The (Post)Imperial Imagination and Cultural Politics

Special Issue

This special issue addresses the ways that the imperial imagination and its derivatives — the mythologemes and ideologemes of imperial conscious­ness — are reflected in cultural politics and practices. The basic aim of the issue is to move away from examining ele­ments of imperial consciousness in the context of official political institutions or explicit political regimes, and instead to observe them at the microlevel of implicit mental orientations, the “imperceptible” practices of everyday culture and less obvious discursive / rhetorical strategies. We proceed from the observation that cultural sources and texts can some­times tell us much more about imperial ambitions and fantasies than openly declared political projects can.

The issue is focused on Russia, although in a few cases comparative studies of other cultures (the French and Brit­ish empires) were solicited toward an understanding of the specific functioning (of elements) of the imperial imagination in the logic of cultural self-determination. The articles cover the period from the mid-nineteenth century (except for one late eighteenth-century study) to the early twenty-first. Some of the articles treat the pre-revolutionary Russian imperial period, when the first models of national statehood were taking shape, Russia’s cultural and political self-aware­ness as an empire was forming, and the corresponding national identities were being laid out. Another section treats the Soviet and post-Soviet periods and traces the imperial legacy evident in these periods. These articles show that the roots of contemporary phenomena of the (post-) imperial imagination should be sought in cultural and political history, which continues to latently determine our thinking today.

One of these lines of investigation focuses on the imperial expansion of Russian statehood and the development of Russia’s relationships with its nearest neighbors. The formation of an image of the empire’s borders and its providential mission in “borderland” territories is traced through a reconstruction of latent Russo-centric imperial orientations, usin g various cultural sources. The latter include literary texts and new literary genres, the structure of the field of pub­lishing, and critical public polemics.

A complementary line focuses on how imperial logic structures space, under­stood to mean not merely real geopoliti­cal colonization, but first and foremost the mental or imaginary colonization of space(s). Autonomous spaces (of thought, mental or logical spaces) are appropriated and end up as “outskirts” of the larger empire, which semanticizes and resemanticizes them in accordance with its own ideas about borders or their absence (the potentially “limitless” empire). Among other forms, the subju­gation of borders can take the form of a subjugation of discourses, for instance in the epistolary tradition of a colonizing journey (the travelogue).

Another line of investigation unfolds in parallel to the previous two: the study of compound “hybrid” discourses (of ideological projects, popular historical narratives, journalism), which demon­strate their derivation from imperial Russia to the post-Soviet period. These studies investigate the functioning of imperial rhetoric in contemporary of­ficial discourse, in memorial practices, missionary proclamations, etc. Extre­mist and racist stereotypes, nationalist ideologemes, heroic myths and sacrali-zed symbols of imperial imagination all help to support а prominent image of empire and (post-) imperial identity and to write it into modernity. The articles demonstrate that the rehabilitation of the imperial is largely brought about through the rehabilitation of the Soviet. Testimo­ny to this is great-power rhetoric, which blends together utopia, nostalgia for lost greatness, rejection or appropriation of the Other and ressentiment.


Facts and Myths in Russian Imperial Cartography

In her “The Landscape of Empire: Catherine the Great’s Antidote for the Voyage en Sibérie, or The Borders of European Civilization”, Vera Proskurina investigates the ideological and political context of the polemics between Cathe­rine the Great and the Abbé Chappe d’Auteroche’s Voyage to Siberia, which was an object of debate in European intellectual circles in the late 1760s — early 1770s. The empress responded to the Abbé’s unflattering image of Russia with her two-volume Antidote, written in French: Antidote, ou Examen dun mau-vais livre superbement imprimé, intitulé Voyage en Sibérie (1770). The microhis-tory around the battle between these two books yields two concepts, two ap­proaches (Russian and European) in de­fining the boundaries between civilization and barbarianism. N.I. Novikov’s journal The Purse was the sole Russian periodical to enter into this discussion during the “Cold War” underway between Rus­sian and France in the early 1770s.

The section closes with Evgeny Ponomarev’s “The Russian Imperial Travelogue.” The Russian travelogue is a product of imperial consciousness with an orientation toward imperial expansion. Travel to the West forms the division of space into “Russian” and “non-Russian” spaces, as well as an imperial identity formed in opposition to the West. In travel within the empire, the imperial manifests as a civilizing “transformation of space”. Travel to the East is, in the Russian tradition, optional. The Soviet travelogue inherits the Russian impe­rial traditions, shaping to a large extent the geographical thinking of the Soviet citizen and (through inheritance) the contemporary Russian citizen.


The Imperial Imagination and Otherness

Olga Maiorova’s “Finding Russianness in Imperial Space: Paradoxes in Leskov’s Story At the Edge of the World” explores Nikolai Leskov’s story At the Edge of
the World in the context of the contemporaneous debates about the missionary activities of the Russian Orthodox church and the preaching of the English evangelist Lord Radstock in the 1870s. The article interprets Leskov’s story as a disguised response to the preaching of Radstock and his Russian followers. The key thematic motifs of the narrative are examined in relation to the concept of Russia as an Orthodox empire. Maiorova analyzes the story’s metaphoric repre­sentations of the empire and inversion of the theme of religious conversion, revealing its connection with the poetry of Fedor Tiutchev and the Russifying agenda of Konstantin Pobedonostsev, the soon-to-be Ober-Procurator of the Synod. The article reveals Leskov’s allusions to some famous images from Orthodox iconography and demonstra­tes their role in “imagining” Russia as an Orthodox empire.

In his “A City Hardly One’s Own Yet Not Fully Alien: Vilna in the Russians’ Impe­rial and Nationalist Imagination (from the 1860s to the Early Twentieth Century)”, Mikhail Dolbilov examines the changes in the ideas of the city of Vilna (now Vilnius) that were current during the Russian Empire from the 1860s through the early twentieth century, and their connection with the processes of Russian national self-identification. The main focus is on how political discours­es, travelogues and the commemorative events that emerged after the suppres­sion of the January Uprising in Congress Poland and the Western Krai, were work­ing out the symbolic appropriation and Russification of space in an ethnically and religiously diver se city. Dolbilov argues that the notably urbanist Rus­sian images of Vilna became a particular weak point in the already ambivalent imperial-nation­alist ideology, which declared the entire Western Krai to be “Russian since time immemorial”, counting on the support of the presumably homogenous and loyal mass of peasants.


The Imperial in the Structure of the Literary Field

Heinrich Kirschbaum’s “Generic Impe rialisms. The Argument over the Ap­purtenance of Thoughts” problematizes the (anti)imperial connotations of the Polish-Russian polemics over the origin and appurtenance of thoughts. The debates surrounding Ryleev’s Thoughts (Dumy), inspired by the Historical Songs of the Polish poet and public figure Yu. Nemtsevich, became a space for the revision and recoding of Polish influ­ences. Meanwhile, the reform-minded liberalism of the (pre)Decembrist genera­tion merges with great-power rhetoric and is seamlessly written into an apology for the expansion and appropriation of (poetic) colonies.

In his “The Export and Re-export of Socialist Realism. Eastern European Literatures in the Context of the Soviet Thick Journal (late 1940s)”, Evgeny Ponomarеv examines the mechanisms of the literary and cultural interactions between the USSR and the Eastern European countries under its control. The literatures of countries that “chose socialism” were represented in Soviet “thick journals” alongside the literatures of the Soviet republics. Over the first postwar years, texts written by Albanian, Bulgarian, Romanian and Czechslovak writers absorbed all the typical features of Soviet literature, combining art with propaganda, and began reacting quickly and fervently to events of the burgeoning global opposition (such as Yugoslavia’s exit from the Stalinist bloc and the war in Korea). A socialist realist poetics made Eastern European literature a part of Soviet literature.


Imperial Bureaucracy and Models of National Identity

Kirill Solovyov’s “Bureaucracy vs. Bureaucracy: Paradoxes of Government Service in Late Nineteenth-century/Early Twentieth-century Russia” addresses the views of civil servants of the bu­reaucratic empire which, it would seem, they represented. State service in late nineteenth — early twentieth-century Russia attracted the most capable and ambitious young people. Meanwhile, these individuals could be of extremely varied views and convictions. In many cases they could even be entirely apolitical. Nevertheless, civil servants remained a part of Russian society. Their social and intellectual experience was often identical to that of members of the opposition. Under stable conditions, there was no question of the bureau­crats’ devotion to the monarchy. With the appearance of the choice of the First Russian Revolution, however, their be­havior often became unpredictable. Civil servants often spoke out against the Russian Empire’s bureaucratic system of government. They were convinced of its ineffectiveness and demanded serious changes. This bureaucracy, which was fully qualified and well prepared for the tasks of running the country, was the ‘Achilles heel’ of the ongoing existence of the regime.

Aleksandr Kotov’s “1860s ‘Rus­sian Catho licism’ as an Element of the Ideology of Bureaucratic Nationalism” examines the polemics around the Russification of the Catholic mass in the 1860s—1870s as one of the stages in the formation of the Katkov ideolo­gy — that of bureaucratic nationalism. Contrasting the “political nationality” of the imperial model of the state, Katkov consistently spoke out for the Russificia-tion of the borderlands. However, this Russification was meant to be limited to the unity of language and political life, without touching on the religious sphere. Katkov expressed his views on the possibility of Russian Catholicism as early as 1860, during the scandal over Evgenia Tur’s article Madame Svechina. His later declarations on the necessity of “separating Catholicism from Polishness” generated polemics with other move­ments in the nationalist camp.


The Semantics of Imperial Spaces

Andrei Teslya’s “Ukrainophiles in a ‘General Russian’ Context: The Public Writings of N. Kostomarov, 1861—1883” examines the evolution of the views of the Ukrainophiles’ leader Nikolai Ivanovich Kostomarov (1817—1885) on the problem of the relationship between the Russian and Ukrainian peoples, their closeness and difference, in the political and ideological context of the 1860s— 1880s. Kostomarov tended toward moderate views of the Ukrainophile program and sought to avoid opposing the government. He wished to overcome the homogenizing view and to promote plurality over the unity that was being claimed. Toward this, he often contrast­ed the two, but despite his intentions, plurality always devolved into opposition.

In her “The Space of the (Departed) Hero: The Image of the Leader, Histori­cal Memory and the Memorial Tradition in Russia (Regarding the Yeltsin Center)”, through an analysis of the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Center, a memorial complex opened in Yekaterinburg in 2015, Ekaterina Boltunova examines the forma­tion of memory of Russia’s first president Boris Yeltsin and, more broadly, of the 1990s. The new museum’s collection is interpreted in the context of American and Russian cultural and historical tradi­tions. Boltunova pays particular attention to the memorial strategies that emerged during Russia’s imperial period. She dem­onstrates how imperial-era standpoints became the foundation for the creation of the Soviet formation of memories about leaders, and addresses the question of how useful they proved for the formation of memories about Yeltsin.


Hybrid Languages of Imperial Consciousness

The articles in this section all in one way or another touch on the issue of dominant imperial discourses and the linguistic construction of empire. They demonstrate that imperial language is not merely a means for representing ide­ologies, but an active agent that forms a new social agenda, laying out new politi­cal coordinates and changing the entire structure of the empire. For this reason, the competition between different impe­rial discourses takes on the character of a high-stakes political struggle; studying these discourses contributes to a better understanding of the internal logic of the empire’s functioning.

An article from Ilya Gerasimov, Sergey Glebov and Marina Mogilner, “Hybri-dity: Marrism and the Imperial Situation’s Questions of Language,” examines Sta­lin’s sadly famous 1950 study of linguis­tics and suggests viewing his criticism of the notorious “Marrism” as a “linguistic turn.” The authors show that what was at stake was not merely an ideological campaign but literally a change in the lan­guage used in describing social diversity. Through an analysis of the intellectual context of the formation of Marr’s theory in the first quarter of the twentieth century, the authors conclude that Marr’s scientific studies were only an isolated instance of the comprehension and development of a scientific language of hybridity. The new “human sciences” in Russia had formed a distinctive metalanguage for the description and analysis of the multi-tiered diversity of the imperial situation. The central category of this metalanguage was the trope of “hybri dity,” or rather its analo gues of the time, like “commixture” and “cross-breeding.” The authors des­cribe the emergence of scientific models that explicitly used the trope of hybridity and which accepted hybridity itself as a norm (rather than as a marginal devia­tion from pure forms) as a late-imperial epistemological revolution. Just such a revolution was possible and potentially productive in the context of the imperial situation, given the ideologically pluralist regime of the late empire. Its potential was exhausted by the end of the 1920s, having received no support either from the stabilized hegemonic Soviet ideologi­cal discourse, or the subaltern Eurasian or Soviet national and anti-colonial projects.

Dina Khapaeva’s “Slavish Dreams of Imperial Greatness” asks: why are ideas of the rebirth of imperial greatness and an estate-representative monarchy so popular in today’s Russia? They are represented in literature and political journalism, propagandized by radical-right ideologues (post-Eurasianists) and looked on favorably by the President’s administration. In these imperial dreams, Russia appears as an extremely milita­rized, quasi-medieval estate-representa­tive state, whose subjects are essentially slaves. Meanwhile, slavish relations and value systems are not merely present in the fantasies of radical-right journa­lists — they constitute actual political reality, as confirmed by multiple exam­ples provided in the article.

The section closes with an article by Alek D. Epstein “Between Religious Doubts and Unbelief: The Transformation of Intellectual Discourse and Political Rhetoric before the Downfall of the An-cien Régime.” Historians have described the period that begins with the 1789 French Revolution as the first in modern history in which atheism became the dominant ideology in a European country. However, it is clear that a transformation in political rhetoric is always preceded by changes in intellectual discourse. At first, in France and other countries, the word “atheism” had a strongly negative coloring. The turning point came during the Enlightenment period, when atheistic ideas acquired a certain, albeit limited, popularity in Parisian intellectual salons. Meanwhile, critical distance is required in treating local and foreign publications that relegate virtually all of the major thinkers and “Encyclopaedists” to the ranks of atheists. Epstein’s article seeks to a large extent to demonstrate how ambiguous the views of the majority of these thinkers actually were, how far they were from the political rhetoric that, once victorious, sought to declare them its predecessors. A decade after the re volution, which replaced religion first with the “cult of Reason” and then the “cult of the Supreme Being,” France returned to Catholicism. Changing the consciousness of millions of peo­ple proved to be immeasurably more complicated than it initially appeared to individual radical thinkers and politicians.


Being Visible: Techniques of the Authoritative Gaze in Imperial Ethnographic Photography

In his “Demons at the Zoo: Contempo­rary Art and the Colonization of the Far North in 1890s Russia” Evgeniy Savit-skiy takes as his starting point the Far North Pavilion at the 1896 All-Russian Exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod, exami­ning the significance of contemporary art (M. Vrubel, V. Serov, K. Korovin) in advertising the State’s colonizing efforts directed at building railroads and claim­ing natural resources in Russia’s most distant territories. Savitsky reconstructs the conditions for exhibiting artworks, while also examining the ways they can be seen both at the turn of the nine­teenth century and in our own time.

In her “The Nerchinsk Katorga: An Ethno­graphic View of the Russian Empire in Photographs of ‘Types and Species’ Du­ring the Final Quarter of the Nineteenth Century”, Nadezhda Krylova examines the popular late nineteenth-century genre of “types and species.” This genre not only contains the relationship between authority and subjugation established at that time in the empire, but also the fea­tures of a certain mode of documentation. This latter point opens up a discussion of particular characteristics of the gaze that conditioned the creation of such “typi­cal” images. Criminal anthropology and ethnography offer a number of generic methods and devices that reveal the proximity of the two sciences and underscore both the repressive character of anthropological studies and the research ambitions of criminal investigators. Tw o photographic reports made by different authors provide an opportunity to see the connection between changes in the perception of the camera’s technological capabilities and in the understanding of an image as witness.


The Inborn Criminal: Criminal Anthropology in the Russian Empire

Guest Editor: Riccardo Nicolosi


A number of theories of criminality that emerged in the late nineteenth century postulated a biological predisposition to criminal acts. Accordingly, the articles in this section take up the notion of the imperial criminal as an “inborn crimi­nal.” In addition to Cesare Lombroso’s ambiguous thery of the existence of people with inborn criminal tendencies, the authors also have in mind all of the conceptions which, resting on the theory of degeneration, proceed from genetic factors in explaining the reasons behind criminality. In treating this “medicaliza-tion” of the criminal personality, these papers develop the polemics — which recently took a sharp turn — around the existence and function of biomedical discourses in late imperial Russia.

Marina Mogilner’s “The Empire-Born Criminal: Atavism, Survivals, Irrational Instincts, and the Fate of Russian Impe­rial Modernity” examines the plethora of ideas regarding norms and deviations in late imperial Russia. Adapting criminal anthropology to the imperial situation, doctors and scientists examined the “natural-born criminal” as a collective category and created a comparative scale of imperial human diversity that allowed them to stigmatize entire groups. In the period between revolutions, the discourse on criminality underwent a se-miotic shift from the signifier to the signi­fied, conditioning a new image of the “internal savage,” one that was, however, hybrid and unstable. The following gene­ration of psychiatrists was tasked with overcoming this duality, but this was only achieved in the early Soviet period, when the concept of the “natural-born criminal” was replaced by that of the “counterre­volutionary” and acquired an unambigu­ous, purely sociological sense.

Louise McReynolds’ “P.I. Kovalevskii: Criminal Anthropology and Great Russian Nationalism” focuses on the success­ful psychiatrist P. I. Kovalevsky, known primarily for his innovations in criminal anthropology and his devotion to the idea of Russian nationalism. McReynolds asserts that Kovalevsky’s nationalist worldview can be more fully understood in the context of his experience working in psychiatry and forensic psychopatho-logy. Only partly sharing Lombroso’s theory of degeneration, Kovalevsky fought for a more humane relationship to criminals. Studying alcoholism and syphi­lis, he came to an ever-clearer awareness of the connection between the degenera­tion of the individual body and society as a whole. In Russian nationalism, mean­while, Kovalevsky saw an alternative to the ubiquitous degradation provoked by the development of civilization. The final section of the article addresses the po­tential importance of Kovalevsky’s legacy for contemporary Russia.

Riccardo Nicolosi’s “Criminality, Lom-broso and Russian Literature. Narratives of Inborn Criminality and Atavism in Late Imperial Russia (1880—1900)” addresses the narrative potential of Lombroso’s theory of atavism and inborn criminality in the context of the theory of degenera­tion and the forms of its realization in late nineteenth-century Russian literature. The striking coincidences between science and literature in the sphere of criminal anthropology and the discourse on de­generation allow us to examine narration as an ‘epistemological bridge’ between scientific and literary discourses. Using one of P. Kovalevsky’s forensic psychiat­ric analyses, Nicolosi demonstrates that the concept of degeneration is unthink­able in isolation from narrative strategy. In Russian literature, Nicolosi highlights three narrative models: the extra-criminal-anthropological, anti-criminal-anthropo­logical (A. Svirsky, L. Tolstoy) and crypto-criminal-anthropological ( V. Gilyarovsky, F. Dostoyevsky); the latter two are ana­lyzed in separate parts of the article.


The Postcolonial and the Imperial in Literature

Guest Editor: Natalia Poltavtseva


The representation of postcolonial ideas and ideologies in literary texts is an extremely broad topic, which is why this section focuses on one specific angle. Usually postcolonial discourse is understand as an opposition to dominant imperial discourse, a revolt against it and attempts to overcome it. These articles, meanwhile, show that the real interac­tions between the postcolonial and the imperial can be much more complicated and intertwined. All three of them demon­strate that the traditional terminological oppositions “imperial vs. anticolonial,” “colonization vs. decolonization,” “nation­alism vs. internationalism,” “nationalist vs. imperial identity” et al. fail to fully descri­be the problem by not taking into ac­count the myriad nuances and complex interconnections of tendencies that are postulated as opposed to one another.

In “Russian, Soviet and Other in Post-Stalin National Discourse: Initial Re­marks,” Gasan Gusejnov examines an example of an early anti-globalist “nativist” [pochvennicheskii] reaction to the internationalization of culture, or early multiculturalism. Using the book My Dagestan, translated into Russian by Vladimir Soloukhin, as well as the latter’s own writing, he analyzes the formation of Soviet postcolonial discourse.

In her “Transitional Culture and Post-Co­lonial Ressentiment”, Tamara Hundorova suggests a post-colonial interpretation of ressentiment as one of the “weapons of culture” and a key concept in phe­nomenology after Nietzsche. Examining ressentiment as a distinguishing feature of transitional culture, Hundorova notes the topicality of this concept in the analy­sis of colonial protests, revolutions, wars and uprisings. She emphasizes certain features of ressentiment including the existential envy of the Other’s existence, the corporeal splintering of the subject, the suppression of the object of envy and its replacement by figurative substitutes. Regarding the post-colonial critique, Hundorova analyzes Andrzej Stasiuk’s European ressentiment in the form of an “ideal cartography” and Yuri Andrukho-vych’s topos of “envying history.”

Natalia Poltavtseva offers “A Dynamic Model of (Post-)Colonial Studies: The So-ciocultural Paradigm of Conflict as a Form of Social Interaction,” an attempt to use twentieth-century prose (G.K. Chesterton, Vladimir Makanin) to reconstruct, within the postcolonial studies paradigm, diffe­rent variations of the model of conflict as a form of social and cultural interaction. Poltavtseva traces the dynamics of such a conflict (in depictions of war in Makanin and Chesterton’s work) in a cultural-anthropological cross-section within the broader cultural style of modernity.


The Postcoloniality of Post-Soviet Literatures: Constructing the Ethnic

This section addresses the post-Soviet literatures that are conceptualized as post-colonial, although this conceptua­lization itself presents an open methodo­logical problem. The articles examine the work of writers from the so-called “inter­nal abroad” of imperial and post-imperial Russia; their work can be seen as rep­resenting the gaze of the Other. These writers’ attempts to survive the collapse of their sometime identity as colonized subject are combined with the desire to reacquire their own lost traditions or col­lective subjectivity. It is noted that former colonized subjects attempt to overcome trauma while simultaneously reproducing the values and rhetoric of their coloniz­ers, sharing the “common language” of imperial consciousness.

In her “Postcolonial Literatures of the North: Autoethnography and Ethnopoe-tics”, Klavdia Smola reflects upon late-Soviet and post-Soviet texts by two Siberian authors — Eremey Aypin and Anna Nerkagi — who narrate the traumatic historical experiences of their populations in the margins of the Soviet state. Aypin and Nerkagi appear as in­digenous representatives, ethnographers, and cultural translators of the (small in numbers) Northern peoples. Being both the Soviet regime’s Other and its victim, the textual subject simultaneously shares communist or imperial modes of speaking. They both repudiate and reproduce the Soviet narrative “blueprint” and bear witness to the split, subversion, and dependency of the narrating voice. In a performative way, the contamination of indigenous and European elements re­veals the uncertain relationship between the archaic and the modern, the mythi­cal and the rational within the fictional worldview of the authors.

The section continues with Kirill Korchagin’s “ ‘When we replace our world…’: The Fergana School of Poetry in Search of a Post-Colonial Subject.” The Fergana School of poetry is one of the most remarkable phenomena in post-Soviet poetry. Its representatives (Shamshad Abdullaev, Khamdam Zakirov and Khamid Ismailov, who is close to the school) proposed a project for the recrea­tion of Uzbek literature in the early 1990s. This project was connected with inventing a new type of subjectivity, which in many of its features approaches postcolonial subjectivity. Korchagin’s article examines three premises for constructing this kind of subject: rethinking Uzbek literature as part of world literature and the related process of “self-exotici zing”; a particular mode of visuality that distinguishes the texts of the Fergana School; and a search for a new linguistic identity, one more cosmopolitan than that offered by the Uzbek language and literature. Korchagin examines these three themes as they ap­pear in the Tashkent-based journal Star of the East [Zvezda Vostoka]; Abdullaev edi­ted the journal’s poetry section between 1991—1996.

Dirk Uffelmann’s “Playing Nomadism, or Postcoloniality as a Literary Device (the Case of Il’dar Abuzyarov)” proposes the work of Abuzyarov as an illuminating example of postcolonial poetics in the literary works of ethnically non-Russian writers from the Russian Federation. It focuses on the short story Chingiz-roman [Genghis Novel] and reads its postcolonial attitudes toward the postcommunist condition with special attention to its depiction of subaltern masculinity in a nomadic disguise. After distinguishing the practice of nomad­ism from poststructuralist nomadology and looking into the double readability of Chingiz-roman, Uffelmann analyzes the implications of playing nomadism in contemporary conditions. Including the intertextual dimension allows him to relate Abuzyarov to the Scythian theme in Russian culture, to carve out the literariness of the nomad motifs, and to conclude that postcoloniality is one of the devices employed by non-Russian writers in postcommunist Russia.

Stanislav Lvovsky’s “The Lowland’s Children: German Sadulaev as a Post-Soviet and a (Post-) Colonial Writer” draws attention to the works of German Sadulaev, whose fiction provides a vivid example of postcolonial writing in post-Soviet literature. The analysis is focused on Sadulaev’s early works, namely his short fiction collection Ia chechenets [I Am a Chechen] (2006) and the novel Shalinskii Reid [The Raid on Shali] (2010). Though the texts in question show all evidence of a postcolonial condition in accordance with the existing scholarship, both the protagonists and figure of the narrator in Sadulaev’s writing are more complex than those of a former colonial subject, since the intertwinement of the post-Soviet and postcolonial conditions is the most important constitutive ele­ment of his fiction.

The “Bibliography” section contains several reviews of recently published books on the subject of empire, and the “Chronicle of Scholarly Life” pre­sents a report from the 2016 conference “Echoes of Empire. The Post-Colonies of Communism.”