REVIEWING THE AGENDA
This issue of the journal is radically different from all the previous ones in its structure. Ordinarily, each issue features a single theme. This time, we have decided to "review the agenda" — i.e., to ask our experts to analyze what has changed in the areas of social reality that we touched upon in the past, what fresh problems are emerging in this connection and what new questions would be worth discussing in the future.
The appearance in this issue of the section "Philosophy of the Hare" is timed to coincide with a conference on the subject conducted by the Institute for Russian Literature (Pushkin House) in St. Petersburg on June 19—21, 2014. Both the conference and this issue of the journal are an ironic answer to Russian Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky, who has rebuked research institutions subordinate to him of being divorced from reality. And yet experience shows that attempts to determine the subjects of research not based on the genuine interest of the scholarly community almost always result in projects of marginal value at best and, not infrequently, are purely a sham.
Tatiana Vorozheikina. Civil Society in Russia: What Has Changed?
The article makes an attempt to assess the changes that have taken place in the problems of civil society, civil movements and grass-root self-organization in Russia since 2005 when the issue was last featured in Otechestvennye Zapiski. On the whole, it appears that one can speak of a growth in the potential of various civil movements — human rights and ecological movements, movements for the preservation of the urban environment, etc. — over the period from 2005 to 2012. Moreover, in 2011—2012, the country or, more precisely, Moscow and St. Petersburg, went through a period of significant political self-organization. All this happened in spite of the attempt, growing ever since 2005, to place all these movements and organizations under state control and restrict their scope of activity. After the large-scale protest demonstrations of 2011—2012, the government made an attempt at totally curtailing the domain of civil society and at legislatively restricting and criminalizing practically all forms of independent civil and political activity. The article examines the positive and negative aspects of the establishment of civil society in a situation of its inevitable confrontation with the authoritarian government and the state it has brought under its total control.
Pyotr Safronov. Education? Why? Don't You Know Anything?!
In the last few decades, the subject of education has been the field of a battle going far beyond the purely academic framework. In most cases, however, the arguments have boiled down to discussing the crisis of secondary and higher education and the possible ways of its reform. The article tries to move the discussion further towards wondering about the future of education as such and about the substance of education. Some of the questions in the text are formulated directly, while there is no adequate language yet to formulate some of the others. It is the search for new ways of speaking about education which constitutes the main content and outcome of the article.
Ivan Kurilla. History and Memory in 2004, 2008 and 2014
During the last decade, Otechestvennye Zapiski has twice turned to the subject of history and memory: the subject of the issue No. 5(20), 2004, was the "Appropriation of the Past," and in 2008, two issues — Nos. 4(43) and 5(44) — were devoted to "The Meaning of Memory." Both ten and six years ago, the contributors to the journal felt that the past was increasingly becoming the field of discursive battles and that the state was trying not only to become an influential participant in these battles but also to dictate their rules. At that point, however, quite a few things were perceived only as an implicit threat or a potentiality. More interesting it is to take a look at the observations, analyses and conclusions made at the time from the viewpoint of the present day, when the lines of the split have become clearly seen and the state has set the goal of creating the official version of memory, established institutions for the purpose and appointed those responsible.
Vadim Dubnov. Without War or, A Concise Course in the History of Egoism
The history of progress is the history of the formula of the world order, which has always remained essentially unchanged. There have been changes in the proportions of mixing nationalism and sovereignty, globalization, and triumphant consumerism. By the mid-20th century, territorial expansion ceased to be the motive of development: free economic development became more advantageous. This could be regarded as the triumph of the egoism of the victorious personality, yet it was still not obvious and not unconditional. In the early 21st century, the expansion of consumerism has resulted in a situation where patriotic loyalty to the state has become nothing more than payment for its services; if these services are of low quality, defeatism becomes an excusable part of the general liberalization of morals and an integral element of what continues to be referred to as the world order. In the Ukrainian crisis, Russia has displayed its readiness to act according to the standards of the 1930s, which gave priority to state sovereignty; the opposite camp is not ready to reproduce this logic within the framework of which the conflict recommences. And the style of opposition will no longer be what it used to be.
Yekaterina Shulman. Built-In Reminder: The Conceptions and Meanings of the Administrative Reform
The article focuses on the tenth anniversary of the administrative reform in Russia. The author analyzes the results of the reform and points out the possible reasons behind the de facto abandonment by the reformers of their initial conceptions and objectives. The author sees the causes of the successive failures of administrative construction in the isolation of the state system from man, who is the ultimate consumer of its services. The Russian administrative machine is self-sufficient, closed on itself and inclined to appropriate the functions which should be the prerogative of civil society and its structures.
Vasily Gatov. On the Fate of Slackers on the Roadside of Progress
The author notes a qualitative change in the situation in media communications over the past decade only partially confirm the forecasts made in the 2003 issue of OZ. The emergence and development of social media, smartphones and "cloud systems" and the establishment everywhere of the "economy of redundancy" have radically changed both the form of information consumption and the nature of its production. The article also analyzes the specific features of the Russian mass media and the backwardness of Russian media culture.
Sergei Pashin. Judicial Reform in Russia: Making Over Old Clothes
The article offers a critical overview of innovations in the legal regulation of the development of the judicial system, the status of judges and their disciplinary responsibility, and also criminal legal proceedings. Trends towards reducing popular participation in the dispensation of justice and simplifying the procedural order of criminal proceedings are noted.
Alexander Golts. A Reform Cut Short Half Way Through
The army that Russia inherited from the USSR was something like a half-dead mastodon. In 2003, Putin started its treatment and improved the situation somewhat. In issue No. 5, 2005, "The Future of War and the War of the Future," much was written about this and about the fact that the president followed the Soviet model, which was absolutely ineffective in modern conditions. Starting from the initial stage of the military reform, the author shows that the war with Georgia compelled Putin to revise the former model. The course was steered towards a radical reform. Indeed, today the army much more conforms to modern standards. However, the more time passes, the more resolutely the government turns towards mass mobilization and, accordingly, the more the reform falters. The problem is, the author notes, that the "abandonment of mass mobilization is in direct and apparent contradiction to the 'ideological foundations' of the state built by Vladimir Putin."
Vasily Vlasov. The Struggle for Proof in the Early 21st Century
Evidentiary medicine as a form of medical practice distinguished by the use of interventions whose usefulness has been proven by good research has turned out to be an influential movement for rationalization of social practices — and not in medicine alone. The light of skeptical examination of the scientific grounds for medical interventions has exposed numerous problems in medical science and practice. We are in a period marked by unprecedented, fast introduction into practice of highly sophisticated methods of diagnosis and treatment. In the last few decades, as never before, research methods, facts of concealing information by business, distortions in spreading information, and procedures of decision-making in governments and professional organizations are subjected to critical examination. Paradoxically, the exposure of problems about the reliability of scientific data disappoints some doctors about the possibility of practicing rational medicine.
Alexander Rubtsov. The Splendor of Misery: Russian Science in the Period of the Decline of Modernization
The article examines the changes in the problem context and the attitude towards science since the collapse of the USSR to the present day. A separate analysis is given of the stage of survival of science in the situation of an acute crisis; the period of the blossoming of the ideology of modernization and the "change in the vector from raw material to innovative development"; and the present stage characterized by mounting an attack on academic science, laying emphasis on irrational values and motivations and curtailing the modernization project. The prospects for new, largely extreme self-determination of science in the developing conditions are analyzed.
Boris Zhukov. Lords of Knowledge or, The Swine under the Oak in the Period of the Technological Revolution
The government's interference in the substantive aspects of scientific research and discussion practically inevitably turns out to be harmful for science regardless of what point of view is supported by the government and to what extent it is correct. Even attempts "softly" to determine the subjects of research (through priority financing or denials of budget funds) that are not based on the opinion of the scholarly community are always fraught with the risk of supporting ungrounded and, not infrequently, purely bogus projects.
Yevgeny Gontmakher. The Welfare State and Its Prospects
Examined are institutional shifts that have become visible in the sphere of Russian social policy in the past ten years. Particular attention is given to an analysis of the role of the state, local self-government and compulsory social insurance. A conclusion is made about a general decline of the quality of the state social policy over these years.
Nadezhda Zamyatina. Stratification of Space. Migration from the North as an Indicator of Status Differences among Russian Cities
In the Soviet period, the residents of the Extreme North enjoyed substantial privileges. This attracted quite a few people; however, in the early 1990s the attitude to this harsh climate region was reversed: Northerners began to migrate on a mass scale first to the European part of the country and then to its other regions. In the course of a survey conducted in a number of Russia's transpo-lar cities, the author interviewed a large number of high-school students who were going to move to the central and southern regions of the country. An analysis of the survey findings has shown that nearly every Russian city is attractive in its own way and has its own "contingent" of young migrants. The main conclusion is that, in making plans for moving, quite a few of them choose the city from which at least someone in his or her family originated; however, those who believe in their own abilities and their high potentials prefer moving to one of the cultural capitals of Russia.
PHILOSOPHY OF THE HARE AND THE GOVERNMENT
Alexei Shmelyov, Yelena Shmelyova. The Hare and Other Animals as Characters in Russian Anecdotes
The hare as one of the traditional characters of Russian folklore was simply bound to become a character in Russian anecdotes. In this article, the anecdotes in which the hare acts as a character are divided into two types: anecdotes about the animal world and anecdotes about the world of man. In anecdotes of the first type, the animal world is organized similarly to the human world: they socialize with one another, marry, raise children, go to work, and tell one another anecdotes (quite often animals in such anecdotes act as a kind of allegorical human figures), and the fact that animals have the faculty of speech is represented in these anecdotes as something that goes without saying. The less numerous anecdotes of the second type, in which the hare somehow or other acts in the human world, may be regarded as an anecdotal representation of socializing between people and animals. Among anecdotes about hares, just as among anecdotes in general, political and erotic anecdotes, anecdotes about characters in animated films or works of fiction, etc., can be singled out. In a separate section, anecdotes about the rabbit, the "Western" counterpart of the hare, are examined.
Dmitry Zhukov. The Hare as a Symbol of a Highly Adaptive Strategy of Hiding
Characteristic of the behavior of hares is hiding in response to changes in the environment. A similar response is found among many people. Quite a few people believe that such behavior of "hares" is an indication of their poor adaptation to life. The article shows the advantages of the strategy of hiding, in particular, in a situation of uncontrollable stress.
P.-J. Stahl. The Story of a Hare
In 1842, the book Scenes de la vie privee et publique des animaux (Scenes from the Private and Public Life of Animals), illustrated by the celebrated caricature artist J.J. Grandville, came out in Paris. It was published by Pierre-Jules Hetzel, who also contributed his prose to the book under the pseudonym of P.-J. Stahl. In the book, various animals tell the stories of their lives; the circumstances of these lives are those of animals and their problems are purely human; the crossing of these two layers produces a comical effect. It is precisely in this way that the confession of a philosopher hare is organized: he pours forth quotations from classical literature, sermonizes that "one ought always to be on one's guard," and by a twist of fate is thrown into the epicenter of France's political life.
Alexander Gura. On the Symbolism of the Hare in Slavic Tradition
The article focuses on the symbolism characteristic of the hare in traditional Slavic culture — the symbolism of the male, love and marriage, erotic, phallic, Paschal, demonic, sinister, fiery and lunar spheres and the sphere related to sleep and cowardice. These symbolic meanings are determined by the properties and attributes which are actually inherent in this animal (fertility, great running speed, light sleep) or which are only ascribed to it in popular notions (for example, squinty eyes). The symbolism of the hare is distinguished by stability and staying power and retains its topicality in our own day, which provides quite a few examples of how the old, traditional meanings are put into ever new forms and genres, which is graphically attested by the illustrative material included in the article.
CONTINUING THE TALK: FEAR MANAGEMENT
Alexander Panchenko. Fear and the City
The direct subject of the article is modern urban legends about stealing human organs — organ theft legends, which have globally spread since at least the 1980s. They are built on the following plot: a person (a child or an adolescent, according to some versions) is kidnapped or killed in order to get donor organs and tissues for transplantation. The available data make it possible to speak about several varieties of this legend: some of them (so-called baby parts stories) have become widespread mainly in the Third World countries; others enjoy popularity in Western Europe and the United States. In Russia of the last few decades, both these varieties are well-known. A study of these texts makes it possible to speak not only about the specific features of the urban legend but also about more general social problems — modern notions of norms and pathology, social inequality and domination, and individual and collective phobias generated by a consumer society.
THE LAND OF OZ
Sergei Magid. Tomds Garrigue Masaryk-2. Benefactors. Introduction to the Castle. An Essay
People need myths. Using myths, they create a symbolic reality in which they subsequently live. In such a reality, life is meaningful and reasonable. It is according to their symbolic goals that people conduct themselves. They conduct themselves particularly purposefully when they are united into a nation. It is, as a rule, a local cultural hero whose life gradually becomes the main myth who unites them into a nation. For the Czechs, it was Toma's Garrigue Masaryk (TGM II) who quite unexpectedly became such a hero — unexpectedly because the Czech people treated him with suspicion and even hated him throughout the first half of his life. What kind of reality, however, is hidden behind the myth named "Masaryk"? What was the actual life lived by the man who went down in the history of the Czech oikoumene under the symbolic acronym "TGM," popularly dubbed the Father of the Czechoslovak Republic, and what were the actual thoughts running in his mind? The reality hidden behind the triumphant myth turns out to be made up of hurts, disappointments, pain, and a vast quantity of useful lies. Useful to whom and to what purpose? In the study/essay "The Myth of TGM," the author tries to comprehend what this reality and this myth eventually brought to the Czechs and Slovaks, to Europe and to Masaryk himself. Was it all really so necessary?
Vyacheslav Glazychev. Special School
OZ continues to publish the diaries of the outstanding scholar and public figure Vyacheslav Glazychev (February 26, 1940 - June 5, 2012).
In the fragment now published, the author tells about his studying at Special School No. 1, about his friends, teachers and hobbies, describing in the course of his narrative the life and manners of the Moscow of the 1950s, which, in particular, saw the death of Joseph Stalin.
Oleg Yanitsky. "The Right to a Name": About My Grandfather, Fyodor Yanitsky
This year, two memorable dates of Russian history — the 110th anniversary of the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War and the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War — are marked. OZ publishes reminiscences of philosopher and sociologist Oleg Yanitsky, whose grandfather was a participant in the two wars, and also in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877—78, and, in the author's opinion, earned the "right to a name."
Vasily Kostyrko. An Extreme Experience of Personal Autonomy in 20th-century Russia
A review of three books: Marlen Kotallov. Antikontra. Istoriya "stalinskogo" zeka [Anticontra: The Story of a "Stalin's" Convict]; Alexander Podrabinek. Dissidenty [Dissidents]; Lola Kantor-Kazovsky. Grobman.
Analyzing three new books in parallel, the author shows that in the conditions which, it would seem, should forever dehumanize everyone involved in a situation, the fundamental principle of Kant's ethics, "act the way you would want everyone to act towards you," spontaneously comes into play in the relations among its participants — and helps them survive.
Vera Milchina. The Book of Jacob (Wladimir Berelowitch. Le Livre de Jacob. Une traversee du XXe siecle. Paris, Les Editions du Cerf, 2014)
Wladimir Berelowitch, a prominent French student of Slavic history and translator of Russian literature, has written a book about his father. One might expect that it would be simply a book of reminiscences — some pages from a family album. The book, however, is much wider and more profound. A narrative about the life of a Russian Jew, who found himself in emigration in France and then, during World War Two, managed to work for the Germans and pass on the information he obtained at work to the French Resistance, develops into reflections about the destinies of Jews, about the image of Russia, about human dignity, and about many other things.