The article discusses contemporary Ukrainian writers who deal with the specific urban environment of the Western Ukrainian city of Lviv. It looks at various ways of representing and interpreting the city, with a particular emphasis on the physicality of the city: its topography, architecture, its sights, smells and tastes. The article also discusses the relation of these literary representations to popular narratives of the city, as represented in consumer, and particularly café, culture. The article draws on the ideas of Borges, Benjamin, Boym and Bakhtin in its exploration of the explosion of writing about the city in recent Ukrainian literature, demonstrating a carnivalesque irreverence towards the physical traces of history, which is combined with an innovative re-imagining of the urban environment as text.
This paper aims to inquire into the nature of the contemporary extreme right movement in Romania, more specifically of the group known as the New Right. The group appears simultaneously to embrace some form of European values as well as pursue a highly nationalistic vision of Romania and its relationship to Europe. This results in a strong negative reaction towards both Russia, still identified with the Soviet Union, and the United States, whose influence in Europe is perceived as highly detrimental. The group also criticizes the European Union project as a homogenizing phenomenon and promotes an alternative vision of collaboration between the nationalist movements in Europe within structures such as the European National Front.
Drawing its inspiration and presenting itself as heir of the inter-war Romanian fascist movement, The Legion of the Archangel Michael (with which it shares the anti-communist, anti-capitalist, and 'third positionist' outlook), the New Right represents what Michael Shafir has identified as a 'radical return' in the ideology of the extreme right. The article briefly reviews the historical context of the group's evolution, its conceptual definition, as well as examines its ideology from the point of view of the theories dealing with contemporary forms of radical right movements, such as the one put forward by Diethelm Prowe. These phenomena deserve attention both from the point of view of the reinvention of tradition they perform and their ability to adapt their discourse to contemporary realities.
Since Aleksei Balabanov's films Brother (Brat, 1997) and Brother 2 (Brat 2, 2000) were released, they have achieved cult status in Russia. The popularity of these films has often been attributed to their concern with Russian national identity and their portrayal of a national hero. While explaining their success in these terms, however, Russian reviewers have strongly criticized the exclusive nature of the nationalism portrayed in the films and viewed the public's enthusiastic reaction to them as a symptom of a disturbing national malaise. In this article I analyse the critical discussion of the films before looking at viewer responses to determine whether they substantiate some of the critics' fears, namely that a maladjusted Russian population is interpreting the hero's actions as a justification for an excessively narrow kind of national ideal. Having nuanced the idea that the Brother films exploit the divisions in Russian society to inculcate a very exclusive type of national identity, I suggest that it is the films' portrayal of a 'gangster hero' and the films' depiction of the criminalization of Russian society that allows the Brother films to play a role in the construction of national identity in Russia.
This paper will examine the way in which mass literature has offered Russian readers more than just escapism from everyday life in the post-Soviet period. The collapse of the USSR in 1991 meant that writers were no longer constrained by the laws of the Soviet leadership and they suddenly found themselves in a position to write about life in Russia as they experienced it: unstable, confusing, and difficult. This paper will examine the phenomenon of female detective fiction and will explore the idea that this fiction of the mid-1990s was not so much about solving crimes as providing women with a self-help manual on surviving the instability of the Yeltsin era. In addition, although the difficulties of the Yeltsin period are over, women now face new challenges that have emerged during the Putin era, giving rise to an updated handbook for survival in the 2000s - the so-called glamurnoe chtenie (literature of glamour). Through literary examples, this paper will demonstrate that Russian mass literature has not simply been produced to entertain readers, but to serve a greater need, describing the necessary talents that women should have in order to survive life in Russia today. This paper will conclude that the path followed by certain aspects of female fiction over the last ten years has been one of adaptation of Western models to the Russian market.