Russia's psychiatrists, like members of many other occupational groups, were drawn into politics in the early years of the twentieth century. Although relatively small in size, the psychiatric profession was especially vocal during that era. In a number of respects, the particular concerns of psychiatrists differed from those of other doctors; however, Nancy Frieden's observation that "professional grievances formed the core of the physicians' opposition" is as applicable to psychiatric physicians as to most other medical practitioners—and indeed to other professional groups as well.2 While a large number of Russia's educated workers were critical of specific governmental policies and of the very structure of their society, the political activists among them tended to channel much of their energy into the effort to gain increased autonomy and status for their respective occupations.
Both one of the most iconic cookbooks of all time and one of the strangest, the "Kniga o vkusnoi i zdorovoi pishche" became the culinary bible of the Soviet household during the mid-twentieth century. The logical culmination of a decade of Soviet culinary evolution under the leadership of Anastas Mikoian, the original "Book about Delicious and Healthy Food" is a microcosm of Stalinist civilization that exemplifies the contradictory trends making up Soviet politics and culture in the late 1930s. Drawing on previously unexamined documents from the State Archive of the Russian Federation, Anastas Mikoian's personal papers retained in the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History, as well as published primary sources, this article seeks to contextualize the complex tale of the cookbook's origins in a broader narrative of the construction of the Soviet Union's official food culture under Mikoian's leadership during the 1930s.
In Restructuring the Soviet Economic Bureaucracy, Paul R. Gregory takes an inside look at how the system worked and why it has traditionally been so resistant to change. Gregory’s findings shed light on a bureaucracy that was widely considered the greatest threat to Gorbachev’s efforts at perestroika, or restructuring. Restructuring the Soviet Economic Bureaucracy is based on Soviet and Western published accounts as well as interviews with former members of the Soviet economic bureaucracy, mainly from the middle elite. These informants, with their expert knowledge of the system, tell how bureaucrats big and small made the routine and extraordinary decisions that determined Soviet resource allocation. The often-criticized irrationalities of the Soviet bureaucracy are revealed to contain their own internal logic and consistency.
This research is part of a larger project that received funding from the Mellon Foundation, the Smith-Richardson Foundation, the American Council for Teachers of Russian, and Yale University. Portions of this research were presented at the following venues, and I wish to thank the conveners and participants for their insightful feedback: Don Ostrowski and the Early Slavists Seminar at Harvard University; Tim Snyder, Laura Engelstein, and the Russian and East European History Reading Group, Anders Winroth and the Medieval Studies Program Lunch Seminar, and Paul Bushkovitch and the Early Slavic lunch group at Yale University; and the participants in a panel at the 2005 annual conference of the AAASS. In particular, I wish to thank Brad Woodworth and Russell Martin or their help and contributions.
Since the founding of the Free Economic Society, no small effort and labor have been spent on publishing useful advice and instructions, but the desired effect is nowhere to be found. In this locale I have observed that only recently have they begun to learn to use potatoes. They spin and weave cotton (for which a factory in Kazan has already been built) and stockings and caps are knit from it. Many homes here already use goat hair. And this year Siberian buckwheat, which previously succumbed to frost and which before was unknown, has begun to be sown in some places. Undoubtedly, from time to time other instructions of the Society may be put to use; but immediately and quickly, and without the support of the supreme power, they will never become general custom.
Once upon a time, long ago, the rotten system crashed down, and our native Rus' became free. There was no tsar or tsaritsa (that foreign bird) or police or ministers. Russians lived like people, not beasts. But let us take a look at the fate of our former tsar.After stepping down from the throne and settling at Tsarskoe Selo to tend flowers and care for his cherished son Alexei, Nicholas has trouble feeling at ease. He digs in the garden and prunes his shrubs, but he's still restless and uncomfortable. Finally, he goes to the conservatory where Alexandra sits, very upset. He tries to comfort her, suggesting that they move far away from Russia—to Tunisia, perhaps—but his ideas for their new life together only make her angry. Nicholas trembles in fear under a table while she rants about their fate and mourns the loss of her Grisha [Rasputin], but finally her tantrum subsides, and he falls asleep, dreaming that he is flying to Heaven.When he reaches the gates of Heaven, an angel rudely informs him that no “tsar-tyrants” are needed there—he should proceed directly to Hell. As he enters the doors of Hell, a crowd of phantoms confronts him, accusing him of committing crimes and of inflicting unbearable suffering on them in life, while Beelzebub commands that he be thrown into a cauldron of boiling tar. In response, Nicholas protests that he was just carrying on the Romanov tradition, and asks why he alone should be found guilty when his ancestors also committed terrible crimes against the people. Then he glimpses an enormous cauldron, where his ancestors sit, boiling in the thick tar. And he gets the feeling that he too will fly into the pot.Luckily, just at this moment Nicholas awakens from his horrifying dream.
We are not free. And the sky can still fall on our heads. And the theater has been created to teach us, first of all, that.Antonin Artaud, The Theater and Its Double (1938). All Russia is acting, some kind of elemental process is taking place where the living fabric of life is being transformed into the theatrical.Viktor Shklovsky, Zhizn'iskusstva (1920). I don't run down the theater. But, still, the movies are better.Narrator in Mikhail Zoshchenko, “Kinodrama.”