Russian and East European Studies
Online ISSN : 1884-5347
Print ISSN : 1348-6497
ISSN-L : 1348-6497
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Showing 1-12 articles out of 12 articles from the selected issue
SPECIAL FEATURE: Changing Regional Order in Eurasia: The Asian Impact on Russian and Eastern Europe
  • Keiko Saito
    2020 Volume 2020 Issue 49 Pages 1-25
    Published: 2020
    Released: June 12, 2021

    This paper examines the content of and some difficulties which arose in Bolshoi ballet cultural exchange programmes offered by the Soviet government. These programs were offered to a number of countries; I have focused on the countries of Japan, France, the United Kingdom and the USA in the first part of my paper. These four countries were where the most ambitious productions of the Bolshoi company were held in the latter half of the 1950’s. In the second half of my paper I focus specifically and in more detail on the cultural exchanges between Japan and the USSR. The Bolshoi ballet played a significant role in exchanges between the former Soviet union and the rest of the world, as it was symbolic of the USSR’s diplomatic relations. I limited the timespan for the investigation from 1953 to 1964, when Nikita Khrushchev strategically increased dispatches of cultural organizations to the world trying to expand Soviet influence during the Cold War period.

    In the mid to late 1950’s, the Soviet ballet tours to France (1954), the United Kingdom (1956) and the USA (1959) were lead by the respective governments on the basis of mutual exchanges. However the Japanese government wanted to avoid such exchanges because they were afraid of the ideological impact of communism on the people and more were interested in economic growth than in cultural diplomacy. Despite this, private organizations in Japan hungered for such cultural exchanges in the arts and sciences, and had an active say in who came from the USSR. The 1957 Bolshoi ballet tour to Japan was also organized by a private impresario and it was received with wild enthusiasm by the Japanese people. The Japanese government granted visas to some applicants but not others; it depended on the political sway of the organizations involved. Sadly sending Japanese advocates to the USSR would involve high costs so the numbers sent there were much less than those who came to Japan. In other countries the exchanges were much more balanced but political relationships with the USSR did cause interruption to the programmes. This would suggest that the success of cultural exchanges depends more on politics than content.

    In the 1960’s the Japanese-Soviet political relationship deteriorated because of the new Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan (1960), the restart of nuclear tests by the USSR, the Northern Territories dispute, the break up of the relationships between the Japanese and Soviet communist parties concerned with the Partial Test Ban Treaty and so on. However Soviet Russia kept sending high caliber representatives to Japan in similar numbers to before. Some of the Japanese organizations involved dropped out of the exchanges, while others joined. This happened due to changing public feeling towards the USSR, shifts in political relations, and changing relations between the organizations and respective governments. It was in this atmosphere that the Soviet government counted on ballet to maintain diplomatic ties with Japan. The Kirov Ballet’s Japan tour (1961), and the joint concerts of the Tchaikovsky Memorial Tokyo Ballet School with Soviet famous dancers (1961 and 1963) helped to set the notion that Russia led the world in ballet. The Soviet government was convinced of the effectiveness of the ballet in demonstrating the strength of Soviet culture without fear of rivalry from other countries, and expanded the exchanges within this field.

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  • Ryosuke Ono
    2020 Volume 2020 Issue 49 Pages 26-51
    Published: 2020
    Released: June 12, 2021

    This paper focuses on the 1918–1921 Japanese military mission to Central Asia, stationed in Urumchi, Ili (Gulja), Tarbagatay and Kashgar. Japanese General Staffs dispatched several officers to Xinjiang to support the Siberia Intervention. This paper reviews the mission’s activities and concerns on intelligence, economic interests and propaganda, especially those of the so-called ‘Japanese consul in Gulja’, Captain Nagamine.

    The Japanese mission had a keen interest in the developments of the Russian Civil War in the Semirech’e and Semipalatinsk Oblasts. In Ili, Nagamine built relationships with the White Russian consul, leaders of nomads and others. Japanese officers reported activities of White Russian Cossacks in detail. Meanwhile, the Governor Yang Zengxin, was suspicious about possible conspiracies among members of the Japanese mission, Russian consuls and the Cossacks. Yang reported to Beijing that Japanese officers had attempted to bring the Japanese army to Xinjiang on the pretext of a joint defence and to interfere in Ili by letting the Cossacks advance into Bolshevik’s Vernyi, which would pass through Xinjiang’s territory. In addition, a report from Kashgar hinted that the Japanese army supported the anti-Soviet guerrilla Basmachis in the Fergana Valley. In early 1920, the Cossacks were defeated by the Red Army and fled to Xinjiang. Nagamine witnessed the disarmament of Commander Annenkov, with whom the Japanese in Urumchi seemed to have maintained a relationship even after Nagamine’s departure from Ili.

    The Japanese mission also attempted to promote economic interests in Xinjiang. According to Etherton, the British consul-general in Kashgar, Japanese products flowed into Xinjiang in 1919, and Japan was considered a possible rival of Britain over the Xinjiang market. The Japanese mission tried to open a consulate in Xinjiang. In Urumchi, the Japanese entered into talks with ‘Russian’ merchants—who were in fact Muslim Turks—where they discussed Japanese naturalisation and Japanese protection. However, the talks failed. Despite his suspicion, Yang also relied on the Japanese for economic development. He consulted Major Narita in Urumchi about a large loan to construct a light railway and drill for oil. However, this offer was cancelled by order of Beijing. The Japanese General Staffs and Ministry of Foreign Affairs coldly refused Narita’s proposal.

    Moreover, the Japanese mission engaged in propaganda towards Muslim Turks for some obscure agenda related to Pan-Asianism, Pan-Islamism and Pan-Turkism. According to Etherton, the Japanese avoided any direct support or propaganda towards the Turks. Later, Nagamine stirred up accusations that Britain would occupy southern Xinjiang. He also had a relationship with Tatar Pan-Turkist, an ex-officer of the military organisation ‘Harbi Shura’. Kaneko and Otaki, stationed in Urumchi, frequently visited Ottoman activist Ahmet Kemal İlkul in jail, who had been sent to Xinjiang from Constantinople in 1914 and engaged in educational and Pan-Turkic activities. Thus, it was rather natural for the Japanese to pay attention to İlkul.

    Although not successful or long-lasting, the activities of the Japanese military mission to Xinjiang illustrate Japan’s interests in post-1917 Central Asia. Military intelligence about the Cossacks was their main object, but at the same time, they developed economic and propaganda interests that targeted Central Asian Turks, including Tatars. Certainly, such activities raised concerns with Yang and Etherton. In short, the Japanese mission to Xinjiang was one of the examples in which Japan tried to carve out a role in the Great Game of the early 20th century.

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  • Lukas Bruna
    2020 Volume 2020 Issue 49 Pages 52-61
    Published: 2020
    Released: June 12, 2021

    Czech literature was first recognized in Japan in the 1920s and early 1930s. Among literary works published during this period, which were few in number and mostly second-hand translations from English or German, three books - one play and two novels - require special attention. Karel Čapek’s dystopian play R.U.R., originally written in 1920 and first staged in 1921, was translated into Japanese in 1923 and became the first major work of Czech literature ever introduced in Japan. Just like in other parts of the world, the play attracted attention of both critics and readers. Several other translations were published soon after and the play was also successfully staged in Tsukiji Shōgekijō Theatre in 1925. A few years later, in 1930, Japanese translations of two other essential works of the inter-war period Czech literature were published – Jaroslav Hašek’s acclaimed antimilitarist novel The Good Soldier Švejk and Ivan Olbracht’s socialist novel Anna The Proletarian, a book which is now almost completely forgotten.

    The main objective of this paper is to explore the relation between the literary concepts adopted and constantly argued by the critics and writers of the Proletarian Literature, predominant literary movement at that time, and the reception/interpretation of foreign literary works, in this case works of Czech literature. Based on the analysis of the newspaper advertisements, book reviews and other related texts this paper shows that the reception was determined by the concepts and notions the Proletarian critics valued and that the leftist literary critics tended to emphasize those elements of these literary works they considered to be conveying the Proletarian ideals. On the other hand, Olbracht’s Anna The Proletarian, a novel praised by its translator Ichiko Kamichika as a must-read for every proletarian woman, was targeted by Japanese censorship for its radical political thoughts and was eventually published with large parts of the text censored.

    Consequently, this paper concludes that Czech literature introduced and translated in the inter-war period was interpreted in different ways and valued for different reasons than it was originally in Czechoslovakia.

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  • Akihiro Iwashita
    2020 Volume 2020 Issue 49 Pages 62-81
    Published: 2020
    Released: June 12, 2021

    This essay sheds light on Soviet and Russian Foreign Policy through use of the “critical geopolitical” concept of the “geo-code.” A state’s “geo-code” refers to the construction of narratives regarding its own space and history over time. Borrowing from Klaus Dodd’s ideal-type categories, which he uses to explain geo-coded narratives of British policy (“little England,” “cosmopolitan,” “European” and “American”), this paper proposes to utilize combinations of four ideal-type categories, “Atlantic/European,” “ethnic Russian,” “Eurasian” and “super power,” in order to analyze and explain Soviet and Russian foreign policy.

    The first section applies the metaphor of a photograph to the memoirs of several foreign policy leaders: Andrei Gromyko and Eduard Shevardnadze in the Soviet-era; and Andrei Kozyrev, Evgenii Primakov and Serghei Ivanov in contemporary Russia. The paper shows how the composite image of Russia held by these individuals shaped the state’s foreign policy. It also stresses that different concepts of sovereignty have been sustained or reconstructed within Soviet/Russian international law theories in dialogue with changes in images held by the foreign policy leader.

    The latter half of the paper further develops this theory in order to apply it to Putin’s current Russian foreign policy perception of Northeast Asia, and particularly of China and Japan. From the late Soviet period under Gorbachev to the early Russian period of Yeltsin, Japan was considered as one of the “rising” powers able to aid Russia’s political and economic transition, and it was widely recognized that the relationship would be facilitated by a peace treaty resolving the territorial issue between the two countries. However, following reconciliation between Russia and China, China became the more important partner for Russia, not only in Northeast Asia but also throughout Eurasia.

    Following its disengagement with the West after the Ukraine crisis in 2014, Russia’s image of itself as close to “Europe” slipped, while that of the state as “ethnic Russian” and “Eurasian” that must become a “great power” to oppose the US was emphasized. This has meant that Japan is no longer an essential partner from the viewpoint of Russia’s dominant foreign policy images. In turn, the significance of China has increased and developed for Russia beyond the two countries historical “love-hate” relationship. Not only policy makers but also ordinary people look to China as Russia’s “No.1” partner, while the United States is its indefatigable “enemy.” There is no room for Japan in this picture while Japan remains so dependent on the US for security matters.

    In the conclusion, the paper debunks the myths associated with “classical geopolitics,” which associate foreign policy solely with perceptions of state power and geography. It shows that a “geo-politics” which links the positivist and constructive approaches, and which seeks to account for various analytical scales—from micro to macro, below/beyond the state—can analyze foreign policy change more effectively.

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  • Manabu Shimoyashiro
    2020 Volume 2020 Issue 49 Pages 82-91
    Published: 2020
    Released: June 12, 2021

    In this paper, from the perspective of economic exchange between Japan and Central Asia (Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan), the current situation and challenge, as well as future prospects, will be described through the work of promoting trade and investment.

    One of the characteristics of economic exchange between Japan and Central Asia is that the forms and fields of business developed by the target countries differ significantly, and one is that the public and private sectors are working together unexpectedly. One can point out that neither Japan nor the target countries can be decisively important economic partners, and as a result, exchanges remain at a low level.

    The lack of information is at the top of the challenge in developing economic exchanges between Japan and Central Asia. Also the difficulty of logistics, the vulnerable foreign exchange circumstances and the compliance problem are major bottleneck for commercial activities for Japanese companies.

    Although rosy expectations for future economic exchanges are forbidden, there are several directions for efforts that can contribute to building win-win relationships.

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  • Boštjan Bertalanič
    2020 Volume 2020 Issue 49 Pages 92-105
    Published: 2020
    Released: June 12, 2021

    The present article tracks the evolution of Japan’s engagement with Central Europe after the end of Cold War. More specifically, it looks into the development of V4+Japan partnership within the context of post-Cold War foreign policy of Japan. The main argument revolves around two questions. First, in light of democratic backsliding in Central Europe, the article enquires into the basis of strategic relevancy and rationality behind the V4+Japan partnership. Second, it looks into the potential for future evolution of the relationship in the context of the post-Brexit EU-Japan relationship. The major conclusion rests on the premise that V4+Japan partnership, although weakly institutionalized and asymmetric in nature, retains meaning as long as it remains contingent on the values and principles of the EU-Japan strategic dialogue.

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  • Toru Nagashima
    2020 Volume 2020 Issue 49 Pages 106-125
    Published: 2020
    Released: June 12, 2021
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  • Dai Yamawaki
    2020 Volume 2020 Issue 49 Pages 126-143
    Published: 2020
    Released: June 12, 2021

    Climate change has been recognised as an important policy issue that affects nature and socio-economic systems of all continents and oceans over the last few decades. In order to achieve the ambitious goal of ‘keeping a global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels’ by the Paris Agreement agreed at COP 21 in 2015, formulation and implementation of climate change policies, especially mitigation ones to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have been recently advanced all over the world.

    Russia, as one of the largest energy-resource rich countries and GHG emitters, has been also in the process of modernisation towards a low-carbon society, especially after the occurrence of global financial crisis in 2008-2009. Under this circumstance, the formulation and implementation of climate change policies have recently begun in earnest in Russia through its signature on and ratification of the Paris Agreement effective in 2016. These policies in Russia, however, often end in failure.

    In this context, this present paper firstly clarifies the current situation of climate change and its causes such as GHG and air pollutants emissions in Russia, followed by the critical consideration of previous studies on this global thematic issue. By revisiting the formulation and implementation process of Russian climate change policies with a special focus on its multi-stakeholders, this paper tries to explain why these policies are not materialised in Russia, that is, factors influencing on its policy failure.

    Throughout a series of analysis, it becomes clear in this paper that Russian environmental administration has been weakened whilst the government spending with environmental purposes on a downward trend in Russia after starting market transition in the 1990s. This paper also derives that institutional arrangements in the governmental committees enable Russian oil and gas companies to do lobbying for reflecting their interests on relevant policies. Besides, it becomes unveiled that residents and civil society organisations (CSOs), as one of representative protesters demanding policy reforms through social movements, have an insignificant influence on climate change policies in the case of Russia.

    This paper then concludes that these factors are crucial propositions given to Russian climate change policies to materialise its transition towards a low-carbon society as well as big challenges to be overcome for its future sustainable growth.

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  • Masatomo Torikai
    2020 Volume 2020 Issue 49 Pages 144-166
    Published: 2020
    Released: June 12, 2021

    As a result of a series of centralization reforms, initiated in 2000, a great number of studies have discussed that the center entrenched its control over regional subjects in Russia. Yet, several regional unrests observed in the recent years demonstrates an urgent need for an overhaul of the Russian center-periphery relationship, to which only limited attention has been paid yet. This study explains this instability by the increase of outsider governor deployments. Exploiting an original dataset of all governors from 1991 to 2019, patterns of outsider deployments and the effect of such deployments on the regional political processes are examined. Although President Boris Yel’tsin initially held the right to appoint and dismiss most governors in the first half of the 1990s, he did not try to dispatch outsider governors not firmly embedded in the regional societies. Whereas governors began to be elected through the popular gubernatorial elections in almost all of the regions since 1995, outsider candidates rarely won the posts of governors. In Vladimir Putin’s first and second terms (2000-2008), the power balance between the center and regions radically changed in favor of the center. In addition, scholars have argued that the center’s dominance over regional elites increased rapidly due to the de facto appointment system of governors was introduced in 2004. Nevertheless, even then, outsider governor deployments remained exceptional cases. Since the influence of United Russia as a dominant party was limited at that time, federal elites had to receive the endorsement of governors, as regional bosses, to secure the stability of the regime. However, after the triumph of United Russia in the 2007 parliamentary election and the advent of President Dmitrii Medvedev, the Presidential Administration embarked on active replacements of regional bosses with outsider governors loyal to the center. Consequently, while the center got capable of controlling regional political processes more tightly, these radical cadre reorganizations caused dissatisfaction and protests of regional elites, as a result of which electoral performances in the 2011 parliamentary and 2012 presidential elections declined in the eyes of the center. As a compromise to massive protest movements brought about by the immense size of electoral frauds, popular gubernatorial elections were reinstated in 2012. However, the influence of the center over the recruitment of governors continues to be remarkable and the number of outsider governors is still growing. Yet, in the late 2010s, the decline of the regime’s popularity caused instability at the regional level, as demonstrated by the fact that several candidates backed by the federal government lost in gubernatorial elections. While outsider deployments have merits for the federal elites to control regional political processes through them as loyal agents of the federal government, their lack of embeddedness in local elite communities has detrimental effects on regional unrests. To test this argument, this study investigates the relationship between outsider deployments and regional electoral performances. The OLS estimate and Inverse Probability Weighted estimate demonstrate that outsider governors deliver fewer votes than local governors. Those findings imply that the center-periphery relationship in Russia is still in flux even though the rules of the game have changed since the 1990s.

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  • Kohei Arita
    2020 Volume 2020 Issue 49 Pages 167-181
    Published: 2020
    Released: June 12, 2021

    In the 1920s, Mikhail Mikhailovich Zoshchenko wrote about 600 satirical short stories. Many of these satirical works depict the old-fashioned bourgeois culture in pre-revolutionary Russia.

    One of the aspects of this bourgeois culture, which Zoshchenko picks up and criticizes in his short stories, is theatricality. In this paper, I describe how Zoshchenko defines theatricality and analyze his criticism of theatricality.

    The theatricality which I elaborate in chapter 1, can be found in Zoshchenko’s storytelling, which is called “skaz”. This is a Russian oral form of narrative. In memoirs, the contemporaries often pointed out how the actors read aloud Zoshchenko’s works with theatrical tone and gesture. A single storyteller, who performs in skaz controls the whole story and plays all characters himself. Therefore, he can reproduce his story with his own theatricality and contrasts it with the excessive pre-revolutionary theatricality of the characters. I discuss the theatrical technique of skaz and Zoshchenko’s critique on the pre-revolutionary theatricality.

    In the second chapter, I analyze the theatricality of Soviet theater. In 1920s, Russian avant-garde was very influential art movement. Theater-directors abandoned old conventions and expand their artistic world. In this chapter, I examine three works of Zoshchenko that criticized Russian avant-garde, especially, theatricality of Nikolai Evreinov.

    In the third chapter, I analyze cultural ideology in theater. In Russia, theatrical culture of the 19th century followed a certain etiquette. Zoshchenko’s protagonists always enter the theater without proper costumes and little money. The characters quarrel over theatrical manners and are thrown outside. This conflict reveals the nature of Russian theatricality, which removes uncultured people from the theater and rejects Russians on basis of their social-cultural background.

    In the fourth chapter, I examine “The Elecrician”, which is Zoshchenko’s most remarkable in terms of dealing with his criticism of theatricality. In this work he succeeds to put all elements of theatricality together and clarify the mechanism of theatricality. Later he revised The Electrician and changed the end of the story in order to avoid his critique on theatricality. From then on he stopped incorporating critique on theatricality in his works.

    In the fifth chapter, I examine five works of Zoshchenko which deal with electrification in the Soviet Union. By comparing the various editions of these works, including The Elecrician, the high number of revisions that Zoshchenko conducted himself becomes obvious. I addition, I demonstrate that the problems concerning the enlightment of Soviet electification are similar to the problems of theatricality that I elaborated in the second chapter. Zoshchenko tried to unite people with different cultural backgrounds into one collective under the reign of Stalin. Finally, Zoshchenko draws the ideal image of the electrified communal apartment in his work “Last story” In this story, a pre-revolutionary woman changes her mind and transforms into an honorable Soviet citizen. This story shows that Zoshchenko’s criticism of theatricality disappeared because people of different cultural background were united in the electrified communal apartment, which represented the future of the Soviet Union.

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