Essays

THE CONCEPT OF MARKET in Russian media, and the question of modernization

By analyzing the usage of the word “market” (rynok) in the Russian press since 1990, the author shows how the keyword takes on new meanings, reflecting and relates to the different social and political roles of the press outlets in an evolving, modernizing environment.

Essay by Katja Lehtisaari View Comments

Carbon and cultural heritage The politics of history and the economics of rent

The author argues that the equation of culture and natural resources has become a fundamental metaphor of the official patriotic discourse of identity in contemporary Russia. This conceptualization of the past frames nation building and state construction, the “nostalgic modernization”.

Essay by Ilya Kalinin View Comments

Civil religion in Russia A choice for Russian modernization?

In an attempt to bring Russian articulations of Russian religiosity into a dialogue with the American sociologist Robert N. Bellah’s theory on secularization the author argues for a Russian model of civil religion.

Essay by Elina Kahla View Comments

Modernizing Russian culture The reopening of the Bolshoi Theater

Focusing on the role of the Soviet legacy the author conducts a detailed analysis of the restoration work, as well as the official discourse surrounding it. The aim is to uncovering the ideological ambiguities of Russia’s most recent top-down modernization, a modernization based on values claimed to be “conservative”.

Essay by Irina Kotkina View Comments

creating the IDEAL CITIZEN A comparison of Swedish and Estonian practical housing policy in the postwar era

Like many other modern states, both the Soviet Union, with its authoritian socialism, and Sweden, with its social democracy, strived to shape their citizens' lives for the better. Both states considered it their duty actively to plan, organize and control housing.

Essay by Jenny Björkman & Johan Eellend View Comments

BLOGGING In russia The blog platform LiveJournal as a professional tool of Russian journalists

The Russian media system today is a hybrid composed of the main public sphere — that is, state-owned mainstream media — and a parallel public sphere or counter-sphere, consisting of mainstream media relatively disloyal to the Kremlin, and social media. The present study is based on an analysis of one hundred journalist’s blogs maintained on the LiveJournal platform in during the 2012 presidential election in Russia.

Essay by Elena Johansson View Comments

Economies of favors or corrupt societies? Exploring the boundaries between informality and corruption

The only functioning system for transactions in the Soviet Union was in fact blat, the system of corruption and tacit agreement and alliances among all parties involved in a given transaction, is here argued. The “knowing smile” was a shared signal for those in the system.

Essay by Alena Ledeneva View Comments

Reconciliation rather than revolt How monitoring complicates perspectives on democratization

In Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia an extended transition period is taking place, monitored and orchestrated by the European Council. Here it is investigated how to understand long-term interference of the international community in the affairs of states that strive to be recognized as democratic.

Essay by Anders Nordström View Comments

The concept of transition in transition Comparing the postcommunist use of the concept of transition with that found in Soviet ideology

The postcommunist concept of transition, as it was in use during the 1990s and early 2000s, is analyzed from the viewpoint of its intellectual prehistory. The concept is partly contrasted with alternative notions, partly relocated to its antithesis of communist ideology, where “transition” actually was an established concept. The reconstruction of the dialectics between communist and postcommunist transitology indicates and responds to a need for historical reflexivity, argues the author here.

Essay by Kristian Petrov View Comments

Chernobyl as The beginning of the end of the Soviet Union

The belief in technology was fundamental in Soviet culture. When the nuclear reactor exploded and harvested souls and spread illness throughout a vast area, over the course of many years, an image of the collapse of the Soviet Union was thereby created. Chernobyl became an image of the apocalypse of communism.

Essay by Johanna Lindbladh View Comments