The “Overkill” Phenomenon in Russian History
Alexey Teplyakov
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2021-13.2.2-303-326
Abstract:

This article analyzes the phenomenon of ‘overkill’, which usually accompanies human life as an example of non-constructive behavior. In this article, the author considers the ‘overkill’ phenomenon in the late Imperial and Soviet period in Russia, when overkill was de facto constituted and became one of the ways to manage society. The author proves that with the development of society, the government begins to need overkill as a means of effective management policy, which allows testing public opinion while achieving the goals set by the government. Taking on the task of implementing global and rapid violent changes, the government faces resistance from people. The author shows that overkill transitions from a household phenomenon to the one used by the state, gains a special quality. The overkill that occurs when the message of power is conveyed to the population is the simplest and most effective way to compensate for the lack of feedback mechanisms between the government and society. This phenomenon has proven necessary for the authoritarian and especially totalitarian authorities – they use it to legitimize themselves, explain mistakes, and declare people guilty. In the Communist system, overkill played an important role as a stimulator and regulator in political, socio-economic, and cultural life. Mobilization campaigns, so popular in the USSR, used this ‘overkill’ method as a prerequisite for success. Thus, ‘overkill’ has become an important and integral way of interaction between a dictatorial state and society.

National-Cultural Organizations in the Siberian Ethnic and Migrant Urban Infrastructure: A Case Study of the Cities of Tomsk and Irkutsk
Victor Dyatlov,  Iraida Nam
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2021-13.1.2-283-304
Abstract:

The article explores one of the major points of contradiction in the interests and roles of Siberian urban actors with regard to so-called ‘national-cultural’ organizations (natsional'no-kul'turnye organizatsii, NKO, also known as natsional'no-kul'turnye avtonomii, NKA), ‘national-cultural’ associations, centers, foundations, etc., all of which are ethnic organizations. Specifically, it looks into why and how these organizations have become the centre of intersecting ethnic and migration discourses, what is their role and place in the urban infrastructure being created and used by migrants coming to Siberian cities, and how the relations between the state and national-cultural organizations formed at the regional level. Carried out in the Siberian urban centres of Tomsk and Irkutsk, our 30-year research into these questions (including thorough research methods such as observation, engagement in public events and public and advisory council meetings, interview and survey, analysis of documents and other materials released by national-cultural organizations as well as by the mass media) has enabled us to determine what place national-cultural organizations occupy in the migrant infrastructure of the two cities and to establish what kind of relations there is between these organizations and migrants from countries of the same ethnic origin – paternalistic or the one that allows leaders and activists from these organizations build their own social capital. The study of 2018 and 2019 – in-depth interviews and surveys held in Tomsk and Irkutsk – resulted in a substantial correction of the research results we had obtained in a few years prior to it. It revealed that the role migrants play in the local national-cultural organizations is not that of full members, rather, they act as an object of patronage on the part of the local ethnic elite deeply integrated into the host society (or ethnic activist groups that position themselves as such). In fact, the (social, economic and legal) support of these organizations provided to migrants is insignificant, and only a small number of migrants participate in cultural events organized by the local NKOs. Thus, these NKOs can hardly be seen as an element of the migrant infrastructure or an asset facilitating adaptation of migrants in these cities. It also became clear that migrants’ ties with their ‘historical homeland’/home countries, which the local national-cultural organizations take advantage of in sustaining their activities as well as the status of their leaders, often result in the issue of ‘conflicting loyalties’, especially when home countries actively conduct diasporic politics toward this category of their citizens abroad.

Transcending Postcolonial Frontiers: Re-envisaging the Grand Trunk Road
Priya Singh
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2021-13.1.2-305-326
Abstract:

The essay calls for a re-imagining and reshaping of colonial constructs.  It concisely encapsulates the history of the Grand Trunk Road (GT Road), from the 16th century when it was referred to as ‘Sadak-e-Azam’ to the late 19th century, when the road was completed under the administration of Lord William Bentinck and was renamed as ‘The Grand Trunk Road’ to contemporary times when it connects multiple cities with National Highways as part of the Golden Quadrilateral project and remains a ‘continuum’ that covers a distance of over 2,500 kilometres. While highlighting its importance in terms of its criticality as a geopolitical/strategic connect, the essay concludes on the note that there is much more to the GT Road than being a mere logistical, infrastructural tool. It serves as a political and cultural connect as well as embodies a way of life and these historic and organic connections require reinforcement.  The essay underlines the symbolic value of the GT Road, while it comprises the mainstay of commerce in the subcontinent but, at the same time is significant in terms of rearranging social and political hierarchies, in other words, it constitutes an intrinsic part of the broader narrative of the south Asian space.

National-Cultural Organisations in Contemporary Siberian Cities: Issues of Ethnic Representation
Victor Dyatlov,  Iraida Nam
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2020-12.4.2-473-491
Abstract:

The so-called ‘national-cultural’ (natsional'no-kul'turnye organizatsii, NKO, or natsional'no-kul'turnye avtonomii, NKA), or ethnicity-based organisations, that started to emerge in Russia at the turn of the Soviet and the post-Soviet epochs have become an ordinary attribute of the country’s urban space. We were interested in the question of why and how these organizations have found themselves at the intersection of ethnic and migration discourses. For nearly 30 years we have been studying the case of Tomsk and Irkutsk national-cultural organisations (based on observations, participation in the events and activities organised by NKO/NKA and in the meetings of specialised advisory boards, interviews and surveys, materials released by national-cultural organisations and municipal authorities, mass media reports, etc.). This allows us to understand what role migrants themselves had to play: whether they were subjected to paternalistic care or contributed to accumulation of social capital by leaders and activists of national-cultural organisations, or both. Local authorities have come to see such organisations as a convenient tool to manage ‘diasporic’ communities, that is, organised ethnic groups, whose membership is associated with one’s ethnic origin or ethnicity and which are entitled to act independently as agents of social relations. NKO/NKA leaders are considered to be ‘diasporic bosses’ exercising the right to control and regulate their ‘diaspora compatriots’. That these organisations serve to meet specific ethnic groups’ cultural needs is not their single and possibly not even their main function. Their legal status (resulting from a special law on organisations of this type and a law on public organisations more generally) allows them to be in close contact with the authorities, and, in fact, to have a symbiotic relationship with them. As a result, these organisations have come to be informally tasked with assisting adaptation of migrants in Russian cities. Enthusiasts developing national/ethnic culture (‘ethno-entrepreneurs’) enjoy a certain degree of power given by the state and receive limited but important material and symbolic resources to present their activities as a consolidated ethnic group (‘diaspora’) in urban space. Leaders of ethnic organisations can also benefit from their status in both symbolic and material terms, serving as intermediaries between the ‘diaspora’ they construct and the authorities, and maintaining a relationship with their historical homeland.

Re-imagining Locations by way of the “Indian Diaspora”
Anita Sengupta
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2020-12.3.1-188-206
Abstract:

Abstract

Diasporas have gained currency as a productive frame for re-imagining locations, movements identities and linkages that have been flattened by the effect of globalization on world politics.  This article examines how diasporas re-orient conventional cartographies and spatial configurations by identifying historically located networks that often escape the attention of scholars and policy makers working within the framework of individual nations. The foregrounding of such networks brings into focus global flows that predates the age of globalization and creates the possibilities of exploring and strengthening collaborations across regions. All of these issues come into play when one examines what is identified as the “Indian” diasporic community in Central Asia and the temptation to think of them as stable bounded communities or transcendent homogeneous groups. This creates the possibilities of rethinking spatial and temporal categories, where not only the nation and its borders are subject to scrutiny but also categories like regions and areas come under interrogation.

Is There Any Chance for European Nation in Modern Europe?
Tatyana Yudina
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2020-12.3.1-207-227
Abstract:

The purpose of this article is to consider the possibility of emergence of a European nation in modern Europe, the formation of European identity. The EU consists of the EU member states, where national identity is an entrenched concept. The article considers the correlation of national identity and European identity, as well as the possibility of transformation, addition or replacement of one by another. The EU is a new form of political entity, which has supranational, transnational and interstate characteristics, which can contribute to the development of various forms of identities and belonging. The purpose of this article is to consider the politics of recognition as a starting point for research on European national identity. The politics of identity pursued in Europe does not necessarily lead to the victory of national identity over European one. The citizens of these countries have a set of different identities, and the process of European integration facilitates the process of coexistence of different types of identities, and there may even be a competition between these two identities: national and European. The author analyzes the changes taking place in modern European society and the reasons that influence the development of events. These questions relate to the deep feelings and beliefs of the population of these countries, therefore, consideration of these issues must be given close attention. The author suggests analyzing this issue from within, using the research of the Europeans themselves. For analysis, the material of the ARENA Center for European Studies and the works of its leader John Eric Fossum, a professor at the University of Oslo and other researchers on this issue are used. The author explores the scope of the concept of national identity at the present stage, its characteristics and its change. A comparative analysis helps to determine the characteristics of the European identity and prospects for its formation. The article discusses four scenarios, each of which contains a certain structure of institutions and a method of recognizing identity; all this helps to understand the ongoing processes and prospects for the development of identity policy in the EU. All these scenarios to a certain extent characterize the state of affairs in modern Europe.

Interethnic Marriages in the Context of the World View of Modern Russian Youth: Family and Nation Values, Private and Public Life
Svetlana Lourie
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2020-12.1.2-275-294
Abstract:

Modern Russian youth have a consistently high percentage of positive attitudes toward interethnic marriages. The vast majority of young people react positively towards interethnic marriages as marriages by love. However, only half of them allow the possibility of a nationally-mixed marriage for themselves personally. On the one hand, we are dealing with a declaration that love is above all, and on the other hand, there is a reason why half of the respondents understand that they are not ready to follow it in their lives. Fear can keep three quarters of young people from mixed marriages because they will have to change their habits, stereotypes, and behavioral patterns. Meanwhile, they do not care that their children can be carriers of another religion or culture. Almost none of the young people express such concerns. We try to explain these seeming oddities in the article. We analyze the world view of Russian youth, including their families and national aspects, based on a closed interview conducted with the help of the author’s methodology.

We have revealed a very high importance of family for the young people, including their parental family. The vast majority of young people do not position themselves outside of family. Almost all respondents intend to marry once and for all. More than half of them believe that the family is a source of comfort and protection and is intended only to meet their various needs. But for this they are not going to trouble themselves. A significant number of young people admitted that the family may be not traditional, if only it would bring comfort. Although no one called an unconventional family desirable for themselves. The requirements of protection and comfort are the basic requirements of the family. The young do not care who the family consists of, if it meets those requirements. And in this context, an interethnic family is only one of the options for an unconventional family. And almost the only obstacle to an interethnic marriage is that the clash of different cultures can bring some discomfort in everyday life.

If the family value is growing among youth, then the national value is dramatically falling. Interethnic marriages are perceived by young people from the point of view of interpersonal relationships only. Interethnic marriages are outside the context of interethnic relations, they remain in the sphere of a person’s private life. And the point here is that a person is perceived not by his nationality, but as a personality outside an ethnic group. Therefore, interethnic marriages are rather non-ethnic, as Russian youth see them.

The Philosophy of Zen Buddhism as a Development Factor for Self-Identification in Japanese Society
Irina Rodicheva,  Olga Novikova
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2019-11.4.2-429-442
Abstract:

The concept of “self-identification” in Japanese society is subjected to philosophical consideration, the categorical underdetermination of which rises significant difficulties in operating this concept.

This study focuses on and analyzes issues related to the influence of Zen Buddhism philosophy on the methods, ways and characteristics of the Japanese identity process. Rituals from ancient times and supported by modern Japanese tradition; high degree of reflection; the practice of meditation as one of the main features of Zen Buddhist culture; understanding of the principle of “emptiness”, Japanese community organization — these are the characteristics that stand out as a key, and are explored in the article as the basic foundation for constructing an identity. This work focuses on the fact that it is Zen-Buddhist philosophical attitudes that are defined as means to solve the negativity problem of the prescribed identity in a clearly hierarchized class society in Japan, because through the concept of “emptiness” the Japanese form the idea of a humble acceptance of their status parameters in their everyday life. Comparing oneself to others is the main factor considered in the formation of any kind of identity, the analysis of which also reveals the influence of Buddhist philosophy and defines the basic aspect of self-identification as being included in the “friend-or-foe” pattern since the idea of one's reference group as “significant ones” expressed in the Buddhist term “the world of existence” (Skt. dharma-dhatu). When revealing the highly developed Japanese ability to borrow and adapt as a way of interacting with another, the indicated adaptation clearly manifests itself precisely in the process of borrowing Buddhism. The aspiration to harmonize the inner world through the practice of peaceful contemplation (Skt. Dhyani) as the highest achievement and the basic principle of Zen Buddhism, is defined as an important factor that determines the norms of behavior in Japanese society. Based on the concept of contemplation, the study touches upon another important element of Japanese Zen culture such as hieroglyphic writing. The significational, connotational and denotational saturation of writing in Japan augmented by ethical content has a huge impact on the process of a personal self-identification through non-locality mechanisms, initiating one or the other cultural phase in the development of society.

Identification crisis in the transition period of society development the case of Azerbaijan
Nargiz Yagubova
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2019-11.4.2-443-453
Abstract:

The article describes the experience of the crisis period in Azerbaijan at the end of the 20th century and at the beginning of the 21st century.We can say that this topic is relevant for all post-Soviet countries, which gained independence in the new era. Self-determination of people, their connection to certain values give them a clear idea of the world, just as it was in the Soviet era, the connection to the model of the “Soviet man” created this idea. The crisis of identity is a process that occurs when common norms and values are broken. Further the author considers the impact of social diffculties on moral values experienced by people of Azerbaijan during the transition period. Many people try to use easier and shorter ways to meet their material needs, and they often choose
illegal ways. Moral values are weakening and gradually they begin to consider it as the norm.The author also points out that a society that has been accustomed to socialism for many years cannot adapt to the rules of capitalism that are alien to it. The author describes this process with E. Durkheim’s term “anomie”. It was considered that in the early 20th century, the process of forming a unifi ed national identity in Azerbaijan was over, however, the processes observed at the end of the twentieth century showed that this idea was wrong. The elements that formed our national identity at that time – Turkism, Islamism and so on – began pressingly to appear. There was a need for a model that unites people both in the identity and the spiritual realms. The author analyzes the
experience of European countries on their way to national state building. Since the characteristics of our times are different from previous periods, it is noted that the formation of national identity in new national states like Azerbaijan is a relatively diffi cult process.
The author highlights the idea, that the moral values in Azerbaijan have not been stabilized yet and no model has been formulated to be applied as an example. Today Azerbaijan is a place where national culture, Soviet past and market economy are combined. During the research, phenomenological and interactionist approaches helped to understand human and community relationships. Historical-comparative method was used to study historical foundations of identifi cation models. The research was based on historical and
objective principles.

Post-Soviet Russia between Federalism and Unitarism: Normative Models and Realities of Transforming Society
Elena Erokhina
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2019-11.3.1-194-210
Abstract:

The article deals with the problem of correlation between the theory and practice of Russian federalism. The author shows the relationship between sovereignization and the formation of a new Russian statehood at the beginning of the 1990s. The author also highlights the cyclicality of fluctuations from decentralization to over-centralization in relations between the center and the region. Federalism is seen as an institution, as a normative model, and as a practice. The paper draws particular attention to the historical context of the formation of the Russian statehood: “the parade of sovereignties”, the collapse of the USSR, the adoption of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the Federative Treaty on the authority demarcation with the Republic of Tatarstan. The author suggests that the inertia of decentralization after the collapse of the USSR not overcome by the Russian Federation in the 1990s prompted the federal center to borrow elements of unitarism. In the 2000s negotiability inability of elites in all authority levels was forcibly compensating by construction of “power vertical”. However, already by the mid-2000s the management centralization turns into a self-sufficient trend. The comprehension of the phenomenon of Russian federalism, the compliances of institutional practices with constitutional principles, the search for its optimal model and other issues served as a starting point for an interdisciplinary discussion. To date, several directions have been formed, each of which has its own argumentation in the dispute between supporters and opponents of federalism, who believe, that the unitary model of Russia's structure to be more optimal. It has been suggested that the negative experience of decentralization of the 1990s is associated in academic and everyday discourse with federalization. Such a setup prevents the objective understanding of this phenomenon as a factor that has played a positive role in the formation of the new post-Soviet statehood of Russia. The thesis is substantiated by the fact that with the entry of the Crimea into Russia, the federalist discourse acquired a new breath. To prove this argument, the author refers to cases illustrating the desire of individual subjects to use the institutions of federalism to build parity relations with the center to solve issues that are under the joint jurisdiction of Moscow and the regions. The author comes to the conclusion about maturing of prerequisites for a new cycle in the development of federal relations. The lack of budgetary funds, which the majority of subjects is experiencing now, makes them exercise their authorities, pushes regions to the need to expand the scope of their rights. The strategies of interaction between the federal center and the subjects of the Russian Federation are proposed to be described in the metaphors of bargaining and partnership.