The emergence of a new Russian women’s movement after 1991, and, more specifically, the mobilization against domestic violence and efforts to establish crisis centres that took place are analysed in this article. Based on a case study of crisis centres in Northwest Russia, a central finding is that in the work on domestic violence a key resource of the women’s groups is their network relations with local authorities, the police, justice departments and social services. The networks are the social capital of these NGOs. The analysis shows how the NGOs accumulate the social capital that gives them the possibility to draw upon established local contacts when guiding and helping victims of domestic violence. Drawing on the case study of Northwest Russia, the article suggests that the concept of social capital helps us describe and explain current developments within Russian civil society that may have important consequences for the advancement of democracy in Russia.
Keywords: civil society, Northwest Russia, social capital, violence against women, women’s groups
Siri Skjold Lexau
In the mid-1920s, following difficult years in the wake of the 1917 socialist revolution and the subsequent civil war, some areas in the outskirts of Leningrad were designated for urban development. One of these, the Narva District, was already home to about 30 factories, the most important being the Kirov Plant. Over the next few years, a complete refurbishment of the urban infrastructure and its buildings was carried out. From 1925, new dwellings, a primary school, a cultural palace, a department store, a catering centre, a technical school, and a big town hall with adjacent park were constructed as variations over modernistic avant-garde architecture. These buildings tell us a different story about Leningrad/St Petersburg architecture than the well-known examples of baroque and classicism of the aristocratic city centre. The area was chosen as the site for development of a model society to inspire the renewal of other Soviet cities. Thus, the buildings demonstrate the political and artistic ideals at the time of their construction, a period when Leningrad was one of the most important centres of innovative architecture in the world.
Keywords: avant-garde architecture, constructivism, industrial architecture, Leningrad architecture, urban planning
This article presents and analyses five books by Nikolai Starikov, a contemporary Russian author of popular history books with a patriotic slant. The author discusses whether Starikov’s work is an example of «folk history», i.e. a type of history writing contradicting the «official» history. Starikov’s ideas are placed in the wider context of Russian political thought, and related to the ideas of the 19th century «Panslavist» Nikolai Danilevskii and the Eurasianists. Starikov’s views about contemporary Russia are discussed, including how Russians today understand the concept of a strong state and view the West.
Keywords: Nikolai Starikov, folk history, Nikolai Danilevskii, Russian nationalism, Eurasianists
Bjørn Ditlef Nistad