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RUSSIA XXI

< Issue No 2 from 2011 yr. >

Topical Transformations: on Events in North Africa and Middle East

Events occurring in North Africa make it rightful to speak about serious mutations that are indications of the process which was described by the author long ago. The question is a gradual and painful conclusion of the Modern epoch and project and their replacing with conception of the managed chaos. Leaders of superpowers consider this concept as a possible model of control over the world and regions that are interesting in economic and political respects. Religious fundamentalism and its concomitant bringing the humankind to archaic conditions are two most important tools of this global systemic agenda. Finally, the author offers his analysis of balance of forces, of big political game plans, of situation evolving around Egypt and Libya and demonstrates propriety of his explanation.

At What Square did Decembrists March out?

Analysis of historical sources demonstrates that in the Decembrists' time the square where they staged their uprising was called in three different ways: it was referred to as the Senate square, St. Isaac’s square and Petrovskaya square. Name ‘the Senate square' has never been the official name. However the historical facts are irrelevant for those who live with and by a myth of historical memory. The struggle for historical memory is a way of the struggle for power. The recent renaming of Decembrists' square in Saint-Petersburg is a vivid episode of this struggle. «Restoration» of historical name is a terminological special operation aimed at discrediting of the Decembrists' metaphor of uprising which the intransigent opposition tries on itself. The Confucian «correction of names» has brought about only emphasizing of the rebellious symbolism ingrained in the memorial place around the Copper Horseman. For a long time the Senate square is not just an urban place-name. It is one of the most important cross-points of national historical time and space. The time is stopped there. The Senate square mentioning within any context revitalizes the glorious day of 14 December 1825, in the Russian people’s memory.

«Variegated Beast Lynx»: Antichrist in the Medieval Iconography

Antichrist is the key figure of the apocalyptical prophecies, the last and the main enemy of the Church. In the East and the West of Christian world the sinister «son of devil» drew attention of many authors and painters. Since the first centuries A.D. there have appeared different ideas about the nature and appearance of the Enemy. The iconography of Antichrist has embodied an array of variable interpretations. He was depicted as a seven-headed monster, dappled Beast, seductive young man, imperious ruler. His visual images include gestures of sorrow, triumph, fury, desperation or fear. In Russian icons, frescos and miniatures multiple figures of Antichrist spread rather late, starting from the second half of the XVIth century. The article is focused on the semiotics of these diverse images. In the first part, which is published in this issue, the author reviews Muscovite Rus' eschatological tradition and early Christian texts that have influenced Russian iconography of the Enemy.

Getting Closer in Troubled Waters: Russia and Ossetia in the mid-18th Century (the end)

The last part of the article deals with the crucial point of the history of the Ossetian embassy in St. Petersburg (1751−1752). The negotiations centered around the perspectives of establishing closer relationships between Russia and Ossetia to eventually usher in the era of incorporation of the pivotal North Caucasus region into Russian imperial mould.

New European Paradigm of «Statehood»

The article is devoted to the new European paradigm of «statehood» in that its peculiar form in which it was assimilated by prominent Russian historians. In this respect the author examines works of S.M.Soloviev, K.D.Kavelin and B.N.Chicherin. Thus the concept of «statehood» is being developed and defined within proper theoretical context and has to facilitate understanding of the Russian history all over its continuity. However the author emphasizes that theoretical assumptions of historians should be analyzed very attentively and require a profound understanding. For experience of new European interpretation of the «state» and «statehood» concepts are very different from what one can find in the Russian sources of the pre-Peter I times.

How Stalinism was Heat-hardened

The author deals with emergence of Stalinism as a phenomenon and elaboration of its principal, universal concepts. The new socio-political and legal doctrine was discussed and put into turnover by members of the Marxists-supporters of the statehood Society. Until recently virtually nothing has been known about activities of this entity. Due to use of unique archive materials (retrieved from the Academy of sciences archive and its Saint-Petersburg branch) the author succeeded in tracing genesis of principal ideological constructs of Stalinism. The author focuses on minutes and verbatim of presentations delivered by the Society’s members at the First All-Union congress of Marxists supporters of the statehood and at the First All-Union plenum of the Societies of Marxists-supporters of statehood societies.

The «Personality Cult» Issue in March of 1953

Words about inadmissibility of «personality cult» for the first time were pronounced on the second day after burial of I.V.Stalin. These words were pronounced by G.M.Malenkov. Yet these words were not directly referred to Stalin. If one proceeds from the primary intention of the CC of CPSU secretary P.N.Pospelov's memorandum where the CC of CPSU Presidium meeting held on March 10, 1953, was mentioned then it is obvious that this meeting was in no way connected with Stalin’s name. The key idea of the speech G.M.Malenkov delivered to journalists was simple. To none of three top leaders of the Soviet Union, members of the CC of CPSU Presidium G.M.Malenkov, L.P.Beria, and V.M.Molotov, should not be given any preponderance. The leadership should be collective. However even after the July Plenum of the CC of CPSU Presidium (at this forum G.M.Malenkov for the first time made the direct statement that there had been «the cult of Stalin’s personality») no public exposure of Stalin’s activities followed. Such campaign was impossible due to the only reason: criticism of Stalin expressed at the CC Plenum was allowed only to the top Party officials and only at the closed Party events. For all the rest and for the Soviet society as a whole the topical campaign of «the harmful cult of personality» exposure was reserved. This campaign of veneration of the great personality despite the fact that the true creator of history is the people ran on until N.S.Khruschev's secret report to the 20th Congress of the CPSU.

Published but not Assimilated

Materials of six commissions (on general political issues, foreign policy, elaboration of legislative drafts, agrarian issues, national economy and labor regulation issues, and national issues) of the Social Democrat fraction of the Constituent Assembly are stored in the Russian State archive of social-political history. Though these documents were for the first time published more than 10 years ago, they still are not duly involved in the scientific turnover. Meanwhile these documents illustrate how the principal points of the Russian Social Democratic Workers (unified) Party’s Declaration were elaborated and discussed. I.G.Tsereteli's speech and the Declaration he read off were the brightest event of that extraordinary short but shattering day which predetermined the future of Russia. Having dispersed the Constituent Assembly the Bolsheviks transgressed the point of no return. The first step towards establishment of the single party system was made.

Imitation as a Tool of Phasing-out. Or Phasing-out by Virtue of Imitation. Both ways Produce the Sane Net Result

The author deals with what he considers one of the main causes of the present day decline of Russia — substitution of imitation of activity for activity. Nowadays this practice is common but goes practically unnoticed because it is used by all strata of the Russian society and is pretty convenient for everybody. However the further advancement of this practice is utterly detrimental not only for the Russian state but for Russian society itself and eventually may ruin it.