Highly appropriately timed, since I am writing my essay on the double burden and it is our next discussion in class, is a NY Times article from the week about the Russian Orthodox patriarch condemning feminism.  He is quoted as saying it is dangerous for giving women an “illusion of freedom” when they should be focusing on their families and children.  As a 21st century woman, I find this notion extremely disturbing, but as a history scholar, I see this echoed throughout my research on the double burden.  … Read the rest here

The Common Man

In Stalin’s reply to Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech in 1946, he gives the common people agency by stating that they have opinions and the ability to stand up for themselves.  I find it interesting that in this speech he speaks of pride in the common man’s power in accordance to socialist ideology, but this type of person is not the one responsible for victory in WWII because Stalin is no longer the common man.  By elevating himself to the godlike figure of state religion and separating from the reality of labor, Stalin had no ties to the people from which he rose except to say that he is speaking in their interest. … Read the rest here

Power or Authority?

Something that I have been musing on since our discussion of Stalin’s cult of personality last week is the difference between power and authority and how these concepts were manifested in the beginnings of the Soviet Union.

I would define power as en essence that is projected outwards, implying a control given over the people that often results in their fear.  Authority is an essence more given from the outside, as in a ruler’s influence and their people’s subsequent respect.  … Read the rest here

Capitalist Transition

The New York Times online ran an article on Thursday about the opening of the Moscow Stock Exchange, calling it “another milestone in the country’s capitalist evolution.”  I found it interesting, considering we have just begun discussing the plan for the Soviet economy, that twenty years after it ended, Russia deferred back to capitalism almost by default.  This transition does not seem to be easy-going, however, as the article described the Russian markets as the most “volatile,” either being in the top five or bottom five performing markets in the world.… Read the rest here

Tradition of the Coup

I saw a little blurb on the NYTimes.com website on Friday about a former Soviet intelligence officer recently jailed for organizing a coup of ultra-nationalists against the Russian government and assassination plot against the architect of the market reforms in 2010.  I thought it was interesting that Russia maintained this tradition of revolution, especially those stemming from a small group like the Blosheviks, even in the present day.

I researched a little about Russian nationalism in the modern world to find that it contains a resurgence of the “Russia for Russians” movement that aims to reverse some of the equality granted to citizens under the Soviet program.  … Read the rest here

Empire and Nicholas II

I began reading the Riasanovsky textbook this week about the conditions in Russia leading up to the Revolution of 1905.  Some things immediately jumped out at me in the section describing Nicholas II ad his nature as a ruler.  On page 390, he is described as having admirable personal qualities such as modesty and self-discipline.  However, the author then states that his qualities failed him in situations requiring strength and adaptability.  This reminded me of a discussion in my Islamic Empires class from last week.  … Read the rest here

Symbolism in The Cherry Orchard

The nobles in The Cherry Orchard are Anya, Madame Ranevsky, Barbara, Gayef, and Pishticik.  The nobility of the play has fallen drastically, the two families out of money but trying to cling on to a previous way of life in the wake of change.  Anya and Barbara are the two nobles that seem to recognize and accept the new order.  Anya is fascinated by the ideas of Peter and Barbara acknowledges her affection for Lopkhin despite his family history.… Read the rest here