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From Vladimir Voinovich, one of the great satirists of contemporary Russian literature, comes a new comic novel about the absurdity of politics and the place of the individual in the sweep of human events. Monumental Propaganda, Voinovich’s first novel in twelve years, centers on Aglaya Stepanovna Revkina, a true believer in Stalin, who finds herself bewildered and beleaguered in the relative openness of the Khrushchev era. She believes her greatest achievement was to have browbeaten her community into building an iron statue of the supreme leader, which she moves into her apartment after his death. And despite the ebb and flow of political ideology in her provincial town, she stubbornly, and at all costs, centers her life on her private icon. Voinovich’s humanely comic vision has never been sharper than it is in this hilarious but deeply moving tale–equally all-seeing about Stalinism, the era of Khrushchev, and glasnost in the final years of Soviet rule. The New York Times Book Review called his classic work, The Life & Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin, “a masterpiece of a new form–socialist surrealism . . . the Soviet Catch-22 written by a latter-day Gogol." In Monumental Propaganda we have the welcome return of a truly singular voice in world literature.
Moscow And The Third World Under Gorbachev by W. Raymond Duncan Pdf
This book explores the scope of Moscow's "new thinking" in its Third World context—highlighted by the USSR's surprising withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1988. It reviews the foreign policy record Gorbachev inherited and assesses his economic and strategic priorities in the diplomatic arena.
An exploration of the history and significance of the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, Poland. The Palace of Culture and Science is a massive Stalinist skyscraper that was “gifted” to Warsaw by the Soviet Union in 1955. Framing the Palace’s visual, symbolic, and functional prominence in the everyday life of the Polish capital as a sort of obsession, locals joke that their city suffers from a “Palace of Culture complex.” Despite attempts to privatize it, the Palace remains municipally owned, and continues to play host to a variety of public institutions and services. The Parade Square, which surrounds the building, has resisted attempts to convert it into a money-making commercial center. Author Michal Murawski traces the skyscraper’s powerful impact on twenty-first century Warsaw; on its architectural and urban landscape; on its political, ideological, and cultural lives; and on the bodies and minds of its inhabitants. The Palace Complex explores the many factors that allow Warsaw’s Palace to endure as a still-socialist building in a post-socialist city. “The most brilliant book on a building in many years, making a case for Warsaw’s once-loathed Palace of Culture and Science as the most enduring and successful legacy of Polish state socialism.” —Owen Hatherley, The New Statesman’s“Books of the Year” list (UK) “An ambitious anthropological biography of Poland’s tallest and most infamous building, the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw. . . . It is a truly fascinating story that challenges a tenacious stereotype, and Murawski tells it brilliantly, judiciously layering literatures from multiple disciplines, his own ethnographic work, and personal anecdotes.” —Patryk Babiracki, H-Net History
In 1917 the Bolsheviks proclaimed a world remade. This book shows how Soviet cinema encouraged popular support of state initiatives in the years up to the Second World War, helping to create a new Russian identity & territory, an 'imaginary geography' of Sovietness.
Celebrity and Glamour in Contemporary Russia by Helena Goscilo,Vlad Strukov Pdf
This is the first book to explore the phenomenon of glamour and celebrity in contemporary Russian culture, ranging across media forms, disciplinary boundaries and modes of inquiry, with particular emphasis on the media personality. The book demonstrates how the process of ‘celebrification’ in Russia coincides with the dizzying pace of social change and economic transformation, the latter enabling an unprecedented fascination with glamour and its requisite extravagance; how in the 1990s and 2000s, celebrities - such as film or television stars - moved away from their home medium to become celebrities straddling various media; and how celebrity is a symbol manipulated by the dominant culture and embraced by the masses. It examines the primacy of the visual in celebrity construction and its dominance over the verbal, alongside the interdisciplinary, cross-media, post-Soviet landscape of today’s fame culture. Taking into account both general tendencies and individual celebrities, including pop-diva Alla Pugacheva and ex-President and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the book analyses the internal dynamics of the institutions involved in the production, marketing, and maintenance of celebrities, as well as the larger cultural context and the imperatives that drive Russian society’s romance with glamour and celebrity.
An intrepid investigation into the pro-democracy movements that have reshaped the Eastern bloc since 2000, reopening the Kremlin’s wounds from the Cold War. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the Soviet Union collapsed two years later, liberal democracy was supposed to fill the void left by Soviet communism. Poland and Czechoslovakia made the best of reforms, but the citizens of the “Evil Empire” itself saw little of the promised freedom, and more of the same old despots and corruption. Recently, a second wave of reforms–Serbia in 2000, Georgia in 2003 and Ukraine in 2004, as well as Kyrgyzstan’s regime change in 2005 – have proven almost as monumental as those in Berlin and Moscow. The people of the Eastern bloc, aided in no small part by Western money and advice, are again rising up and demanding an end to autocracy. And once more, the Kremlin is battling the White House every step of the way. Mark MacKinnon spent these years working in Moscow, and his view of the story and access to those involved remains unparalleled. With The New Cold War, he reveals the links between these democratic revolutions – and the idealistic American billionaire behind them–in a major investigation into the forces that are quietly reshaping the post- Soviet world.
Architectures of Russian Identity, 1500 to the Present by James Cracraft,Daniel B. Rowland Pdf
From the royal pew of Ivan the Terrible, to Catherine the Great's use of landscape, to the struggles between the Orthodox Church and preservationists in post-Soviet Yaroslavl—across five centuries of Russian history, Russian leaders have used architecture to project unity, identity, and power. Church architecture has inspired national cohesion and justified political control while representing the claims of religion in brick, wood, and stone. The architectural vocabulary of the Soviet state celebrated industrialization, mechanization, and communal life. Buildings and landscapes have expressed utopian urges as well as lofty spiritual goals. Country houses and memorials have encoded their own messages. In Architectures of Russian Identity, James Cracraft and Daniel Rowland gather a group of authors from a wide variety of backgrounds—including history and architectural history, linguistics, literary studies, geography, and political science—to survey the political and symbolic meanings of many different kinds of structures. Fourteen heavily illustrated chapters demonstrate the remarkable fertility of the theme of architecture, broadly defined, for a range of fields dealing with Russia and its surrounding territories. The authors engage key terms in contemporary historiography—identity, nationality, visual culture—and assess the applications of each in Russian contexts.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility. 'A comic masterpiece.' The Times 'Winning . . . gorgeous . . . satisfying . . . Towles is a craftsman.' New York Times Book Review 'A work of great charm, intelligence and insight.' Sunday Times 'Everything a novel should be: charming, witty, poetic and generous. An absolute delight.' Mail on Sunday 'If we do a better book than this one on the book club this year we will be very very lucky.' Matt Williams, Radio 2 Book Club 'Abundant in humour, history and humanity' Sunday Telegraph 'Wistful, whimsical and wry.' Sunday Express On 21 June 1922 Count Alexander Rostov - recipient of the Order of Saint Andrew, member of the Jockey Club, Master of the Hunt - is escorted out of the Kremlin, across Red Square and through the elegant revolving doors of the Hotel Metropol. But instead of being taken to his usual suite, he is led to an attic room with a window the size of a chessboard. Deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the Count has been sentenced to house arrest indefinitely. While Russia undergoes decades of tumultuous upheaval, the Count, stripped of the trappings that defined his life, is forced to question what makes us who we are. And with the assistance of a glamorous actress, a cantankerous chef and a very serious child, Rostov unexpectedly discovers a new understanding of both pleasure and purpose.
Moscow under Construction by Robert Argenbright Pdf
Moscow under Construction explores the growth of place-based opposition to destructive redevelopment practices in Moscow and the consequent changes in city’s governance regime. The groups of citizens discussed in this study have struggled to defend homes, neighborhoods, heritage buildings, and historic districts, and in the process they’ve built up civil society and advanced democratization. Heritage preservationists and other aggrieved Muscovites have organized themselves into “initiative groups” and “social associations” to protect specific places in the city and to influence the planning process, and these place-defenders have become more confident and capable as citizens. Their activities also have caused Moscow’s city government to shift along the political spectrum away from highly authoritarian and opaque habits of ruling toward a more open and collaborative governance regime.
War Monuments, Public Patriotism, and Bereavement in Russia, 1905–2015 by Aaron J. Cohen Pdf
This study analyzes how public bereavement became cemented into the broad geography of Russian culture with the appearance of experiential and local memorials in the 1960s after a half century of instability, contestation, and absence. The author shows how monument builders responded to a need from the population to share an accessible war experience apart from the exclusive Bolshevik memorial culture. He argues that this development of war commemoration has amplified the role of war hero memorialization as an anchor of public stability and social solidarity in Putin’s Russia, where there is little consensus about the past, present, or future.
Red Phoenix Rising by Von Hardesty ,Ilya Grinberg Pdf
A groundbreaking account of the Soviet Air Force in World War II, the original version of this book, Red Phoenix, was hailed by the Washington Post as both "brilliant" and "monumental." That version has now been completely overhauled in the wake of an avalanche of declassified Russian archival sources, combat documents, and statistical information made available in the past three decades. The result, Red Phoenix Rising, is nothing less than definitive. The saga of the Soviet air force, one of the least chronicled aspects of the war, marked a transition from near annihilation in 1941 to the world's largest operational-tactical air force four years later. Von Hardesty and Ilya Grinberg reveal the dynamic changes in tactics and operational art that allowed the VVS to bring about that remarkable transformation. Drawing upon a wider array of primary sources, well beyond the uncritical and ultra-patriotic Soviet memoirs underpinning the original version, this volume corrects, updates, and amplifies its predecessor. In the process, it challenges many "official" accounts and revises misconceptions promoted by scholars who relied heavily on German sources, thus enlarging our understanding of the brutal campaigns fought on the Eastern Front. The authors describe the air campaigns as they unfolded, with full chapters devoted to the monumental victories at Moscow, Stalingrad, and Kursk. By combining the deeply affecting human drama of pilots, relentlessly confronted by lethal threats in the air and on the ground, with a rich technical understanding of complex military machines, they have produced a fast-paced, riveting look at the air war on the Eastern Front as it has never been seen before. They also address dilemmas faced by the Soviet Air Force in the immediate postwar era as it moved to adopt the new technology of long-range bombers, jet propulsion and nuclear arms. Drawing heavily upon individual accounts down to the unit level, Hardesty and Grinberg greatly enhance our understanding of their story's human dimension, while the book's more than 100 photos, many never before seen in the West, vividly portray the high stakes and hardware of this dramatic tale. In sum, this is the definitive one-volume account of a vital but still underserved dimension of the war-surpassing its predecessor so decisively that no fan of that earlier work can afford to miss it.