DepositWhen Kropotkin met Lenin

Kropotkin’s meeting with Lenin in 1919 shows how contemporary concepts of vanguardism and prefiguration rely on concepts of revolution that have been historicised through the experience of the Russian Revolution. This fleeting single encounter also draws out a contrast between anarchist and Bolshevik ideas. The risk of returning to Russian revolutionary history to re-examine anarchist and Bolshevik concepts of revolution is that it encourages a misleadingly bipolar narrative. However, the point is neither to deny the complexity of the revolution nor to show what divided anarchists from Bolsheviks, still less Marxists – as if there were no greys in this relationship. Rather it is to consider what Kropotkin’s analysis of revolution, advanced in the course of a revolutionary struggle, represented and where prefigurative ideas elaborated thereafter, stand in relation to it.

DepositTranslations of Rudolf Steiner’s Agriculture Course (Koberwitz, 1924): The Seminal Text of Biodynamic Farming and Organic Agriculture

The Agriculture Course of Dr Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) is the seminal text of biodynamic farming and the organic agriculture movement. It has appeared in 16 languages. The Austrian New Age philosopher, Dr Rudolf Steiner, presented his Agriculture Course in the village of Koberwitz, Germany (now Kobierzyce, Poland) in the summer of 1924. The course of eight lectures laid the foundations for the emergence, over the following two decades, of biodynamic farming and organic agriculture. There were 111 attendees at the course at Koberwitz, many were farmers, all were Anthroposophists. The Agriculture Course was presented in German. It was one of the final lecture series that Rudolf Steiner conducted in his lifetime. It was a course of what Rudolf Steiner called “hints”, to be put to the test, not prescriptions nor dogmas. The Agriculture Course appeared in print in German in 1926. It was initially available only to members of the Experimental Circle of Anthroposophic Farmers and Gardeners (until some time after WW2). Members of the Experimental Circle agreed to test Rudolf Steiner’s ideas with the view to the publication of the results. The first translation of the Agriculture Course appeared in English in 1929. That translation was by George Kaufmann (later known as George Adams) who brought to the task his years of masterfully and extemporaneously rendering into English Rudolf Steiner’s lectures in German for audiences. The Agriculture Course has been translated into a further 14 (at least) other languages: French (1943); Swedish (1966); Italian (1973); Danish (1976); Dutch (1977); Spanish (1988); Hebrew (1989); Norwegian (1992); Romanian (1997); Russian (1997); Serbian (2004); Portuguese (2005); Polish (2007); and Esperanto (2009). As organic agriculture continues to increasingly attract consumers, advocates, practitioners, and scholars, interest endures in the seminal text of biodynamics and the organics movement.

DepositThe Gothic Novel Reader Comes to Russia

This chapter presents a case study of the gothic novel reader and the way notions about gothic novels and their readers developed in Russia. The chapter takes a comparative approach, drawing on reviews and reader accounts from both England and Russia, to demonstrate how similar attitudes in both countries were despite Russia’s later gothic wave. Finally, the chapter considers readers’ memories of gothic novels and their legacy in Russian culture.

DepositUkraine and Russian Neo-Imperialism: The Divergent Break

This book first proves that the rationale behind Russia’s aggressive actions in its neighborhood resides in its goal of achieving certain geostrategic objectives which are largely predefined by the state’s imperial traditions, memories, and fears that the Kremlin may irretrievably lose control over lands which were once Russian. In other words, Russia constantly remains an expansion-oriented and centralized state regardless of epochs and political regimes ruling over it. That is its geopolitical modus operandi successfully tested throughout history. This book also scrutinizes Ukraine as a young post-colonial and post-communist state which, unlike Russia, is more prone to democratize and decentralize. To understand the logics of the ongoing Ukrainian transformation, its domestic and international developments are assessed in their connection to the Soviet political tradition and the medieval legacy of the Cossack statehood (15-18 centuries). This book outlines differences between the political cultures of Ukrainian and Russian nations. This envisages scrutiny of historical experiences and their impacts on the Ukrainian and Russian state-building, institutional structures, national identity, religious issues, and other features of sovereignty. Based on these discoveries, a structure of symbolic thinking which predefines indigenous understandings of justice and order has been constructed for Ukrainians and Russians.

DepositDid Art by Western Front Soldier Predict the Russian Revolution? The Secret History of the ‘Guerra alla Guerra’ Peace Postcards

The allegorical artwork ‘Guerra alla Guerrra’ (War against War) was created by the Italian-Australian artist Ernesto Genoni (1885-1975). It features a young woman wrapped in red and rising out of a battlefield. Her wrap billows over the war-scape to form a massive red flag. The work was published in 1916 as a postcard by the Milan-based Pro Umanità organisation headed by Rosa Genoni. During 1916, Ernesto Genoni enlisted as a volunteer in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and he served on the Western Front as a stretcher bearer. By the end of 1916 he had been plucked off the battlefield and conscripted into the Italian Army where he refused to take the oath of allegiance. He subsequently served time in several military prisons for insubordination and as a medical orderly in the Italian military hospital in Verona.The ‘Guerra alla Guerra’ postcards were sold in Italy and Australia to fund the war-relief work of Pro Umanità of feeding POWs and supporting widows and orphans in Europe in the wake of the catastrophe of the First World War. ‘Guerra alla Guerrra’ was prescient in that it appears to illustrate the spirit of revolution growing out of the devastation of war. The following year the Russian Revolution overthrew the Czarist regime (in 1917). By the close of WW1 in 1918 the talk of revolution and its threat to the ‘established order’ was rife throughout Europe. The original artwork has not been located. The postcard was reproduced for the 2018 centenary of the Armistice of 11 November 1918.

DepositRussia in the Global Parliamentary Moment, 1905–1918: Between a Subaltern Empire and an Empire of Subalterns (Locating the Global: Spaces, Networks and Interactions from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century, ed. by Holger Weiss. Berlin: De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2020, pp. 257–282)

The chapter analyzed the debates on parliamentarism in the late Russian Empire and revolutionary Russia and explored how the idea of parliament helped intellectuals locate Russia globally. The establishment of the legislative State Duma and the adoption of the Fundamental Laws of the Russian Empire during the Revolution of 1905–1907 seemed to make Russia a constitutional state. Few intellectuals, however, viewed the Duma as a parliament equal to its Western counterparts. Despite their criticism of the Duma, numerous liberal and moderate socialist and nationalist thinkers generally supported parliamentarism, seeing Russian transformations as part of the perceived parliamentary universalism. Right and left radicals, by contrast, questioned the very necessity of a parliament. The right argued that Russia was self-sufficient and did not need Western democracy; the left rejected parliaments, claiming them a part of class exploitation and oppressive state machinery, and called for direct rule of the toilers to represent an alternative democratic modernity. The Bolshevik–Left Socialist Revolutionary coup in October 1917 and the dissolution of the All-Russian Constituent Assembly in January 1918 marked a halt in Russia’s participation in global parliamentary developments, which institutionally encompassed, inter alia, Persia, the Ottoman Empire, and the Qing Empire (and the Republic of China) in the 1900s/1910s. Conceptually, it marked an end of the global parliamentary moment, as the Bolshevik–Left Socialist Revolutionary regime became the first practical take on non-parliamentary modernity.

DepositParliamentary Formations and Diversities in (Post-)Imperial Eurasia, ed. by Ivan Sablin (Journal of Eurasian Studies, vol. 11, nos. 1 and 2, 2020, Special Issue)

Addressing the entangled histories of deliberative decision making, political representation, and constitutionalism in several geographic and temporal contexts, this Special Issue offers nuanced political and intellectual histories and anthropologies of parliamentarism in Eurasia. It explores parliaments and quasi-parliamentary formations and the designs of such in the Qing and Russian Empires, the late Soviet Union, Ukraine, the Russian Far East, and the Russian-Mongolian borderlands (from Buryat and Mongolian perspectives) in seven contributions. Apart from the regional interconnections, the Special Issue foregrounds the concepts of diversity and empire to enable an interdisciplinary discussion. Understanding empires as composite spaces, where the ambivalent and situational difference is central for the governing repertoires, the articles discuss social (ethnic, religious, regional, etc.) diversity in particular contexts and the ways it affected the parliamentary designs. The multitude of the latter is understood as institutional diversity and is discussed in relation to different levels of administration, as well as the positions of respective parliamentary formations within political systems and their performance within regimes. The contributions also investigate different forms of deliberative decision-making, including the soviet, the Congress of People’s Deputies, and the national congress, which allows to include conceptual diversity of Eurasian parliamentarisms into the discussions in area and global studies. The Special Issue highlights the role of (quasi-)parliaments in dissembling and reassembling imperial formations and the ways in which parliaments were eclipsed by other institutions of power, both political and economic.