Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

Today in History

Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, alias Lenin (Russian: Ле́нин) died of a brain hemorrhage on January 21st, 1924 at the age of 54. Lenin was one of the Russian leading political figures and revolutionary thinkers of the 20th century. He masterminded the Bolshevik take-over of power in Russia in 1917 serving as head of government of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and of the Soviet Union from 1922 until his death. Under his administration, the Russian Empire was replaced by the Soviet Union and all wealth including land, industry and business was nationalized.

Lenin had a significant influence not only on the history of Russia but on the international Communist movement and was one of the most influential and controversial figures of the 20th century. Following the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, reverence for Lenin declined among the post-Soviet generations, yet he remains an important historical figure for the Soviet-era generations.

———————————————————————————————————————————–

Berghahn Books presents a selection of titles on Russian & Soviet history and culture:

 

Forthcoming in Paperback!

RUSSIAN POSTMODERNISM
New Perspectives on Post-Soviet Culture
Mikhail N. Epstein, Alexander A. Genis, and Slobodanka M. Vladiv-Glover
With an Introduction by Thomas Epstein

 

Recent decades have been decisive for Russia not only politically but culturally as well. The end of the Cold War has enabled Russia to take part in the global rise and crystallization of postmodernism. This volume investigates the manifestations of this crucial trend in Russian fiction, poetry, art, and spirituality, demonstrating how Russian postmodernism is its own unique entity. It offers a point of departure and valuable guide to an area of contemporary literary-cultural studies insufficiently represented in English-language scholarship. This second edition includes additional essays on the topic and a new introduction examining more contemporary developments.

 

 

MULTIPLE MORALITIES AND RELIGIONS IN POST-SOVIET RUSSIA
Edited by Jarrett Zigon

 

In the post-Soviet period morality became a debatable concept, open to a multitude of expressions and performances. From Russian Orthodoxy to Islam, from shamanism to Protestantism, religions of various kinds provided some of the first possible alternative moral discourses and practices after the end of the Soviet system. This influence remains strong today. Within the Russian context, religion and morality intersect in such social domains as the relief of social suffering, the interpretation of history, the construction and reconstruction of traditions, individual and social health, and business practices. The influence of religion is also apparent in the way in which the Russian Orthodox Church increasingly acts as the moral voice of the government. The wide-ranging topics in this ethnographically based volume show the broad religious influence on both discursive and everyday moralities. The contributors reveal that although religion is a significant aspect of the various assemblages of morality, much like in other parts of the world, religion in postsocialist Russia cannot be separated from the political or economic or transnational institutional aspects of morality.

 

 

RUSSIAN CULTURE
Margaret Mead and Geoffrey Gorer/John Rickman
With an Introduction by Sergei Aruitnov, Russian Academy of Sciences

 

They were influential both for several generations of anthropologists and in shaping American governmental attitudes toward the Soviet Union during the Cold War period. Additionally they offer fascinating insights into the early anthropological use of psychological data to analyze cultural patterns. Read as part of the history of the anthropology of complex contemporary societies, they are as fascinating for their more questionable conclusions as for their accurate characterizations of Russian life.

 

 

 

 

RUSSIA BEFORE THE ‘RADIANT FUTURE’
Essays in Modern History, Culture, and Society
Michael Confino†

 

One of the major historians of prerevolutionary Russia has collected in this volume some of his most important essays. Written over a number of years, these pioneering works have been revised and updated and are complemented by others being published for the first time. Thematically, they cover major subjects in Imperial Russian history and in historical writing, such as ideas and their role in historical change; the intelligentsia, the nobility, and peasant society; and historiography. The twelve essays raise cardinal questions about current scholarship on Russian history before the upheavals of 1917 and offer original interpretations that are of interest to the educated layman as well as the professional historian.

 

 

 

CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN RUSSIAN CITIES
The Urban Landscape in the post-Soviet Era
Edited by Cordula Gdaniec

 

Cultural diversity — the multitude of different lifestyles that are not necessarily based on ethnic culture — is a catchphrase increasingly used in place of multiculturalism and in conjunction with globalization. Even though it is often used as a slogan it does capture a widespread phenomenon that cities must contend with in dealing with their increasingly diverse populations. The contributors examine how Russian cities are responding and through case studies from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, and Sochi explore the ways in which different cultures are inscribed into urban spaces, when and where they are present in public space, and where and how they carve out their private spaces. Through its unique exploration of the Russian example, this volume addresses the implications of the fragmented urban landscape on cultural practices and discourses, ethnicity, lifestyles and subcultures, and economic practices, and in doing so provides important insights applicable to a global context.

 

 

 

RECONSTRUCTING THE HOUSE OF CULTURE
Community, Self, and the Makings of Culture in Russia and Beyond
Edited by Brian Donahoe and Joachim Otto Habeck

 

Notions of culture, rituals and their meanings, the workings of ideology in everyday life, public representations of tradition and ethnicity, and the social consequences of economic transition— these are critical issues in the social anthropology of Russia and other postsocialist countries. Engaged in the negotiation of all these is the House of Culture, which was the key institution for cultural activities and implementation of state cultural policies in all socialist states. The House of Culture was officially responsible for cultural enlightenment, moral edification, and personal cultivation—in short, for implementing the socialist state’s program of “bringing culture to the masses.” Surprisingly, little is known about its past and present condition. This collection of ethnographically rich accounts examines the social significance and everyday performance of Houses of Culture and how they have changed in recent decades. In the years immediately following the end of the Soviet Union, they underwent a deep economic and symbolic crisis, and many closed. Recently, however, there have been signs of a revitalization of the Houses of Culture and a re-orientation of their missions and programs. The contributions to this volume investigate the changing functions and meanings of these vital institutions for the communities that they serve.

 

REVOLUTION AND COUNTERREVOLUTION
Class Struggle in a Moscow Metal Factory
Kevin Murphy

 

Why did the most unruly proletariat of the Twentieth Century come to tolerate the ascendancy of a political and economic system that, by every conceivable measure, proved antagonistic to working-class interests? Revolution and Counterrevolution is at the center of the ongoing discussion about class identities, the Russian Revolution, and early Soviet industrial relations. Based on exhaustive research in four factory-specific archives, it is unquestionably the most thorough investigation to date on working-class life during the revolutionary era. Focusing on class conflict and workers’ frequently changing response to management and state labor policies, the study also meticulously reconstructs everyday life: from leisure activities to domestic issues, the changing role of women, and popular religious belief. Its unparalleled immersion in an exceptional variety of sources at the factory level and its direct engagement with the major interpretive questions about the formation of the Stalinist system will force scholars to re-evaluate long-held assumptions about early Soviet society.

 

 

SARTRE AGAINST STALINISM
Ian H. Birchall

 

Most critics of the political evolution of Jean-Paul Sartre have laid emphasis on his allegedly sympathetic and uncritical attitude to Stalinist Communism due, to a large extent, to their equation of Marxism with Stalinism. It is true that Sartre was guilty of many serious misjudgements with regard to the USSR and the French Communist Party. But his relationship with the Marxist Left was much more complex and co tradictory than most accounts admit. This book offers a political defence of Sartre and shows how, from a relatively apolitical stance in the 1930s, Sartre became increasingly involved in the politics of the Left; though he always distrusted Stalinism, he was sometimes driven to ally himself with it because of the force of its argument.

 

 

 

 

POST-COMMUNIST NOSTALGIA
Edited by Maria Todorova and Zsuzsa Gille

 

Although the end of the Cold War was greeted with great enthusiasm by people in the East and the West, the ensuing social and especially economic changes did not always result in the hoped-for improvements in people’s lives. This led to widespread disillusionment that can be observed today all across Eastern Europe. Not simply a longing for security, stability, and prosperity, this nostalgia is also a sense of loss regarding a specific form of sociability. Even some of those who opposed communism express a desire to invest their new lives with renewed meaning and dignity. Among the younger generation, it surfaces as a tentative yet growing curiosity about the recent past. In this volume scholars from multiple disciplines explore the various fascinating aspects of this nostalgic turn by analyzing the impact of generational clusters, the rural-urban divide, gender differences, and political orientation. They argue persuasively that this nostalgia should not be seen as a wish to restore the past, as it has otherwise been understood, but instead it should be recognized as part of a more complex healing process and an attempt to come to terms both with the communist era as well as the new inequalities of the post-communist era.

 

For a full selection of titles please visit our Central/Eastern Europe section of the webpage.