By Mark Lawrence Schrad
Publish yr note: First released December nineteenth 2013
Russia is legendary for its vodka, and its tradition of utmost intoxication. yet simply as vodka is crucial to the lives of many Russians, it's also valuable to realizing Russian background and politics.
In Vodka Politics, Mark Lawrence Schrad argues that debilitating societal alcoholism isn't really hard-wired into Russians' genetic code, yet fairly their autocratic political approach, which has lengthy wielded vodka as a device of statecraft. via a sequence of ancient investigations stretching from Ivan the bad via Vladimir Putin, Vodka Politics offers the key background of the Russian country itself-a historical past that's sopping wet in liquor. Scrutinizing (rather than brushing aside) the function of alcohol in Russian politics yields a extra nuanced realizing of Russian background itself: from palace intrigues lower than the tsars to the drunken antics of Soviet and post-Soviet management, vodka is there in abundance.
Beyond bright anecdotes, Schrad scours unique files and archival facts to reply to provocative old questions. How have Russia's rulers used alcohol to solidify their autocratic rule? What function did alcohol play in tsarist coups? used to be Nicholas II's ill-fated prohibition a catalyst for the Bolshevik Revolution? may the Soviet Union became a global strength with no liquor? How did vodka politics give a contribution to the cave in of either communism and public wellbeing and fitness within the Nineteen Nineties? How can the Kremlin conquer vodka's hurdles to supply better social health, prosperity, and democracy into the future?
Viewing Russian background throughout the backside of the vodka bottle is helping us to appreciate why the "liquor question" is still vital to Russian excessive politics even today-almost a century after the problem have been placed to mattress in so much another sleek country. certainly, spotting and confronting vodka's devastating political legacies could be the maximum political problem for this iteration of Russia's management, in addition to the following
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Additional resources for Vodka Politics: Alcohol, Autocracy, and the Secret History of the Russian State
In the culture of the nineteenth-century intelligentsia, Ilia E. Repin’s Barge Haulers on the Volga (1870–73) (figure 3), for example, was democratic, progressive, and Russian, while works such as the Execution by the French of Russian Patriots in Moscow in 1812 were aristocratic, autocratic, and European. Ragged, dirty, and beaten down, Repin’s barge haulers find degradation and oppression in a reality that resembles a desert wasteland. They strain against the weight of a traditional barge while a modern steamship and its labor-saving potential plies the river far off in the distance.
They needed to define the role of art and artists in a place where the aristocratic institutions and neoclassical aesthetics of the early nineteenth century, the public structures, moral values, and political ideologies of the nineteenth-century intelligentsia, and the new commercialized mass culture all coexisted by the early twentieth century. What should art represent in an age of political strife, social turmoil, and cultural transformation? Who was an artist, and which 18 | The Wars against Tradition public should the artist serve?
Boundaries between art groups were not etched in stone, for smaller groups formed and dissolved, and artists often belonged to several groups at once, attracted by ties of kin, professional obligation, or friendship. The milieu was a less well-defined subculture made up of groups and individuals who shared similar aesthetic values. 9 Imperial Russia’s art groups served to mediate between individual artists and the public. In an evolving art culture, they provided the institutional structure, common culture, and professional community to identify and ensure access to an art-appreciating audience that was often fragile, undeveloped, or changing rapidly in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.