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The Post-Soviet Wars

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The Post-Soviet Wars by Christoph Zurcher Book Summary:

Get ready for takeoff. The life of the flight attendant, a.k.a., stewardess, was supposedly once one of glamour, exotic travel and sexual freedom, as recently depicted in such films as Catch Me If You Can and View From the Top. The nostalgia for the beautiful, carefree and ever helpful stewardess perhaps reveals a yearning for simpler times, but nonetheless does not square with the difficult, demanding and sometimes dangerous job of today's flight attendants. Based on interviews with over sixty flight attendants, both female and male labor leaders, and and drawing upon his observations while flying across the country and overseas, Drew Whitelegg reveals a much more complicated profession, one that in many ways is the quintessential job of the modern age where life moves at record speeds and all that is solid seems up in the air. Containing lively portraits of flight attendants, both current and retired, this book is the first to show the intimate, illuminating, funny, and sometimes dangerous behind-the-scenes stories of daily life for the flight attendant. Going behind the curtain, Whitelegg ventures into first-class, coach, the cabin, and life on call for these men and women who spend week in and week out in foreign cities, sleeping in hotel rooms miles from home. Working the Skies also elucidates the contemporary work and labor issues that confront the modern worker: the demands of full-time work and parenthood; the downsizing of corporate America and the resulting labor lockouts; decreasing wages and hours worked; job insecurity; and the emotional toll of a high stress job. Given the events of 9/11, flight attendants now have an especially poignant set of stressful concerns to manage, both for their own safety as well as for those they serve, the passengers. Flight attendants, originally registered nurses charged with attending to passengers' medical needs, now find themselves wearing the hats of therapist, security guard and undercover agent. This last set of tasks pushing some, as Whitelegg shows, out of the business altogether.

Warlords and Coalition Politics in Post-Soviet States

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Warlords and Coalition Politics in Post-Soviet States by Jesse Driscoll Book Summary:

This book presents an account of war settlement in Georgia and Tajikistan as local actors maneuvered in the shadow of a Russian-led military intervention. Combining ethnography and game theory and quantitative and qualitative methods, this book presents a revisionist account of the post-Soviet wars and their settlement.

War and Memory in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus

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War and Memory in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus by Julie Fedor,Markku Kangaspuro,Jussi Lassila,Tatiana Zhurzhenko Book Summary:

This edited collection contributes to the current vivid multidisciplinary debate on East European memory politics and the post-communist instrumentalization and re-mythologization of World War II memories. The book focuses on the three Slavic countries of post-Soviet Eastern Europe – Russia, Ukraine and Belarus – the epicentre of Soviet war suffering, and the heartland of the Soviet war myth. The collection gives insight into the persistence of the Soviet commemorative culture and the myth of the Great Patriotic War in the post-Soviet space. It also demonstrates that for geopolitical, cultural, and historical reasons the political uses of World War II differ significantly across Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, with important ramifications for future developments in the region and beyond. The chapters 'Introduction: War and Memory in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus', ‘From the Trauma of Stalinism to the Triumph of Stalingrad: The Toponymic Dispute over Volgograd’ and 'The “Partisan Republic”: Colonial Myths and Memory Wars in Belarus' are published open access under a CC BY 4.0 license at The chapter 'Memory, Kinship, and Mobilization of the Dead: The Russian State and the “Immortal Regiment” Movement' is published open access under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license at

Russia's Securitization of Chechnya

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Russia's Securitization of Chechnya by Julie Wilhelmsen Book Summary:

This book provides an in-depth analysis of how mobilization and legitimation for war are made possible, with a focus on Russia's conflict with Chechnya. Through which processes do leaders and their publics come to define and accept certain conflicts as difficult to engage in, and others as logical, even necessary? Drawing on a detailed study of changes in Russia’s approach to Chechnya, this book argues that ‘re-phrasing’ Chechnya as a terrorist threat in 1999 was essential to making the use of violence acceptable to the Russian public. The book refutes popular explanations that see Russian war-making as determined and grounded in a sole, authoritarian leader. Close study of the statements and texts of Duma representatives, experts and journalists before and during the war demonstrates how the Second Chechen War was made a ‘legitimate’ undertaking through the efforts of many. A post-structuralist reinterpretation of securitization theory guides and structures the book, with discourse theory and method employed as a means to uncover the social processes that make war acceptable. More generally, the book provides a framework for understanding the broad social processes that underpin legitimized war-making. This book will be of much interest to students of Russian politics, critical terrorism studies, security studies and international relations.

The Politics of Police Reform

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The Politics of Police Reform by Erica Marat Book Summary:

There is a Russian saying that "police mirror society." The gist of this is that every society is policed to the extent that it allows itself to be policed. Centralized in control but decentralized in their reach, the police are remarkably similar in structure, chain of command, and their relationships with the political elite across post-Soviet nations--they also remain one of the least reformed post-communist institutions. As a powerful state organ, the Soviet-style militarized police have resisted change despite democratic transformations in the overall political context, including rounds of competitive elections and growing civil society. While consensus between citizens and the state about reform may be possible in democratic nations, it is considerably more difficult to achieve in authoritarian states. Across post-Soviet countries, such discussions most often occur between political elites and powerful non-state actors, such as criminal syndicates and nationalistic ethnic groups, rather than the wider citizenry. Even in countries where one or more rounds of democratic elections have taken place since 1991, empowered citizens and politicians have not renegotiated the way states police and coerce society. On the contrary, in many post-Soviet countries, police functions have expanded to serve the interests of the ruling political elites. What does it take to reform a post-Soviet police force? This book explores the conditions in which a meaningful transformation of the police is likely to succeed and when it will fail. Departing from the conventional interpretation of the police as merely an institution of coercion, this book defines it as a medium for state-society consensus on the limits of the state's legitimate use of violence. It thus considers policing not as a way to measure the state's capacity to coerce society, but rather as a reflection of a complex society bound together by a web of casual interactions and political structures. The book compares reform efforts in Ukraine, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan, finding that bottom-up public mobilization is likely to emerge in the aftermath of transformative violence--an incident when the usual patterns of policing are interrupted with unprecedented brutality against vulnerable individuals. Ultimately, The Politics of Police Reform examines the various pathways to transforming how the state relates to society through policing.

Little Soldiers

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Little Soldiers by Olga Kucherenko Book Summary:

Germany's war against the Soviet Union raised a small army of child soldiers. Thousands of those below the enlistment age served with regular and paramilitary formations, even though they were not formally mobilised or allowed at the front. For several decades after the war, these youngsters played an important part in Soviet remembrance culture, though their true experiences were obscured by the myth of the Great Patriotic War. Situated at the crossroads of social, cultural, and military history, Little Soldiers is the first to tell the story of the Soviet Union's child soldiers in a critical and systematic fashion. Focusing on the mechanisms and psychological consequences of propaganda on Soviet children, as well as their combat deployment, Kucherenko adopts a three-tier approach to writing the history of childhood: 'from above', 'from below', and 'from within'. A wide variety of new sources provide insight into young soldiers' combat motivations and the roles they played in the field, as well as their routine experiences and relationship with older comrades. Far from being victims, Soviet child soldiers emerge as independent social actors capable of making choices about their behaviour . Little Soldiers interconnects with matters of increasing importance: the role of propaganda in military conflicts, the totalization of warfare, child-soldiering, and social reflexivity.

Russia's Border Wars and Frozen Conflicts

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Russia's Border Wars and Frozen Conflicts by James J. Coyle Book Summary:

This book examines the origins and execution of Russian military and political activities in Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan. Using a realist perspective, the author concludes that there are substantial similarities in the four case studies: Russian support for minority separatist movements, conflict, Russian intervention as peacekeepers, Russian control over the diplomatic process to prevent resolution of the conflict, and a perpetuation of Russian presence in the area. The author places the conflicts in the context of international law and nationalism theory.

Russia, the West, and Military Intervention

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Russia, the West, and Military Intervention by Roy Allison Book Summary:

A detailed and carefully structured study of Soviet/Russian attitudes and responses to military interventions. It explores cases from the Gulf War in 1990 to the intervention led by Western states in Libya in 2011.

From Conflict to Autonomy in the Caucasus

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From Conflict to Autonomy in the Caucasus by Arsène Saparov Book Summary:

This book is the first historical work to study the creation of ethnic autonomies in the Caucasus in the 1920s – the transitional period from Russian Empire to Soviet Union. Seventy years later these ethnic autonomies were to become the loci of violent ethno-political conflicts which have consistently been blamed on the policies of the Bolsheviks and Stalin. According to this view, the Soviet leadership deliberately set up ethnic autonomies within the republics, thereby giving Moscow unprecedented leverage against each republic. From Conflict to Autonomy in the Caucasus questions this assumption by examining three case studies: Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno Karabakh are placed within the larger socio-political context of transformations taking place in this borderland region during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It examines demographic, social and economic consequences of the Russian colonization and resulting replacement of traditional societies and identities with modern ones. Based on original Russian language sources and archival materials, the book brings together two periods that are usually studied separately – the period of the Russian Civil War 1917–20 and the early Soviet period – in order to understand the roots of the Bolshevik decision-making policy when granting autonomies. It argues that rather than being the product of blatant political manipulation this was an attempt at conflict resolution. The institution of political autonomy, however, became a powerful tool for national mobilization during the Soviet era. Contributing both to the general understanding of the early Soviet nationality policy and to our understanding of the conflicts that have engulfed the Caucasus region since the 1990s, this book will be of interest to scholars of Central Asian studies, Russian/Soviet history, ethnic conflict, security studies and International Relations.

Warlords and Coalition Politics in Post-Soviet States

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Warlords and Coalition Politics in Post-Soviet States by Jesse Driscoll Book Summary:

This book presents an account of war settlement in Georgia and Tajikistan as local actors maneuvered in the shadow of a Russian-led military intervention. Combining ethnography and game theory and quantitative and qualitative methods, this book presents a revisionist account of the post-Soviet wars and their settlement.

Chechnya: The Inside Story

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Chechnya: The Inside Story by Mairbek Vatchagaev Book Summary:

In Chechnya: The Inside Story author Mairbek Vatchagaev chronicles the dramatic events that took place in Chechnya during the 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Engaged on one side of the Russian-Chechen conflict, he presents what he witnessed, how he became involved, how the struggle with Russia and the internal Chechen rivalries evolved, and how it impacted his family, his friends, his acquaintances, and the Chechen people.

Beyond State Crisis?

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Beyond State Crisis? by Mark Beissinger,M. Crawford Young Book Summary:

The contributors not only study state breakdown but compare the consequences of post-communism with those of post-colonialism.

Post-Soviet Conflicts

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Post-Soviet Conflicts by Ali Askerov,Stefan Brooks,Lasha Tchantouridze Book Summary:

Thirty years have passed since the emergence of the first conflicts in the Soviet Union. Some of them have been successfully resolved, but those that persist promise no peace for Russia and its neighbors.

Allah's Angels

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Allah's Angels by Paul Murphy Book Summary:

In this comprehensive portrait of the women of Chechnya in modern war, Paul Murphy argues that they are the principal victims of the 1994 and 1999 wars with Russia and the present conflict with Islamic jihadists. War forced Chechen women to venture far beyond their traditional roles and advance their human rights, but the current movement championing traditional Islam is taking those rights away. The book challenges conventional thinking on why women fight and are willing to kill themselves in the name of Allah. Drawing on personal interviews, insider resources, and other materials, Murphy presents powerful portrayals of women who fight in the Chechen jihad, including snipers and the mysterious Black Widow suicide bombers, as well as women who collect intelligence, hide arms, and perform other noncombatant roles.

Religion, Conflict, and Stability in the Former Soviet Union

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Religion, Conflict, and Stability in the Former Soviet Union by Katya Migacheva,Bryan Frederick Book Summary:

Religion has become increasingly important in the sociopolitical life of countries in the former Soviet Union. This volume of essays examines how religion affects conflict and stability in the region and provides recommendations to policymakers.

The Oxford Handbook of Postwar European History

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The Oxford Handbook of Postwar European History by Dan Stone Book Summary:

This volume covers subjects as diverse as the meaning of European identity, southern Europe after dictatorship, the cultural meanings of the bomb, the 1968 student uprisings immigration, welfare, and coming to terms with the Nazi past.

Conceiving Cuba

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Conceiving Cuba by Elise Andaya Book Summary:

After Cuba’s 1959 revolution, the Castro government sought to instill a new social order. Hoping to achieve a new and egalitarian society, the state invested in policies designed to promote the well-being of women and children. Yet once the Soviet Union fell and Cuba’s economic troubles worsened, these programs began to collapse, with serious results for Cuban families. Conceiving Cuba offers an intimate look at how, with the island’s political and economic future in question, reproduction has become the subject of heated public debates and agonizing private decisions. Drawing from several years of first-hand observations and interviews, anthropologist Elise Andaya takes us inside Cuba’s households and medical systems. Along the way, she introduces us to the women who wrestle with the difficult question of whether they can afford a child, as well as the doctors who, with only meager resources at their disposal, struggle to balance the needs of their patients with the mandates of the state. Andaya’s groundbreaking research considers not only how socialist policies have profoundly affected the ways Cuban families imagine the future, but also how the current crisis in reproduction has deeply influenced ordinary Cubans’ views on socialism and the future of the revolution. Casting a sympathetic eye upon a troubled state, Conceiving Cuba gives new life to the notion that the personal is always political.

The Origins of the Civil War in Tajikistan

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The Origins of the Civil War in Tajikistan by Tim Epkenhans Book Summary:

This study provides a comprehensive account of the civil war that erupted in Tajikistan in 1992. Based on a wide range of primary sources, it analyzes the conflict's long-term historical and structural roots as well as its short-term causes, including the rapid dismantling of the Soviet Union and the revival of Islamic and nationalist forces.

The New Cold War

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The New Cold War by Mark Mackinnon Book Summary:

An intrepid investigation into the pro-democracy movements that have reshaped the Eastern bloc since 2000, reopening the Kremlin’s wounds from the Cold War. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the Soviet Union collapsed two years later, liberal democracy was supposed to fill the void left by Soviet communism. Poland and Czechoslovakia made the best of reforms, but the citizens of the “Evil Empire” itself saw little of the promised freedom, and more of the same old despots and corruption. Recently, a second wave of reforms–Serbia in 2000, Georgia in 2003 and Ukraine in 2004, as well as Kyrgyzstan’s regime change in 2005 – have proven almost as monumental as those in Berlin and Moscow. The people of the Eastern bloc, aided in no small part by Western money and advice, are again rising up and demanding an end to autocracy. And once more, the Kremlin is battling the White House every step of the way. Mark MacKinnon spent these years working in Moscow, and his view of the story and access to those involved remains unparalleled. With The New Cold War, he reveals the links between these democratic revolutions – and the idealistic American billionaire behind them–in a major investigation into the forces that are quietly reshaping the post- Soviet world. From the Hardcover edition.

Europe from the Balkans to the Urals

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Europe from the Balkans to the Urals by Renéo Lukic,Center for Russian and East European Studies Allen Lynch,Allen Lynch Book Summary:

This book is a comparative study of the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the USSR - as multinational, federal communist states - and the reaction to these parallel collapses of European and US foreign policy.

Red Nations

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Red Nations by Jeremy Smith Book Summary:

This book surveys the experiences of non-Russian USSR citizens both during and following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Ethnic Conflict in the Post-Soviet World

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Ethnic Conflict in the Post-Soviet World by L. M. Drobizheva,Rose Gottemoeller,Catherine McArdle Kelleher Book Summary:

A collection of essays on ethnic conflict in the region, most of which do not support the notion that conflicts in Central Europe and the NIS are ethnically based or that ethnicity provides the key to their outbreak or resolution, but rather social, political, and economic conflicts are spawned by imperial collapse and far-reaching socioeconomic crises. Underlying themes include the motivating power of claims to equality and human dignity, and the struggle for control over political and economic resources. Annotation copyright by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Military and Society in Post-Soviet Russia

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Military and Society in Post-Soviet Russia by Stephen L. Webber,Jennifer G. Mathers Book Summary:

This collection provides the first comprehensive analysis of the nature of the relationship between the military and society in post-Soviet Russia. It brings together a multidisciplinary group of leading Western and Russian experts to investigate both the ways in which developments in the Russian armed forces influence Russian society, and the impact of broader societal change on the military sphere.

Socioeconomic Justice

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Socioeconomic Justice by Daniela Lai Book Summary:

The first systematic analysis of socioeconomic violence in war and its implications for post-war justice processes. This book will appeal to students and researchers interested in international interventions in post-conflict countries, transitional justice, and how countries deal with the legacies of past violence.

EU Foreign Policy and Post-Soviet Conflicts

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EU Foreign Policy and Post-Soviet Conflicts by Nicu Popescu Book Summary:

The European Union is still emerging as a fully fledged foreign policy actor. The vagaries of this process are clearly visible, yet insufficiently explained in the EU policies towards the post-Soviet space. EU Foreign Policy and Post-Soviet Conflicts examines EU intervention and non-intervention in conflict resolution, with a specific focus on the EU’s role in the post-soviet conflicts in the South Caucasus and Moldova: Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Transnistria. It explains how EU foreign policy affected these conflicts, but more importantly what EU intervention in these conflicts reveal about the EU itself. Based on extensive field research, the author argues that the reluctant EU intervention in post-Soviet conflicts results from a dichotomous relationship between EU institutions and some EU member states. Popescu argues this demonstrates that EU institutions use policies of ‘stealth intervention’ where they seek to play a greater role in the post-Soviet space, but they do so through relatively low-profile, uncontroversial and depoliticised actions in order to avoid visible Russian opposition. Exploring an array of questions related to the EU as a foreign policy actor, this book traces the politics of conflict intervention by EU institutions using original empirical data related to the EU decision making process and will be of interest to students and scholars of European politics, conflict resolution, foreign policy and Post-Soviet politics.

Freedom's Ordeal

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Freedom's Ordeal by Peter Juviler Book Summary:

Fifteen countries have emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union. Freedom's Ordeal recounts the struggles of these newly independent nations to achieve freedom and to establish support for fundamental human rights. Although history has shown that states emerging from collapsed empires rarely achieve full democracy in their first try, Peter Juviler analyzes these successor states as crucial and not always unpromising tests of democracy's viability in postcommunist countries. Taking into account the particularly difficult legacies of Soviet communism, Freedom's Ordeal is distinguished by its careful tracing of the historical background, with special attention to human rights before, during, and after communism. Juviler suggests that the culture and practices of despotism may wither wherever modernization conflicts with tyranny and with the curtailment or denial of democratic rights and freedoms.

Long Goodbye

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Long Goodbye by Artemy Kalinovsky Book Summary:

Why did the USSR linger so long in Afghanistan? What makes this account of the Soviet-Afghan conflict both timely and important is its focus on the factors that prevented the Soviet leadership from ending a demoralizing and costly war and on the long-term consequences for the Soviet Union and the region.

Reorganizing Crime

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Reorganizing Crime by Dr Gavin Slade Book Summary:

Through an innovative and engaging analysis of an often misunderstood cohort of organised crime in Georgia, this book explores the resilience of so-called dark networks, such as organized crime groups and terrorist cells, and tests the theories of how and why success in challenging such organizations can occur.

Ukraine Over the Edge

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Ukraine Over the Edge by Gordon M. Hahn Book Summary:

 The Ukrainian crisis that dominated headlines in fall 2013 was decades in the making. Two great schisms shaped events: one within Ukraine, its western and southeastern parts divided along cultural and political lines; the other was driven by geopolitical factors. Competition between Russia and the West exacerbated Ukraine’s divisions. This study focuses on the historical background and complex causality of the crisis, from the rise of mass demonstrations on Kiev’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) to the making of the post-revolt regime. In the context of a “new cold war,” the author sheds light on the role of radical Ukrainian nationalists and neofascists in the February 2014 snipers’ massacre, the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych, and Russia’s seizure of Crimea and involvement in the civil war in the eastern region of Donbass.

Russia's Chechen Wars 1994-2000

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Russia's Chechen Wars 1994-2000 by Olga Oliker Book Summary:

An examination of the difficulties faced by the Russian military in planningand carrying out urban operations in Chechnya.Russian and rebel military forces fought to control the Chechen city ofGrozny in the winters of 1994-1995 and 1999-2000, as well as clashing insmaller towns and villages. The author examines both Russian and rebeltactics and operations in those battles, focusing on how and why thecombatants' approaches changed over time. The study concludes that whilethe Russian military was able to significantly improve its ability to carryout a number of key tasks in the five-year interval between the wars, otherimportant missions--particularly in the urban realm--were ignored, largelyin the belief that the urban mission could be avoided. This consciousdecision not to prepare for a most stressful battlefield met withdevastating results, a lesson the United States would be well served tostudy.

Patriotic Education in Contemporary Russia

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Patriotic Education in Contemporary Russia by Anna Sanina Book Summary:

This book outlines the complexities, contestation, and contradictions in the formal organization and contents of patriotic education in post-Soviet Russia. While the topics of patriotism and patriotic education are highly political and politicized, this study approaches them from a more sociological perspective. It is based on a variety of sources and empirical data, including the indicators and budgets of federal and regional patriotic-education programs and on field research. The book explores in depth all major agents of patriotic education in Russia, such as the government, schools, youth associations, churches, and the film/cartoon industry. It traces the development of governmental patriotic programs in recent decades, discusses how the Soviet past and political traditions influence today’s system of patriotic education, and presents numerous case studies illustrating real-life processes in current patriotic education.

Bourdieu's Secret Admirer in the Caucasus

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Bourdieu's Secret Admirer in the Caucasus by Georgi M. Derluguian Book Summary:

Bourdieu's Secret Admirer in the Caucasus is a gripping account of the developmental dynamics involved in the collapse of Soviet socialism. Fusing a narrative of human agency to his critical discussion of structural forces, Georgi M. Derluguian reconstructs from firsthand accounts the life story of Musa Shanib—who from a small town in the Caucasus grew to be a prominent leader in the Chechen revolution. In his examination of Shanib and his keen interest in the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu, Derluguian discerns how and why this dissident intellectual became a nationalist warlord. Exploring globalization, democratization, ethnic identity, and international terrorism, Derluguian contextualizes Shanib's personal trajectory from de-Stalinization through the nationalist rebellions of the 1990s, to the recent rise in Islamic militancy. He masterfully reveals not only how external economic and political forces affect the former Soviet republics but how those forces are in turn shaped by the individuals, institutions, ethnicities, and social networks that make up those societies. Drawing on the work of Charles Tilly, Immanuel Wallerstein, and, of course, Bourdieu, Derluguian's explanation of the recent ethnic wars and terrorist acts in Russia succeeds in illuminating the role of human agency in shaping history.

History, Memory and Politics in Central and Eastern Europe

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History, Memory and Politics in Central and Eastern Europe by G. Mink,L. Neumayer Book Summary:

Fourteen specialists of Central and Eastern European politics explore memory policies and politics by examining how and why contested memories are constantly reactivated in the former Soviet bloc. The book explores how new social and political actors can challenge the traditional narratives about the past produced by state bodies.

Militarizing Men

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Militarizing Men by Maya Eichler Book Summary:

A state's ability to maintain mandatory conscription and wage war rests on the idea that a "real man" is one who has served in the military. Yet masculinity has no inherent ties to militarism. The link between men and the military, argues Maya Eichler, must be produced and reproduced in order to fill the ranks, engage in combat, and mobilize the population behind war. In the context of Russia's post-communist transition and the Chechen wars, men's militarization has been challenged and reinforced. Eichler uncovers the challenges by exploring widespread draft evasion and desertion, anti-draft and anti-war activism led by soldiers' mothers, and the general lack of popular support for the Chechen wars. However, the book also identifies channels through which militarized gender identities have been reproduced. Eichler's empirical and theoretical study of masculinities in international relations applies for the first time the concept of "militarized masculinity," developed by feminist IR scholars, to the case of Russia.

The Stuff of Soldiers

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The Stuff of Soldiers by Brandon M. Schechter Book Summary:

The Stuff of Soldiers uses everyday objects to tell the story of the Great Patriotic War as never before. Brandon Schechter attends to a diverse array of things—from spoons to tanks—to show how a wide array of citizens became soldiers, and how the provisioning of material goods separated soldiers from civilians. Through a fascinating examination of leaflets, proclamations, newspapers, manuals, letters to and from the front, diaries, and interviews, The Stuff of Soldiers reveals how the use of everyday items made it possible to wage war. The dazzling range of documents showcases ethnic diversity, women's particular problems at the front, and vivid descriptions of violence and looting. Each chapter features a series of related objects: weapons, uniforms, rations, and even the knick-knacks in a soldier's rucksack. These objects narrate the experience of people at war, illuminating the changes taking place in Soviet society over the course of the most destructive conflict in recorded history. Schechter argues that spoons, shovels, belts, and watches held as much meaning to the waging of war as guns and tanks. In The Stuff of Soldiers, he describes the transformative potential of material things to create a modern culture, citizen, and soldier during World War II.

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Power Politics and State Formation in the Twentieth Century

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Power Politics and State Formation in the Twentieth Century by Bridget Coggins Book Summary:

From Kurdistan to Somaliland, Xinjiang to South Yemen, all secessionist movements hope to secure newly independent states of their own. Most will not prevail. The existing scholarly wisdom provides one explanation for success, based on authority and control within the nascent states. With the aid of an expansive new dataset and detailed case studies, this book provides an alternative account. It argues that the strongest members of the international community have a decisive influence over whether today's secessionists become countries tomorrow and that, most often, their support is conditioned on parochial political considerations.


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Afgantsy by Rodric Braithwaite Book Summary:

"First published in Great Britain in 2011 by Profile Books"--T.p. verso.

White Eagle, Red Star

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White Eagle, Red Star by Norman Davies Book Summary:

Surprisingly little known, the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-20 was to change the course of twentieth-century history. In White Eagle, Red Star, Norman Davies gives a full account of the War, with its dramatic climax in August 1920 when the Red Army - sure of victory and pledged to carry the Revolution across Europe to 'water our horses on the Rhine' - was crushed by a devastating Polish attack. Since known as the 'miracle on the Vistula', it remains one of the most decisive battles of the Western world. Drawing on both Polish and Russian sources, Norman Davies illustrates the narrative with documentary material which hitherto has not been readily available and shows how the War was far more an 'episode' in East European affairs, but largely determined the course of European history for the next twenty years or more.