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div Located in the northernmost reaches of Russia, the islands of Solovki are among the most remote in the world. And yet from the Bronze Age through the twentieth century, the islands have attracted an astonishing cast of saints and scoundrels, soldiers and politicians. The site of a beautiful medieval monastery—once home to one of the greatest libraries of eastern Europe—Solovki became in the twentieth century a notorious labor camp. Roy Robson recounts the history of Solovki from its first settlers through the present day, as the history of Russia plays out on this miniature stage. In the 1600s, the piety and prosperity of Solovki turned to religious rebellion, siege, and massacre. Peter the Great then used it as a prison. But Solovki’s glory was renewed in the nineteenth century as it became a major pilgrimage site—only to descend again into horror when the islands became, in the words of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the “mother of the Gulag” system. From its first intrepid visitors through the blood-soaked twentieth century, Solovki—like Russia itself—has been a site of both glorious achievement and profound misery. /DIV
The schism that split the Russian Orthodox Church in 1667 alienated thousands of devout men and women. These traditional worshipers, who came to be known as the Old Believers, practiced their faith as outsiders for more than two centuries. Denied the Russian Orthodox Church's sacraments, they in turn denied that its "new" ways could lead them to salvation. Always at odds with the established Russian Orthodox Church and the tsar, the Old Believers created a vibrant separate culture within the imperial Russian state. Old Believers in Modern Russia shows how Russia's most traditional religious group created a "culture of community" distinct from the dominant culture and society. This culture provided a lens through which the faithful could view, interpret, and interact with their world. Focusing especially on imperial Russia's twilight years, Robson explores how the Old Believers adapted to rapid change in the early twentieth century. Until recently, little has been known about Old Believer faith and culture. Most previous studies have relied upon information provided by outsiders, usually the state or the Russian Orthodox Church. Robson explores Old Believer experience from the inside in this first detailed study of the group in the late imperial period. He integrates historical methods with communication theory and symbolic anthropology to reveal the many facets of Old Believer life.
Studies in particular monastic revivals in the 19th and 20th centuries, as epitomized by Trinity-Sergius.
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Winner of the 2014 Prix du Style "Masterful . . . An eloquent addition to a violent episode in the history of science in the twentieth century." —Nature In 1934, the highly respected head of the Soviet Union’s meteorology department, Alexei Feodosievich Wangenheim, was suddenly arrested without cause and sentenced to a gulag. Less than a year after being hailed by Stalin as a national hero, he ended up with thousands of other "political prisoners" in a camp on Solovetsky Island, under vast northern skies and surrounded by water that was, for more than six months of the year, a sheet of motionless ice. He was violently executed in 1937—a fact kept from his family for nearly twenty years. Olivier Rolin masterfully weaves together Alexei's story and his eventual fate, drawing on an archive of letters and delicate drawings of the natural world that Wangenheim sent to his family from prison. Tragically, Wangenheim never stopped believing in the Revolution, maintaining that he'd been incarcerated by accident, that any day Stalin would find out and free him. His stubbornness suffuses the narrative with tension, and offers insight as to how he survived an impossible situation for so long. Stalin’s Meteorologist is a fascinating work that casts light on the devastating consequences of politically inspired paranoia and the mindlessness and trauma of totalitarianism—relevant revelations for our time.
The war in Georgia. Tensions with Ukraine and other nearby countries. Moscow's bid to consolidate its "zone of privileged interests" among the Commonwealth of Independent States. These volatile situations all raise questions about the nature of and prospects for Russia's relations with its neighbors. In this book, Carnegie scholar Dmitri Trenin argues that Moscow needs to drop the notion of creating an exclusive power center out of the post-Soviet space. Like other former European empires, Russia will need to reinvent itself as a global player and as part of a wider community. Trenin's vision of Russia is an open Euro-Pacific country that is savvy in its use of soft power and fully reconciled with its former borderlands and dependents. He acknowledges that this scenario may sound too optimistic but warns that the alternative is not a new version of the historic empire but instead is the ultimate marginalization of Russia.
This book introduces readers to a little-known place and time in world history – early modern Russia, from its beginnings as Muscovy, in the fourteenth century, through the reign of Peter I (1689-1725) – by portraying the lives of representative individuals from the major levels of the society of that era. The portraits, written by professional historians, are imaginative reconstructions or composites of individual lives, rather than biographies. The portraits are arranged into socio-political categories, and include members of ruling families, government servitors, clerks, military personnel, church prelates, monks, provincial landowners, townspeople and artisans, Siberian explorers and traders, free peasants, serfs, slaves and holy fools. Using these portraits, the book brings old Russian society to life in an interesting way.

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