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RUSSIA XXI

< Issue No 2 from 2007 yr. >

The US Minister of defense speech in the US Congress in which he introduced Russia into «the axis of evil» was one of the reasons that caused the Russian President’s hard-hitting report at the security conference in Munich. V.V.Putin in rather strong terms described US and NATO policy as well as the Pentagon head’s statement on necessity to increase military expenditures, particularly due to the uncertainty of situation in Russia. Revitalization of US and NATO policy on the Russian direction creates considerable problems for Russia because NATO approaches the Russian frontiers immediately and even enters territory of the post-Soviet space. In fact, the US-Russia relations problem is the problem of Russia’s weakness. The US is in haste to take advantage of this weakness. That’s why the authors strongly criticize some Russian circles' reaction to the existing situation. These pundits repeat «no need to dramatize» mantra while the authors provide well-founded arguments in favor of opinion that the intended deployment of NATO missile bases in Poland and radar stations in Czech Republic is pointed precisely against Russia. Thus 20 year epoch of illusions connected with ‘Russia's entrance into the West' has come to the end. Russia needs to have the sovereign state and the sovereign super-project.

The Cold War: the Sources and the Lessons. Towards the Interpretation of the Origins of «Containment»

The cold war may have begun, in a formal sense in the late 1940s but its multiformity (including pop-cultural contest), unexpectedness, intensity and longevity only make sense if we understand that it had far older sources. To ignore the prehistory of the cold war politics is to miss some of the most important aspects of the story. The author quite explicit about this: it is a typical error to see the origins of the cold war largely from the perspective of the confrontation between ideologies, between Leninist communism and the Western liberal values dates to 1917. The author of the article strongly believes that the new approach to the history of international relations in the XXth century demands to analyse the problem from a different angle — mainly paying attention to the «wars of position» in which both the pre-revolutionary Russian political elite and bolshevism in power in their perpetual search of security ever since the beginning of WWI, through the Revolution, the Civil War of 1917−1920, and the intermediate period between the world wars saw themselves as engaging against the more powerful and hostile West. In the first part of the article the author focuses on the U.S. diplomacy’s efforts to implement a policy designed to prevent the consolidation of the Soviet influence in Europe and Asia. In fact it was the «protocontainment» project supported by conservative politicians and «Russian experts» like Bullitt, Kelley, Henderson, Berle, Kennan.

A Superfluous Man: Doctor G.I.Sokolski in the Mid-19th Century Moscow

The paradoxical expression «superfluous people» introduced into the literature by I.S.Turgenev was widely used by the Russian literary critics and in the Russian culture history became the generally accepted, even stereotyped term. In this article this notion is used to show-up the extraordinary personality and amazing destiny of G.I.Sokolski, an outstanding representative of the mid-19th century medical science and professor of the Moscow University. The authors for the first time involved in their analysis such sources as letters written by Sokolski and other persons who played decisive roles in his destiny. These letters are kept the Russian State Archive of Literature and Arts (RGALI), manuscripts department of the Russian State Library and in department of written sources of the State Historical Museum. The authors also draw in numerous materials of memoir literature that characterize not only the very hero of their narrative but also the university and urban environment.

«I just Was Born as Émigré». «America in Diaries, 1973–1983» by Aleksandr Shmeman

The author focuses his attention on «Diaries, 1973−1983» by Aleksandr Shmeman, a prominent religious (Orthodox) thinker of the mid-20th century. More exactly, the author focuses on Shmeman’s opinion about of the United States. Shmeman who was born out of Russia and spent most of his life in the US from cradle to grave felt himself to be a «particle of the Russian people» (his ancestors along maternal line were Russians). Father Aleksandr steadfastly watched the daily life of US, the country of his residence. He watched stratagems of US domestic and foreign policies of the 1970s and 1980s and provided refined comparative characterizations of the Russians and Americans. He offered his own interpretation of some aspects of US presidents' activities and argued about the American democracy which he compared with the European democracy. He expressed his opinions of the American literature, arts and paid attention to great variety of individual manifestations of the American life. One cannot but admit that Shmeman’s thoughts continue to take part in the present day controversies for these thoughts suggest specific variants of answers to questions the contemporary life puts before use.

«Vendee»: Historical Event in a Role of Political Allegory

In 1793 a great uprising in the West of France threatened the very life of Revolution. Country people in adjacent sections of Poitou, Anjou, and Brittany joined to attach the forces of the Republic. These events, known as a War of the Vendée or the Vendee counterrevolution, never stopped inspiring histories in great volume and variety. Many terms engendered by French Revolution are omnipresent today in any European language. Nevertheless theirs specific contents were shifted creating more wide signification. Thus, «the Right» and «the Left» are synonymous to Conservative and Democrat; the Thermidor represents the «end of the Revolution» etc. The Civil War in the Vendee (1793–1796) and its aftermath (up to 1832) were the origin of the fundamental division in subsequent French politics, the division between the «Patriot» East and the «Counterrevolutionary» West, strongly perceived up to the late XX-th century. As a result «the Vendee» played exclusively a symbolic role, allegorizing a Counterrevolution in general, devoid of real historical substance. The tradition of imaginary instead of reality created the most favourable conditions for successful international adoption of a new term. Thus, the widespread perception in Russia was that the Revolution of 1789 was an uncompleted October 1917. As it was no place to peasant counterrevolution in Leninist doctrine the «Russian Vendee» (as well as a French prototype) were lacking in historians interest

«The History Calls All of Us for Answer»! Events of 1917 as seen by eyes of contemporaries, masters of the Russian satire and humor

The author considers processes of the pivotal for Russia’s historical destiny events of 1917 as seen by eyes of contemporaries, masters of the Russian satire and humor compared, predominantly at the level of subtext, with events of the 1990s. The latter presents phenomena that are in many ways recognizable and comparable in their external manifestations, even though they have absolutely different roots. The author intends this article in the first instance for those who in learning of the past and present are disposed to broad historical comparisons in identifying «chromosome set» in fabric of events and phenomena of the Russian history. The essence of this «chromosome set» consists in certain algorithm of reiterated and unique, inimitable features in behavior of the historical process subjects. The author thinks that if a researcher moves along this approach he/she may, with some degree of conditionality and metaphoric usage, speak of presence of the Russian historical process «genetic code» which reaches the mental level. In the particular case examined by the author this code implies that feverish pulse which the Russian history acquires when modernization shifts prove to be intertwined with pre-modernization and counter-modernization phenomena. In result of such combination both revolutionary leaps and systemic reforms begin with the inflated hopes and loud overoptimistic declarations and then turn about to be a social and, moreover, civilizational back rush.