spiritual daughter ‘a tormenting end at the hand of the Chinese in the stadium … where they will chase the Christian inhabitants and those who disagree with their rule’) (Nastavleniya 2003). We cannot, however, entirely agree that the Chinese are given the role of the enemy, ‘the satanic army’ (Tarabukina 2000) in eschatological representations. This niche, for ‘church people’ emerges as firmly occupied by the Jews. Being pagan, the Chinese, of course, serve Satan, but this service is rarely described as conscious, as distinct from that of the ‘demon-worshipping’ Jews. If we compare the Chinese and the Jews, the latter are always painted blacker. The author of a brochure from the church culture writes: ‘the enemy

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has many servants … but he has only one offspring and it is not the Chinese, nor the Papuans.’ Later on, it continues about Muslims, in place of whom, following the logic of the text, you could insert the followers of any Eastern religion: ‘a purely Jewish invention, a way of organising the dark Asians in order to set them upon Christendom’ (Pravoslavie 1993: 4,13). In the same way – as a weapon in the hands of Masons – the representatives of certain Orthodox nationalist organisations view Wahhabism (Verkhovsky 2003: 46). In another series of texts, it is America that sets the Chinese against Russia, this state being, in the understanding of church culture, the centre of Masonry, ‘the Jewish State’, where a secret world government meets. It is precisely these plans that V. P. Kuznetsov uses to explain the current economic situation (the question as to how much this relates to reality is not addressed): ‘Now all of America is flooded with Chinese goods, up to 80 percent. But the bill is not paid with money. America settles up with the Chinese only with weapons. Everyone knows this. Now, the Chinese have more weapons than any other state.’ (PDZP) In the opinion of the informant S., ‘America wants to destroy Russia through the hands of Chinese soldiers. Jews never do it with their own hands.’ (7). As long as the ‘dark Asians’ are only the victims of the Jews there is the possibility of their conversion. It is significant that the motif of the conversion of a section of the Jews before the end of the world, which is reflected in patristic literature, is not widespread in the subculture under consideration. The popularisation of the idea of the conversion of the Chinese has been, in recent years, primarily carried out by the Brotherhood in the name of the Tsar-Redeemer Nicholas II. In the ideology of the Brotherhood, a turning point in the development of apocalyptic events is the following: the Chinese invaders reach the Urals, where the archangel Michael appears to them and orders them to convert to Orthodoxy, which they do. Every single Chinese converts to Orthodoxy. According to the prophecy: ‘All China will read the Psalter and pray to God.’ (Mikita 1998: 29), ‘quickly, all in the rivers, to be baptised, and onwards … One and a half billion’ (2). In some texts, however, the Chinese are baptised in Russia without the intervention of divine powers. In cases of this kind, Russia is seen as fulfilling its predestination. In the opinion of V. P. Kuznetsov, ‘God chose Russia to preach the Gospels to all nations … And the last people on the Earth who have never had any religion are the Chinese. Because Buddhism is just a philosophy’ (PDZP). This quote contains the idea of eschatological perfection (in the New Testament Christ says that his coming will happen when the Gospels have been preached to all the world; in traditional eschatological perceptions, before the end of the world a total reckoning is carried out: all the world is measured, the ranks of angels filled, etc. (Belousov 1991: 323)). The dream of a Christian China is not new to Orthodox thinking, nor indeed the idea of a China enlightened by the light of the Gospels, a kind of Fourth Rome – the successor to dying Russia whose mission it takes upon itself. At the end of the nineteenth century, the metropolitan Innokenty

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Moskovsky wrote that it was possible that unworthy Russia would pass on the beacon of Orthodoxy to the Chinese; in the 1920s, metropolitan Veniamin (Fedchenkov) suggested, ‘maybe, also, the Chinese, Indians, Japanese will give the world Pechersky monasteries,5 and new Antonys, and Theodosys, Sergys, and Serafims … Well, maybe Russia will come to an end and, as she does, will give birth to the Christian East?’ (Veniamin 1998:42). At the end of the 1990s, a series of agents of the Russian Orthodox Church expressed the idea that missionary work ought to be carried out among the Chinese, in case Siberia passed to China after all (Izuchaite kitaiskii yazyk 2003), and the deacon A. Kuraev spoke directly about the possibilities for China to become the Fourth Rome (Kuraev 1999: 334–35). In the texts studied, the Chinese do not emerge as the chosen people instead of the Russians. However, the informants are able to draw an analogy between the forthcoming conversion of the Chinese and the Conversion of the Emperor Constantine and the baptism of Russia (2), which indirectly refers to the Second (Byzantium) and the Third (Russia) Rome. The priest G., however, undoubtedly acquainted with the prophecy about the conversion of the Chinese and their future mission, declares, ‘The Chinese are us. We stand in Kitai-gorod [China-Town].’ (8)6 The baptised Chinese are given a particular mission – the cleansing of Russia of hostile powers. With the same zeal as they formerly killed everyone one by one (even Christians) they go and beat the enemies of Orthodoxy – the ‘commies and democrats’ (2), the Jews and ‘Jewish types’ (7). According to the narratives of the researchers of V. P. Kuznetsov, by killing ‘Jew-practising’ Russians, the Chinese allow true Orthodox believers to avoid taking part in a ‘brother-killing war’, saving them from the necessity of ‘killing their brothers’ (7). On the other hand, ‘delivering Russian from the Jews’ the aggressors also help the establishment of the power of Russia’s last tsar, expected in the future (2). The Chinese people’s acceptance of Orthodoxy has a decisive significance for the apocalyptic war of the powers of the dark and light; thanks to the number of Chinese, the Orthodox world suddenly receives an advantage which horrifies the opposing side – America (PDZP). Once baptised, the Chinese will take on almost angelic qualities. Even their former paganism turns out to be a positive factor: on the one hand, it places them in opposition to Jews and, on the other hand, it favours their conversion: ‘But they are very … sort of … very God-loving, the kind who fear God … They are pagans’ (2). The holy fire mentioned in the Apocalypse, which devours the people of Gog and Magog, also ‘brings the grave of the Holy Spirit’ to the Chinese, interpreted allegorically here as the fire of God’s grace. The informants speak about a certain charism, evidently citing a text that we, unfortunately, do not know. This ‘charism’ consists of a particular type of clairvoyance – only the Chinese can tell the righteous from the sinful: they will see crosses which are invisibly inscribed on the heads of genuine believers by angels, and will destroy those upon which they do not find this cross. Sometimes the faithful are marked by Saint Serafim of Sarov, rather than by angels: ‘In the Bible it talks about this. In the Book of Daniel. An

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angel comes down from heaven and flies and searches for all of his own, so that he can anoint them with the sign of the cross … and of which angel is this said? The angel Serafim. Even now he is going about the Earth and placing his crosses on all his own. On the forehead. Not on the neck, then everybody would wear a cross. And none of this will alarm anybody. Everything will be destroyed’ (2). However, the informants can also affirm that the Chinese do not touch people who have a cross around their necks (3). In another version the angels mark not the foreheads, but the houses of the righteous (Tarabukina 2000). Thus, the Chinese act not only in agreement with the angels, but in some sense they themselves play the role of the dread angels, restoring order and meting out judgement to those who, after the apocalyptic division, end up on the left side. (In the Apocalypse the angels punish those who take on the ‘outline of the beast’ (Apocalypse 16: 1–11). It is worth remembering the similar motif from Exodus.) But even converted Chinese remain a force that is potentially hostile and demands the utmost caution. ‘But if anyone gets up and fires just once from a pistol, everyone will be killed. Or fires from a catapult and hits one of them in the forehead, we’ll all be destroyed immediately (2). The invaders must be given a warm welcome: ‘When the Chinese come, as soon as you hear about it, open the door at once: “Come in. Can I get you something to eat, restore your energy and go onwards”’(2). As a whole, among eschatological images the invasion of the Chinese – a faceless, dumb mass of people who leave nothing alive in their wake – fulfils the same function as national disasters and technogenic catastrophes. First, the war with China as an individual instance of calamity, serves as a sign of the impending end of the world. Second, it is seen as God’s punishment for the sins of the world: for example, the elder Vladislav (Shumov) said that the invasion of the Chinese and the territorial losses of Russia would be punishment for ‘renouncing faith’ (Mikita 1998: 9) Third, the Chinese cleanse the world (Russia) before the resurrection of the kingdom of God. On the one hand, the war with the Chinese can be understood as the ‘cleansing of Russia’, through which God ‘takes away all the weak, who cannot hold out’ in the face of the Antichrist (6); on the other hand, the Chinese rid Russia of its enemies. The sign, the punishment and the cleansing are the fundamental functions of the catastrophe which prefigures the end of the world. It should be mentioned that the motif of the Chinese invasion is, at the present time, reflected most distinctly in the religious sub-culture examined here. If it finds reflection in the imagery of new religious movements, it manifests itself extremely indirectly. So, for example, in the prophecies of the archbishop Ioann Bereslavsky, the leader of the Bogorodichnyi Centre, the idea of an invasion from the East is manifest in its spiritual aspect, as the spread in Russia of ‘occult and Eastern teachings’. At the same time, Ioann does not exclude the possibility of the conversion of the Asians, who at present are in darkness and, what is more, are the winners in comparison with the profane Russians: ‘The Indians will accept Christ … under the influence of the of the wondrous signs of the Holy Ghost, and their disciples in Russia will be left

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with nothing’ (Bereslavsky 1993: 102). Apart from this, the representations of a few esoteric subcultures attribute the prophecy of the invasion of Russia by China to Nostradamus. Many mythological systems all over the world recognise the powers of chaos, which are believed to have been pacified or to have dwindled, but which will, it is held, be unleashed at the end of time (in Scandinavian mythology these powers are identified with Loku, the snake who personifies the element of water, and other chthonian monsters; in the mythology of the Altai Turks it is Erlik, etc.). Over time, monsters and deities are transformed into other nationalities, whether unknown/imagined (the authors of Russian chronicles of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries talk about various profane, pagan tribes who were imprisoned by Alexander the Great (Aleksandr Makedonsky) and who, before the end of the world, must be set free (Gromov 2003); this motif also found reflection in the Muslim early medieval traditions (Karpov 2002: 9), or those that are historically hostile.) The idea of an ‘eschatological nation’ mentioned at the beginning of this article is not particular to the Christian tradition – in the late Avesta, for example, among the catastrophes which prefigure the accession of the Messiah, is the invasion of ‘the profane Arabs’ (Rak 1998: 305–6). As a whole, the non-specificity of the image, the monstrous destruction, the similarity with the elements, in one way or another belong to ‘eschatological nations’ in the national imagination. Litva in particular, is associated with watery chaos (‘Litva will flood everything’) (Maslinsky 2000: 5). However, these peoples, as distinct from the Chinese, are always injurious. The conversion of the Chinese represents the insertion of a heroic motif into the circle of eschatological images and fulfils the function of a kind of taming of chaos, a mastery of the world.

Informants 1 R., b. 1939, from Moscow; education: higher; recorded in Moscow, 2003. 2 A., male, approx. 50 years old, from Moscow; recorded August 2003 in the village of Diveevo, Nizhegorodskaya oblast. 3 A., male, 45 years old, from Vladivostok; education: specialist, middle level; recorded August 2003 in the village of Diveevo, Nizhegorodskaya oblast. 4 E., female, approx. 50 years old, from Murmansk; education: higher; recorded August 2002 in the village of Diveevo, Nizhegorodskaya oblast. 5 V., female, approx. 70 years old, from the village of Diveevo, Nizhegorodskaya oblast; recorded August 2002 in the village of Diveevo, Nizhegorodskaya oblast. 6 Anon., female, approx. 60 years old; recorded in August 2003 in the village of Diveevo, Nizhegorodskaya oblast. 7 S., male, approx. 35 years old, from Moscow; recorded in August 2002 in the village of Diveevo, Nizhegorodskaya oblast. 8 G., male, approx. 45 years old, priest, from Nikiforovka, Vladimirskaya oblast; recorded in December 2002 in Moscow.

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Notes 1 This article first appeared in Forum for Anthropology and Culture 1 (2004). 2 Full information about the informants is not included for purposes of confidentiality. 3 Schema – the strictest form of monastic regulation in the Orthodox Church. [Editors] 4 i.e. St John the Evangelist. [Editors]. 5 Pechersky monasteries: i.e. monasteries of the caves (famous examples are in Kiev and Pechory), in imitation of Early Christian practice. [Editors] 6 Near the metro station Kitai-gorod in Moscow, representatives of marginal Orthodox currents of a monarchist and nationalist persuasion gather. Though the name Kitai-gorod has been known since the sixteenth century, and probably has nothing to do with China [Kitai], the name is commonly understood to mean ‘ChinaTown’ – as here. [This area of Moscow abuts on Zaryadye, the subject of Pavel Kupriyanov and Lyudmila Sadovnikova’s article – Editors]

References Belousov, A. F. (1991) ‘Poslednie vremena’ [Recent Times], in AEQUINOX. Sbornik pamyati o. A. Menya, Moscow: Carte Blanche, 9–33. Bereslavsky, Arkh. Ioann (1993) Dykhanie zhivoi very [The Breath of Living Faith], Moscow: Bogorodichnyi Tsentr. Gromov, D. V. (2003) Obraz ‘eschatologicheskogo naroda’ v vostochnoslavyanskikh poveriyakh XI–XXI vekov [The Image of the ‘Eschatological Nation’ in Eastern Slavonic Popular Beliefs], Etnograficheskoe obozrenie, 5: 20–42. Ivanov, P. (1901) ‘Tolki naroda ob urozhae, voine i chume’ [Rumours of the People about Harvest, War and Plague], Etnograficheskoe obozrenie, 3: 133–34. Izuchaite … kitaiskii yazyk (2003) [Learn … Chinese], Sibirskaya pravoslavnaya gazeta, 8, available at www.ihtus.ru/m8.shtml. Karpov, A. Yu. (2002) ‘Ob eschatologicheskikh ozhidaniyakh v Kievskoi Rusi v kontse XI – nachale XII veka’ [Eschatological Expectations in Kievan Rus at the End of the 11th and Beginning of the 12th Centuries], Otechestvennaya istoriya, 2: 3–15. Koshelev, A. (2000) ‘Revansh “Zheltyi”’ [The ‘Yellow’ Revenge], Alfavit 35 (93), 30 August. Taken from Media database ‘Integrum’, www.integrum.ru. Kuraev, A. (1999) O nashem porazhenii [Our Defeat], St Petersburg: Svetloyar. Maslinsky, K. A. (2000) ‘Litva – ona vse zalyet’ [Litva – Will Flood Everything], Zhivaya starina, 3: 5–9. Mezhuev, B. V. (1999) ‘Modelirovanie ponyatiya “natsionalnyi interes” (Na primere dalnevostochnoi politiki Rossii kontsa XIX – nachala XX veka)’ [The Fashioning of Concepts of ‘National Interest’ (Exemplified by the Far-East Politics in Russia at the End of the Nineteenth and Beginning of the Twentieth Centuries)], Polis, 1:26–39. Taken from www.archipelag.ru/geopolitics/nasledie/east/modelling. Mikita, G. (1998) Starets Vladislav [The Elder Vladislav], Orel: Trud. Nastavleniya (2003) Nastavleniya i prorochestva startsa Vladislava (+1.10.1996) [The Instructions and Prophecies of the Elder Vladislav], Obukhovo [Leaflet distributed by representatives of the Orthodox Brotherhood in the name of the Tsar-Redeemer Nicholas II, during the summer of 2003, at the Svato-Troitse-Serafimo-Diveevskii Monastery.] Novichkova, T. A. (1995) Russkii demonologicheskii slovar [A Russian Dictionary of Demonology], St Petersburg: Nauka.

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Palamarchuk, P. (1993) Khroniki smutnogo vremeni [Chronicle of a Troubled Time], Moscow: Stolitsa. PDZP – Poslednii dvazhdy zakrytyi [The Last Twice Closed Communication]. [Audio recording of the last part of the programme by Zh. Bichevska Zhivoi rodnik, (not later than 2000). Distributed by representatives of the Orthodox Brotherhood in the name of the Tsar-redeemer Nicholas II.] Pravoslavie (1993) Pravoslavie, gosudarstvo i predantikhristova epokha [Orthodoxy, the State, and the Pre-Antichrist Epoch], Kiev: Svet Pecherskii. Prorochestva (2003) Prorochestva startsa Serafima (Tyapochkina) [The prophecies of the Elder Serafim (Tyapochkin)], Rakitnoe, Belogorodskoi Oblast. [Leaflet distributed by representatives of the Orthodox Brotherhood in the name of the TsarRedeemer Nicholas II, summer 2003, at the Svato-Troitse-Serafimo-Diveevskii Monastery.] Rak, I. V. (1998) Mify drevnego i rannesrednevekovogo Irana [Myths of Ancient and Early Medieval Iran], St Petersburg and Moscow: Zhurnal ‘Neva’ and Letnii Sad. Starets Serafim (1996) Starets ieroskhimonakh Serafim Vyritskii [The Elder Priest Serafim Vyritskii], Moscow: Izdatel’stvo Braststva sviatitelia Aleksiia. Tarabukina, A. V. (2000) Folklor i kultura pritserkovnogo kruga. Dissertatsiya na soiskanie uchenoi stepeni kandidata filologicheskikh nauk.[The Folklore and Culture of Church Culture], St Petersburg. Taken from: http://ruthenia.ru/folktee/CYBERSTOL/books/ Tarabukina/arina_tarabukina.html. Veniamin, Mitropolit (Fedchenko) (1998) O konchine mira [On the End of the World], Moscow: Russkoe zertsalo. Verkhovsky, A. M. (2003) Politicheskoe pravoslavie: Russkie pravoslavnye natsionalisty i fundamentalisty, 1995–2001 [Political Orthodoxy: Russian Orthodox Nationalists and Fundamentalists], Moscow: Tsents ‘Sova’.

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‘Don’t look at them, they’re nasty’ Photographs of funerals in Russian culture Olga Boitsova Translated by Thomas Lorimer

The origins and raison d’être of the tradition This article, based on interviews with a variety of informants across Russia conducted in 2005–9, as well as on amateur photographs, is an in-depth study of photographs of private funerals in twentieth-century Russian culture, and at the emotions aroused by these.1 In order to put the discussion in context, I will begin by looking at some examples of similar traditions that existed in Russian culture before, or at the same time as, the phenomenon of photographing funerals. Before the phenomenon of post-mortem photography arrived on the scene, Russia had a well-developed tradition of post-mortem painting. So, after the death of Peter I in 1725, two court painters, Ivan Nikitin and Johann Gottfried Tannauer, were called to the Winter Palace to paint his post-mortem portrait (Petinova 2002: 25–26, 101–2). Photographs of famous people in coffins would be circulated together with photos of these celebrities when they were alive. In the painting They Did not Expect Him (1884–88), which shows the sudden arrival back home of a former political prisoner, the famous nineteenth-century realist painter Ilya Repin depicted a photograph of Alexander II in his coffin hanging on the wall next to portraits of Nikolai Nekrasov and Taras Shevchenko (Yudenkova 2005: 36). Starting from the 1910s, it was customary for footage of well-known people’s funerals (for example, the actress Vera Komissarzhevskaya, the historian Vasily Klyuchevsky, the statesmen Pyotr Stolypin and Sergei Witte, the composer Aleksandr Skryabin, and others), to be shown as newsreels (Yangirov 2007). Original footage of the writer Lev Tolstoy’s final moments was also incorporated into Yakov Protazanov’s film, The Death of a Grand Old Man, released in 1918. The first pages of the photo album ‘Turkestan’, made as a gift for Lenin from the Council of the People’s Commissaries of the Republic of Turkestan in 1923, contain photographs of victims of the revolution lying in their coffins; then follow photos of Basmachi2 who had been sentenced to death, and Red Guard officers from the firing squad, and on the last page there is a big photograph ‘Funeral of Senior Officers during the White Guard Uprising in Tashkent, January 1919’ (Dary Vozhdyam 2006: 274–75). In all three cases the photographs of corpses or people sentenced to death represented sacrificial gifts for the leader.

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All of these examples of the visual recording of death and funerals taken from Russian culture from the eighteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century show us that post-mortem portraits, photographs and films of funerals existed both in Russian and Soviet culture (Galina Orlova even argues (Orlova 2009) that the photographs of funeral ceremonies in the 1920s represented the start of the political assimilation of the photographic form in the USSR). These examples demonstrate the ‘normality’ of such depictions for the bearers of that culture: post-mortem photographs could even be included in a photo album to be given as a gift. Sigurjón Hafsteinsson, who has researched post-mortem photography in Iceland, writes that even though the post-mortem portrait existed as a phenomenon there, it was not available to the majority of the population and therefore could not serve as a prototype for private post-mortem photos (Hafsteinsson 1999). As we can see, this was not the case in Russia. Although not many people could commission depictions of funerals, they could be viewed: in the decades around 1900, they could be seen in cinemas and newspapers, and one could buy them and hang them on the wall. The tradition of taking photographs of famous people’s funerals, which took its origins from the post-mortem portrait, undoubtedly influenced the custom of photographing private funerals – both in terms of the very idea of depicting death with a camera, and the iconography of these photos. Photographs of private funerals existed in Russian culture for the duration of the twentieth century. The earliest of the photographs of private funerals that I have examined date back to 1896 and 1904 (photo of a funeral from the Kletskaya-na-Donu settlement, www.rusalbum.ru/photo/default/6103; photo of the funeral of a peasant from the Kasimovskii Folk Museum, http://inphoto.ru/; photos of the funeral of the Biisk merchant Vasily Nikolaevich Osipov, www.rusalbum.ru/photo/default/2434). Every decade of the twentieth century is presented in my collection with more or less equal emphasis. A.M. Sologubov, who spent his childhood in the town of Gusev in Kaliningrad Oblast, writes that his grandmother’s death in 1982 was recorded in photographic form; his parents’ albums contained even older funeral photographs; a ‘photographerchronicler’ in a small seaside town in Kaliningrad Oblast admitted to him that it was he who had taken pictures of the funeral (Sologubov 2008: 78, 86). V.A. Podoroga, when looking at her family photographs, comes to the conclusion that funerals were the main events that actually ended up being. ‘Back in those long-ago Soviet times when photos were still rare, and when people would hardly ever visit a photographer – no more than the dentist, in fact – a photographer was like a priest or an artist, meant for ceremonies and special events. The photographs that did get taken were usually of the funerals of one’s closest relatives’ (Podoroga 2001: 201). Researchers note the disappearance of photographs of funerals from photographic culture at the end of the twentieth century: ‘Russian albums attest expressly to the fact that in those decades (1970s–1990s) funeral photographs first went through significant changes, and then they disappeared altogether.

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The peasant’s quiet death in the home was ousted from the cultural domain, it was medicalized’ (Krutkin 2006: 128). While acknowledging the validity of this conclusion, it is important to recognise that in village culture, the funeral photograph tradition lasted longer than in city culture, and still hangs on in the twenty-first century: ‘I may even have colour photographs now. They took photos of Uncle Misha. For the last few years they have been making colour ones too’ (Interview from the textual archive, SPU FD). The most recent depiction in my collection is dated 2002, and in one of the interviews there was talk of photos being taken of a funeral in 2009. Today the list of services of ‘elite funerals’ can include both photos and film (see, for example, the list on the ‘RitualElite’ website: www.ritualelite.ru/funeral/), although this is not usually included in the standard list of an undertaker’s services. Taking photographs at funerals is becoming less widespread and professionalised than wedding photography: while taking photographs at a wedding is essential and prescribed, at funerals it is possible, but one cannot make a business out of it. The reasons given for taking photographs of funerals can differ from one informant to another, and can even be practical in nature: When I asked [the daughter of the deceased]: why would you take photos of his funeral? And that’s the normal reaction, to ask. She replied: ‘I would like to remember who was there.’ (Interview with someone who took photographs of a funeral) Explanations can include the status of the deceased, his reputation: The deceased was quite well-known, and perhaps it was for this reason that this [taking photographs] made sense. < … > I don’t think that if this was just [an ordinary person] … everyone came to the crematorium to say goodbye, four people, [then] they would start to take photos. But seeing as this was such an occasion, that it wasn’t just family, but a sort of institution. (Ibid.) However, some more traditional individuals do not need a reason: She said that she went to a relative’s funeral and I think she used up the whole film with photos of the funeral, and then she showed me the album, she said ‘yes, I spent a lot of money on this but I think that it was necessary, that that is how it should be.’ < … > A sort of feeling of duty that ‘I should do it, that it had to be’. (Interview with a woman, born in 1980, higher education, lives in St Petersburg, post-graduate student) This absence of any reason was also evident in another interview, in the dialogue of two informants: INF. 1:

As far as I understand, before no one would even question whether this was necessary or not. It simply, well, was like this.

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INF. 2:

You mean depicting the dead? Yes. INF. 2: As a corpse? INF. 1: Yes. A photograph in the coffin. At least when I asked my mum, because I was so surprised, she said ‘yes’. INF. 2: Yes what? INF. 1: That this was how it was. It was seen as normal. (Inf. 1 – female, born in 1984, higher education, lives in Moscow, post-graduate student; Inf. 2 – female, born in 1979, higher education (PhD), lives in St Petersburg, specialist researcher) INF. 1:

The unyielding ‘it had to be/that’s how it was’ represents the universal mechanism for reproducing culture which, for the bearer of the culture, needs no explanation as to why it had to be as such. Albert Baiburin has written about the almost automated perception of the ritual on the part of those who carry it out: ‘That which is already given simply is, it exists, and does not need to be explained or commented on’ (Baiburin 1993: 15). My interviews show that post-mortem photographs do not need to have a rationale for members of the given culture: the photographs are part of the funeral ritual.

The iconographic canon of post-mortem photography The practice of photography was used and is used in rites of passage. I.A. Razumova writes that taking photographs ‘has become an inextricable part of the contemporary wedding ceremony and other rites of passage: the “first bell”,3 graduation parties, celebrating someone’s coming of age, and so on – which parents attend with a camera’ (Razumova 2001: 178). Richard Chalfen, the leading student of amateur photography (Chalfen 1987), was one of the first people to describe, using American sources, how amateur photography functions in the rites of the life cycle; before him Pierre Bourdieu, in his work on the social functions of photography, looked at the taking of photographs at weddings, christenings, and first communions (Bourdieu 1990). Why is the photograph included in rites of passage? What forces someone taking part in the event to take a camera along or to go to a studio and have a photo taken precisely on that day? Rites of passage are recorded primarily for the purpose of documenting the ceremony and preserving it in one’s memory. In traditional culture the ritual is in itself a means of encoding and transmitting information about the world order (Baiburin 1993: 11–16). In contemporary culture, the focus is on personal history, which unfurls in linear time. The contemporary ritual is not only an event that is repeated in the life of the collective, constantly reproducing its structure, but it is also a landmark in an individual’s biography, and in Russian culture the individual biography is becoming something which people feel should be memorialised and recounted. However, in amateur photography, individual features and biographical facts are expressed in clichés that are

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accepted as appropriate to a given event. And herein lies the peculiar paradox of amateur photography: designed, in the minds of the bearers of the culture, for recording details in the biography of an individual, in actual fact it registers highly generalised characteristics, and serves to make an individual’s life journey adhere to the ‘correct’ scenario. Russian amateur photography has its own canon of funeral photos, and these ‘canonical’ photographs attest that the life journey ended in the correct manner, that it corresponded to the norm. Staged photos of rites of passage are constructed in accordance with the formula ‘person + symbols of passage to a new status’: a first-former is photographed in full uniform with flowers in front of his school, a graduate will pose with a certificate/diploma in his hand or will wear a mortar board and gown. In this sense it is only logical that a photo of a funeral will include not only the face of the deceased, but also the coffin, flowers, and wreaths – attributes of a funeral. The portrait of a deceased in his coffin is part of the iconographic canon of post-mortem photography in Russian culture: One of his close friends, he stood there next to the coffin, and I stood a bit higher up and took photographs from the balcony. He came up to me, asked for the camera, and said: ‘You need to take photos near the coffin so that all of this is clearly visible, that there are a lot of flowers, well, everything.’ (Interview with a young female photographer who took photos at a funeral) Even when a post-mortem portrait like this only depicts a close-up of the deceased’s face, it cannot be confused with the face of someone who is sleeping, and here we can see one of the ways in which Russian funeral photography around 1900 differed from Western post-mortem photography at the time. Russia did not have the custom of photographing the dead as if they were alive which was widespread in Western Europe and America in the nineteenth century. From the very beginning attributes of death were included in the canon of Russian funeral photographs: in photos of the deceased we see a coffin (or at least part of one), a shroud, a cross, flowers, in other words items that unambiguously define the depicted situation as a funeral. In a blog discussion of post-mortem photographs on 27 May 2008 (http:// ivan-divan.livejournal.com/) the people posting comments drew a distinction between photographs of the dead as if they were alive (in normal clothes, with open eyes, or positioned as if sleeping) and photographs of the dead as the dead (in coffins with attributes of death). For many bearers of Russia’s culture of photography there is a limit to what is acceptable in photographs, and while taking photos of the deceased in their coffins does not incite outrage, Western post-mortem photographs of the nineteenth century shock people. It would seem that this division of opinion is connected to the unfamiliarity of pictures of the ‘living’ dead, relative to photographs of the dead as the dead, the accepted practice. The people posting comments mention this:

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You know, I looked at those photos where dead children have their eyes open – it’s really sickening, when their parents are holding them in their arms – I found it terrifying looking at them, but when the child is in a coffin – your conscience accepts it. Well, ‘accepts it’ = in as much as one can accept the death of a child. Everyone says that this was acceptable when photography was first invented – I don’t agree. When my grandmother was a child her brother died, I found photographs in her house of this child in his coffin, the photographs were taken in the 1930s–1940s (I cannot give the precise date), so I think that people just wanted to have something to remember their children by, even a black-and-white photo.4 Another person posting comments writes that photographing a dead person as a dead person is ‘humane’ but says that taking photos of a dead person as if they were alive is a mockery: You hold a funeral service for the dead, you don’t mock the deceased. The mystery of death. Even if we abstract ourselves from religious views, will a normal person really even think about setting up such a ‘session’? Of course you can take photos of the deceased in their coffin, at the cemetery, but you don’t sit them next to you ‘as if they were alive’. In short, all of this is inhumane. (http://ivan-divan.livejournal.com/12750.html?thread= 128974#t128974/) It is clearly no accident here that taking photos of the deceased in a coffin is put on a par with the reading of the funeral service. Taking photos of rites of passage in the twentieth century becomes just as important a part of the ceremony as its other elements. Ritual experts who lead the ceremony (priests reading the deceased’s funeral service) acknowledge the significance of this part of the ritual: And then he [the deceased’s friend who had taken out a camera] told me that he was asked directly by one of the priests, said that he needs to take photos, that he said something like, why is no one taking photos? [ … ] There were sort of directions from the priests, that photos should be taken … that it was sort of an important element of the ritual. (Interview with a young female photographer who took photos at a funeral) An Orthodox priest who worked at one of St Petersburg’s cemeteries said in an interview with me that he has a ‘liberal’ attitude to photos being taken of the deceased by their close ones: ‘No one will get in your way when it comes to this, that is there is absolutely no dogmatism as far as this is concerned.’ The purpose of this kind of photography, as with photographs being taken at other rites of passage, is to document the passage, in this case from life to

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death, that took place in the biography of one individual. A female interviewee from a village in Archangel province said: Now, for some reason, no one takes photographs, because they want them to remain alive in their memory, and no need for … (Interview from the textual archive of the SPU FD) Her statement is echoed in the opinions of two people taking part in a discussion of ‘Why should one take photographs at a funeral’ on the ‘Snob’ website in December 2009 (the site’s audience is described as a ‘community of successful professionals’, www.snob.ru/basement/): One’s dear friends and relatives need to be remembered as being alive, warm, praying for them. [ … ] Have you lost people close to you? I have. I see no sense in taking photos of them when they are dead, they are alive in my memory. (www.snob.ru?selected/entry/10315/) Taking photographs of a funeral is the final stage in the deceased’s appropriation of a new status: it transfers him from the alive to the dead not just in reality but also ‘in [one’s] memory’. A funeral, like a wedding, is a rite of passage not just for the ritual’s main actor (or actors), but also for their relatives. Their status also changes: the wife becomes widow, the husband widower, the children become orphans (Baiburin 1993: 116); when parents die their children become the older generation (Baiburin 1993: 199). The nuptial photographic canon includes an obligatory photo of the young couple with their parents, which for the father and mother of the newly-weds is as symbolic a confirmation of their new status as their designation as father-in-law and mother-in-law; in a similar way, the relatives of the deceased also have their photo taken with him or her. A portrait of a dead person’s close ones alongside him as he lies in his coffin is the most common type of post-mortem photograph in twentieth-century Russian culture. These photos are taken at home, in the yard, and at the cemetery/on the way to the cemetery when the deceased lies in an open coffin and his close ones bid their farewells. One might assume that, unlike photos of other rites of passage, photographs of a funeral hold huge significance for the deceased’s relatives, greater significance for them than, let’s say, the relatives of a graduate, since it is exclusively the relatives who are going to look at them and show these photos to others; someone who has passed on to another world has no need for photographic documentation. Nevertheless, in Russian photographic culture, at least, the bereaved are not the main personae in photographs: we have never come across photos in which people are posing against the background of the coffin (i.e. standing in front of it5), as in the American amateur photos published in the work of Jay Ruby (Ruby 1995: 82, 84). These photos (ill. 36

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and 37 in Ruby’s book, which depict different people) were arranged like the classic ‘in the foreground’ photo, where you have a man posing as the photo’s principal character, and an important detail, which he is standing in front of – and here, that detail is a coffin with a corpse in it. If we look at these depictions from the point of view of the message that the amateur photographer wanted to convey, then the deceased individual in the coffin represents the new information that the photograph imparts about the photo’s main actor, just as in a photograph in which a tourist stands in front of a monument, the sight in the background represents the new information. In the Russian funeral photographs we have studied, the deceased’s close ones stand not in the foreground but around the coffin, and by the head of the coffin (sometimes small children are shepherded in front of the coffin so that they are visible, or wreaths or icons rested against the front of the coffin so that they too are visible). Whichever way, all the bereaved will position themselves so they are facing the camera and will try not to stand in front of one another: the deceased individual is the ritual’s main actor, but the participation of his close ones in the ceremony is also important and therefore everyone who is taking part in the ritual must be visible in a group photo. For this purpose they might stand on the porch step in the yard or put the children in the first row, or sometimes people in the first row are shown sitting by the coffin and the people in the second row are standing behind them. In all of these cases, the canon of ordinary group photography is used, as well as the method of positioning the models employed by professional and amateur photographers when taking group portraits. In three out of twelve Hutsul post-mortem photographs from the Verkhovinsky District in the Ivano-Frankovskaya Oblast, published on the Internet, http://community.livejournal.com/vintagephoto/3398352.html/, the people in the first row are kneeling; clearly this posture mainly has significance within the ritual itself and does not solve any practical issues when it comes to organising a group in the frame. As regards what direction the deceased individual’s close ones are looking in, typically in photographs of funerals taken at the start of the twentieth century, they are shown focusing their gaze at the lens. In this respect, the funeral photograph followed the general practice of portrait photography of the time: you would look at the photographer as he took the photo. With time, looking at the lens in the funeral photographic canon made way for another way of looking. Judging by the materials available to us, by the 1930s the people photographed around the coffin were already not looking at the camera (cf. a photo taken in 1932 in which some of the close ones gathered around the coffin are looking at the deceased’s face while others, including the priest in the foreground, look at the camera) (Figure 9.1). From the middle of the twentieth century, looking at the deceased individual’s face, and not at the lens, became firmly established in the canon of funeral photography. This direction of the gaze of the photo’s participants shows the spectator who exactly is the main actor in the ritual. People being photographed next to a fresh grave may also look at it (or at the cross or the

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Figure 9.1 Funeral scene in the village of Tatarskoe, 1932. Private archive.

tombstone or at the spot where the tombstone will be placed, i.e. by the head of the coffin), and not at the lens. The deceased’s close ones normally show grief, but in funeral photographs where they are standing by the coffin they do not cover their faces with their hands, hold a handkerchief to their face, sob and display deep despair. Normally, the main sign of grief in funeral photographs is a serious and sorrowful facial expression. We speak of the ‘nuptial’ or ‘tourist’ photographic canon when photographs are recognised by the bearers of that culture as depictions of a wedding or travels on the basis of their composition, the positioning of the people in the photos, their poses and facial expressions, even when there are no concrete visual clues such as, for example, a wedding dress on the bride. Thus the positioning of people in a ‘canonical’ funeral photograph, their poses, direction of gaze and facial expression allow the bearers of the culture to recognise the situation in the photo even if the deceased individual is lying not in a coffin but on a bed (see Figure 9.2). In order to take such a ‘canonical’ shot, in which everyone is looking at the deceased’s face with serious and sorrowful facial expressions, the photographer does not ask the people in the shot to pose, but instead chooses the appropriate moment to take the photo: The relatives are the last to bid farewell, and the moment when a relative stands in deep sorrow, touching the deceased as if communicating with him

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Figure 9.2 Funeral scene, Izhevsk (mid twentieth century). Archive of the Department of Philosophy and Sociology, Udmurt State University.

on a symbolic level, and only then kisses the body and moves away … Yes, that’s when you should … So when they kiss the deceased, this probably doesn’t need to be photographed, intuitively. For, you see, I also have internal brakes. OK, so you can photograph whatever rubbish you like, if you want, you can even take funny photos, that’s not hard: to take funny photos of a funeral. But obviously you shouldn’t, obviously you need to do what people expect you to do. And you have this kind of intuitive understanding of what they are expecting, of course, you know not to take a photo of the moment when the relative kisses the forehead, you should do it at the moment when the person is just standing there alongside. (Interview with a photographer who took photos of funerals) Here the photographer follows the canon ‘intuitively’ – ‘what people expect you to do’. One must stress that this is a matter precisely of the photographic canon and not of any code proceeding from the general rules governing the funeral ritual or the behaviour of its participants: a photographer at a funeral could take a photo at any other moment, but he does not; the deceased’s relatives, when posing, could have positioned themselves differently around the coffin, but they do not. Taking photos of wild manifestations of grief (sobbing, deep despair) would be inconsistent with the ritualistic nature of the post-mortem photograph which, depicting a funeral, records that the rite of passage was executed in the proper manner and is a symbolic event intended to ‘normalize’ death. As V.A. Podoroga writes, photographs of funerals eliminate the ‘work of mourning’:6

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Olga Boitsova And so today when I look at these very old photographs of people whose names were known only by my grandmother, but who at some stage formed the ‘core’ of the family and who all knew me, I notice that the main photographs were precisely THESE – photographs of funerals. Photographs of ceremonial sorrow … Recording the funeral’s separate and most important stages, they gave an idea not just of the event itself but also showed the presence of the people closest to the deceased and his or her most distant relatives. The work of mourning was eliminated by this mighty power of life over death: the living all juxtapose one dead individual. The rituals of the ceremony were vastly more important than the ‘work of mourning’. The photograph would unwittingly record this triumph of life over death, but it itself did not possess any private, existential-personal aspect. (Podoroga 2001: 202)

Sorrow is individual and temporary, whereas the ritual is collective and directed at the eternal. As an iconographical analysis of funeral photographs shows us, they record first and foremost the collective and the eternal, doing away with the temporary and the present. The ritual’s participants stand still by the coffin, adopting poses and facial expressions that they can hold for a long time, so that the funeral can be recorded precisely in this way by the camera and can become a part of eternity (cf. the ban in traditional Slavonic culture on protracted longing for the deceased (Baiburin 1993: 118): if tears were recorded by a camera then this act of crying would ‘last’ longer in the photographs). Any photograph of a funeral constitutes a document that records the end of an individual’s life journey and the rites that were carried out to mark this, but at the same time a strict adherence to the single photographic canon writes this specific funeral into the scheme of ‘proper’ funerals and imparts a feeling of the universal to the individual. The nature of the canon of post-mortem photographs could have been influenced both by the canon of picture stories about the funerals of wellknown people (Nurkova 2006: 245) and the canon of post-mortem painting. However, the painter, when composing a post-mortem portrait, could portray the deceased individual as if he or she were alive (see, for example, some of the parsunas7 and portraits of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Ovchinnikova 1955: 13, 21, 27 and others) or the portrait of Tishinina (1795) which was commissioned by her husband after her death (Lebedev 1998: 128–33)). But the painter can also portray the deceased looking as though he or she were actually dead (see, for example, the portrait by Ivan Nikitin mentioned above, Peter I on his Death-Bed (1725) (Petinova 2002: 102). However, in Russian photography, unlike in Western nineteenth-century tradition, you would not encounter the ‘as though alive’ tradition. As regards the depiction of the deceased’s close ones who are standing around the coffin, the formation of this part of the canon of funeral photography, it would seem, was influenced by icon-painting tradition.8 In the icons of ‘The Dormition of the Mother of God’ (see, for example, (Spasi i sokhrani 1993:

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155–59, no. 97–101; Ikonnye obraztsy 1993: 20)), ‘The Entombment’ (see, for example, (Spasi i sokhrani 1993: 74, no. 41)), and also on inset scenes9 depicting the burial of saints within the framework of their zhitie [saint’s lives] (for example, Kirik and Ulita (Spasi i sokhrani 1993: 219, no. 142); Nikola Zaraiskii (Spasi i sokhrani 1993: 242, no. 155)), the deceased is always lying in an open coffin shown from the side, and the deceased is positioned in this manner in almost all funeral photographs in Russia in the twentieth century. In the iconographic canon of ‘The Dormition of the Mother of God’ and ‘The Entombment’, and also of inset scenes depicting the burial of saints, the participants of the burial ritual are positioned one behind the other in several rows, and none of them stands in front of the coffin, eclipsing it (Athonia and the angel in the foreground are not full participants in the burial of the Mother of God, and are not obstructing any part of the coffin from view either).10 All the actors in the ‘Dormition’ icon are looking at the Mother of God’s face with serious and sorrowful expressions, but no one displays really deep despair and no one is weeping (the actors in ‘The Entombment’ show more despair and sorrow: they throw up their hands and kiss Christ). This positioning, direction of gaze and facial expression are typical for people portrayed in funeral photographs. In village culture, and also when it comes to professional photographs of funerals (for example, military funerals), in addition to the canonical photograph of the deceased’s close ones standing or sitting around the coffin, sometimes the entire ritual is documented in detail: the photograph records the funeral procession and all of the different stages of the ritual. Within the framework of this kind of reporting, the photographer can take photos both of the ‘moment of kissing’ and the deep despair and sorrow of the ritual’s participants, which will not find its way onto the canonical photo. In my collection one out of two series of photographs that document military funerals depicts the funeral procession, but there is no photo of those closest to the deceased, by the coffin or the grave, posing for the photographer: the photographer who was invited to take photos of this funeral did so in the manner of a reporter, similar to photo correspondents who took photos of famous people’s funerals, but the canonical post-mortem photo relates not to photoreporting but to amateur photography. Photos of a funeral procession can be contrasted with photographs of the passing of the various stages in other rites of passage: first-formers walking in single-file, a bride and groom getting registered at a registry office. Such photographs are taken so as to document the ritual and certify that it was carried out in the proper manner, to record all the ritual’s stages being gone through in good order and in keeping with the rules. However, the post-mortem portrait of a deceased individual in his coffin and the ‘canonical’ group photograph are still more important for bearers of the culture than photos of the entire ritual. Thus, a priest told me in an interview that photographs are not taken of the reading of the funeral service, photos are only taken of the farewell. The date on which the person died (and not the date on which the photo was taken, i.e. the day of the funeral!) is sometimes written on the reverse of

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photos of funerals. Similarly, at the end of the eighteenth century and beginning of the nineteenth century, the date of the deceased’s birth and death would be written on the reverse side of portraits that had primarily a memorial, and not an aesthetic, function (Goncharova and Perevezentseva 1990: 178). A photograph of a funeral with the dates of birth and death written on the reverse officially registered the completion of an individual’s life journey, much like a gravestone on which the dates of birth and death are also inscribed. Photographs of funeral rites carried out on the grave often include a depiction of food and alcohol as essential details, and the people taking part in the ritual might pose for the photographer, pouring shots/glasses of vodka or raising them (see Figure 9.3). This frozen and deliberate pose is supposed to inform people who look at the photograph that they carried out the funeral ritual, and in the proper manner. People posing for the photographer on a grave during a funeral repast, unlike a funeral’s participants, look at the camera and they can even smile: a smile, as a neutral photographic facial expression in Russian culture that just signifies that the person in the shot is being photographed, here gains the upper hand over notions of the tragic nature of death.

The functions of photographs of funerals and attitudes to them A combination of different, sometimes incongruous, traditions can be observed in the taking of photographs of funerals, the attitudes to such photographs, and their functioning (the way they are kept and displayed) within the culture in question. Thus, a funeral is a social event when people come together, and in the tradition of amateur photography such meetings are recorded (cf. above: ‘I would like to remember who was there’). The funeral of a well-known person is a public event, while amateur photographers capture everything that is not part of everyday life. Furthermore (and most importantly), photography plays a certain fixed role in the funeral ritual; its function is to normalise death. Photographs of funerals participate in the proper, as the culture in question sees it, official documentation of the passage to the other world. For all the above reasons the bearers of Russian culture have a positive or neutral attitude towards photographs of funerals. However, this attitude can be negative, especially as concerns representatives of the younger generation – as in the case of what an interviewee is reported by I.A. Razumova to have said: ‘We never bring photographs of funerals home. We only keep photos of our ancestors that were taken when they were alive’ (Razumova 2001: 176). Photographs of a funeral, like the deceased’s possessions, are connected to death and therefore are seen as ‘dangerous’: to ‘bring them home’ (the use of words in the reply cited above is noteworthy) could mean bringing death into the home. In an interview a priest lists the notions of the danger posed by someone who has died that he has encountered in his practice: People still fear the dead [ … ] All of these fears are traditional, they all exist, yes. The deceased individuals appear in dreams, you must bless a

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Figure 9.3 Drinking a toast to the dead at a rural cemetery, Ust-Peza, Mezenskii district, Archangel Province. Materials of a folklore collecting expedition organized by the Philology Faculty, St Petersburg State University, July 2008. Archive of the Folklore Department, St Petersburg State University, no. Dph08_Arch-Mez_02815.

house after someone has passed away, as if they could still, so to speak, take you away, you must not touch a corpse. (Interview with an Orthodox priest who worked at one of St Petersburg’s cemeteries)

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The ousting and denial of death in contemporary city culture is one of the reasons for the negative attitude to photographs of funerals. Philippe Ariès called this ousting and denial of death in the twentieth century a ‘taboo on death’, and argued that society could no longer bear anything connected with death, whether dead bodies or grieving relatives, and that people would therefore do their best to eliminate every single trace of death and everything related to it (Ariès 1977). Moreover, in Western European culture of the twentieth century the private nature of grief established itself and it became the norm in society to hide your feelings of loss from others (Ariès 1977), and photos give an event a public character, which also could be one of the reasons for this negative attitude to them. A female interviewee spoke to us about her mother’s funeral in 1998: Well, this guy, he was in fact a close friend of our family, our families were sort of friends. And so he started to take photographs. I really snapped, you really cannot imagine. < … > Well it was such a, how to put it, such an encroachment upon your intimacy that I don’t even know, that is to say it is … It, it is worse than I don’t know, than whatever you like, than when you are caught, I don’t know, during sex or something like that, it’s just, y’know … So. I was, of course, very angry with him, as was my sister. [ … ] I feel that this is an invasion into something very intimate. (Interview with a woman born in 1979, higher education (PhD), lives in St Petersburg, specialist researcher) The negative attitude to photographs of funerals displayed here is connected to the concept of mourning first and foremost as a personal and even intimate emotional experience, and not a collective one – a concept that arose only recently. This twofold attitude to photographs of funerals causes confusion when encountered: For all of my childhood I was confused by a photograph in my grandmother’s house (sometimes on the wall, sometimes on a cupboard) that depicted my deceased uncle lying in a coffin. When my mother visited the photograph would disappear, when my mother left the photograph would appear again: clearly she did not approve of such things. I wasn’t exactly shocked by this, but back then, when I was a child, I did not know what to think of this, I most probably did not want to see it at all. In a family photo album there was about a dozen other dead relatives. When my grandfather died my other uncle took a photograph of him. I have no idea what to think of this. I think that it would be better if this tradition did not exist. (discussion on the website www.snob.ru/selected/entry/10315/, 12 December 2009; emphasis added) A funeral photographer, when describing his feelings, also speaks about a contradictory attitude:

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In January 1996, my wife’s grandmother died and I photographed the funeral. I took two cameras with me, a Salyut and a Kiev-4. I decided not to take a close-up photo of the deceased’s face but only took photos from afar. In this unheated house, full of dressed-up people talking amongst one another, I felt like I was, all at once, not needed, an appendage, and the centre of everyone’s attention. Everyone stepped aside for me. (Sologubov 2008: 86) ‘Everyone stepped aside’ because the photographer is deemed not to be taking part in the ritual, and is endowed with special powers. In fact, though, he turns out to be a ritual specialist: They can cry there or laugh, on the other hand, or something else in their turn, but the photographer is entitled. [ … ] They are not allowed beyond the barrier, but he is. Everyone stands without moving a muscle whereas he walks around, stops, and takes photos. In other words he has completely different rights. He is not just a participant. [ … ] And, of course, there is an art to this: as quietly as possible, maintaining not the facial expression of someone at work but a sorrowful expression so as not to offend anyone and not separate yourself from the whole affair. (Interview with a photographer who took photos of funerals; the words in bold were highlighted by the interviewee with his intonation – O.B.) So that he can perform his duties the photographer is exempt from some restrictions imposed by the ritual but, at the same time, he must observe other restrictions, cf. a blog entry (17.11.2009): By the coffin physicists stand in deferential vigil, some of them can hardly hold back tears, and next to them there is a tall photographer in a black sweater, jeans and with light hair, chews gum incessantly, chooses a comfortable position in which to take photographs of the deceased, well and then continues to behave unceremoniously. He may be a good photographer, but his sort should be told ‘find a new profession’.11 A young female photographer who took photos at a funeral speaks honestly: I really felt like I was crossing a boundary … that this [taking photos of a funeral] was in principle wrong from an ethical point of view, that this shouldn’t be done. Keeping photographs of funerals also presents a problem: There were some other photographs depicting funerals, and she didn’t know what to do with them because, on the one hand she could not throw them away

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Compare a question posed to a priest on the website ‘Orthodoxy and the World’: Can one keep photographs of a funeral at home? I was told that they contain bad energy.12 The problem with keeping photographs of funerals arises due to the fact that there is a conflict between one’s attitude to death and one’s attitude to photographs. In Russian culture the act of throwing away photographs, and not just those depicting funerals, is frowned upon. Bearers of the culture cannot even bring themselves to throw away old and unwanted photographs: INF. 1:

Throwing away photographs, are there any superstitions about this? Can you throw them away? INF. 2: I think you shouldn’t. INF. 1: But I somehow want to get rid of all of this. […] INF. 2: Don’t throw them out. INF. 1: What, do you think I should burn them? INF. 2: Nah-uh. INF. 1: Valya tells me, she sits down, she says, sometimes she tears [them] up. Valya, that’s what she says. I say I can’t bring myself to throw them out, to simply throw them away. But I might burn them somewhere. (Interviewee 1 – female, born in 1945, higher education, lives in St Petersburg, retired; Interviewee 2 – female, born in 1942, higher education, lives in St Petersburg, retired) Getting rid of old photographs in contemporary culture is as complicated a procedure as getting rid of old icons in traditional culture. Sometimes people find a way out by giving the photographs to others: ‘I cannot bring myself, as they say, to throw them out. You have to act in a more cunning way. Let’s say I left a sizeable pile of my photos in my former husband’s flat: let him have a good look at them with his new wife’ (Balabanova 1998: 76). The same goes for post-mortem photographs: Mum kept all of this, but our mum passed away, my sister is living in her house now and she says ‘I am scared of everything’ – she’s a very impressionable person – ‘here, you take them’. (Interview from the State Republic Centre of Russian Folklore’s archive)

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Thus photographs of funerals constitute a frightening, ‘dangerous’ object due to their connection to death, and ‘confusing’ due to their connection to the sphere of intimate feelings, but which, nevertheless, one cannot rid oneself of because of the notions attached to photographs on the whole. The way out is storing them separately (Nurkova 2006: 246), or in a Bible (Razumova 2001: 176), or ‘in a remote album which will always remain untouched’13 or packed away ‘in a yellowed page of an old issue of Komsomolskaya Pravda’,14 or, which is particularly widespread, in black photographic paper envelopes that might gain additional meaning due to their colour – in modern Russian culture, black is the colour of death. In traditional Slavonic culture white is also a constant attribute of death (Sedakova 2004: 67): I have seen a whole pile of photos like these at acquaintances’ houses, always in separate white envelopes. Just of a person in a coffin surrounded by mourning relatives. And they rarely show them. (http://ivan-divan.livejournal.com/12750.html?thread= 104910#104910/) In village culture, attitudes to photographs of funerals are less constrained by the discomfort and fear characteristic of city-dwellers: these photographs can be found in albums. In photo albums in villages, photographs of funerals are often put next to other events, for example weddings: those and other photographs mark the passing of a certain stage in the life cycle. Sometimes the photo album concludes with photos that in some way or other have something to do with death (photographs of a funeral or a grave), and in one of the albums I looked at the last page contained photographs of two different people whose lives were not the focus of the album. Thus, the general idea of death as the end, and not individual instances of death, turned out to be important for the end of the album: the end of the album coincides with the end of life, and not necessarily the life of one of the photo album’s heroes. Photographs of funerals can be collected in one album, as done by a female inhabitant of a village in Archangel province, born in 1940, who was interviewed during an expedition of the Philology Faculty of St Petersburg University in July 2008. However, such photographs rarely end up in ‘collages’ that are framed and hung on the walls of a village house and provide a brief summary of the home owners’ social biography: ‘It’s sort of not fitting. They don’t hang them for some reason’ (Interview from the textual archive of the SPU FD). At the same time, in villages one can still come across funeral photographs in ‘collages’ if those collages happen to be dedicated to people who have passed away. So, in the home of a female inhabitant of the same village, born in 1935, photographs of people that were taken when they were alive and photos of their funerals were placed in one frame that was specially put together with a black ribbon (see Figure 9.4). Death is perceived as the natural conclusion of life, and villagers might fill one page of a photo album with a photograph of someone on the brink of

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Figure 9.4 A ‘collage’ of images from the life of a dead person, village of Zherd, Mezenskii district, Archangel province. Materials from a folklore collecting expedition organised by the Philology Faculty, St Petersburg State University, July 2008. Archive of the Folklore Department, St Petersburg State University, no. Dph08_Arch-Mez_02840.

death, and another photo of the same person in a coffin. (People taking part in a folklore expedition of the Petrozavodsk University (led by S.V. Fyodorova) in 2006 saw such a page in a photo album of a female inhabitant of the Shirokie Polya village in the Medvezhegorsky District of Karelia). Of course the basic genre underlying a collection such as this is the family album, a central one, more often than not, in rural culture, where people generally use

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photographs to construct a visual biography of their own group, of their own family or even extended family, rather than of one person. Showing photographs of funerals is just as complicated a practice as holding on to them. On the one hand, photographs of funerals are shared amongst those people who take them, just like other photos of rites of passage: For example my great-aunt died, yes, they sent [us] a letter and photograph in which she is lying in her coffin and here’s [the photograph of] the deceased. (Interview with a woman, born in 1971, higher education, lives in St Petersburg, housewife) Copies of photographs of rites of passage perform the function of certificating the new social statuses taken on by the group’s participants (your nephew has become a schoolboy, your daughter has graduated from university), and also the function of the group staying in touch: you are informed and supplied with photographic evidence to the extent that is considered necessary for a person of a certain level of closeness. On the reverse of a photograph of a funeral taken in Tambov Oblast in 1946 is written: ‘Grandfather passed away in 1946, in May. Write and let us know how you are’ (Figures 9.5, 9.6). A letter of 1998, from a personal archive, that accompanied photographs of a funeral that were sent to another town to relatives who could not attend the

Figure 9.5 Funeral scene, Tambov province, 1946. Private archive.

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Figure 9.6 Reverse of image of funeral scene, Tambov province, 1946 (see fig. 9.5), showing information about the deceased’s biography. Private archive.

burial, interprets this event as one of many in the chain of family events (the letter goes on to say that one of their sons has started university and another has got married), and the photographs themselves are not seen as distinct from the other photos (there were other family photographs attached to the letter). Exchanging such photographs can be compared to the way they are put in village photo albums amongst photos of other events. These photographs ‘ask’ to be shared amongst members of a group and placed in a photo album: for a group of relatives and friends they provide important visual information about changes that have occurred. Meanwhile the practice of showing and sharing photographs conflicts with the fear of photographs of funerals: I know that my family, for example, has such photographs, but no one ever looks at them. They are kept in a closed envelope somewhere so that

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nobody will stumble on them just like that. At the time [when the interviewee took photos of the funeral], incidentally, everyone looked at them, that is to say when I brought them along and gave them to Svetlana Nikolaevna, people came and looked at them. (Interview with a young female photographer who took photos of a funeral) The existence of new, recently printed, ‘fresh’ photographs in Russian culture is, in and of itself, something that can ‘trigger’ the showing of photographs. Moreover, Russians have the custom of showing photographs to others of an event that they attended. And it is most likely that the photographs that ‘no one ever looks at’ now used to be shared, shown, and looked at when they had just been taken, and it was only with the passing of time that they came to be perceived as ‘dangerous’. The grandmother of one of the people I interviewed (female, born c. 1988, student, lives in Petrozavodsk) who kept photographs of funerals in black envelopes, would tell her granddaughter when she tried to look at them: ‘Don’t look at them, they’re nasty.’ Even the grandmother, according to her granddaughter, did not know why she kept them, but she did nevertheless. This kind of behaviour is a result of the action of all of the contradictory notions and traditions that I have examined here: the positive or neutral attitude to photographs of funerals in as much as they are part of a ritual; the fear of everything connected to death, and the (social) ban on throwing away photographs. It would seem that the Russian photographic culture differs from its Western counterpart most notably when it comes to post-mortem photographs. If in other rites of passage the differences in the practice of photography can be partly explained by the differences in the rituals themselves (for example, in Western Europe the participants of a wedding do not travel to monuments and therefore there are no photos of newly-weds against the background of city sights), in the case of post-mortem photographs, as I have shown, it is precisely the iconographic canon of the Russian and Western photographic cultures that differ. The absence in Russia of the custom of photographing the dead as if they were alive, a widespread practice in Western Europe and America in the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, could have something to do with Orthodox religious culture in Russia, while the absence of photos of people posing in front of the coffin could be explained by there being less emphasis on individuality in Russian culture: the main person in the funeral ritual for bearers of the culture is the deceased individual, and not the person who will put this photo in his or her album or who will go on to show it to others. And the preservation of cultural differences precisely in the sphere of postmortem photography can be explained by its ritualistic nature: photographs of funerals to a great extent obey tradition. In traditional culture there is a strict regulation of everything connected to death which intends to provide protection from the uncontrollable forces of nature that manifest themselves most clearly

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in death (Ariès 1977). This regulation – from the strict adherence to the iconographic canon to following this practice despite the absence of rational motivation, from the specific conditions of keeping photographs of funerals to the impossibility of getting rid of them despite the great fear caused by them – is active to this day in every aspect of post-mortem photography in Russian culture.

Acknowledgements I would like to thank M.D. Alekseevsky, who gave me the idea of writing this article, discussed it with me and gave me invaluable assistance when it came to gathering the photographs. I would also like to thank D.K. Tuminas who made it possible for me to familiarise myself with photographs and interviews from the archive of SPU FD, E.B. Tolmacheva and A.Y. Saifieva who helped me find photographs of funerals from the archive of the dispatch office of the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St Petersburg, the interviewees, everyone who kindly agreed to share photographs from their own private archives, and I.V. Utekhin for valuable comments. Work on the article was funded by the federal targeted programme ‘Scientific and scientific-pedagogical departments of innovative Russia’, state contract no. 02.740.11.0369.

Notes 1 The material includes among other interviews two interviews with people who have taken photographs of funerals, and one interview with a Russian Orthodox priest, and also an interview from the textual archive of the St Petersburg State University (henceforth SPU FD) (interview with a woman, born in 1940, Bldg. Zherd, Zherd Village Soviet, Mezenskii Rayon, Archangel province; no. DAu08–267_ArchMez_08–07–23_KajukovaMG_KajukovGI_1) and an interview from the archive of GRTsRF [State Republic Centre of Russian Folklore] (interview with a woman, born in 1971, from a village in the Selivanov District, Vladimir province, librarian; ATsRFE-2009 (33–12-A101, file DS500003)), and, alongside this, the author’s own collection of digitalised post-mortem photographs. This collection includes about 600 photos from Russia, in the main taken at funerals, primarily from private archives, and also a small number taken from the Internet sites www.rusalbum.ru/, http://inphoto.ru/. I also used photographs of private funerals that have been published in the works of (Nurkova 2006; Krutkin 2006). In the West, post-mortem photographs are now regularly collected and displayed in museums (see (Burns 1990; Burns 2002)), and also studied (see, first of all, the monograph on American post-mortem photography: (Ruby 1995); for the English practice at the end of the twentieth century, see (Kenyon 1992: 56–57); for Icelandic post-mortem photographs – (Hafsteinsson 1999); for the role of photographs in the current Chinese funeral ritual – (Lozada 2006). In the post-Soviet space photographs of the deceased started to attract the attention of researchers relatively recently (see e.g. (Nurkova 2006: 240–46)); normally this phenomenon is only mentioned, but not explained (see e.g. (Vlasova 2007: 128–29)). Of the works in the Russian language, mention should be made of (Domansky 2009), an unpublished paper which offers an interesting interpretation of the post-mortem photograph in Belarus.

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2 Proponents of anti-Soviet resistance in Central Asia in the 1920s. [Editors]. 3 Ceremony marking the start of school (on 1 September). It holds special significance for first-graders. [Editors] 4 http://ivan-divan.livejournal.com/12750.html?thread=75726#t75726 (last accessed 11 September 2011). Compare the very similar opinions expressed by Russianspeaking users of Live Journal regarding Western post-mortem photographs of the nineteenth century: My dear sister, my parents’ first child, died in ‘75, 30 days before I was born. Mum took a photo of her in her coffin so that we could have it to remember her. We have this photo on display in our house now. And I do not blame mum for this and I understand her. So I have something to remember my older sister who I never saw. And it will also be easier for me to explain to my children who we are going to visit in the cemetery. But the photos here … nonsense. Next to the child’s coffin, or holding the child in their hands, fine. But those artistic pretences when they are holding the child or when children who are alive are sitting next to the coffin. My grandmother has a photograph of our grandfather in his coffin, I first saw it when I was a child, and it no longer seems unnatural to me, just a part of my life. But photos where the eyes have been drawn on or the poses of people who are alive – that is reassembling, an attempt to return or show that all is well – that, in my opinion, is too much; And it’s even fine when a child is lying in its coffin or is held in the arms of its mother/father. But when they dress them up and paint them as if they were alive, position them so they are sitting on a horse or a chair or something else – that is not okay. It’s simply not okay psychologically speaking, no matter what you might say about the customs of the era; 1. A corpse having open eyes is by no means comme il faut. 2. A corpse in a coffin is fine, even if it is an unpleasant sight for outsiders, but it still is reality, a relative has died. (http://ivan-divan.livejournal.com/12750.html) Some sort of pervert is responsible posted those pix, and they couldn’t lay off bloody Photoshop even with this material. I’m not against normal photos at funerals, though I think it’s an odd thing to do. But this is just sick … (http://community.livejournal.com/anthropology_ru/276502.html? thread=3507222#t3507222/, last accessed 11 September 2011) Strange, no, I can understand having a photograph of someone on their deathbed, but making dead bodies look alive, putting them in a sitting position, especially with open eyes, taking photos with them as if hugging someone who is alive … strange and horrifying … (http://agnesvogeler.livejournal.com/28514.html?thread=414306#t414306/, last accessed 11 September 2011) We would probably get similar statements in a visitors’ book if we organised a public exhibition of nineteenth-century Western post-mortem photographs in Russia. [Or for that matter in many Western countries – Editors.] 5 The only exception I found was a photograph of a funeral taken anonymously in 1916 (the Murom History and Art Museum, http://inphoto.ru/) in which some of the people taking part in the funeral procession are standing in front of the coffin and partially eclipse it. This positioning of people in the photo could have something to do with the fact that by the 1910s the canon of funeral photography had not yet been fully established. The people in the photo are posing during the

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funeral, and the people who are standing in front of the coffin, as is clear from their stance, are preparing to lift and carry the coffin. i.e. Trauerarbeit (the term introduced by Sigmund Freud). A parsuna (from lat. persona) is an early Russian portrait that was heavily influenced by icon paintings (this type of portrait painting developed in the late sixteenth century) [Trans]. This opinion was expressed by V. L. Krutkin in a private discussion. A zhitie (saint’s life) icon consists of a large central image depicting the saint, surrounded by small images portraying episodes from his or her life. [Editors] According to a legend current in Orthodox tradition, Athonia (alternatively Athonius) was a Jewish priest who had been deputed by the High Priests of Jerusalem to desecrate the body of the Mother of God as it was carried in procession on a bier. However, when he reached up to do this, his hands were immediately cut off by an angel. He duly repented, acknowledged the sanctity of the Mother of God, and had his hands restored. [Editors] http://nataly-demina.livejournal.com/602765.html (last accessed 11 September 2011). www.pravmir.ru/article_2416.html (last accessed 11 September 2011). http://ivan-divan.livejournal.com/12750.html?thread=130766#t130766 (last accessed 11 September 2011). http://diary.ru/~blot/?comments&postid=33121902 (last accessed 20 June 2010).

References Ariès, P. (1977) L’Homme devant la mort, Paris: Editions du Seuil. Baiburin, A. K. (1993) Ritual v traditsionnoi kul’ture [Ritual in Traditional Culture], St Petersburg: Nauka. Balabanova, I. (1998) ‘Tipologiya foto: “svoi” albom’ [The Typologies of the Photo: ‘One’s Own’ Album], Novaya Yunost 3: 74–76. Bourdieu, P. (1990) Photography: A Middle-brow Art, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Burns, E. A. (2002) Sleeping Beauty II: Grief, Bereavement in Memorial Photography American and European Traditions, Burns Archive Press. Burns, S. (1990) Sleeping Beauty: Memorial Photography in America, Altadena, CA, Twelvetrees Press. Chalfen, R. (1987) Snapshot Versions of Life, Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Press. Dary vozhdyam (2006) Dary vozhdyam [Gifts to the Leaders], O.A. Sosnina and N.V. Ssorin-Chaikov (eds), Moscow: Pinakoteka. Domansky, D. (2009) ‘Fenomen posmertnoi fotografii v narodnoi kulture Belarusi: Doklad na conferentsii “Kommunikativnaya revolutsiya? Media i sotsialniye transformatsii v Vostochnoi Evrope”’ [The Phenomenon of Photographs of the Dead in Belarussian Folk Culture]. Paper presented at the Conference ‘The Communications Revolution: Media and Social Transformations in Eastern Europe’ (Evropeiskii gumanitarnyi universitet)’, 22 May 2009 (manuscript). Goncharova, N. N. and Perevezentseva, N. A. (1990) ‘Obraz predmetnogo mira v narodnom bytovom portrete kontsa XVIII – serediny XIX veka’ [The Object World in the Everyday Folk Portrait of the Late Eighteenth to Mid Nineteenth Centuries], Pamyatniki russkoi narodnoi kultury XVIII-XIX vekov (Trudy Obyedineniya ‘Gosudarstvennyi ordena Lenina Istoricheskii muzei’), Moscow: Gosudarstvennyi istoricheskii muzei. Issledovaniya, 75: 170–82.

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Hafsteinsson, S. V. (1999) ‘Post-Mortem and Funeral Photography in Iceland’, History of Photography. 23.1: 49–54. ‘Ikonnye obraztsy’ (1993) ‘Ikonnye obraztsy XVII – nachala XIX v.’ [Icons of the late 17– early 19], Ikonografiya Bogomateri i Bogorodichnie prazdniki, Moscow: Gosudarstvennii istoricheskii muzeyi. Kenyon, D. (1992) Inside Amateur Photography, London: B.T. Batsford Ltd. Krutkin, V. L. (2006) ‘Fotografiya na granitsakh kultur’ [Photography at the Boundaries of Cultures], Vizualniye aspekty kultury-2006, sbornik nauchnykh statei, Izhevsk: Udmurtskii gosudarstvennii universitet, 117–36. Lebedev, A. V. (1998) ‘Tshchaiem i userdiem: primitiv v Rossii XVIII–serediny XIX veka’ [By Zeal and Effort: Primitive Painting in Russia, 1750–1850], Moscow: Traditsiya. Lozada, E.P., Jr (2006) ‘Framing Globalization: Wedding Pictures, Funeral Photography, and Family Snapshots in Rural China’, Visual Anthropology 19: 87–103. Nurkova, V. V. (2006) Zerkalo s pamyatyu: Fenomen fotografii [Mirror of Memory: The Phenomenon of Photography], Moscow: RGGU. Orlova, G. (2009) ‘Biografiya (pri)smerti: zametki o sovetskom politicheskom nekrologe’ [Biography of/at the Point of Death: Remarks on the Soviet Political Obituary], Neprikosnovennyi zapas 2.64, http://magazines.russ.ru.nz.2009/2/or11.html/. Ovchinnikova, E. S. (1955) Portret v russkom iskusstve XVII veka: Materialy i issledovaniya [The Portrait in Seventeenth-Century Russian Art: Materials and Studies], Moscow: Iskusstvo. Petinova, E. F. (2002) Russkie zhivopistsy XVIII veka: Biografii [Russian Artist of the Eighteenth Century: Biographies], St Petersburg: Iskusstvo-SPb. Podoroga, V. A. (2001) ‘Nepredyavlennaya fotografiya. Zametki po povodu “Svetloi kamery” R. Barta’ [An Undeveloped Photograph: Remarks on Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida], Avto-bio-grafiya. K voprosu o metode. Tetradi po analiticheskoi antropologii, 1: 195–240, V.A. Podoroga (ed.), Moscow: Logos. Razumova, I. A. (2001) Potayonnoe znanie sovremennoy russkoy semi. Byt. Folklor. Istoriya [Secret Knowledge of the Modern Russian Family: Everyday Life, Folklore, History], Moscow: Indrik. Ruby, J. (1995) Secure the Shadow: Death and Photography in America, Cambridge, MA, The MIT Press. Sedakova, O. A. (2004) Poetika obryada. Pogrebalnaya obryadnost vostochnykh i yuzhnykh slavyan [The Poetics of Ritual. The Funeral Rites of the Eastern and Southern Slavs], Moscow: Indrik. Sologubov, A. M. (2008) ‘Fotografiya i lichnoe perezhivanie istorii (avtograficheskoe esse)’ [Photography and Personal Experience of History (Autobiographical Essay)], Oche/vidnaya istoriya. Problemy vizualnoy istorii Rossii XX stoletiya. Sbornik statei, [ed. I.V. Narsky et al.] Chelyabinsk: Kamennyi poyas, 75–102. Spasi i sokhrani (1993) Spasi i sokhrani [Save and Preserve], Albom, G. K. Baranova, L. M. Spirina (eds), Moscow: Panorama. Vlasova, T. A. (2007) ‘Rassmatrivanie, rasskazyvanie, pripominanie: narrativizatsiya soderzhaniya semeinykh fotoalbomov’ [Looking, Telling Stories, Remembering: Narrative Strategies for Talking about Family Photo Albums], Vizualnaya antropologiya: Novye vzglyady na sotsialnuyu realnost, E.R. Yarskaya-Smirnova, P.V. Romanov, and V.L. Krutkin (eds), Saratov: Nauchnaya kniga, 123–45. Yangirov, R. (2007) ‘Proshchanie s mertvym telom’ [Saying Goodbye to the Dead Body], Otechestvennye zapiski, 2, www.strana-oz.ru/?numid=35& article=1454#s17/. Yudenkova, T. V. (2005) Ilya Repin, Moscow: Izobrazitelnoe iskusstvo.

10 Historical Zaryadye as remembered by locals Cultural meanings of city spaces1 Pavel Kupriyanov and Lyudmila Sadovnikova Translated by Thomas Lorimer The convergence of such disparate concepts as memory and space in a single field of research (as is observable in numerous spheres of the humanities) is to a certain degree conditioned by the specific features of the contemporary cultural situation; in particular, by the changing dynamics of our surroundings, which are undergoing ever more frequent transformations. The rapid transformations of spaces one has grown accustomed to, the disappearance of the habitual landscape and the formation of new surroundings intensify the onlooker’s feeling of time. That which only yesterday was now and constituted an element of present-day reality, today becomes then, a thing of the past, to be forgotten or, perhaps, remembered. In this way the topic of memory turns out to be closely connected to issues of the conservation (or reconstruction) of a reality that is either disappearing or already has disappeared. This article will look at various different aspects of the interaction of memory and space. We will mainly focus on how space is perceived and used, how its cultural significance changes, how the image of space is created and functions in the memory of the people who occupied that space, how space evokes recollections, and memory constructs the landscape. The site for our case-study is Zaryadye in Moscow – a small district in the very centre of the city, located to the east of the Kremlin and bordered by Kitaigorod Avenue [Kitaigorodskii Proezd] to the west, Varvarka Street to the north, and the Moscow River embankment to the south. At present this district is essentially a heritage/leisure area. A large part of it consists of the wasteland remaining after the demolition of the Rossiya hotel. There are several offices and cafés here, and also a whole array of architectural and historical monuments (religious and secular buildings from the sixteenth through to the nineteenth centuries), two of which are home to history museums. There are no residential buildings in Zaryadye. But fifty years ago the distinguishing features of this area were an extremely cramped infrastructure and a very dense population. There were two schools here, a paraffin oil shop, leather workshops, a launderette, a police station, several small businesses and organisations, a social club, grocery shops, and so on. In the first half of the twentieth century this area saw the formation of a distinctive,

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to all intents and purposes unique, residential space whose main features were determined first and foremost by its central location. In the 1930s some of the buildings in Zaryadye were destroyed, but the area’s overall appearance did not change significantly. The main changes occurred later, in the 1950s and 1960s, when a lot of the constructions were demolished and the hotel Rossiya, a 3182-room block in aggressively modernist style, was erected in their place. Of the old constructions there only remained a few monuments (listed buildings), mainly located along Varvarka Street (or ulitsa Razina, as it was then known), and part of the sixteenth-century Kitaigorod Wall. The construction of the hotel (which in its time met with a lot of criticism) significantly changed the city centre’s architectural appearance and marked a significant boundary in Zaryadye’s history – for the first time in several centuries it ceased being a residential area. Its inhabitants were relocated to the city outskirts (where they got separate flats instead of communal rooms), and were left with only memories of their previous residence. Today a study of this now non-existent residential space (which would have to be retrospective in nature) is possible only with recourse to the memory of the people who saw it with their own eyes. We should note that when we conducted this current research we adopted an anthropological approach to the analysis of space (Tishkov 2003: 289–90) which involves a combined study of three elements: physical reality, notions of this and the practices associated with it; physical (objective) space is supplemented with space as understood and inhabited (Prostranstvo Rossii 2002: 33). It goes without saying that, given such an approach, information about the personal background of the people who lived in Zaryadye is of particular significance: information about their lives in this area and how this area is subjectively perceived, making oral sources essential for our investigation. Thus, the main research method employed was the interview. Interviewing allowed us to collect essential (and often unique) material and, in particular, to record individuals describing their subjective perception of this space and recounting how it was assimilated in their everyday life. The interviewees included people who lived in Zaryadye and in close proximity to it (on the opposite side of Varvarka or on the adjacent Solyanka), people whose work had something to do with this area, and people who for whatever reason used to visit the area quite often. In other words, everyone for whom Zaryadye was, in one way or another, an element of everyday life. Generally speaking these people were born between 1920 and 1945. The interviews were semi-structured in nature and were conducted in accordance with a programme which included questions on several topics, for example, the infrastructure of the district, everyday practices, the local self-awareness of the local inhabitants, and what they knew about history. Particular attention was devoted to studying life in the centre as a phenomenon of the culture of Moscow as capital city. The interviews were, as a rule, recorded in the ‘Palace of the Romanov Boyars’ Museum,2 or, in exceptional cases, at the interviewee’s home.

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The spatial emphasis of this study necessitated a wide usage of visual methods. First, all interviews were video-recorded. Second, various visual materials were used as part of the research – we recorded the interviewees commenting on maps and photos of the district, artistic depictions and documentary films. Finally, alongside the traditional conversation in one particular place, an important element of our study was an improvised walk around Zaryadye during which the interviewee would act as a guide, not just telling us about this space but actually showing it to us. The application of such methods was also conditioned by the ways in which human memory is formed and functions: we studied the behaviour of human memory and saw that all kinds of ‘retrieval signals’ play a big role in the recollection process (cf. Sudman, Bradburn and Schwartz 1996). In our study the source of these recollections was provided by the visual information we used. Old photographs and maps of Zaryadye contain numerous ‘hints’ and ‘prompts’ with whose help the area’s former inhabitants restore in their memory what would seem to be long-ago ‘forgotten’ things, and, what is more, one witnesses a reconstruction not just of more or less substantial details but also of whole stories. This certainly applies to research ‘in situ’. Of course a local’s direct perception of contemporary Zaryadye would require a separate analysis, in as much as this is a complicated cognitive process which includes searching for familiar reference points, reconstructing elements that have disappeared, comparing ‘old’ and ‘new’ space, assessing the things that have undergone change, and various other procedures. However it is clear that actually being in the area that is the subject of the interview actively stimulates the interviewee’s memory precisely for the reason that recollection, the extraction of information from one’s memory, occurs in the very place where the process of the formation of the underlying memories took place.3 One way or another, here, as when photographs, maps and documentary films and so on are shown, the visual material perceived by the interviewees becomes a powerful stimulus that activates the recollection process which leads to a significant increase in the volume of information received.4 Consideration of the dialogical nature of the interview (Voronina and Utekhin 2006: 232), viewed as a process of social interaction between the interviewer and interviewee, is of methodological importance to this study. An important consequence of such an approach is attention to the communicative aspects of research, recognition of the contextuality of the relayed information, and the self-conscious ‘placing’ of the researcher himself in the ‘field’ of research (Forum 2005: 8–134). Following our outline of these principles, we will now turn to individual recollections of direct relevance to the topic of this paper. About twenty years ago, one of us (who at the time was still in the sixth year at school)5 found himself one late spring evening near Varvarka street with his friend. Clearly impressed by a show he had just seen or enchanted by the grandiose sight that is Moscow in the evening, or perhaps just in a

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heightened emotional state, he turned to his friend and said: ‘If only one could have been here in the sixteenth century!’ His friend, immersed in his thoughts and irritated by this excessive sentimentality, gave quite a brusque response: ‘Start living in the twentieth!’ Afterwards, however, he also admitted that sometimes his head filled up with such ‘romantic silliness’ and this almost always had something to do with the particular features of the place, first and foremost its historical appearance. The place that witnessed this conversation between two friends undoubtedly possessed these features. The external appearance of Zaryadye and Varvarka, both twenty years ago and today, after the hotel was dismantled, leaves no doubt in one’s mind as to the area’s rich history. I.I. Kazakevich, director of restoration works and author of the album ‘Moscow’s Zaryadye’, describes the results of the restorers’ work as follows: ‘Right in the city centre, a remarkable collection of monuments of Russian architecture has been restored, amounting to a sort of encyclopaedia of architecture, from the white-stoned ground floors of the English House, dating from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and the Palace of the Romanov Boyars, to monuments of architecture pertaining to the era of classicism. It is a museum reserve in the open air, where the monuments of ancient architecture bring medieval Moscow to mind’ (Kazakevich 1977: 40). Precisely this appearance of ‘a museum reserve in the open air’ is today Zaryadye’s generally accepted image.6 Thanks to the abundance of ‘monuments of ancient architecture’, it is literally becoming a place of memory7 that with its whole appearance reminds one of medieval Moscow. It is precisely in this way that Zaryadye features in numerous tourist guides and other literature on local history. A characteristic example is Yu.N. Aleksandrov’s book Heritage Moscow (Aleksandrov 1991) in which Zaryadye has a place not just in the text itself but also on the cover. The fact that it is on the cover of this book seems only natural, as Zaryadye is in fact a model heritage area – here, in contradistinction to other outwardly similar areas in Moscow, there are no residential buildings whatsoever. It is almost exclusively an historical space. At least this is how it is portrayed on the pages of school textbooks, popular books and articles, in depictions on various stationary and tourist products, and also on the Internet. One could suppose that this perception of Zaryadye is most typical of people who work at the local history museums (‘The Old English House’ and ‘The Palace of the Romanov Boyars’), and the authors of this article are amongst their number. To a certain extent this influenced the initial formulation of the research question. Having been taught to see Zaryadye primarily as ‘the oldest district in Moscow’, and grown accustomed to this description, we were keen to ascertain from our research how people actually lived in this historical place half a century ago. We were surprised when it transpired very quickly that the former inhabitants of Zaryadye did not live in this historical space – the space they occupied was not historical. They stated this unanimously and assuredly during the interviews, maintaining that they had ‘no particular interest in history’ (ZNK 4):

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INT.:

Did you know that this was a very old place, historical, or did that not really … [interest you]? INF. 1: It sort of passed us by (SVP 12). INF. 2: Well, in terms of whether we were interested … no, of course not (ZNK + PVV 4). INF. 3: Well, we live here, y’know, we live here and that’s that, this was my home … INT.: And the fact that this is the historical centre, did that … [sort of thing not interest you]? INF. 3: Back then history and architecture … in my childhood they didn’t interest me at all (KAN 18).8 This unexpected declaration was confirmed by concrete accounts. Judging by the recollections of the people who used to live in Zaryadye, in their daily routines all of those elements of the landscape which today make up the arsenal of the area’s historical image were not associated with history at all back then: INF. 1:

And that church over there, the one that’s on the corner of the Rossiya hotel, on the embankment: what did that amount to? – A big heap of crumbling bricks! Going there was no sweat, you could find half a handful of old coins there … Kitaiskaia Wall too … INF. 2: Vas, remember all those old bones we used to find there? INF. 1: Yes … bones … bones … And those coins … We … well, we didn’t think they were anything special, mind. And on this heap of crumbling stones, where this church is now – Well, it’s been renovated, now it’s beautiful and all … – there was a time when you could find as many coins as you wanted – we played games with them … 9 (ZNK+PVV 3). We will note that this small excerpt contains several traditional attributes of the historical landscape: a church, a medieval city wall, and old coins. However, in the interviewee’s anecdote none of them performs a ‘historical’ function. Both the church ruins and the Kitaigorod Wall (both of which have, so one might think, enormous historical significance) were used, it emerges, for purely practical purposes – as a source of coins which, in their turn, were interesting only as objects to be used in games and not as archaeological artefacts. Why should this be the case? Why did these people, who had lived in these ancient buildings or next to them, in Moscow’s oldest district, in the immediate vicinity of the Kremlin, completely fail to acknowledge the historical status of this space which is so obvious today? What is the reason for this ‘historical blindness’? In the above excerpt, history is ignored firstly in the way that the church is not identified as an ancient building, and secondly in the way that the old coins are not used as historical objects. In this way one can talk about two

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aspects of the problem: the visual aspect (related to the perception of the space) and the practical aspect (manifesting itself in the way that it is used). Despite the fact that these two aspects are closely interrelated it makes sense to consider them separately. The visual component plays a key role in the perception of contemporary Zaryadye. The area’s current historical status is determined first and foremost by its visual appearance. The main components propping up this image are the architectural monuments (the churches, bell-towers and palaces) along Varvarka, the church of the Conception of St Anne on the Moscow River embankment, and the Kitaigorod Wall which is located on the eponymous proyezd. These are the visual leitmotifs that act as emblematic elements of the local landscape, lending it real historical-memorial significance. However, in the mid-twentieth century Zaryadye’s external appearance was completely different. The buildings listed above could not perform such emblematic functions since they did not, at the time, occupy dominant positions in the area’s appearance, and were taken to be parts of ordinary buildings. Moreover, some of them were simply not visible. The best-known example of this situation is the Old English House10 – a construction from the late fifteenth–early sixteenth century that had ended up inside a later building and was concealed entirely by the latter. It was discovered by P.D. Baranovsky and it is thanks to his efforts that it was preserved as an architectural monument.11 Naturally the interviewees, not familiar with the story of how it was discovered and restored, say that this building ‘did not exist’: There was no such building, this English House … there was no trace of it, there was this other building there < … > But this wasn’t here. Maybe it was built on top of that other house, in the same place … or something like that … (PVV 4). INT.:

And what about the English House: how did it look at the time? It didn’t exist at all. I am telling you that there was a residential building in its place … Right up to the railings of this porch there was a huge six-storey residential building. INT.: What did it [the English House] look like? INF.: They simply rebuilt it using old plans (SYI 15). INF.:

And where the English House is, everything there was built up. There was a kindergarten inside. And no one had the faintest idea that this was the English House. Because … just like now, those whatsits they’ve built … the monastic, what are they called … [The Monastic Quarters of the Znamensky Monastery] They were all like that too: … there were four-storey houses there, made of bricks! (VDI 10). The Monastic Quarters of the Znamensky Monastery had a similar fate: it had also ended up inside a later building which was once home not only to dwellings, but also to a primary school. During reconstruction works the later

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Figure 10.1 Present-day Zaryadye – a historical and architectural heritage area and a colourful subject for artists. View of Varvarka street in the direction of the Kremlin. In the background from left to right: the church of St. Georgy on Pskovsky hillock with a bell-tower, the Cathedral and bell-tower of the Znamensky monastery, the church of St. Maksim the Blessed, the Palace of the Romanov Boyars, the dome of the Pokrovsky Cathedral on the Moat, the Spasskaya tower of the Kremlin. 2009. Photographed by Pavel Kupriyanov.

construction was dismantled, the oldest parts were left as they were, and the upper part of the building was reconstructed. As a result a one-storey ‘ancient Russian’ construction has appeared where a three-storey residential building used to stand. Such a striking change makes people suspect that this building ‘appeared here … I don’t know … quite recently’ (MNZ 28b). The former inhabitants of Zaryadye, discovering new ancient buildings on familiar territory, find a logical explanation for this strange fact:

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Right: these are all new things! < … > On the plots of land that became free these newly-made buildings were built using old plans, most likely, from days gone by (FFA 2). The history of the English House and the Monks’ Quarters is in many ways unique and individual, but at the same time very typical for monuments in Zaryadye. Of course not all of them were once inside later constructions, but many of them were to some extent ‘built over’ (and therefore concealed and enclosed) by neighbouring buildings, which of course affected the way they were perceived. One should not forget that these ancient constructions (which at the time did not have the status of historical architectural monuments) did not have a particularly memorable appearance and hardly stood out from the surrounding buildings. One way or another, their external appearance was different from what it is now, and this difference is almost always noted by the interviewees. INT.:

Did the building look different? Completely! INT.: You say that it was not red like this, so what colour was it? INF.: Well, it was simply made out of red bricks, and none of this stuff here stood out as white as this. Of course these domes weren’t painted either … They look much the same, but … they … these little stars weren’t there (SVM 19). INT.: Was this wall here? INF.: This was here, but … but it was also … of course it’s been restored too; it didn’t look like that back then. INT.: So what was it like then? INF.: Well, it’s hard to say … About half [the height], probably, like so (DGG 34). INT.: And the Kitaigorod Wall, would you climb on it, did you walk on top of it? Or under it, in those niche things?12 INF.: Yeah … in those niches … just there. Yeah, for some reason we weren’t really … [drawn there]. There was always all this filth there, nothing special there … Now they’ve restored it a bit, painted it a bit … (VDI 10). INF.:

This difference is most often not just stated, but given an evaluation, which can be quite emotional (‘everything looked horrible!’ (DGG 32), accentuating even further the differences between then and now: And this church that was practically turned into a pit, a toilet, and so on … What was it called? INF.: Wish I knew! Stinking rickety dump of a building! (KAN 17). INF.:

INT.:

Here the expressive description with the use of an emphatically lowered lexis (clearly jutting out from the interviewee’s normal flow of speech) points to the disparity between the actual state and function of a building and its original purpose and proper appearance. Other utterances were less expressive but

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were likewise completely definitive in terms of evaluation: as a rule the ‘tatty’ and decrepit state of the monuments fifty years ago was noted: All the churches had a dilapidated … [appearance]. There was nothing in Zaryadye that looked good (DGG 34). INT.:

What did it [the Znamensky Monastery’s bell-tower] look like? Well, it certainly had nothing at the top back then: it didn’t have this spire and this cross – that’s for sure … Well, all in all, it was very tatty, plain unsightly (MNZ 28b). INF. 2: It was extremely tatty. I just looked at it now, and I thought: it’s so big and beautiful, and yet back then it was some sort of tatty building … And to be honest with you it never even entered my head that this was a bell-tower (BIF 46). INF. 1:

In the latter case this ‘tattiness’ in the opinion of the person who made this statement is incompatible with the presence of a bell-tower. The same goes for the other monuments: you cannot recognise them due to an external appearance that is ‘not right’: And so, all in all it wasn’t even clear that this was a bell-tower or something like that. Because everything was residential, it wasn’t painted like it is now, everything was inhabited (SVG 8). INT.:

And what did this church [of St. Maxim] look like?

INF.:

Well, it wasn’t a church at all. Especially if you looked from that side: they took down all of these domes – and that’s that! It’s a residential building!

INT.: So what you’re saying is that, all in all, none of these churches was, in essence, a church, right? INF.: Well … well these ones that have bell-towers, they – although it’s clear that this … couldn’t be anything else, but these ones – they just didn’t exist, you didn’t notice them (MNZ 28b).

From the above citations it is clear that, apart from the traditional crosses, domes and bell-tower standing nearby, a ‘seemly’ coat of paint can also serve as external, visible symbol of the presence of a church. The absence of such things makes identifying the building significantly harder. This is largely explained by the impossibility of visually dislocating the monument from the rest of the construction: The building [of the Romanov Palace] blended into the general greyness of all the other buildings because even if in some places it was … let’s say, painted well, then it was always painted in one tone, this … the windows were boarded up with plywood … (DGG 34).

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As a result the building becomes unnoticeable; it is not recognised as a separate building and is not included in the general image of the area as such.13 I think this here church [St.Maxim’s] was located right on the edge. But when they built this [refectory] on to it … or when they restored it, or whatever … I don’t even know. For some reason I never noticed it (MNZ 28b). INT.:

So what was in that church, St Anne’s, the one on the corner? I don’t know. I don’t think there was anything there. I only ever saw it once they’d restored it and built the hotel Rossiya. I didn’t even know that it existed … (VDI 10). INF.:

This unexpected discovery of the church after the hotel was built is only natural. During the large-scale transformation of Zaryadye in the 1960s there occurred a sort of emergence of history in the architecture: what was hidden before now became clear to see, what had merged with its surroundings and had not been picked up by the uninitiated eye was now in the centre of attention.14 As a result of the discovery and reconstruction of buildings that had once had other buildings built on and round them and were in a half-destroyed condition, Zaryadye’s image noticeably changed. Now its appearance was formed by two components: on the one hand by the huge building of the Rossiya hotel complex, and on the other hand by a whole array of architectural monuments. It goes without saying that the hotel contrasted with them, but at the same time it served as an advantageous background for these bright and diverse buildings, invariably luring the onlooker’s gaze and unambiguously pointing to the area’s old age and rich history. The above excerpts from the interviews allow us to make another observation of importance: a building’s external appearance is thought of together with its functional purpose. A change in the external appearance is assumed to embody a corresponding change in the building’s function: ‘They took down these domes – and that’s that! It’s a residential building!’ (MNZ 28b). It turns out that a building’s appearance and its purpose cannot be separated from one another (strictly speaking a storehouse should be ‘tatty’, while a church should be ‘well painted’). Therefore, in everyday conversation, one can be used to signify the other: ‘because everything was residential, it wasn’t painted like it is now, everything was inhabited’ (SVG 8). Mention here of the residential status of the building is considered to be enough for the interlocutor to imagine what it looked like. This close connection between the physical and functional parameters applies not just to buildings but also to every single element of a landscape that has been endowed with a more or less fixed function. The image of a place is determined not only by how it looks but also by how it is used. How a place is used is as important a feature as its external appearance and, consequently, it too influences how it is perceived, i.e. participates in the creation of the meanings of the local landscape.

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The buildings of interest to us in Zaryadye, judging by the recollections of its former inhabitants, were used in the main for residential, storage, administrative and other purposes: The housing administration, I can tell you now – I just remembered! – was located in this church, in this bell-tower, on the ground floor. You know, when you go there, you go up the steps, to begin with the housing administration was there, then three families lived on the floor above (BAV 41). The housing administration was based here on one side of the building, and on the other it was used as a storehouse for banners, various things for parades < … > Over there, you see those tiny windows, there was some finance office there (SVM 19). Incidentally, in this St Maxim’s church in our day there was a sort of mirror workshop … < … > And as for that side < … > there was also, by the by … there was a … a foreign library … [Library of foreign literature] (VDI 9). Yes, St Barbara’s Church.15 The Ministry of Defence had a health centre there, my mother received treatment there (PVV 4). As for the rest of the residential building, these Monastic Quarters – our school was there … (SVG 8). As you’re going from the metro station there’s that tiny church on the corner, yeah, to the right – there was a kindergarten there (SYI 16). INT.:

What was inside the Zaryadye churches? They were mostly used for storage: there were storehouses there … (FFA 2). INT.: More often than not there were storehouses in these churches … (SVG 7). INF: Storehouses, pigeon lofts, some workshops or other, you know, not particularly important things (ZNK+PVV 4). INF.: There were storehouses there … printing-houses … there … what wasn’t there there! But there wasn’t museums or churches there (SYI 15). INF.:

As we can see, Zaryadye’s monuments-to-be not only looked different (i.e. not as monuments should look) but were also used differently. Their functional purpose did not correspond at all to their status as monuments and therefore one did not see them as ancient/very old buildings. Even when someone knew (or guessed) a building’s initial purpose it still did not evoke any historical associations and was perceived as a purely practical element of everyday space. And it was also remembered precisely in this way – thanks to some or other everyday circumstances, some insignificant everyday details, but by no means because of its historical significance. Generally speaking the entrance to our place – I’ll show you too – was via the bell-tower < … > There was a flat there too, people also lived there. I remember very clearly that I was really struck when I went to see one of my girlfriends from school there < … > I suddenly saw < … > the windows there < … > they

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were sort of half moons … beneath the floor! Well it was a bell-tower, they just divided it up there, put down some, y’know, floor, and they lived there, and I found it very strange how this could be: if you wanted to look outside you had to almost lie down on the floor and then look out of the window (SVG 7). Here on the corner there was a small church, a really miniscule church … it was really out of the way, dedicated to, I think, Nikola Mokryi, something like that. It has since been taken to pieces. Why do I remember it so well? When we headed off for our dacha or when we went to the shop there was always a huge puddle here … next to this church (VDI 9). So, despite the huge number of very old buildings, the Zaryadye of the 1930s1960s did not possess any specific memorial status in the minds of the locals. These constructions merged organically with the surrounding landscape and together with its other elements formed the place’s image, endowing it with a specific status – that of a residential district. Thus arose the necessary context which to a large extent determined the ways in which this space was assimilated, suggesting (and sometimes dictating) normative models of behaviour to the user.16 As a result of this even the most specific loci and objects were perceived as elements not of an historical but an everyday landscape. In other words even when the ancient status of some or other construction (for example the Kitaigorod Wall) or an object (for example very old coins) was obvious, this was not actualised at all when used. The interviews we conducted contain a lot of evidence of this everyday use of the historical space. We will confine ourselves to the three most striking examples. The Kitaigorod Wall. This mighty defensive structure, erected in 1533–38, served as Zaryadye’s physical boundaries to the south and the east. By the middle of the twentieth century, the wall had noticeably subsided, so the ‘combat walk’17 was level with the first floor. Up until then the wall had been in a dilapidated, and in some places dangerous, condition (in 1951 part of the wall collapsed, killing several people). The part of the wall in Zaryadye had two towers – the Cosmas and Damian Tower and the Moscow River Tower – which, unlike the others, were stable at the top, and had therefore kept their medieval appearance. However this history was not reflected in the way this structure was assimilated by the local inhabitants. There were some sort of chamfers on it and you could even them out, you could turn them into a slide < … > We would run along it, play ‘it’,18 we would play all over it as much as we could … And we would push each other in sledges along the wall … (MNZ 27). Along the embankment, I remember we would go there when we were small to play in the sand: we would go through these broken gates, and this wall was … (VDI 9). INF.:

People would climb out of their windows and we would do the same, we would play on this Kitaigorod Wall. There were loads of pigeons there

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Pavel Kupriyanov and Lyudmila Sadovnikova and … so … we would fry eggs there, you name it, we did it there – you know, we were kids back then! INT.: On the roof? INF.: Not on the roof, this was on Kitaiskaya … wall. It was a wall, about one and a half to two metres wide, a wagon [could have fitted there]. INT.: And on what? INF.: On what? We had crockery at home! We would find something: there were lots of woodchips there, we would set up a campfire … (SYI 14).

In this way this structure was assimilated by children and adolescents as part of their everyday space, it was used for various different games and leisure activities,19 it was ‘played all over’, as one of the interviewees put it well. Underground Passage. The branched network of basements and underground passages in Zaryadye was a fixed topos in the recollections of the people who used to live in the area. Moreover this exotic element of the landscape was also not associated with history but instead was endowed with completely different significance:20 INF.:

So, you could, for example, go down from our house and go God knows where down these passages. Yes, yes. You could also walk around the whole of Zaryadye in the internal [underground] part. Therefore this place was full of bandits … INT.: Bandits? INF.: Yes, of course! Even Marina Roshcha, as the saying goes, was no worse … you couldn’t even compare the two (SVM 19).21 It turns out that these underground passages were primarily associated with criminal hangouts and thieves’ lairs; not the Middle Ages, as might have been expected. The underground network was an integral part of the criminal (and not the ancient) Zaryadye. Going underground in the minds of the locals was fraught more with an encounter with criminals than archaeological finds. Even in a child’s consciousness adventure was to be found not in looking for ancient artefacts but in the possibility of trying out a new toy: Because little boys would climb down there … I was still small, and they would say that there was an underground passage down there that went all the way up to the Kremlin < … > And then, back then: end of the fifties, yes, when Chinese lanterns were fashionable, and they weren’t used in the ordinary way, and we were always looking for somewhere to go and light one. Right. I climbed down there with them on one occasion. And the lantern I had made a loud buzzing sound, you know, you start pressing and then it lights up. Well, for as long as I could I went on pushing down … well, about five minutes. But I started sniffling, and they sent me back. All alone! Right, girl, we’re going on, someone said, but you … you see … They kept on climbing and came out in an enclosed courtyard, as far as I

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understood, then on to the street. And the police caught them there, brought them back here, and I think they welded up the entrance further along. Because … going by what my brother told me, the entrance was arched, made out of old bricks, well, dusty, of course, yes, but it hadn’t collapsed, not bad, y’know, it was alright, they didn’t have to stoop … So, they probably hadn’t gone far < … > But I climbed out … well, it was scary, but I made my way back (SYI 14; the bold type is ours – P.K., L.S.). House of the Romanov Boyars. This is one of the oldest museums in Moscow. It was opened in 1859 at the initiative of Alexander II in the building where

Figure 10.2 Everyday life with a backdrop of monumental history: in the everyday life of young people even a restored monument of antiquity is forced into the periphery of one’s attention. Church of the Conception of Anna on the Corner. View from the southern terrace of the hotel Rossiya 1972. Photo: A. Zhilyakova, Central Archive of Electronic and Audio-Visual Documents of Moscow (TsAEiADM).

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Figure 10.3 Kitaigorod Wall, view ‘from inside’: children, barns, linen…Courtyard in Zaryadye. 1925. Photograph from Arkhnadzor’s website: http://www.archnadzor.ru/?p=486#more-486

Figure 10.4 Kitaigorod Wall, view ‘from outside’: restaurant, advertisement, strelets [archer]… Entrance to the Kitaigorod Wall restaurant. 2008. Photographed by Pavel Kupriyanov.

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the Romanov boyars’ family mansion had once been, and where, according to legend, the founder of the tsarist dynasty Mikhail Fyodorovich was born. In the twentieth century the territory of the museum included a spacious courtyard, the boundaries of which were marked out with large slabs, a small one-storey servants’ wing, and the living quarters themselves which were reconstructed in the middle of the nineteenth century in the Russian style, as a result of which the building acquired the characteristic appearance of a very old construction. Despite the fact that both buildings belonged to the museum (from 1932 a branch of the State History Museum), part of the building was used for residential purposes. The House of the Romanov Boyars is mentioned quite often in the recollections of the former inhabitants of Zaryadye; clearly it was widely used as a place for leisure activities by the local youngsters. And, contrary to expectations, the museum courtyard was more popular than the living quarters; it ended up being used as a common play area: The courtyard was like … so we could play hopscotch here without having to mark the squares on the floor. Now it’s been turned upside-down; it’s all crooked and sloping, before it was completely level, with little steps (SYI 14). And we would play football right here … Yes, we broke the windows of our friends’ house, the people who lived here (VDI 9). We would play here, right here, on the porch of your ticket office < … > As far as I remember there were recesses, brick ones, to the sides, so we would sit there sometimes with our legs dangling on the little steps. When it rained a bit. Naturally no one would go home, everyone got together on these steps under this arch, all of us < … > Well, of course, no one cracked any gags – we would tell each other scary stories and so on … (SYI 14). The museum buildings are not mentioned as often as the courtyard. The servants’ wing is described as a residential building that was inhabited by different people at different times: In any event our friends lived right here, in this semi-underground part, we would play football with them. There were two guys, brothers – Nikolai and the second, I don’t know, I forget his name. I think their surname was Muravchenko, we called them the Murkas. (VDI 9). And a big Tatar family lived here … The mum would sew women’s underwear from home (SYI 14). The very fact that ‘our friends’ lived here made them question the fact that this was a museum: ‘But people lived here, we didn’t see this as a museum exhibit’ (SYI 14). In the museum halls themselves, the object that received most attention was the front staircase at the bottom of which there were once sculptures of lions: They looked more like cats: sort of small ones, not particularly attractive. I think they were made of plaster, I don’t think they were made out of

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Pavel Kupriyanov and Lyudmila Sadovnikova marble. We would sit on top of them, and then they disappeared somewhere during the war (VDI 9). By the rectangles [pedestals] under the lions – there was earth there. Inside these rectangles. Me and Lenka would play ‘secrets’ there, that was popular at the time. You would find a little piece of glass, a sweet wrapper, and we’d bury them there because there was earth there. < … > But there were definitely no lions. In our day (SYI 14).

The building itself, to all accounts, evoked a lot less emotion: So … a museum … something was kept there. It was closed, there was a guard inside (PVV 4). We would get into the building by hook or by crook when we could see that we could < … > There was nothing there, desolation … A caretaker lived there with his family, he swept, as they say, ulitsa Razina, but as for the building itself – it simply was not used at all; everything there was, everything was in heaps, there were no floors, no floorboards. The building, it was only maintained on the outside, the architecture was preserved, but

Figure 10.5 Children now come to the courtyard of the House of the Romanov Boyars in organized groups as part of an historical tour. In the museum’s courtyard. In the background on the right – the Romanovs’ palace, to the left – the Monastic Quarters of the Znamensky Monastery. 2005. Photographed by Pavel Kupriyanov.

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there was nothing inside the building < … > It was closed. It was guarded by this caretaker, but seeing as we had time to climb inside (as a rule no one was allowed there) … (SYI 14). The ancient halls were of interest to the young locals not because they were old but more because they were deserted and out of bounds. Managing to get into a closed building, getting past the caretaker/guard was seen as an adventure in its own right and did not need any additional motivation. In this way the space of the history museum was assimilated in the everyday life of Zaryadye regardless of its historical contents, it was used as a play area, just like the Kitaigorod Wall. This attitude toward the place was directly reflected in a fixed toponym that was used by more than one generation of locals: What exactly was the House of the Romanov Boyars? And who were these boyars? How were we to know? No one told us. Therefore the kids called this place here ‘Off to Domboyarka!’22 This was a word in its own right, ‘Domboyarka’, because we never got to the bottom of the essence of this word … And so we went to Domboyarka to play … (SVG 8). The materials at our disposal suggest that it was mainly children and adolescents from neighbouring courtyards who ‘went to Domboyarka to play’. People who lived further afield might not even have known that this place existed, and if they did know they did not come here often (clearly the potential for games in this space was not as obvious). However, what they have to say about it might be just as informative: INT.:

But this museum courtyard of ours, don’t you remember the museum itself? INF.: No, I … at the time we did not go there. But, as far as knowing is concerned, I did know … they would go, of course, but it’s just … I really can’t remember. That is, it was so insignificant that at the time for us it was … INT.: So this part didn’t interest you? INF.: Well, yeah, w-well we wouldn’t come here … to look … – we were so young! – not into looking at some old church! What’s more none of this was here anyway: no museums, nothing … there were storehouses everywhere and so on … (DGG 32). This excerpt, which at first sight seems insignificant, contains an interesting idea that highlights an obvious, but, at the same time, very important principle of spatial behaviour: to a large extent, such behaviour is determined by the position of social actors, their actual needs. Clearly looking at sights was not one of the primary cultural needs of the Zaryadye youngsters. One of the local female inhabitants said: ‘when I just lived there, there wasn’t much that … interested me … I had my own, completely different preoccupations as

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a child … ’ (KAN 18). Justifying this lack of interest in these ancient monuments by their young age, the interviewees in this way show that ‘at the time’, in that Zaryadye (‘there’), they had a different attitude, unlike their current attitude, to the space around them. This attitude (best described as the attitude of a ‘local’) dictated the way they related to the local landscape, the way they perceived it and the ways in which they used it. In connection with this, the passage just cited contains words that are particularly telling – that people ‘didn’t come here … to look … < … > not into looking at an old church!’ This statement serves as a very exact reflection of a key feature of the everyday assimilation of one’s surroundings: during this assimilation vision (looking around, inspecting, observing – as types of purposeful visual perception) carries out a secondary function in comparison with action (playing games, storing things, producing things, and so on). This determines the comparative value of some or other elements of the landscape: ‘While for the artist objects worthy of attention are those that have a remarkable external appearance, for the everyday consciousness it is those which contain the maximum behavioural potential’ (Kaganov 1983: 19). For example, the extent of a space’s behavioural potential can be judged in terms of the number of entrances open to the public on the street. We note that, according to the descriptions of eyewitnesses, in the 1960s ulitsa Razina was not known for having many of these: In any event [this building, 14 Varvarka street] is one of a very small number of buildings on Varvarka where there was something … where you could stop by – everything else was either a military building or belonged to the Central Committee; everything was boarded up or closed … (DGG 34). Perhaps it is for this reason that our interviewees described the street itself quite sparingly – clearly they were interested most (at least the children and adolescents) in the construction site (‘wasteland’) which occupied a large space in the very heart of the area. You could find bullets to blow up here, throw stones, play football, pick wild flowers, find fragments of china and even sail about on make-shift rafts in a water-filled pit that had been dug out for the foundations of a high-rise. As for the local monuments, they, with the odd exception, did not provide the right conditions for such diverse activity and therefore did not attract much attention. In this way, the old buildings in Zaryadye not only looked different and not only were used differently, but they were not even looked at. In many ways it is precisely this lack of attention that explains the difficulties experienced by our interviewees when trying to identify the monuments, which often manifested itself in the interviews. When looking at photographs or walking around Zaryadye, their commentary was often hesitant. Of course providing them with new visual information had the expected effect: it stimulated recollections and in doing so gave rise to new texts, but at the same time they experienced clear difficulties identifying the space in front of them. Correlating

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the present landscape with what was there before is a task that requires special effort and is not always successful: ‘You won’t recognise anything here, you truly won’t recognise anything here’ (KDN 23). Just as before, when the locals did not see ancient churches amongst the ordinary buildings, now they do not always recognise obvious monuments as old structures, having doubts as to their former function and from time to time ‘getting muddled in their accounts’. Perhaps this can be explained by the peculiarities of the everyday way of looking, which does not distinguish separate buildings from the unbroken surrounding space. An example of such a way of looking can be seen in the way a pedestrian perceives the street. For the pedestrian ‘the chain of first

Figure 10.6 Transformation of Zaryadye: ‘cleaning up’ architectural monuments. View from Varvarka street. On the right – the building of the church of St. Maksim the Blessed, on the left – the bell-tower of the Znamensky Monastery covered in scaffolding with a residential building built onto it; in the background – the hotel Rossiya, mid-construction. 1965. TsAEiADM.

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floors of buildings is a lot more important than the view down the avenue. He looks at the corners of buildings, open and closed doors, short flights of stairs, porches, shop-windows, signboards < … > All the individual objects around him < … > start to push the buildings towards the periphery of his perception’ (Kaganov 1983: 12). V.V. Nurkova offers an explanation as to why the inhabitant is helpless when it comes to describing the topos of his life, why his notions of it are distorted – the local’s position completely precludes fixing geographical experiences in his memory: ‘“The best way to forget is to see something every day”, Anna Akhmatova said. “The big picture is seen from a distance,” Sergei Esenin echoed her. The inhabitant does not rush after memories and therefore does not have them’ (Nurkova 2006: 147). The recollections of Zaryadye with which we are concerned here also arose only when the district’s inhabitants turned into former inhabitants and together with this new status appropriated a new, non-everyday, way of looking at the space. The source of this way of looking is the position of the Tourist, contrasted with the position of the Local due to their external/internal statuses. The transition from everyday reality to a reality which is not ‘everyday’ comes about when people remove themselves, and ‘yours’ is transformed into ‘not yours’ (Vakhstein 2007: 7). In our case this ‘removing oneself ’ manifests itself directly, in people’s removal of themselves geographically, as well as temporally, from the space – a process allowing them to look at it ‘from the side’ and ‘with other eyes’. INT.:

So did you only start getting interested in these places, Solyanka, Zaryadye, [after you left]? Did the fact that you had left influence in any way this interest? INF.: It not only influenced it in some way, it definitely influenced [this interest]! You know, it’s like when you work every day around the same place, everything becomes familiar, you get used to everything, it’s as if it all belongs to you, like you live here, but once you have left … But this started, you know, a bit earlier on, it started when I went up north, I told you, remember? INT.: Yes. INF.: And I would get so carried away – back then I was still young: well, around thirty, thirty or so years old – to such an extent that I would find myself sitting down, taking a piece of paper and drawing: Solyanka, Ploshchad Nogina,23 and here’s Red Square, Zaryadye, all of these streets … I’d be drawing, in great detail, even, which … where the little houses were … yes, so … this was when it clearly started for me, that is, I started to miss the place … (DGG 32). The excerpt above serves as a clear illustration of Nurkova’s contention that ‘a feeling of connection arises as a result of efforts to overcome distance’ (Nurkova 2006: 147). One must distance oneself from a geographical object in order to be able to insert one’s own personal history into it. The Local is not

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capable of grasping the general meaning of the space inhabited by him, he rarely comes close to ‘comprehending the day-to-day spatial experience’ (ibid.: 146–47). This unexpected way of assimilating space by means of reproducing it on paper, on closer examination, turns out to be a completely natural expression of the position of the Tourist. What is particularly telling here is that we are not just talking about a simplified plan but rather a detailed map with detailed depictions of the ‘little houses’. This attention to individual buildings is in clear contrast with how the people living in these buildings do not notice them (see above) and specifically contrasts with how this very same person previously perceived this very same place as an inextricable architectural mass in which the individual appearances of separate buildings ‘blended into the general greyness of all the other buildings’ (DGG 34). Such a transition from one visual image to another implies that the subject has assimilated a way of looking at the space at a far remove, and an invariable attribute of this way of looking is a notion of the uninterrupted as discrete (Vakhstein 2007: 11). Distancing oneself destroys the density of the everyday space (Kaganov 1983: 11) and divides it up into separate elements each of which acquires a specific meaning – it is precisely this perception that awaits Zaryadye’s inhabitants once they have moved to different districts. We should note that this process, in this case, has been, in part, encouraged by the space itself, which has changed so radically that one can speak about the appearance of a new landscape that has a different image, status and meaning: this is no longer a residential district but instead a heritage area for tourists, a collection of items of historical and architectural interest. Zaryadye’s new museum-like status finds reflection in its functions: the buildings in the area act more and more as symbols imparting a known meaning on the landscape instead of acting as churches and houses. In this sense one can talk about a change in the space’s semiotic status (Baiburin 2004: 81–84). This new meaning prescribes a new way of using the space: people no longer play here or dry their linen or fry eggs24 – no one lives here. Most of the people in Zaryadye are outsiders who come here for a fixed period specially in order to … look at the sights. The key practices involve scrutinising with one’s eyes (and other ways of recording something visually – taking photographs, filming with a video camera, drawing), and become the main prescribed form of activity in this area.25 We note that half a century ago, outsiders would, on the contrary, avoid Zaryadye – it was dark here, dirty and not safe. One can hear opinions to this effect from people who lived on the opposite side of ulitsa Razina, and whose windows looked in the direction of Zaryadye: That’s where it was … Everything there was in a state of ruin! They started constructing a building there and then abandoned it. It was in such a state of collapse … it was even scary! (SVN 5 – bold type is ours P.K., L.S.)

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The stone parapet on the street that fenced off the descent to Zaryadye was remembered as a wall beyond which ‘nothing existed’. This space was not used in people’s day-to-day routine and therefore does not have a place in their autobiographical memory: It was sort of bleak there, you see … this broken wall … < … > I remember now that I arranged to meet someone, yes, opposite there … my window … I looked out: the person arrived – I came down. There was this wall … , but for me it was as if nothing else existed beyond it < … > Something grey and sort of … unpleasant and uncomfortable (SIP 6). Today’s Zaryadye does not allow one to doubt its existence, mainly thanks to its monuments – the bright multi-coloured buildings, unusual in form, never failing to attract the attention of passers-by. Now it is a visually saturated place whose every element constitutes a separate visual event.26 Zaryadye’s new visual status is noticed and emphasised in an article dedicated to Varvarka and Zaryadye written by the well-known Moscow specialist Rustam Rakhmatullin (Rakhmatullin 2007). While the Zaryadye text is traditional in terms of its historical and architectural content, it is distinct in terms of its original form: it is narrated not on the basis of the space’s external characteristics but rather according to the logic of visual perception. The monuments are described not in terms of their location but rather in terms of the extent to which they fall into the onlooker’s field of vision. The story of Zaryadye is constructed as consecutive descriptions of ‘sights’ (the article’s chapters are called by these names) that reveal themselves from all angles, located – typically – on the opposite side of the street (the position of the Tourist, as we know, presupposes distancing oneself). The obvious rich history of the local landscape manifests itself in its visual evaluation as a ‘ready-made film location’ (Rakhmatullin 2007: 67). Zaryadye’s former inhabitants include active consumers of local history literature (the professional writer, BIF 46, being one of these). But, as noted already, it was only once they had left the area that this firm interest in its history first arose. We have explained this process here by two factors: on the one hand by Zaryadye’s new historical image, and on the other by the creation of temporal and spatial distance from it. However, the interviewees themselves explain this phenomenon in different ways. People who lived in Zaryadye as children complain of their ‘young age and stupidity’, and the people who were older when they lived there blame everyday worries:

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So when did you find out about the Romanov boyars? How old were you then? Well that was once we had already left, I think, and when, probably, we started learning, well, firstly, of course, history, when we started to learn about history in earnest … (SVG 7).

INT.: INF:

It was only later on that I started being interested. Now I’m always sticking my nose in a book: but there’s nothing anywhere, nothing! So recently I bought another book … I just lap up any information about Zaryadye, for me that’s interesting. Well, you know … back then, I was young and stupid, I didn’t know a thing … (KAN 18). We were still little and stupid: in the first or second year of school (MNZ 27). INT.:

Did this not really interest you [history]? What history? If I have two children … and you have to work … It’s only now that I found out about all of this! (SVN 5).

INF.:

We should emphasise that we are not talking about a passive interest but rather an active, purposeful search for information. Those same people who once climbed thoughtlessly around the boyar halls, broke windows in Moscow’s most ancient houses and played games with coins minted in the 17th century have now turned into conscientious, inquisitive tourists: they go to exhibitions, read local-history literature, go on tours, in this way getting to know about a historical space that previously did not exist. The most important people in this process are the tourguides who walk them around this new ancient Zaryadye. It is they who show them the ancient buildings and explain how the underground passages came into being: Even the guide told us, back in the eighties, how even the tsar’s family – the tsar, without telling anyone that he had left the Kremlin, would walk down the underground passage this way, to his family (SYI 14). INF.: And he took us around and told us. We walked … And he turned our attention … So, ever since then I remember this … – ‘Anna-on-the-corner’. INT.: Was this when you had already left Zaryadye? INF.: Yes, yes … (SVP 12).

Here we must note two important things. First, the former inhabitants’ acknowledgment of the historical Zaryadye is achieved due to a change not just in the space’s external appearance, i.e. the object being observed, but also in the position of the onlooker, i.e. the subject – his social role and way of looking. In other words, they can only make out that which before went unnoticed, having become tourists. Second, the irony of this situation, where a former inhabitant requires the services of a guide, serves as the best possible illustration of the place’s dual status in respect of its former inhabitants: it is their space and, at the same time, not their space.

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On the one hand the former Zaryadye does not exist: ‘Now there is nothing left of Zaryadye, only these churches, that’s all’ (MNZ 27). At the same time for our interviewees this place of their past is, more often than not, the place of their childhood and youth, and therefore it is fraught with important emotional experiences and memories.27 This attitude of the former inhabitants to this space is in many ways determined by the fact that it contains an imprint of their own past, represents a ‘phenomenal landscape’ of childhood (Lynch 1960; Osorina 2007:111). So, in one person’s recollections, the balcony of the House of the Romanov Boyars plays this role of a ‘place of autobiographical memory’: I remember that I stood on this balcony on several occasions because the first feeling is that I am seeing nothing [of what is] below because the kids would shout ‘hi’ in our direction but I could only see what was level with the balcony < … > And then I started to see these little steps from the big wall. That is, I had grown a bit, so that means it probably wasn’t just over one year (SYI 16). Here, the balcony carries out the traditional role of a doorpost which registers a child’s height, and the field of view, as it broadens with time, reflects the different stages of growth. Stories like this can be presented as an individual life-path in which a place is assimilated symbolically. Clearly the same function is performed by pointing out traces of one’s own presence on this territory, one’s own ‘tracks’: And these poplars – my neighbour Valera planted them … I was still a boy … He would plant little trees in the ground and look after them … Well, they were beautiful to begin with, well-proportioned, and now you can see how they have spread (PVV 3). The poplars you see here – we planted them … (SYI 14). The claims laid by the interviewees to this space are also supported by the fact that they are not simply its former inhabitants but its last inhabitants – no one lived there after them. Therefore this area belongs to them as they were the last rightful owners. Confirmation of this status of theirs is provided, for example, in the exclusive local information provided during the interviews: And the main thing – you probably won’t read about this anywhere or hear this from anyone: there was a municipal dump there … There was a huge ravine … A real stench … and so on and so on … well … there was a dump there! No one will believe you: a dump, on Red Square! (PVV 3). The actualisation of this topic of ‘local ownership’ is most probably due to the change in the place’s status. The once unattractive Zaryadye has now become a place of cultural value, a national treasure, a tourist attraction, and

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also an object of social attention (especially recently, due to the demolition of the Rossiya hotel). In other words, for those who lay claim to the right of ownership, this place has become a source of prestige. All of this could not fail to be reflected in the way they represent this space and, in particular, in the image of the place constructed during the interviews. The point is that today the historical significance of Zaryadye turns out to be exceptionally important in as much as it is precisely this that determines the symbolic value of this place. For this reason the interviewees support and develop in every way possible the concept of Zaryadye’s historical significance and uniqueness: I went to this place, to Novaya Ploshchad, to the Museum of History and the Reconstruction of Moscow – good gracious, our Zaryadye! Our Pskovsky lane, house seven! And we read: ‘The first stone houses built in Moscow for people to live in. During the reign of Ivan the Terrible’ … So bear in mind … what they took down here! (PVV 3). It was only afterwards that we learned that here … who was here. I read somewhere that even Grishka Otrepyev was here … Did you hear the same? A long time ago he was a guard here … (VDI 9). Well you probably know that Ivan the Terrible first … all the Jews … everything started with Zaryadye? He settled them all in Zaryadye … Now they’ve even got a special tour … All the Jews, who were in Moscow during the reign of Ivan the Terrible, they all started in Zaryadye, they were all here … (ZNK 4). In these excerpts Zaryadye appears, firstly, as the most ancient district in Moscow and, secondly, as a place that was stage to action involving huge figures in Russia’s history. In order to ‘attach’ such an historical persona to Zaryadye, sometimes merely incidental, almost associative, details seem to suffice: I think that probably has something to do with … with Aleksandr Nevsky … INT.: Why? INF.: Because there was a battle there, in Pskov oblast, over by Chudskoe Lake … So. Therefore this, probably … the church was perhaps even built in its honour … (MNZ 28b). INF.:

In this way, today, in the consciousness of Zaryadye’s former inhabitants (and, in particular, during interviews), something that one might call a retrospective historicisation is taking place, a belated, post-factum construction of an historical text. This text is clearly at variance with the things said about life in the area when the historical significance of the place was practically ignored. Such contradictions allow us to expose two layers of information in the research

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materials: one based on individual recollections and experience, and the other extracted from books, tours and other later sources. These different ‘voices’ (Voronina and Utekhin 2006: 233), resounding with varying force in the recollections of different people, draw two different images of the place. And the difference between them manifests itself most clearly in the question of local identity. Without being able to dwell on this topic in any detail, we will just note the main things of relevance to the current study. The materials we have gathered bear witness to the fact that in the middle of the twentieth century the local identity of the inhabitants of Zaryadye was notable for its complexity, its hierarchical nature and contextuality. At this time Zaryadye, undoubtedly, was a crucial group-forming place (which manifests itself, for example, in the widespread expression ‘the Zaryadye rabble’), but in no way the main such place, or the only one. The identity of the inhabitants of this area turns out to be narrower and at the same time wider than their identification with the specific district. So, in the day-to-day domestic, play, and administrative practices, they acted more as inhabitants of one or other yard or lane, setting themselves and their yard apart from their neighbours. However, in other instances it was by no means just Zaryadye that was considered their own, completely assimilated, territory, but also the neighbouring areas – first and foremost Solyanka, Khitrovka, Red Square, alongside more remote places, such as Aleksandrovsky Sad and Kotelniki. This configuration of the local identity is shown chiefly in the narratives on specific everyday practices. In the more general utterances that contain evaluative judgements and qualitative descriptions, there figures a single and stable identification – with Zaryadye as a separate district. How does a person go from being an inhabitant of a specific yard to an inhabitant of Zaryadye? Undoubtedly a big part was played by the situation of the interview, which activated the ‘Zaryadye’ identity. The topic of the research and the interviewer’s questions (a significant proportion of which are regarding Zaryadye) formed a filter that helped the interviewee to select the relevant information, and in many ways pre-determined the contours of his or her answers (cf. Sudman, Bradburn and Schwarz 1996). Clearly to a certain extent one can say that the person conducting the research, in addressing the interviewee as an inhabitant of Zaryadye, thrust on him his own discourse and a corresponding identity. However, at the same time one should not assume that this Zaryadye identity was constructed solely during the interviews. The interviewing process merely actualised, i.e. activated, what was already in the interviewee’s consciousness. The interviewees had a clear sense of themselves as inhabitants of Zaryadye before the interview and outside of the interview situation – to a certain extent as a result of the change in the external appearance of the area. The point is that as a result of the global transformation of the 1960s the structures between ulitsa Razina and the Moscow River (which before then had been separated not only by different buildings but also by a whole web of

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side-streets) were united in one integral architectural ensemble. Because of this the area started to be perceived as a single space: in the place of a multitude of side-streets and yards a single-uniform Zaryadye came into being. In this way not only the area’s architectural appearance changed, but also its status in the structure of the city: the former district with its complex infrastructure, including a whole array of smaller, relatively independent places, became the primary element of the city’s landscape, one unified place (locus). It is indicative that Zaryadye is portrayed like this in popular local-history literature starting from the 1970s; it became a separate cultural and geographical unit, in historical and architectural terms an entity in its own right, regardless of the era in question. Often the concept of ‘Zaryadye’ is projected onto a much earlier period, before the place name itself came into being (the sixteenth century) – in such cases the wording ‘future/ancient Zaryadye’ tends to be used in respect of the area being described (Kazakevich 1977: 24–30). This way of looking at the area does not distinguish between the intra-district borders, and Zaryadye is presented as a homogenous, indivisible space. Obviously for the former inhabitants of the area who read local-history literature such as this, such representation of the district alters their perspective: in these new conditions, in the absence of the former spatial structure that provided contours of (micro-)local identity on the smallest scale, the locus of the next level is activated – that of the ‘district’. In other words, now no longer able to attach themselves to one or other yard community, the former ‘Pskovskites’ and ‘Eletskites’ now identify themselves more assuredly as ‘Zaryadites’, going from being inhabitants of these places to being former inhabitants of this place. Thus Zaryadye’s current visual appearance leads to this ‘communal Zaryadye’ identity in as much as this identity relies on the perception of this area as a single whole, endowed with a sense of community and constituting an eternal cultural value. However this perception of Zaryadye cannot be unreservedly adopted and accepted by the former locals, primarily because it completely ignores their personal experience of mastering this space. The historical Zaryadye that is represented today by its spectacular architectural complex does not take account of the Soviet period. What is more, the Zaryadye of the twentieth century is absent both from the physical space and from the symbolic space. Rustam Rakhmatullin confirms this. When writing about the English House he notes in particular that these halls were discovered below the foundation of a later structure ‘and were freed thanks to the art of restoration, much in the same way as a sculptural image is freed from a block of stone’ (Rakhmatullin 2007: 59). The sculpture metaphor employed here is very appropriate: the object’s worth is provided solely by the sculptural image (in this case the old halls) while everything that surrounds it (here, the later structure) is nothing more than a case from which it must free itself. The interviewees use the same vocabulary when describing the architectural changes in Zaryadye:

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Contrasting the churches as items of unconditional value with the ‘simply residential buildings’, as objects that are not of any interest, accurately reflects the museum-like hierarchy that manifests itself on the level not only of separate buildings but also of the overall conception of the place. The image of the medieval Zaryadye, attracting the eye with the brightness of its architectural components and with the secrecy of the underground passages, occupies pole position, while the 1930s–1960s are, against this backdrop, considered to be the least valuable period in local history, leaving nothing behind worthy of memorialisation. Given this situation, the former inhabitants develop a natural need for a different image for the place, an image to which they could add their own personal history. Comprehending in a real context their own experience of mastering the space, they more or less consciously form the contours of this new image. A definite catalyst in this process is the interview situation. It is during the interview that diverse notions are crystallised and formed into one single whole, the key ideas take shape and are expressed orally, and the main areas of focus are identified. In the interviewees’ speech a more or less unified conception is constructed, be it unpolished and in many ways contradictory, but at least clearly articulated: It was … one could say, a commune … Yes! Zaryadye was a commune, you know, it was all shared … it was all Zaryadye, we were Zaryadyites … Because in our hearts we, of course, … everyone has remained here. < … > INT.: And what, in your opinion, would it be worth building here? INF.: < … > I would, of course, build something in the pure Moscow style. INT.: And what is the pure Moscow style? INF.: That of Zaryadye … the really pure Zaryadye style. Just look at these churches, at these palaces … < … > … you know, this has to remain a nice little area in Moscow and not contemporary Paris! (SVM 19). INF.: No, I would say that there are no other places in Moscow like Zaryadye. It is unique. [ … ] Yes, we are Zaryadyites! That’s what it all comes down to, ‘we are Zaryadyites’: and the fact that this is the oldest part of Moscow, and the area that is most representative of Moscow … Yes … They could move us from here and resettle us, but to erase, you see, as I am sitting with you today … they cannot erase our memories. INT.: So it is a special sort of pride … ? INF.: Yes, yes, that’s it! It is my motherland, yes, it is my … my motherland! (SVM 20). INF.:

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Even just on the basis of the above excerpts, one cannot fail to note that the image being formed is to a significant extent constructed in accordance with the model of the historical myth, including its main component parts (Shnirelman 1998). For example the concept of the golden age (here, of course, the 1930s– 1960s) and the image of the catastrophe (the destruction of the residential buildings and the construction of the hotel) which is followed by a loss of the territory (despite what the interviewees claim, the move to a different area does constitute forcible eviction). On the basis of this mythological notion a positive local identity is formed (‘we are Zaryadyites!’) and in this way a local community of inhabitants of Zaryadye is established. The value of their place is found, on the one hand, in its uniqueness, and, on the other hand, in it being typical of the Moscow landscape, as a result of which it is presented as the most Moscow-like area in Moscow. Further, the new image has clear potential for integration: it accommodates both the nation’s memory (‘the most ancient area’) and autobiographical memory (‘it is my motherland’). Meeting, in this way, the main psychological and cultural needs of the former inhabitants, the new perception of Zaryadye has only one really substantial ‘shortcoming’: it is not in keeping with the place’s current visual image. The current monuments give the landscape a different meaning, they ‘send one back’ to the Middle Ages, not to the recent past. Only the wasteland where the hotel used to stand gives some hope that one day there will be an architectural space that will represent an alternative Zaryadye. For the time being one can just state that in the public consciousness this image of the area is becoming more and more popular. In the local-history literature today the description of Zaryadye more and more often includes the recent period in the place’s history (Komarova 2007), and some texts focus on it and it alone (Mozhaev and Mikhailov 2007). The Zaryadye of the twentieth century enjoys even more popularity in the Internet space. On local-history websites (such as ‘Moskva, kotoroi net’ [the Moscow that is no More] or ‘Moskultprog’ [Moscow Cultural Programme]) and in Live Journal communities, photographs from the 1920s–1960s are regularly posted, and provoke numerous comments. Articles, photographs and discussions about them certainly facilitate the establishment and dissemination of the mythological image of the area described above. A particularly good example of this is an article with the characteristic title ‘A Lost World’ in which the lost Zaryadye, called ‘Atlantida’ [Atlantis], is presented as a vestige of the real Moscow (Mozhaev and Mikhailov 2007). Today’s conversations about Zaryadye in many ways remind one of the situation twenty years ago: just as back then, the people who are today interested in Zaryadye, amateurs and Moscow specialists alike, closely examine photographs, enthusiastically discuss the details of the place’s history, curse the Soviet city-planners, lament the lost past and concern themselves with the area’s future, and, finally, regret that they cannot go back ‘there’. Meanwhile the objects of their aspirations are different Zaryadyes: in one case it is the space of the medieval city with the very old churches and ancient

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palaces, and in the other case it is the cosy little corner of old Moscow with its badly planned residential infrastructure, but unique patriarchal atmosphere. A further difference between the two is the fact that while the first of the two spaces is visualised in the current architectural landscape, the second space is now only to be seen in old photographs and in the images contained in the memory of its former inhabitants. As to whether these images will find physical embodiment in due course, only time will tell.

List of interviewees (the years in brackets indicate when they lived in Zaryadye) BAV – Bozhilina, Antonina Vasilyevna, d.o.b. 1943 (1943–64) BIF – Bogdanovskaya, Irina Fedorovna, d.o.b. 1938 (1938–63) DGG – Deppelport, Georgy Georgievich, d.o.b. 1946 (1946–79) FFA – Folomeev, Foma Andreevich, d.o.b. 1927 (1954–56) KAN – Krupskaya, Alla Natanovna, d.o.b. 1934 (1934–57) KDN – Korovkin, Dmitry Nikolaevich, d.o.b. 1935 (1935–63) MNZ – Milyavskaya, Natalya Zinovyevna, d.o.b. 1935 (1943–56) PVV – Pozdnyak, Vasily Vladimirovich, d.o.b. 1937 (1937–63) SIP – Sokolova, Irina Pavlovna, d.o.b. 1946 (1946–63), Varvarka SVG – Smirnova, Valeriya Gennadyevna, d.o.b. 1930 (1930–61) SVM – Shapovalov, Vladimir Mikhailovich, d.o.b. 1943 (1943–47; 1949–53) SVN – Sokolova, Varvara Nikolaevna, d.o.b. 1919 (1939–63), Varvarka SVP – Smirnova, Valentina Pavlovna, d.o.b. 1929 (1929–52) SYI – Sobennikova, Yulia Ivanovna, d.o.b. 1949 (1945–61) [sic] VDI – Vedeneev, Dmitry Ivanovuch, d.o.b. 1930 (1930–61) ZIY – Zhukova, Izabella Yakovlevna, d.o.b. 1939 (1939–53) ZNK – Zaitsev, Nikolai Kuzmich, d.o.b. 1937 (1937–63)

Notes 1 The chapter is based on an article that first appeared in Antropologicheskii forum 11 (2010). It draws on interviews with former inhabitants of the Zaryadye district, Moscow – see further below. The wordplay in the original title could not be adequately conveyed in English. ‘Mesto pamiati v pamiati mestnykh’, translated literally, means ‘The Location [i.e. Place] of Memory in the Memory of Locals’ (‘locals’ in Russian is the adjectival form of the noun ‘place’). [Editors] 2 The ‘Palace of the Romanov Boyars’ Museum (Palaty boyar Romanovykh) is a collection of structures dating from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries that has been a museum since the nineteenth century, and is now an annexe of the State Historical Museum. It contains an exhibition of late medieval applied arts, etc. See further below. [Editors] 3 For a discussion of the dependence of the information being recollected on the place where the interview is being conducted see (Barker 1994:152). 4 For more details regarding the visual methods used in this paper see (Sadovnikova and Kupriyanov 2006b). 5 i.e. was about thirteen years old – seven being the usual start age for school in Russia. [Editors]

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6 Sometimes this is understood in the literal sense, clearly by analogy with protected museums of wooden architecture. On one occasion we happened to hear one of the city’s guides recounting (completely erroneously) how they specially brought churches from various parts of Russia here, to Zaryadye, so as to demonstrate the wealth and diversity of ancient Russian architecture in one place. 7 In this case the phrase ‘place of memory’ (as opposed to the expression ‘heritage museum’) is used in the literal sense, and not as the specialist term introduced by Pierre Nora (Nora et al. 1984–92). 8 When citing from interviews the speech of the interviewee and the interviewer is italicised. Explanations in square brackets belong to the authors of this article, ellipses signify pauses in speech, ellipses in triangular brackets signify omissions, and the interviewees’ initials are indicated in brackets along with the archive number of the video cassette. The recordings of the interviews are held in the authors’ private archive. 9 The game referred to here is ‘rasshisha’, elsewhere called ‘rasshibalka’. The game involves throwing coins into different areas of a circle marked out on the ground. [Trans] 10 Staryi Angliiskii dvor: dvor [‘yard’] is used here for a freestanding building of substance, roughly, ‘mansion’. [Editors] 11 In the project for the Rossiya Hotel, the English House, then concealed by a nineteenth-century apartment block, was scheduled for demolition to accommodate one of the sweeping ramps up to the building’s front entrance, but it was saved after a campaign led by P. D. Baranovsky. See Aleksandr Mozhaev, ‘Nebesnyi posad: Zaryadye grez i deistvitel’nosti’, http://moskva.kotoroy.net/press/105.html [Editors]. 12 Technically ‘blind arches’. 13 In connection with this the ignorance of many former inhabitants as to the ‘names’ (dedications) of the churches is telling: the absence of a name entails the absence of the object itself in the landscape as one sees it. 14 We will note in passing that in architectural discourse the hotel Rossiya is traditionally said to have played the opposite role: visually it gets in the way of one’s perception of the historical landscape, it blocks views of Moscow’s sights (the Kremlin, Zamoskvorechye, Varvarka). We see it otherwise: Zaryadye’s monuments, ironically, became visible precisely because of the construction of the hotel. 15 In Russian, ‘Varvarskaya tserkov’, from which the street name Varvarka is derived. [Editors]. 16 Regarding the importance of the spatial context in the process of man’s interaction with his material surroundings see (Lynch 1960; Kaganov 1983: 7). 17 The technical term for this structure in English is chemin de ronde (a raised protected walkway, usually found on a castle), but this would clearly be inappropriate for a conversational context [Trans]. 18 The game mentioned here is salochki – its closest English equivalent would be ‘it’ or ‘tag’ [Trans]. 19 V. B. Muravyev, who lived not far from here, recollects that people would go to the Kitaygorodskaya Wall ‘to get a tan, the sun was good there’ (Mozhaev and Mikhailov 2007: 88). 20 See, for example, (Sadovnikova and Kupriyanov 2006a: 296–301). 21 Marina Roshcha (an old area on the outskirts of the historic centre) was so well known for criminal activity in the first half of the twentieth century that it passed into legend [Editors]. 22 ‘Dom’ means ‘house’ and ‘boyarka’ is a derivative of the word boyar. The equivalent in English might be something like Ousalords. [Editors] 23 Now Staraya ploshchad. [Editors]. 24 Having said that, the Kitaigorod Wall is still used as a ‘culinary locus’: for more than 10 years now there has been an eponymous restaurant, located inside the wall. In local history of a metaphysical kind (see, for example, (Rakhmatullin 2009)) great significance is attached to such coincidences; one can see a manifestation of ‘the place’s

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memory’ in them. However, we are interested in a far less mystical phenomenon of the place of memory. In this instance it manifests itself in the design of the restaurant: its space is replete with a wide range of attributes of the Middle Ages which is completely in keeping with the current cultural meaning of the local landscape. 25 Specific exceptions are people who work for the local institutions and also the Georgievskaya tserkov (Church of St George’s) clergy and parishioners. 26 Using the concept of the figure and the backdrop in Gestaltian psychology, people studying the design of the city environment propose distinguishing events and the backdrop as component parts of the visual picture of the space (Ass 1984: 77). In connection with this they note, for example, the total predominance of the backdrop of new city districts whose visual picture has a distinctive dearth of events. In this sense Zaryadye, on the contrary, being super-saturated with visual events, is clearly an example of ‘total eventness’. 27 Regarding the functions of childhood memories, see (Pedagogicheskaya antropologiya 2001: 30–45).

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Prostranstvo Rossii (2002) ‘Prostranstvo Rossii. Kruglyi stol’ [The Space of Russia: A Round Table], Otechestvennie zapiski, 6: 27–36. Rakhmatullin, R. (2007) ‘Varvarka, tuda i obratno’ [Varvarka, There and Back], Moskovskoe nasledie, 3: 51–77. ——(2009) Dve Moskvy, ili Metafizika stolitsy, Moscow: AST/Olymp. Sadovnikova, L. V., Kupriyanov, P. S. (2006a) ‘Zhit v tsentre: Moskovskoe Zaryadye 1950-kh gg. v pamyati ochevidtsev’ [Living in the Centre: Moscow Zaryadye of the 1950s as Recalled by Eyewitnesses], Polevaya etnografiya, St Petersburg: Levsha, 296–301. ——(2006b) ‘Vospominaniya pered kameroi. Vizualnye metody v ustnoistoricheskom issledovanii’ [Memories in Front of the Camera: Visual Methods of Oral History], Tretii Moskovskii mezhdunarodnii festival i konferentsiya po vizualnoi antropologii ‘Kamera-posrednik’: sbornik statei, Moscow: TEIS, 49–65. Shnirelman, V. A. (1998) ‘Postmodernizm i istoricheskie mify v sovremennoi Rossii’ [Postmodernism and Historical Myths in Today’s Russia], Vestnik Omskogo universiteta, 1: 66–71. Sudman, S., Bradburn, N. and Schwarz, N. (1996) Thinking about Answers: the Application of Cognitive Methods to Survey Methodology, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Tishkov, V. A. (2003) ‘Kulturnyi smysl prostranstva’ [The Cultural Meaning of Space], in his Rekviem po etnosu. Issledovaniya po sotsialno-kulturnoi antropologii [Requiem for ‘Ethnos’: Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology], Moscow, 277–305. Vakhstein, V. S. (2007) ‘Sobytiinoe stroenie povsednevnogo mira. Issledovanie obydennogo zhesta’ [The Construction of Events in the Everyday World. A Study of Everyday Gesture], Sotsiologicheskii zhurnal, 3: 6–39. Voronina, T. and Utekhin, I. (2006) ‘Rekonstruktsiya smysla v analize intervyu: tematicheskie dominanty i skrytaya polemika’ [A Reconstruction of Meaning in the Analysis of Interviews: Thematic Dominant and Hidden Polemics] in Pamyat i blokada. Svidetelstva ochevidtsev i istoricheskoe znanie obschestva, M. Loskutova and A. Krasilshchikova (eds), Moscow: Novoe izdatelstvo, 230–61.

11 Yerevan: memory and forgetting in the organisation of post-Soviet urban space1 Levon Abrahamian Translated by Andy Byford

In 2008 Yerevan celebrated its 2,790th anniversary, marking the foundation, in 782 BC, of the Urartian fortress Erebuni, out of which, as Yerevanites understand it, their city had emerged and from which it had inherited its name. And yet, in Yerevan, the practice of urban construction has never been directed at preserving the city’s long history: the majority of Yerevan’s ancient structures have, as a rule, over time been erased and built upon. While the Communists destroyed religious buildings, today’s enthusiastic architects are meting out punishment to the city’s civic edifices (although this division of targets is itself somewhat provisional). Even the great Alexander Tamanian – the architect who had laid the foundations of modern Yerevan in the early Soviet era – demolished a medieval chapel in order to build in its place his famous Opera House. To be fair, Tamanian did this not in the fervour of antireligious campaigning, but in the flow of his mystical-constructivist architectural conceptions; nevertheless, the result was the same kind of radical restructuring of the city’s landscape (which happens to have been especially destructive in this particular case). Indeed, one could say that the purely verbal pathos of the city’s inhabitants’ collective memory – a memory that is made of sheer words (which is all that this constant invocation of pride in the city’s antiquity amounts to) – stands in direct contradiction with the Yerevanites’ actions. Moreover, what is destroyed in this city is, ironically, often replaced by something that impersonates the old – the perfect example of this being a restaurant in the city-centre called ‘Old Erivan’, designed in pseudo-historical and pseudo-ethnographic style. Consequently, tourists who come to visit a city that is constantly presented to them as ‘ancient’ are usually rather surprised to find in its place an urban scene that is actually spanking new. Fortunately, the Erebuni Fortress at least (as the material evidence of the city’s antiquity) has been archaeologically reconstructed only relatively recently and lies away from those parts of Yerevan that are subjected to the largest amount of new construction today. Having said that, there are good reasons to question the historical authenticity of the fortress’s reconstruction, which means that further architectural touching up is quite likely in the future.

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Renaming the urban landscape: resurrection of the Golden Age In Yerevan, the process of street renaming, which began soon after Armenia gained independence in 1991, conforms to the ‘historicist model’ that characterises the national reconstruction of the contemporary Armenian state more generally. This model does not, in fact, express nostalgia for a preSoviet Yerevan (as is the case with the renaming of Moscow’s streets and landmarks), because in Soviet times Yerevan did not experience so much Communist street renaming as extensive rebuilding and immigration.2 This means that giving a few streets back their pre-Soviet names could please only a handful of the city’s longest-standing inhabitants who could genuinely claim that their ancestors were ‘old Yerevanites’. Moreover, the special commission for street renaming that was set up in 1991 was never interested in ‘minor’ historical shifts, such as the transition between the pre-Soviet and Soviet eras, but instead sought to go all the way down to the nation’s ‘roots’. As a result, formerly Communist street names were replaced by the names of heroes and events from the fifth century – the presumed Golden Age of Armenian culture. The Lenin Avenue was turned into Mashtots Avenue already in 1990, in honour of the founder of the Armenian alphabet. The street adjoining it, which used to be known as Kirov Street, after Lenin’s loyal follower, rather fittingly became Koriun Street, named after Mashtots’ own disciple and biographer. In keeping with this particular historical context, the street from which Mashtots Avenue begins was renamed Gregory the Enlightener Street – after Mashtots’ great predecessor. This street was also renamed in 1990, before the setting up of the afore-mentioned commission; its previous name was Kamir banaki Street – in translation ‘Red Army Street’; its renaming thus correlated with the supposed ‘enlightening’ function of the Red Army itself, which the Soviets had credited with bringing the ‘light of Communism’ to Armenia. The commission then renamed another street – Amirian Street, which cuts across Mashtots Avenue near its beginning – King Vramshapuh Street, in honour of the ruler who had hired Mashtots to design his alphabet. However, this street was very soon given back its old name – Amirian Street. This was done not because the city authorities wanted to go back to commemorating the Soviet era (Amirian being one of the twenty-six Baku Commissars), but because the name of the above ancient tsar happens to sound a bit too Persian, jarring the Armenian ear much more than the quite melodious, even if totally Bolshevik, surname Amirian. As is to be expected of such a constructivist concoction, this was, of course, the brainchild of a bunch of intellectuals (historians, philologists and ethnographers), although these were hired for this job by the state and their ideas were supported officially by the authorities – the point being that this renaming was undeniably orchestrated ‘from above’. As such, it was quite clearly in contradiction with the kind of renaming of Yerevan’s cityscape that came ‘from below’. While the streets were being renamed in accordance with the ‘historicist model’, the shops, cafés, restaurants, casinos and other urban

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‘objects’ (as they are called in official documents) located on these ‘historic’ streets, were actually renamed by their owners in a way that both chronologically and geographically contradicted the ancient history that these streets were meant to invoke. Of course, the renaming of these urban ‘objects’ continues indefinitely, since these establishments regularly change owners, who then change the particular locale’s internal and external appearance, as well as its name. In doing so, the names chosen do not, as a rule, look ‘inwards’, at Armenia’s own national history and geography, but ‘outwards’, at the present/future and the wider world, reflecting the globalising tendencies of our times. Frequent names for such establishments are, for instance, ‘Europolis’, ‘Eurostyle’, ‘Manhattan’, ‘Monaco’, etc. (I shall not dwell here on the logic of unofficial names such as ‘Bangladesh’ (a district named for its remoteness and socially marginalised character) or ‘Kuwait’ (a place which had a large number of petrol stations during the oil crisis of the early 1990s), but simply note that these can also be seen as being directed ‘outwards’.) Thus, taken as a whole, Yerevan’s cityscape resembles a large road sign that is, in fact, made up of many smaller road signs, each directing its reader in a completely different direction.

Battling for supremacy over the cityscape It sometimes happens that an architectural work has certain characteristics, which the architect is either completely unaware of, or understands only vaguely, but which at the right moment focus his creation’s architectural power and transform it into something of far greater significance than originally expected. This, I believe, happened to the Matenadaran building – the repository of ancient Armenian manuscripts – designed by the architect Mark Grigorian. I have discussed Matenadaran as a museum elsewhere (Abrahamian 2006: chapter 14); here I shall focus on its role in the battle for supremacy over Yerevan’s cityscape, in which this building has, by all evidence, come out victorious. Matenadaran is situated high up on the hill where, until the early 1960s, loomed the giant monument of Stalin (see Figure 11.1, Figure 11.2). Although the construction of Matenadaran was completed in 1957, after Stalin’s death, the building was intended for this location while Stalin still dominated the city from the hilltop and while the Avenue leading to the museum still bore Stalin’s name. Not long after, however, Stalin was replaced by a statue of Mother Armenia, but this monument never became the symbol of the city (see Abrahamian 2003: 39–41) and never played any role in the struggle for symbolic dominance over Yerevan’s cityscape. Having abandoned his domineering perch on the hilltop, Stalin also had to relinquish his grip on the Avenue, which was given Lenin’s name. Not long afterwards, somewhere between the hilltop and the Matenadaran building, there also appeared Lenin’s profile made out of electric lamps. This meant that by day the city was ‘watched over’ by Mother Armenia (nominally at least) and by night by Lenin (as if secretly, but, in fact, rather obviously).

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Figure 11.1 Matenadaran with the Stalin monument. Photographed by A. Ekekian (Yerevan 1960: 100).

In 1990, when the attitude towards Leninism itself was overturned, Lenin’s profile disappeared from the hill and the Avenue was, as already mentioned, renamed yet again, in honour of Mashtots. The Matenadaran building was also formally named after Mashtots and a monument to the latter, together with his disciple Koryun, was placed slightly below the museum, on the hill’s slope (see Figure 11.3), above the Avenue which was now ‘his’. Thus, Matenadaran/Mashtots somewhat unexpectedly became the undisputed rulers of this side of Yerevan’s cityscape – their terrible opponents, who had competed for this same location and status, having irrevocably vanished. It is not by chance that during the mass demonstrations of 1988 and 1989, when the Communist authorities banned all assemblies on Theatre Square (where Tamanian’s Opera House is located), the demonstrators went not to the city’s outskirts, as the authorities had expected, but chose Matenadaran and the adjoining Avenue for their meetings (Abrahamian 1990: 237–38). Today this is still one of the most desirable locations for any mass political gathering, popular with the opposition (see Figure 11.3) as well as the government, both groups hoping to show that they are capable of gathering a large crowd on this key site. Yet Matenadaran’s victory is something of an exception when it comes to clashes between museums and other architectural structures in battles for supremacy over cityscapes. A remarkable example of such a battle is the struggle between the State Historical Museum and the Cathedral of St Basil the Blessed on Moscow’s Red Square. The Historical Museum was erected in

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Figure 11.2 The unveiling of the Stalin monument in Yerevan, 1950. Unknown photographer (My Yerevan 2002: 143, illustration no. 165).

the nineteenth century and its architect, Vladimir Sherwood, had deliberately given it the appearance of a temple – a Temple of Science, as befits a place of positivist learning, which was the role this museum performed from the 1830s onwards (Eneeva 1991).3 By contrast, Matenadaran established its supremacy not in some bitter struggle between Science and Religion, but precisely thanks to the fact that, although conceived as a scientific museum, as a repository of ancient manuscripts, it continued rather than opposed the traditional practices of a church museum (Abrahamian 2006: 310–11). And yet, it could also be argued that Matenadaran, as a symbol of Armenian national identity, did in fact win (if only passively) in a fight against a different kind of religion – that of totalitarian Communist ideology. The next example shows how an architect’s idea can follow an entirely different path from the one that he originally envisaged. Mark Grigorian – the architect who had built Matenadaran – also designed a large museum building on Lenin Square, housing several different museums under one roof: the

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Figure 11.3 The monument to Mesrop Mashtots, creator of the Armenian alphabet, and his pupil Koryun on Matenadaran. A meeting of the political opposition, 2003. Photographed by Z. Sargsyan.

Museum of the History of Armenia, the National Art Gallery, the Museum of Literature and the Museum of the Revolution. Grigorian clearly competed with his esteemed predecessor – Alexander Tamanian, the original author of this square and of several of the buildings that surround it (and which are today considered to be the paradigms of modern Armenian architecture). In this competition, Grigorian has unquestionably lost out: even without explicitly considering Grigorian’s rivalry with Tamanian,4 Yerevan’s citizens as a rule favour the work of the latter over the former. However, in practice, Grigorian’s museum never did, in fact, compete with Tamanian’s masterpieces. The museum’s real battle was with the Lenin monument, located on the other side of the square directly opposite the museum (see Figure 11.4) – a structure that was, in fact, never envisaged in Tamanian’s original plan for the square, but that was placed there by Grigorian himself (cf. Grigorian 1969: 61–63). Now, if we imagine a dome sitting on top of the otherwise rectangular structure of the museum, we get a typical, albeit somewhat awkward-looking, temple or church – this will permit us better visually to compare the situation on Moscow’s Red Square with the one on Yerevan’s Lenin Square. Moreover, although it is true that Lenin supported national cultures (including the creation of national museums), Leninism as such did not welcome overt displays of national identity, and these were subsequently even persecuted by Lenin’s followers (cf. for example, Suny 1983). Thus, the Lenin monument, standing directly opposite Armenia’s national museum, can be understood as something of a symbolic ‘anti-museum’.

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Figure 11.4 Lenin Square: the museum (the white building in the foreground) and the Lenin monument (across the square behind the oval of grass) face each other off. Unknown photographer, 1975 (My Yerevan 2002: 29, illustration no. 11).

It is interesting that, in the early 1980s, all capitals of the Soviet republics received a directive from Moscow to build a Lenin museum, either on their central square or on the main street where parades passed during official Soviet public holidays. Vigorous discussions took place in Yerevan on this occasion, with several leading architects showing readiness to demolish a number of architectural icons of old Yerevan in order to fulfil this directive. However, Gevorg Barseghian, the chief architect of Yerevan’s central district (which includes Lenin Square) proposed instead to turn Grigorian’s museum into a Lenin museum (especially since it already contained the Museum of the Revolution); this would have preserved the city’s historic architecture, while moving the national museums to more suitable premises,5 since Grigorian’s building lacked many of the requirements for a modern museum anyway. If this proposal had been accepted, Lenin would have conquered the entire square – marking it with his name, his monument, and then, finally, his own museum-temple. This last struggle for supremacy over Yerevan’s urban space ended in 1991, when Lenin’s monument was dismantled, and the square was renamed Republic Square. The Lenin monument was at the time given a temporary and not particularly dignified location in the courtyard of Grigorian’s museum (see Figure 11.5), with which, as we have seen, it had up until then fought a bitter battle.

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Figure 11.5 The deposed monument of Lenin in the courtyard of the Museum 2007. Photographed by Levon Abrahamian.

Competition between city squares As Foucault (1984: 247–48) correctly pointed out, architects have less influence in the sphere of power-relations than certain other key figures (such as priests, prison guards or psychiatrists).6 It is possible that one of the reasons for this is that, although an architect might, like some demiurge, envision a truly magnificent building or an entire city, his architectural successors, as well as those for whom those structures were intended, often completely transform his original project into something far less utopian. Something of this sort happened to the city of Yerevan: it was planned by Alexander Tamanian as a medium-sized, harmoniously organised city of 150,000 inhabitants; yet, by 1990, it had become an urban monster with a population of over one million, which simply swallowed up the neat little town that Tamanian had imagined. Sometimes, however, the architect’s original ideas, even after being profaned by the builders or by subsequent generations, can suddenly unexpectedly return to life and a particular architectural structure might start to play the very role that their creator had originally invented for them. This happened to Tamanian’s best creation – his Opera House – during the mass rallies over the Nagorno-Karabakh question in the late 1980s (cf. A Region in Turmoil 1990). These demonstrations took place on the square in front of Tamanian’s Opera. As a result, this building was during these events turned into a veritable People’s Palace – exactly what Tamanian had originally planned it for – while the square itself became true to its name – Theatre

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Figure 11.6 The ‘political promenade’ on Theatre Square, 1988. Painting by Hakob Hakobian, 2000, reproduced by kind permission of the artist.

Square (which was, in fact, a name not widely used by the city’s inhabitants and which was later changed to Liberty Square). What’s more, Tamanian had built his Opera House on the site where, he believed, once stood a pagan temple of love and song.7 It is for this reason that, as already mentioned, he demolished the medieval Gethsemane Chapel (originally erected there in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and then completely rebuilt after the 1679 earthquake). Thus, these mass rallies actually realised the architect’s mystical vision: the modern Opera House became a veritable pagan temple and in front of it Yerevanites staged something resembling an archaic celebration (see Figure 11.6). I shall not go here into the typological similarities between modern political rallies and archaic celebrations (cf. Abrahamian 1990), but will merely note that an analysis of contemporary political mass events reveals several parallel codes, one of which is etymologically related to our discussion of battles for

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dominance over urban space in contemporary culture. The Russian word (and Gorbachev-era political slogan) glasnost (meaning openness in the public discussion of social and political issues) is in Armenian rendered by the word hraparakaynut’yun, the root of which comes from hraparak, meaning ‘town square’. It is therefore not surprising that the people of Yerevan staged their ‘archaic’ celebration on a square rather than somewhere else. Town squares have always been locations of public events. The town square (hraparak) and the principle of glasnost (hraparakaynut’un) are so close in meaning that by observing the former one can understand the latter. And indeed, one could learn a lot about the nature of Armenian glasnost simply by following the events on Yerevan’s Theatre Square (Abrahamian 1990: 74–75). The fact that people refused to move their rallies to the city’s outskirts, as the authorities had suggested (a strategy that the new authorities are, incidentally, repeating today), demonstrates a certain centripetal power that is reflected in the organisation of so many cities in the world. Following this principle, Alexander Tamanian planned to have two centrally-located squares, which would be connected by the so-called Northern Avenue. One of these – Theatre Square – was chosen by the people as the principal site for their ‘celebrations’; and it was precisely here that in November 1988, in the building originally designed as the People’s Palace, the first ever meeting of people’s deputies by popular mandate took place, despite the authorities’ ban (the first

Figure 11.7 Lenin Square, 7 November 1988. Photographed by H. Marutyan.

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such event in the history of Armenia as well as of the USSR as a whole). This event and what preceded it I defined elsewhere as a carnivalesque civic society staged on a town square (Abrahamian 2001). The other central square in Tamanian’s design was Lenin Square, where the battle between the Lenin monument and Grigorian’s museum building that I discussed above took place. In the late 1980s this square was viewed as a territory that belonged to the authorities and it was only very rarely used by the popular movement for its own political actions. The two squares were therefore symbolically divided between the two rival teams – the people and the authorities, on 7 November 1988, during Armenia’s last Soviet public celebration on Lenin Square (see Figure 11.7). The assembled crowd heard the blare of the trumpet (which was how protest rallies began and finished on Theatre Square), and turned their backs on the tribune where the country’s leaders stood. Following the trumpet’s call, they set off towards their own square. In subsequent years these two squares competed in all manner of ways: for example, which one had a taller and better decorated holiday tree8 – the one put up by the authorities on the Lenin/Republic Square or the one erected by the people on the Theatre/Liberty Square. Later on, in 1996, after he became unpopular, Armenia’s first president, Levon Ter-Petrossian, organised a Sovietstyle meeting in support of his re-election on Republic Square, while his opponent, Vazgen Manukian, organised a counter-rally in the style of the revolutionary 1988 on Liberty Square, each of them exaggerating the numbers assembled on their respective squares and vice versa. At the end of 2007 and beginning of 2008, having regained some of his popularity, the disgraced first president Ter-Petrosian now assembled his supporters on Liberty Square, while his opponent, the incumbent president, Serge Sarkissian, gathered his on Republic Square. What is more, many participants of the pro-authorities’ rally, who were driven there from the provinces on special buses, ended up walking from one square to the other along the Northern Avenue (which had been originally planned by Tamanian, but not actually built by him, being finally opened only in 2007). The Northern Avenue, which connects the two squares, is interesting in its own right. Yerevan’s current architects, supposedly following the idea of the demiurge Tamanian (but in reality freely interpreting his preliminary sketches), demolished the last remaining remnants of the old city and built in its place a rather dodgy neoclassical complex right in the centre of Yerevan. For some reason this complex was intended to evoke the empty surrealist spaces à la Giorgio de Chirico.9 However, it rather unexpectedly became the city’s bustling new centre, largely thanks to the fact that political activity shifted to the newly-built Northern Avenue. When political rallies were banned from Liberty Square (which happened on 1 March 2008, when the authorities broke up the non-stop protest against the rigged elections of 19 February) the protestors organised protest marches (so-called ‘political promenades’)10 along the Northern Avenue, and later on staged there other political actions (see Figure 11.8) and even one sanctioned rally.

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Figure 11.8 A ‘political promenade’ on Northern Avenue, 2008. A demonstration in support of political prisoners. Photographed by G. Shagoyan.

In the autumn of 2008, Liberty Square was knocked out of this politicourban fight (for more than another two years), since the authorities dug it up completely in order to build an underground car-park underneath it. The practice of taking out of action Yerevan’s key locations of political gatherings under the pretence of some refurbishment or other has become so transparent that at one of the opposition rallies someone put forward a suggestion by the inhabitants of Yerevan’s outskirts that rallies should also be organised in their districts because that way the authorities might actually get round to refurbishing their parts of town.11 Finally, one should perhaps note yet another kind of ‘competition’ between urban locations in Yerevan today, albeit only a tacit one. Some of the new locales which are now mushrooming in Yerevan’s city centre sometimes seem to bear names that actually refer to certain other, more peripheral, parts of town. As a result, one could say that some of these more peripheral districts are thereby effectively ‘muscling in’ on the city centre. For example, on one of the streets right next to Republic Square, one finds a building called ‘Sil Plaza’. Although this is a ‘square’ (plaza) only nominally, and is, in fact, a shopping mall, its trading function is meant to justify the term ‘plaza’ (which originally meant a market-place). As for the name ‘Sil’, on the other hand, this actually refers to Yerevan’s Silachi district (the word ‘silachi’ being of Turkic

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Figure 11.9 The Cathedral of St Gregory the Enlightener with the statue of General Andranik, 2008. Photographed by Levon Abrahamian.

origin, suggesting that this district had once been inhabited by dyers). This is the district where the oligarch who owns this shopping mall happens to come from and which he has thereby brought with him right into the city centre.

The battle for the city’s sacred core In the post-Soviet period Armenia’s official church also joined in the urban construction. Its principal edifice became the Cathedral, which the late Catholicos Vazgen I had dreamed of erecting for the 1,700th anniversary of the Christianisation of Armenia. In 1992 a competition was set for the best design, and although many doubted that the building would be completed by 2001, Yerevan did get its Cathedral of St Gregory the Enlightener in time for the celebration (see Figure 11.9). The new temple, from its conception to its realization, is a good example of how the symbolic system of Armenian identity functions. Even the Cathedral’s large size (not entirely evident because of its architectural peculiarities) seems to have resulted from the idée fixe of having exactly 1,700 seats in the temple. However, my aim here is not to dwell on the Cathedral’s architectural merits and flaws; all I wish to do is touch on some of the key symbolic features of this edifice.

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Figure 11.10a The Zvartnots Church, 7th century AD, modern model by T. Toramanian, Museum of the History of Armenia. Photographed by Z. Khachikyan (Armenian Folk Arts 2001: 44, Fig. 2.3.5). Figure 11.10b Bas-relief from the Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, 13th century. Photographed by Levon Abrahamian. Figure 11.10c The ruins of Zvartnots Church. Photographed by S. Sweezy (Armenian Folk Arts 2001: 44, Fig. 2.3.6).

If one examines the proposals submitted for the competition it becomes clear that the majority of the submitted projects were of a traditional bent, featuring a combination of well-known examples of Armenian church architecture. This is hardly surprising, since the present generation of Armenian architects hardly had an opportunity to build churches in Soviet times, so their experience in this area is mostly theoretical and based on past masterpieces. The resulting Cathedral of St Gregory the Enlightener is indeed a good example of such a blend of traditional features. Nevertheless some interesting details can be found in the different proposals. For example, many of them used particular structural components of the famous seventh-century Zvartnots Church (see Figure 11.10a). This shows that contemporary architects see (if only subconsciously) this particular architectural masterpiece as their primary reference point. Zvartnots had acted as an important spiritual and aesthetic landmark already in medieval times. It is probably for this reason that its replica was built in the city of Ani at the beginning of the eleventh century. Some believe that Zvartnots was famous even outside Armenia. Scholars have discovered a striking resemblance between Zvartnots and the image of the building represented on Noah’s ark on the bas-relief in the Sainte Chapelle Cathedral in Paris (see Figure 11.10b).12 The resemblance is so clear that they are convinced that Zvartnots served as a prototype for this image. Indeed, Zvartnots itself would have been perfect as a symbol crowning such a significant anniversary as the one marking 1700 years of Christianity in Armenia. Even a beautiful compilation of different traditional elements could not compete with the forms of Zvartnots itself. Catholicos Vazgen I clearly

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understood this, since, already in November 1988, he said that he wished that the new cathedral in Yerevan would have the form of Zvartnots, although it needed to be bigger. Following this idea, the architect Tiran Marutian, the author of a monograph on Zvartnots and Zvartnots-like cathedrals (1963), prepared just such a project. However, the Catholicos later changed his mind and submitted to the influence of his consultants who preferred to look for models in Armenia’s present, rather than past masterpieces. There was something else about Zvartnots that made it into a perfect model for the new cathedral. Zvartnots itself (having been destroyed in an earthquake) could not have been restored, of course – its ruins represent an important monument that must remain in this form (see Figure 11.10c). However, a replica of Zvartnots, enlarged and equipped with suitable antiseismic technology, could have symbolised Armenia’s rebirth in general, with special reference to the country’s regeneration since the 1988 earthquake. However, in the end, Yerevan acquired a religious symbol of a very different type, which will in future prompt other questions about the city’s and the nation’s identity. In 2002 in front of the new Cathedral the authorities erected a 10metre-tall monument to General Andranik, the famous hero of the genocide era. The general is, somewhat strangely, depicted as riding two horses (see Figure 11.9). The sculptor, Ara Shiraz, intended these to represent Eastern and Western Armenia, or – according to another interpretation – Armenia itself and the Armenian Diaspora.13 This interpretation alludes to the fact that the Cathedral was, apparently, built largely with the Diaspora’s money. Thus, the statue inserts into the discourse of the city the topic of the Armenian Diaspora, an important subject in its own right (cf. the question of the empty elite houses in the city centre, mentioned above in connection with the Northern Avenue).14 Whichever way, Yerevan has missed the opportunity to acquire a powerful spiritual landmark, which could have exerted a powerful influence on the city’s rapidly changing shape. Despite numerous criticisms of the new Cathedral, and people’s general dissatisfaction with it, this edifice has nonetheless immediately been incorporated into Yerevan’s urban folklore. For example, rumour has it that the first wedding that took place in this church was a very tragic one: while lighting the candle during the ceremony the bride was apparently fatally stung by a scorpion; the groom was so devastated by this that he collapsed and died of a heart-attack. I was unable to check the veracity of this story (although what is certain is that the first official wedding in this church actually took place before it was completed and without a tragic outcome), but the episode with the scorpion sounds perfectly plausible. When the Cathedral was first opened to visitors, the builders had still not finished the area designated for lighting candles. The architect, or those who commissioned the cathedral, had decided to place this area outside the church itself, to avoid the soot from the candles ruining the church interior. In these first days of the Cathedral’s functioning, the believers still used the unfinished grotto-like premises below the church, which may well indeed have been crawling with scorpions.

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More importantly, this grotto quickly became something of a sacred spot, typical of popular Christianity – a kind of pagan Christian sanctuary, which religious people used to construct in their own houses, or in destroyed or nonfunctioning churches, during the Soviet era (see the discussion of ‘home shrines’ in Marutyan 2001). The existence of a ‘secret’ unofficial people’s sanctuary underneath the official ‘state’ Cathedral suggests that below today’s officially ‘revived’ Christianity there lies a firm layer of ‘pagan’ Christianity, just as 1700 years ago pagan layers persisted (and continue to persist) below Christian ones, both in architecture and in religious celebrations.

Bringing down the monuments: a memorialisation of forgetting During perestroika the turbulent process of revision began in Armenia, as in the rest of the Soviet Union, in which traditional Soviet events, heroes and ‘gods’ were radically re-evaluated. Towards the end of perestroika and at the start of the post-Soviet period this process especially concerned the question of public monuments. As is to be expected, the greatest ‘gods’ of Soviet ideology became the monument-fighters’ greatest enemies. Of course, as we know, the struggle with the Communist ‘forefathers’ had begun already in the 1960s, with Stalin’s downfall. However, this was essentially a struggle against only one supreme ‘divinity’, brought down by the lower-ranking ‘deities’. In other words, this was a battle against a single monument and it was directed from above. Yerevan’s Stalin monument was one of the more massive in the large family of similar monuments (he was 51 meters tall, together with the pedestal), and this was a great source of Armenian pride in the Stalinist period. In 1962, the monument was dismantled in a single night; the disappearance of the tyrant’s bronze double, just like the life and death of his prototype, was veiled in secrecy. Two soldiers involved in the dismantling lost their lives in the process – possibly the last direct victims of Stalin’s bloody regime. Since there were no Stalin monuments left at the end of the Soviet era, the principal target of the rebels’ rage became Lenin’s monuments. In contrast to the struggle with Stalin, the battle with Lenin was driven mostly from below. And yet, monument-fighters usually preferred to vent their most violent anger on the monuments of the various lower-ranking ‘deities’, while Lenin himself was (at least in Yerevan) dismantled in a ‘cultured’ way, and only after the revolutionaries had gained power (Abrahamian 2003: 32–34). There were, of course, some occasions in the former Soviet republics where Lenin was also the target of the revolutionary crowd’s unbridled fury, as happened, in a rather idiosyncratic way, in Tbilisi in August 1990 (Abrahamian 2003: 30). However, the outrage of the anti-monument brigade was, as stated, poured primarily on the monuments of the lower-standing Soviet ‘gods’. It was they who were destroyed with particular aggressiveness, as if in a barbarian euphoria. A particularly good example of this is the attack on the monument

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to Dzerzhinsky in Moscow on the night of 22 August 1991 (Abrahamian 2003: 27; Abrahamian 2006: 279–80). On the USSR’s periphery, in the national republics, the euphoria of monument destruction was not limited to symbols of the totalitarian regime. In their anti-colonial outbursts, the nationalists directed their destructive anger on to everything connected with Russia, without drawing a clear distinction between Communist leaders and exemplars of Russian culture. In Yerevan, for instance, some minor monuments of Russian cultural figures (e.g. those that stood in front of schools named after them) were removed well before the main monument to Lenin was dismantled in 1991. Generally speaking, in Yerevan, the campaign against the monuments was not carried out by angry crowds. On the contrary, monuments usually disappeared in secret, without an audience. As far as I know, the first victim was the bust of Meshadi Azizbekov, one of the Twenty-Six Baku Commissars, who happened to be Azerbaijani. This took place as early as May 1988, at the height of the Nagorno-Karabakh rallies. Allegedly, this monument, situated in the middle of Azizbekov Square, was felled by accident, when a truck ran into it: according to one version, its driver suddenly felt unwell and lost control of the vehicle. In the case of the bust of Chekhov outside the school of that name, both eyewitness testimony and damage to the stone gates at the entrance to the school really do seem to bear out the story that the bust was damaged accidentally, and it was in fact replaced in 1998.15 However, I was unable to establish whether the ramming of Azizbekov was truly accidental, or a premeditated act,16 prompted by the ripening Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, which started as a battle against monuments before turning into a full-blown military conflict. After the death of academician Andrei Sakharov in 1989, Azizbekov Square was renamed after the dissident scientist and human-rights activist; in 2001 a monument to Sakharov also appeared there. This particular transformation of the square is telling in itself: in the language of monuments it links the Nagorno-Karabakh movement with its ideological competitor – it shows that in the former national republics inter-ethnic conflict went always in parallel (albeit with variable success) with the movement for democratic reform, supported by the Russian democrats, including Sakharov (on this see Abrahamian 2006: 223, 258–59). In Baku, the Azerbaijanis fought a similar battle against the Armenian members of the Twenty-Six Baku Commissars, especially their leader – Stephan Shahumian. In Yerevan, by contrast, the Shahumian bust, standing in front of the school named after him, was not considered a Communist monument that needed demolishing. Most probably because of his nationality, Shahumian did not have to share the fate of Krupskaya and others. The only Armenian Communist who fell victim to the monument-bashers was Ghukas Ghukasian, Armenia’s first Komsomol leader, and the founder of the Armenian Young Pioneer and Komsomol movements. This was blown up in 1990; for a long time the pedestal and bas-reliefs were left as tokens of the vanished

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memorial, but in 2009 this was dismantled in its turn, and a statue of the astronomer Viktor Ambartsurman appeared on the site. Was it because of his aggressive proselytising that poor Ghukasian was made to pay his dues so brutally? Other monuments of more moderate Soviet revolutionaries were generally left untouched, as if benefiting from some tacit amnesty. The revolutionary Suren Spandarian was simply ‘deprived of his name’ through the renaming of his square Garegin Nzhdeh Square, after the prominent high-ranking officer of the First Republic (1918–20) – the fierce enemy of Armenian Communists, and hence potentially of Spandarian (though the latter in fact died in 1916). Although the new authorities also wanted to replace Spandarian’s monument (which had stood there actually only since 1990) with a monument to Nzhdeh, as a result of the said ‘amnesty’, Spandarian remained in his spot safe untouched, while Nzhdeh would, it was decided, be put somewhere else in future. It is interesting that, according to the inhabitants of the blocks around this square, many Yerevanites, especially the youngsters, who know nothing about the square’s history, think that the Spandarian monument actually represents Nzhdeh. The ‘amnesty’ in question is also responsible for the seemingly peaceful cohabitation in Yerevan of the equestrian statues of, on the one hand, the Communist Gai – the hero of the Civil War, who battled against the Whites – and on the other, the legendary Zoravar Andranik – the tsarist general, who had fought against the Turks. These equestrian heroes have joined the pre-Soviet, Soviet and post-Soviet ‘cavalry’ of Yerevan, which includes: David of Sasun, the epic hero, who, according to historical reconstructions, clashed with the Arabs; Vardan Mamikonian, who battled against the Persians; and Marshal Baghramian, who fought the German fascists. Probably the most unusual monument to be dismantled in Yerevan was the statue of the Labourer in the city’s industrial quarter. It remains a mystery to this day why the Labourer had to share the fate of the Communists. According to some of the residents living in this neighbourhood, the Labourer was removed because some local businessmen wanted to build in its place a complex that included a café, a car park and other kinds of profit-making small businesses. That way the Labourer – a symbol of proletarian socialism – was to yield his spot to the symbols of advancing capitalism. At the end of the 1990s, one of my informants noted ironically that the removal of this monument was prophetic: since there were no longer any jobs in Armenia, the country had no further use for the Labourer. In 2004 I heard yet another ‘true story’ about the Labourer’s disappearance: the latest rumour was that he had, in fact, left for the United States (together with the floods of other émigrés) and that he is now from time to time sending money to his fellow monuments, who have remained in Armenia and who are experiencing hard times. However ‘civilised’ the actual ceremony of monument dismantling (as was the case with the Lenin monument in Yerevan; see Abrahamian 2003: 32–34), the underlying logic of this type of political ‘celebration’ is in the dismantlers’ desire to wipe the monument off the face of the city forever. Fortunately, such

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vandalising ‘celebrations’ have not become established ceremonies. Their main purpose, as already mentioned, was to erase a particular historical experience and its anti-heroes from the nation’s collective memory. The opposite tendency – the didactically motivated memorialisation of a bad past – is hardly new, although it is not as widespread (see, for example, the Chinese monument to the twelfth-century villain and traitor, Qin Hui, erected so that every Chinese could spit in his face) (von Senger 1993). Museums of totalitarianism, commonly set up in post-Communist countries which are trying to rid themselves of this unwanted past, fall into this category of memorials. Yerevan too was supposed to have such a museum-park devoted to its totalitarian past, where all the monuments from this supposedly bygone era, including Lenin, would be assembled. However, this project was left unrealised following the 1994 assassination of Yerevan’s first post-Soviet mayor, Hambardzsum Galstian – the principal man behind this project. Since then Armenia has, in fact, been slipping back into totalitarianism, or at the very least authoritarianism, at an alarming rate, which means that Yerevan’s entire cityscape might soon end up as a kind of museum of totalitarianism, although no longer as a didactic memorial of an unwanted past. The didactic formula ‘Remember the villains!’ is one component of the general formula that applies to every monument: ‘Remember the memorable!’ One can also include here the slogan ‘Remember the tragedy!’, which could refer to the misfortunes and calamities brought about either by nature (e.g. the memorialisation of the 1988 earthquake in Gyumri – on which see Shagoyan 2009) or by ‘culture’ as it were (e.g. the memorial to the victims of the 1915 genocide). In contrast to the revolutionary destruction of Soviet monuments, these types of memorials actually seem to involve a juxtaposition of the formula ‘Remember the memorable!’ and the formula ‘Erase from memory what is unwanted!’ In Gyumri, during discussions about how to restore the Amenaprkich Church (Church of the Holy Saviour of All), destroyed during the 1988 earthquake, a similar problem arose. According to one restoration project (by the artist Vazgen Pahlavuni-Tadevosyan, so far as I have been able to establish), the destroyed part of the church, together with the dome, was supposed to be constructed as a transparent glass carcass. The idea behind this project was for the see-through church to be as if a ghostly memorial to its own past. This project was rejected, primarily because it proved unfeasible in engineering terms. However, it was also argued that such a structure was not ideal because it would have made the image of the trauma permanently visible, something that was deemed insensitive to the town’s inhabitants, who have actually had to live through the earthquake tragedy. This brings us back to the question embedded in such memorials: ‘to remember or to forget?’ – a dilemma that concerns not only social and cultural anthropology but also psychology.17 Let us recall the Armenians’ ambivalence towards the deceased: they are afraid of them and take ritual measures to prevent them from coming back (e.g. by putting a heavy stone on the grave); at the same time they hope that the deceased will somehow be

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resurrected, so they also place there the traditional vertical stone – the khachkar – engraved with a sprouting cross. In both cases, what is at stake, of course, is not a belief in ghosts or resurrection, but a symbolic dilemma that lies at the heart of the discourse of memory. Returning to the problem of restoring a destroyed monument, such as the Amenaprkich Church in Gyumri, let us note that while the actual trauma will surely live on in the consciousness of those who have survived the earthquake, the monument itself is usually intended for future generations, or even, in the ideal scenario, for eternity. Consequently, what might be experienced by the actual victims as a direct reminder of their recent trauma, their grandchildren will experience as a symbol that aestheticises the memory of this traumatic event. Of course, the decision whether to rebuild a ruined monument, whether somehow to preserve it in ruined form, or whether to do away with it completely, raises many other questions concerning the dilemma of collective ‘remembering and forgetting’ – the problems of reinterpretation and the replacement of one memorial by another, and finally, of the pedestal itself, which is not just a fulcrum for the monument, but exercises an important mystical function of its own, as the expression of a link between past and future monuments, and indeed the past and future generally (Abrahamian 2003: 41–45). This characteristic is often also assigned to the place where a monument once stood, in cases where the pedestal has also been destroyed in order to prevent the construction of other monuments on that site (as happened with the monument to Lenin and its pedestal on the Yerevan square which once bore his name). The empty space continues to make people uncomfortable; temporary scaffolds are erected, a cross is put up, and a massive video screen appears on which secular images are projected in order to efface memories of the sacral nature that place once had, to plant the ‘grass of forgetting’ over it (Abrahamian 2006: 299–300). At the same time, people keep on drawing up new projects for a monument on that spot, appealing to memory, to pseudo-memory, or forgetting.

Notes 1 Originally published in Russian in Antropologicheskii forum 12 (2010). 2 On the rapid growth of Yerevan’s population in the Soviet years (to more than 20 times its size at the start of Soviet power) as a result of in-migration, see (Naselenie Yerevana 1986: 30–80). 3 On post-Communist transformations of this museum, see (Khazanov 2000: 41–46). 4 Traces of such rivalry can be found in tacit form in the memoirs of Mark Grigorian (1969), where he discusses the planning and construction of Lenin Square. 5 My thanks to Gevorg Barseghian for useful comments on this section and for providing me with some of the information on which it is based. 6 Papernyi’s totalitarian Culture Two seems to be the one exception to this otherwise true observation (on Culture Two and the influence – as well as some mishaps – of its architects, ‘priests’ and ‘prophets’, see Papernyi 2007). 7 On this idea of the architect’s, see also the testimony of the painter Martiros Saryan (Khachatryan 1975: 271, Footnote 76). I am not aware, however, of any documentary or archaeological evidence that might support it – cf. also (Ghafadaryan 1975).

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8 The Russian word elka and Armenian tonacar are used both for a Christmas tree and a secular New Year tree. [Editors] 9 On the social aspects of the new avenue, see (Marutyan 2007). 10 The word ‘promenade’ reflects an Armenian lexeme that is not at all usual for a political event: the point was that the protesters were insisting that their gatherings were not political in the first place. (Our thanks to Levon Abrahamian for this elucidation. [Editors]) 11 This suggestion may have been a figment of the imagination of those organising the rally. 12 Recent examples of work on this include (Manucharyan 1988; Marutyan 1988). 13 The division between Eastern and Western Armenia goes back to the partition of the country between Byzantium and Persia in 387; as a result of this, and later political history, by the early twentieth century there were two distinct Armenian populations, one in Russia and Persia, and the other in the Ottoman Empire. The claim that the statue represents also the Diaspora is perfectly compatible, in practice, given that a significant proportion of the Armenian diaspora comes from Western Armenia, and (a practice followed also by numerous academic researchers) members of it allude to the genocide of 1915 as their central myth of origin and employ the word spyurk for themselves, and oppose themselves to the other section of the Armenian emigration, which has ended up beyond the borders of the modern state for a variety of other reasons (Abrahamian 2005: 178–79). 14 Many apartments in these buildings have already been purchased by, or are supposedly going to be purchased by, rich Armenians from the diaspora, who will inhabit them only occasionally, during their fleeting visits to Yerevan. 15 A plaque referring to the destroyed bust was also put up almost immediately. 16 Twenty years later, a man who at the end of the 1980s had participated actively in the production of alternative political manifestos boasted to me (but without backup evidence) that he had been involved in the destruction of the statue. 17 This ambivalent formula is well reflected in the title of Guchinova’s 2005 monograph on the deportation of the Kalmyks and the traumas caused by this, Pomnit nelzya zabyt [To Forget Impossible to Remember] [the omission of a comma makes the statement ambiguous – Editors].

References A Region in Turmoil (1990) ‘A Region in Turmoil: Armenia’, Soviet Anthropology & Archeology, 29: 2. Abrahamian, L. (1990) ‘Chaos and Cosmos in the Structure of Mass Popular Demonstrations (The Karabakh Movement in the Eyes of an Ethnographer)’, Soviet Anthropology & Archeology, 29.2: 70–86. ——(2001) ‘Civil Society Born in the Square: The Karabagh Movement in Perspective’, The Making of Nagorno-Karabagh: From Secession to Republic, L. Chorbajian (ed.), Basingstoke: Palgrave, 116–34. ——(2003) ‘Borba s pamyatnikami i pamatyu v postsovetskom prostranstve (na primere Armenii)’ [The Struggle with Memorials and Memory in Post-Soviet Space (a Case-Study of Armenia)’], Acta Slavica Iaponica 20: 25–49. ——(2005) ‘Armeniya i diaspora: raskhozhdenie i vstrecha’ [Armenia and the Diaspora: Divergence and Fusion], Diaspory 3: 170–94. ——(2006) Armenian Identity in a Changing World, Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers. Armenian Folk Arts (2001) Armenian Folk Arts, Culture, and Identity, L. Abrahamian and N. Sweezy (eds), Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

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Eneeva, H. T. (1991) ‘Zdanie istoricheskogo muzeya v Moskve i fenomen muzeinosti v kulture XIX veka’ [The Building of the State Historical Museum and the Phenomenon of the Museum in Nineteenth-Century Culture], Pamyatnik v kontektste kultury. Sbornik nauchnykh trudov, N. T. Eneeva (ed.), Moscow: GNIMA, 89–106. Foucault, M. (1984) The Foucault Reader, P. Rabinow (ed.), New York: Pantheon Books. Ghafadaryan, K. (1975) Erevan: Mijnadaryan hushardzanner ev vimakan ardzanagrut’yunner [Yerevan: Medieval Monuments and Lapidary Inscriptions], Yerevan: HHSH GAhrat [in Armenian]. Grigorian, M. (1969) Ploshchad Lenina v Erevane. Vospominaniya o proektirovanii i stroitelstve [Lenin Square in Yerevan: Memories of its Planning and Construction], Erevan: Aiastan. Guchinova, E.-B. (2005) Pomnit nelzya zabyt [To Forget Impossible to Remember], Stuttgart: Ibidem-Verlag. Khachatryan, H. (1975) Artavazd, Yerevan: Hayastan [in Armenian]. Khazanov, A. M. (2000) ‘Selecting the Past: The Politics of Memory in Moscow’s History Museums’, City & Society, 12 (2): 35–62. Manucharyan, A. (1988) ‘Zvart’notsi hartsi shurje’ [On the Question of Zvartnots], Patma-banasirakan handes, 2: 187–200 [in Armenian]. Marutyan, A. (1988) ‘Zvartnots v Noevom kovchege’ [Zvartnots in Noah’s Ark], Voprosy izucheniya armyanskoi kultury (kultura i yazyk). Tezisy dokladov, Z. V. Kharatyan, G. L. Petrosyan (eds), Yerevan, 49–51. ——(2001) ‘“Tan surb” erevuyt’e: akunk’neri hartse ev merorya drsevorumnere’ [The Phenomenon of the “Domestic Shrine”: Origins and Contemporary Manifestations], in Hayots srbere ev srbavayrere. akunk’qnere, tipere, pashtamunk’e [Armenian Saints and Sanctuaries: Origins, Types, Cult], S. Harutyunyan, A. Kalantaryan (eds), Yerevan: Hayastan, 337–46 [in Armenian]. ——(2007) ‘Hayastan – Spyurk’. handipum Erevani kentronum’ [Armenia and the Diaspora: a Meeting in the Centre of Yerevan], Handes Amsoreay (Vienna), 363–428. [in Armenian]. Marutian, T. (1963) Zvar’tnots ev zvart’notsatip tatcharner [Zvartnots and Comparable Monuments], Yerevan: HaypetHrat [in Armenian]. My Yerevan (2002) My Yerevan, G. Zakoyan (comp.), Yerevan: Aknalis. Naselenie Yerevana (1986) Naselenie Yerevana. Etnosotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [The Population of Yerevan: An Ethnosociological Study], Yu. V. Arutyunyan, E. T. Karapetyan (eds), Yerevan: Izd. AN Armyanskoi SSR. Papernyi, V. (2007) Kultura Dva [Culture Two], 3rd edn, Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie. von Senger, H. (1993) The Book of Stratagems: Tactics for Triumph and Survival, London: Penguin. Shagoyan, G. A. (2009) ‘Memorializatsiya zemletryaseniya v Gyumri’ [The Memorialization of the Gyumri Earthquake], Antropologicheskii forum 11: 328–69. Suny, R. G. (1983) Armenia in the Twentieth Century, Chico, CA: Scholars Press. Yerevan (1960) Yerevan, G. Agababian (ed.), Yerevan: Armyanskoe gosudarstvennoe izdatelstvo.

Name index

Abashin, Sergei 9–10 Abrahamian, Levon 3, 14, 264, 269, 270, 273 Akhmatova, Anna 89 Akhmetova, Mariya 10–11 Aleksandrov, Yu. N. 223 Anderson, David 1 Anuchin, Dmitry 44fn4 Arendt, Hannah 132 Ariès, Philippe 208 Assmann, Jan 114 Baiburin, Albert 12, 197 Bakhtin, Mikhail 27 Baranov, D. 1 Barnard, Alan 44fn4 Bereslavsky, Ioann 190 Berger, Peter 157–60 Billig, Michael 10 Bogdanov, Konstantin 12 Boitsova, Olga 11 Boryak, Elena 18fn39 Bourdieu, Pierre 197 Brodsky, I. 89 Bromlei, Yulian 2, 3 Bumistrova, Yuliya 17fn30 Byford, Andy 71fn1 Canetti, Elias 82 Chalfen, Richard 197 Clark, K. 94 Davie, G. 159 Deineka, O. S. 79 Derrida, Jacques 145 Douglas, Mary 5, 54 Dovlatov, Sergei 91 Eisenstadt, S. N. 146 Eliade, M. 79 Epshtein, Mikhail 79 Eriksen, T. Y. 31

Evans-Pritchard, E.E. 5 Fortes, Meyer 29 Foucault, Michel 261–66 Gandelevsky, Sergei 90 Gavrilova, Kseniya 8 Geertz, Clifford 5 Gellner, Ernest 3, 15, 32 Gilferding, Aleksandr 18fn35 Ginzburg, Lidiya 89 Goffman, Erving 133 Gorenshtein, Fridrikh 93 Graham, Dan 132 Grant, Bruce 3 Grey, P. 5 Grigorian, Mark 258–59 Grishin, A. 109–10 Gudkov, Lev 6 Gumilev, Lev 4 Gusev, A. V. 80, 81 Hafsteinsson, Sigurjón 195 Heineman, K. 95 Hirsch, Francine 1 Jakobson, Roman 27 Kabo, Elena 11 Kalinin, Ilya 17fn33 Kalinin, M.I. 63, 67 Kelly, Catriona 12–13 Kharitonov, Mark 91–92 Kharyuchi, G. P. 52, 53 Khomich, L. V. 53 Khrushchev, Nikita 28–29 Kizenko, Nadezhda 175 Kobelyansky, Aleksandr 108–9 Kondrashkov, N. N. 90 Kormina, Jeanna 13 Kosmarskaya, Natalya 10 Kostikov, L. V. 50

Name index Kozachenko, V. I. 155, 156 Kuhn, Thomas 34 Kuklick, Henrika 45fn14 Kulagina, A. V. 88–89 Kupriyanov, Pavel 14 Kushkova, A. 114 Kushner, P. I. 3 Kuznetsov, V. P. 186, 188 Lenin, V. I. 79–80 Levada, Yuri 95 Levi-Strauss, Claude 5 Liarskaya, Elena 13, 53 Lovell, Stephen 19fn59 Luhmann, Niklas 147 Maksimov, S. V. 53 Mandelstam Balzer, Marjorie 17fn23 Malinowski, Bronislaw 33, 44fn4 Manukian, Vazgen 264 Manuylov, Alexander 13 Mayakovsky, Vladimir 75fn42 Melnikova, Ekaterina 17fn32 metropolitan Veniamin 189 Mikhalkov, Sergei 113 Miklukho-Maklai, Nikolai 31, 44fn4 Miller, Daniel 84 Moskovsky, Innokenty 188–89 Nielsen, F. S. 31 Nikitina, Serafima 9, 17fn38 Nurkova, V. V. 240 Orlova, Galina 195 Osokina, Elena 82 Paxson, Margaret 19fn54 Perelman, Chaïm 84 Petrov, N. V. 68 Petrova-Averkieva, Yuliya 3 Pinezhaninova, Natalya 93 Podoroga, V. A. 195, 203–4 Prigov, Dmitry 85 Prokofyeva, E. D. 54 Propp, Vladimir 27 Rakhmanin, Fr. Evgeny 156 Rakhmatullin, Rustam 247 Repin, Ilya 194 Reshetov, Aleksandr 17fn28 Ries, Nancy 8, 173 Rivers, W. H. R. 33 Rodoman, Boris 110 Roginsky, A. B. 68

Rubinshtein, Lev 97 Ruby, Jay 200–201 Ryklin, G. 78 Saakova, Valentina 86–87 Sadovnikova, Lyudmila 14 Sarkissian, Serge 264 Saussure, F. de 145 Semenov-Tian-Shansky, V. P. 73fn8 Sergeev, Andrei 110 Shahnazarian, Nona 19fn39 Shchepanskaya, Tatyana 94 Shelepin, A. N. 103–4 Shirokogorov, Sergei 3 Shnirelman, Viktor 18fn43 Shtyrkov, Sergei 13 Simchenko, Y. B. 52, 54 Sirotinina, Svetlana 12–13 Slepakova, Nonna 83–84 Slezkine, Yuri 2 Sokolovskiy, Sergei 4, 5, 15 Sologubov, A. M. 195 Solovyov, Vladimir 184 Sorokin, Vladimir 95 Stalin, Joseph 2 Starets Serafim, 186 Stark, Rodney 159 Stocking, George 31, 44fn4 Tamanian, Alexander 254, 259, 263 Ter-Petrossian, Levon 264 Thévenot, Laurent 133 Thompson, Patricia 75fn42 Tishkov, Valery 4, 32 Tverdin, Yakov 110–11 Utekhin, Ilya 12 Vakhtin, N. 5 Vasilyeva, Zinaida 17fn39 Vlasova, M. N. 8 Weber, Max 157 Westin, Alan 145 Yakovleva, Lyudmila 169–70, 172 Yurchak, Alexei 108 Zarubin, I. I. 60–61 Zelenin, Dmitry 4 Zemtsov, Ilya 78 Zhekulina, V.I. 8 Zibert, Elizaveta 75fn42 Zinik, Zinovy 91, 93

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Subject Index

‘A Short Story about the Antichrist’ (Solovyov) 184 academic disciplines, identifiers 25 academic primordialism 30 academic tradition 8 access, to literature 35 administrative queues 79 aggressive nationalism 6 All-Soviet Legal Academy, on nationality 67–68 amateur photography 197–98 America, eschatological role 188 American Anthropological Association (AAA) 24–25 American anthropology: dominance 27; organisation 24–25 anthropology: areas of study 8–15; disciplines of 36–43; and Soviet ideology 1–3 antropologiya, use of term 6 Anuchin Triad 28, 33 applied research 34 archival material: ascribed identity 66; on nationality 62–65; nationality 66, 67; non-Soviet nationals 69–70; passports 66 Arctic anthropology 4–5 Armenia see Yerevan ascribed identity: archival material 62– 65, 66; determination of 70–71; process of 60–61 Asian peoples, possibility of conversion 190–91 ‘At the Mausoleum’ (Gusev) 80, 81 autobiographical memory 244 believers’ letters: as advertising 160–66; to the Blessed Xenia 166–68; context and overview 155–57; forms of

address 169–71; images of writers 172–75; metaphor of religious market 157–60; summary and conclusions 175–76 bias 25–26 birth, and uncleanliness 53 Blagovest 164–66 borrowings 34–35 building, appearance and function 229–32 Cathedral of St Basil the Blessed, and State Historical Museum 257–58 censorship 3 census, 1926 61 chaos, powers of 191 charism 189 childhood 107–8; depictions of 109–10 children: and early Soviet festivals 108– 13; socialisation 109; view of demonstrations 111–14 China: as eschatological nation 183–84, 186; expectation of war 184; function of eschatological images 190; ideas of conversion 188–90; immigration 184, 186; means of conquering Russia 186– 87; as threat 184 Chinese invasion, as motif 185–86, 190 Chinese people, ascribed characteristics 187 chosen people 189 church: communication 161; culture 185; role of 160–61 city spaces see space and memory clairvoyance 189 clichés, photographic 197–98 Commission on the Study of the Tribal Composition of the Population of Russia (KIPS) 60

Subject Index communication, church 161 communications: macro-perspective 133–35; micro-perspective 135–40 communicative choices 132 conferences 32 contexts, of research 32–33 convergence, vs. diversity 2–3 coordination 133 costs, of research 6–7 criticism, lack of 30 cult of personality 111 culturalism 6 culture, as value laden 1 dead: ambivalence towards 272–73; fear of 206–7, 208 death: denial of 208; medicalisation 196; and uncleanliness 53 Decree on Passports, 1953 61 Decree on the Passport System of the USSR, 1974 61 Decree on the Soviet Passport, 1932 61 defilement 54–55 demonstrations: children’s perspectives 111–14; participation 113 determinism, evolutionary 157 dialogue 32 disciplinary knowledge 26 discourse, of recollection 14 disenchantment of the world 157 distribution, of goods 91 Diveevo 185 diversity, vs. convergence 2–3 division of labour, academic 24, 25, 26 double-faith 13 drinking, holiday celebrations 116 eschatological images, functions of 190 eschatological nations 183–84, 186 eschatology, motifs 183 ethics, of research 9 ethnic affiliation 60 ethnic identity 8, 12, 29; determination of 60 ethnography: development of 28–29; role in Soviet Union 1 ethnos: focus on 29; use of term 1–2, 3 etnografiya, use of term 6 evolutionary determinism 157 faithful, marking of 189–90 family festivals 104 family memory 11 female taboos 50–56

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festivals: changing attitudes to 111–13; drinking 116; early soviet 108–13; family 104; family orientation 104, 107; food treats 114; importance of 103–4; participation 107; pocket money 114–15; presents 115–16; and ritual 118; in schools 104; socialisation of children 109; transformation of 103 field approach 131–32 folklore 77–78 food treats 114 foreign invasion, fear of 183 forgetting, memorialisation of 269–73 former Soviet Union, social changes 77 funding, for research 6–7 funeral photographs: attitudes to 206–16; canonical 202–3; collage 212; composition 201–3, 206; dating of 205–6; disappearance from culture 195–96; drinking a toast to the dead 207; as eternal 204; functions of 206– 16; funeral scene, Izhevsk 203; funeral scene, Tambov province 213; grief 202, 203–4, 205; iconographic canon 197–206; influence of icons 204–5; origins of tradition 194–97; private funerals 195; professional 205; reasons for 196–97, 199–200; reverse of image 214; as ritual 209; scene in the village of Tatarskoe 202; sharing family news 213–15; showing 213–15; style of 198–99 see also photography funerals 11; elite 196; as events 206; newsreels 194; and queuing 81 gender, and queuing 93–94 genres 31 glasnost 263 goods, distribution of 91 grants 7 grief: funeral photographs 202, 203–4, 205; privacy of 208 Gyumri 272 happiness 103 high Stalinism 11 historiography 27; failure of 30–31 history of ideas 31 history, of landscape 223–24 holidays: changing attitudes to 111–13; drinking 116; food treats 114; growing out of 117–18; pocket money 114–15;

280

Index

presents 115–16 see also Soviet holidays household books 66 hraparakaynut’yun 263 I Am a Woman (Merezkho) 93 Iceland, post-mortem portraiture 195 identity: ascribed see ascribed identity; ethnic 8, 12, 29, 60; national 6 see also nationality self-identification 77; space and memory 246 ideology, and state ethnography 2 image management, in research 27–28 ‘In the Queue’ 81 institutionalisation, of new areas of research 32–34 inter-disciplinarity 24 interdisciplinary collaboration 29 interdisciplinary coordination 26 interest groups 32–33 interviews 14; as social interaction 222 invisible queues 79 isolation, professional 34–35 Jews: defeat of 189; as satanic army 187–88 John of Kronstadt 175 journals 5 justice, and queuing 84–88 knowledge, disciplinary 26 landscape, correlating past and present 238–39 language, and nationality 60 legal system, binary nature of 59 Lenin mausoleum, queue 80–81, 97 Lenin museums 260 Leningrad Blockade, queuing 89 List of Nationalities 60 literature, access to 35 ‘Little Purse in Hand’ (Gorenshtein) 93 Litva 191 markets, as public spaces 136 marking of faithful 189–90 Marxism 79; influence on research 29 Matenadaran building 256–58 medicalisation, of death 196 memorialisation of forgetting 269–73 memories, of the dead 200 memory 14; autobiographical 244 memory and space see space and memory

menstruation, and uncleanliness 52–53 methodology, interest in 5 metrical records 65–66 miracles by correspondence 156 modernisation, and secularisation 157 Moscow: cityscape dominance 257–58; role in festivals 108–9 Muslims 188 narod 8 Narodnaya pravoslavnaya gazeta vo slavu Svyatitelya Nikolaya “Pravilo very” 162 national Bolshevism 1 national character, and queuing 83 national identity 6 national specificities 2 national traditions, of research 26–27 nationalism, as research topic 10 nationality: All-Soviet Legal Academy 67–68; archival material 62–65, 66, 67; determination of 70–71; meaning and importance 59–60; political significance 68; self-specification 61; transformation of 71 natsionalnost see nationality Nenets 13, 50–56; attitude of Soviet regime 50–51; indigenous studies 52; prohibitions on women’s behaviour 50–51; rules of behaviour 55–56 new objects or methods, effects of 32 newsreels, of funerals 194 NKVD 68–70 non-queuers 87–88 non-Soviet nationals 69–70 nostalgia, for Soviet festivals 119–20 nostalgic modernisation 7 objective reality 29–30 objectivity 25–26 official documents, endorsements 59 OOO Aist 140–45; personnel 141 Orthodox Brotherhood 185, 186, 188 Orthodox fundamentalism 185 Orthodoxy 13; publications 161–66; Russian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate (ROC MP) 159–60 see also believers’ letters other world, and uncleanliness 54 pamphlets 2 ‘Parade’ (Kobelyansky) 108–9 parades 12–13

Subject Index paradigmatics 146–47; privacy study 140–45 parameters, setting 2 parents and children taking part in a procession 105 participant observation 14 passportisation 12 passports: archival material 66; management 65–71; obtaining 65–66; re-introduction 61 patience 95–96 perestroika 269 performative approach 130 personal identity, documentation 59 personal space, in queuing 82 petitions, on nationality 62–65 photography: amateur 197–98; retrieval signals 222; rites of passage 197–98, 199–201, 205, 211, 212; Russian and Western 215; staged 198; superstitions 210; visual biography 212–13 see also funeral photographs Pioneers 104 play 133 pluralisation 157 pocket money 114–15 policing, social 12 Polish Decree 68–70 political rallies 262–64 post-mortem portraiture 194–95, 204 post-soviet research 11 poverty, and faith 172–73 power relations: architects 261; of research 9 practices, as contingent and dynamic 13 Pravoslavnaya gazeta 161 Pravoslavnyi Sankt-Peterburg 161, 162 presentism 31 presents 115–16 privacy 13; construction of 147–48; defining 145; temporality of 140; understandings of 132–33 privacy/publicness 132 privacy study: context and overview 130–32; creation of public sphere 132, 136–37; exported interactions 134; fieldwork site 130–31; forms of address 136; journeys 134–35; macroperspective of communications 133– 35; methodology 131; microperspective of communications 135– 40; object of study 132–33; OOO Aist 140–45; paradigmatics 140–45, 146– 47; personal relationships 138–39;

281

privacy/publicness 132; public/private boundaries 139–40; publicness 147; quasi-publicness 132–33, 137–38; reactions to researchers 131; summary and conclusions 145–48; syntagmatics 133–40, 145–46; village institutions and amenities 135–36; working hours 140 private funerals, photographs 195 privatisation, of state holidays 104 ‘Problems in the Historiography of Russian Anthropology’ 5 professionalisation 34–35 prophecy 185–86 Prorochestva startsa Serafima 186 provincialisation 5–6 psychological orientation, Soviet people 79 public monuments: destruction and replacing 269–72; restoration 272–73 see also Yerevan public/private boundaries 139–40 public sphere 132, 136–37 publications, proliferation 5 publicness 132 purification 55 quasi-publicness 132–33, 137–38 queuing 12; categories of queues 78; conflicts 85; etiquette 84; excusal from 87; experience of 94–95; folkloric meanings 78; and funerals 81; and gender 93–94; as history of USSR 86; hours spent 78; idealistic reminiscence 83–84; as integral part of existence 81; and justice 84–88; Lenin mausoleum 80–81; Leningrad Blockade 89; as metaphor 79–80; and national character 83, 85–86; organising ethical principle 83; as part of Soviet life 77; personal space in 82; as projection of law and order 81–82; and public consciousness 79; rules of behaviour 90–91; shared beliefs 95; social expectations 95; social functions 92–93; and social life 82; social roles 92; as socialisation 89, 96; socio-cultural and ideological identification 97; symbolism 80, 93; as target of fun 78; values 86–87, 89; in West 82 racism 6 reality, objective 29–30

282

Index

recollection 14, 222 Red Square, role in festivals 108–9 religiosity, rise in 185 religious affiliation, and nationality 60 religious market 157–60 religious pluralism 157–58 religious renaissance 157–58 remembrance 14 research: areas of study 25–26; boundaries 24; contexts of 32–33; contribution of Russian anthropology 27; costs 6–7; creation and development of new areas 32–34; demarcation and differentiation 33–34; ethics 9; focus 4; freedom to pursue 4; funding 6–7, 26; institutionalisation of new areas 32; methodologies 14; motivation for 25; national traditions of 26–27; objectives 7; post-soviet 11; power relations 9; setting of parameters 2; shift to urban 11–12; status of 24; working conditions 9–10 restorative nostalgia 7 retrieval signals 222 Revelation 20: 7 183 revision 269 Revolution, social categories 61 rites of passage: funerals as 200; photography 197–98, 199–201, 205, 211, 212 ritual 93 ritual sacrifice 84 rituals: funeral photography 209; invention of 103; political 104 Roma ore 11 (De Santis) 82 rossiiskii 6 Rus pravoslavnaya 162, 163, 164 Russian anthropology: contribution of 27; development of 28–29; future of 35; image of 28; international perspectives on 31 Russian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate (ROC MP) 159–60 Russkii palomnik 164 school celebrations 116–17 scientific criticism, lack of 30 secularisation, and modernisation 157 self-censorship 3 self-identification 77 senior school pupils at a demonstration 107

senior school pupils at a demonstration in Leningrad 105 seriality 132 shopping 84 Siberia, as research site 4–5 small business 140–45 Smolenskii khram 169 social categories 61 social choice, existential indeterminacy 95 social construction 29–30 social life, and queuing 82 social policing 12 social sciences 30 social transformation 11 Soviet holidays: nostalgia for 119–20; understanding post-Soviet society 103 see also holidays Soviet people, psychological orientation 79 Soviet regime: attitude to Nenets 50–51; fear of surrounding countries 68 Soviet Union, collapse 6 space and memory: autobiographical memory 244; context and overview 220; correlating past and present 238– 39; distancing 240–41; familiarity and forgetting 240; identity 246; individual recollections 222–23; interviews 221, 222, 246; ownership of space 244–45; participants 221; research approach 221; research location 220–21; retrieval signals 222; summary and conclusions 246; visual methods 222 see also Zaryadye specialisation 25, 34 spectators standing by the Hermitage on the official birthday of the Young Pioneer organisation 106 spies, fear of 68–70 spontaneous queues 79 St Xenia of Petersburg see Xenia state ethnographers 1 state ethnography: collapse 4; and ideology 2 State Historical Museum, and Cathedral of St Basil the Blessed 257–58 state holidays, privatisation of 104 status, of research 24 Stepnoe 130–31, 135–36 structuralism, understandings of 4 subjectivity, devaluation of 29–30 suffering, and faith 174 superstitions, around photographs 210

Subject Index Supreme Attestation Commission (VAK) 35 sya”mei, understanding of term 52–56 syntagmatics 133–40, 145–46 taboos: death 208; female 13, 50–56; interpretation of 51 teaching 35 temporality, of privacy 140 The Blessed Sister Mariya (Zhogolev) 165–66 ‘The Chauffeur’s Gloves’ (Dovlatov) 91 The Mushroom Picker (Zinik) 91 the People, as subject of study 8 ‘The Queue’ (Kharitonov) 91–92 The Queue (Sorokin) 95 The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion (Berger) 157–60 theory, interest in 5 theory of power 147 They Did not Expect Him 194 tourism 241 traditional culture 7–8 trust 131, 142 truth 25–26 ‘Turkestan’ (photo album) 194–95 ‘Uncle Styopa’ (Mikhalkov) 113 uncleanliness 13, 50–56; and birth 53; and death 53; and menstruation 52– 53; and other world 54; sources of 54– 55 urban, research shift to 11–12 veneration 175 villages, as closed 130–31 visual anthropology 11, 33 visual biography 212–13 waiting 94–95 waiting man 95 ‘Who’s Last in Line?’ 78 worker daily life 11 working hours 140 Xenia 155–57, 175; letters to 166–68

283

Yamal 50–56 yellow peril 183–84 Yerevan: architectural change 254; building renaming 255–56; Cathedral of St Gregory the Enlightener with the statue of General Andranik 266; central squares 263–64; cityscape dominance 256–60; competition between city squares 261–64; competition between locations 265– 66; construction and destruction 254; deposed monument of Lenin in the courtyard of the Museum 261; destruction and replacing of monuments 269–72; Lenin monuments 269; Lenin museum 260; Lenin Square 258–60, 260, 263, 264; Liberty Square (Theatre Square) 264, 265; Matenadaran building 256–57; Matenadaran with the Stalin monument 257; memorialisation of forgetting 269–73; monument to Mesrop Mashtots 259; Mother Armenia 256; Northern Avenue 264, 265; Opera House 261–62; sacred core 266–69; Stalin monument 256–57, 269; street renaming 255–56; Theatre Square (Liberty Square) 262; unveiling of the Stalin monument 258 see also public monuments Zaryadye 220–21; appearance 225–32; appearance and function of buildings 229–32, 246–47; architectural changes 247–49; cleaning of architectural monuments 239; everyday life with a backdrop of monumental history 233; historical buildings 230–38; historical interest 242–44; as historical landscape 223–32; House of the Romanov Boyars 233, 235–38, 236; images 241–42, 246, 249; Kitaigorod Wall 230–34, 234; ownership of space 244–45; present day 226; symbolic value 245; transformation of 246–47; underground passages 232–33; visual status 242 see also space and memory