The present study discusses the two problems in Putin’s Russia, namely that of protective trade measures and that of social disparities, both of which have been attracting attention from a lot of researchers and journalists under the circumstance of the Trump phenomenon. Therefore it examines the problems in comparison with the situation of the two problems in the USA under the Trump administration. For the first problem, it argues that Russia is rather faithful to the rule of the game of international system, while the Trump administration has an inclination to destroy it. However, there is a kind of deception in this attitude of Russia because it applies double standards when it treats trade problems with the USA, Western Europe and Japan on the one hand and the problems with the former Soviet states on the other. It emphasizes that Trump’s trade policies would play a role that gives an indulgence to the double standards of Russia.
For the second problem, we argue that the residents in Russia are divided into small interest groups as a result of the survival of the “Soviet social system”. What ties together the people there is the patriotism of the citizens surrounded by “enemies”. Also in the United States, a specific income group does not support Trump’s regime, but a wider cross-hierarchical ideology, “anti-intellectualism” supports it. According to our view it is important to pay an attention to the relationship between the hierarchical structure and the patriotism or ideology in order to estimate the sustainability of the both regimes in the future.
The appointment of Mr. Rex Tillerson as the Secretary of the State by Mr. Trump prior to the inauguration of his administration at the end of 2016 was thought a strong message that the No. 1 businessman of USA in the Russian business community is going to manage the USA diplomacy. However, Mr. Michael Flynn, a presidential assistant, was prosecuted for his close contact with the Russian agent, and the “Russia Gate” is under investigation by FBI which is a serious issue for the administration. So, Mr. Tillerson had to correct his political stand to cope with the parliament, since the US diplomatic policy concerning Russia was virtually run by the parliament not by the President. In addition to that, “Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act”, which was drafted by the parliament members and became effective on August 2nd, 2017, provides for further sanction against Russia and at the same time restrains the construction of the Nord Stream 2, a direct gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, for the reason of avoidance of too much concentration of one gas source, i.e. Russia, in the EU market. This issue created a splitting in Europe, since leading EU countries like Germany, France and Austria put a premium of the commercial value and would like to purchase cheap and stable gas from anywhere, while Ukraine and Poland wary about too much reliance on the Russian gas, which sometimes works, they believe, as a political weapon to control the consuming countries. The United States is in the position to check the influence of Russia in the European energy market and has same opinion with Ukraine and Poland. However, this is not all the points of confrontation among European countries. Ukraine and Poland have been enjoying benefits as transit countries of the Russian gas pipelines. The Nord Stream 2 was designed to detour these countries to avoid any disorder of transportation of gas, which means Ukraine and Poland will not be able to receive transit fees. These two countries are superficially warning the risk of too much dependence on Russian gas, but the fact is that their economy depend heavily on the transit fees of gas from Russia and these countries don’t want to lose them.
This paper discusses the problem of characters in Moscow Conceptualism, a unique school of Soviet underground art in the 1970s and 1980s. With their tendency for narrative, artists called Conceptualists invented an original style of creating a character who plays a role as an imaginary author of works made by Conceptualists. In other words, there were some occasions on which Conceptualists thought of their own works as products of a character whom they themselves worked out. They called this figure of the author “An Artist-Character.” As art-critic Boris Groys pointed out by giving an example of characters made by Conceptualist Ilya Kabakov, this invention had a relationship with the problem of self-image in Moscow Conceptualism. How then has this strategy of the characters been developed in texts and works by Conceptualists?
There were lively discussions about the concept of “An Artist-Character” among Conceptualists. Therefore, the first half of this paper analyzes various descriptions of it. It was found that a range of meanings attached to this figure had been expanded as follows. In the beginning, “An Artist-Character” meant a relatively simple figure of the fictitious author; however, late examples show us a broader and more abstract conception. In the late 80s, Conceptualists such as Kabakov and Andrey Monastyrsky, started to express the function of detachment from themselves by this term. At the same time, a range in application of this effect also expanded; there appeared such new types of characters as “A Viewer-Character” and “A Critic-Character.” This expanded concept of “characterness” does not end within the bounds of the initial position of “An Artist-Character” as an imaginary author.
The second half of the paper seeks to find the expanded function of characters in their activities. Works of the Conceptualists of each generation (Viktor Pivovarov, Monastyrsky and the “Collective Actions” group, Vadim Zakharov) were investigated from the viewpoint of the characters’ theme. What is common to their works is that characters’ images are not standardized by means of reduction, distance, emptiness, and so on. Another aspect of these characters is linked to observation: they can, of course, play a role as outside observers, but the focus is now on the art of being seen and written about, observed and described, which means that the role of characters could be related to the problem of archiving. What matters is that the “Collective Actions” group and Zakharov are known for their archival activity. Zakharov even invented a character called “A Pastor,” which was also the name of a journal he had published from 1992 to 2001. As shown by the figure of the pastor as archivist, the observation of characters has a relationship with documentation in Moscow Conceptualism. In this way, through the figure of characters, the problem of archiving can also be understood as a strategy of images. Therefore, it can be said that the invention of characters in Moscow Conceptualism was the soil for developing the technique of self-description in this community.
This paper examines Mikhail Bulgakov’s letter to the Soviet government, sent on March 28, 1930, and explores how Bulgakov expressed his purpose, or, rather, his creative creed as a playwright. Bulgakov’s self-orientation, as discerned from the letter, is also discussed. The three major audience members Bulgakov had in mind for this letter were Stalin, Kalinin, Maxim Gorky, which we can deduce from the fact that he had sent a nearly identical letter as a petition to these three in June 1929.
The 1930 letter has two aspects: petitionary and artistic. First, Bulgakov protested the banning of his plays “The Days of the Turbins”, “Flight” and “The Crimson Island”, as well as the repeated refusal of his requests for a short trip abroad with his wife to escape a series of critical campaigns against his personality and his work. He asked the Soviet government to immediately grant his request of leaving with his wife, Lubov, or, failing that, to give him a job in the Moscow Art Theatre, to work under the guidance of Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko either as an assistant director or an extra or even as a member of the stage crew.
Additionally, Bulgakov flatly denied that he was trying to curry favor with the Soviet government by writing a letter full of falsehoods about his plays and thoughts. He declared that he would never create a communist drama or even try to do so, simply because he fully understood that such a drama from his pen would never be a success. He confessed that “The Crimson Island” was a satire of the Glavrepertkom, a Soviet censorship agency, and he called for freedom of the press and the playwright’s imagination in the Soviet Union. Bulgakov severely criticized the censorship system in effect in Soviet Union as a writer in the satiric tradition of Nikolai Gogol and Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin, he defended the Russian intelligentsia and claimed that he had tried to portray the intelligentsia as the finest class of society in “The Days of the Turbins” and “Flight” following the tradition of Lev Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”.
This letter shows Bulgakov, sometimes directly and sometimes with indirect intent, putting on radical anti-communist plays under his own direction for an audience of the Soviet government, or rather Stalin alone, which obviously increased the risk to his life. This was, however, a bet that partially paid off: on April 18, 1930, Stalin personally telephoned Bulgakov and informed him that the Moscow Art Theatre would accept him onto their staff.
The main objective of this paper is to analyze the construction process of the historical studies on nationalism of Nicholas Hans, Russian émigré educationist. In general, the scholar’s comparative theory is known in the field of education; however, this article concentrates on Hans’ keen interest in various aspects of ethnic questions, which widely vary between the humanitarian questions of the Enlightenment and the post-colonial problems after the Second World War. It is almost impossible to survey these numerous issues entirely at a time. However, a theoretical outline of Hans will be investigated using archival materials on him. Thus, the analysis will be made in the following order.
First, the article interprets the basic term “nationalism” and its academic contexts where it is specially used by Hans. In the draft “Ethnic Questions in Ukraine,” no clear definition of the term is yet adopted. Though Hans obviously questioned the definition mainly after the Second World War, the evolution of the construction process of studies on nationalism should be investigated along with his historical interest in ethnic questions in Russia’s western frontier, where Russians, Ukrainians, Belarussians, Poles, Ruthenians, and other minorities live altogether. Thus, the nationalism in the draft “Russia’s Western Frontier” and in other articles written at the beginning of the Cold War should be interpreted as a creation process of ethnic consciousness on the one hand; a negative usage also exists, which is equivalent to xenophobic movements, on the other. The former definition evaluates the ethnic movements to attain cultural independence and political transition, but the latter chiefly aims criticism at the utterly ignorant attitudes of the imperial bureaucracies towards non-Russian inhabitants.
Second, the untapped notes “Ethnic Questions in Ukraine,” which are witness to Hans’ political practice in Odessa and the regional disorders after the October Revolution, are taken into consideration. An on-the-spot inquiry, which Hans personally attempted in Odessa, shows that neither the newly founded ethnic schools nor the Bolshevik ones satisfied regional educational demands. The author focuses on the historical coincidence of Hans’ inquiry with the educational circumstances in Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union, which shows the fact that the exclusiveness of nationalism is rather fictional, and that the genuine nationalist movement, as Hans puts it, is often confused with the former.
Finally, the last part contains an analysis of the unpublished draft “Russia’s Western Frontier.” After the failure of its publication, Hans obviously changed his research direction. Whilst the purpose of the work was first defined as a single mission by a Russian émigré scholar to speak of the historical details of ethnic varieties in his motherland, unknown to a European readership, the purpose was corrected after the Second World War to a more universal framework. So-called teamwork in comparative study, an ultimate end of Hans’ theory, enables a wider scope to analyze ethnic questions interculturally.