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Utgaver i tidsskriftet Nordisk Østforum

Nordisk Østforum (NØF) dekker politisk, økonomisk og kulturell utvikling i Øst-Europa, Russland, det postsovjetiske området og på Balkan. Tidsskriftet inviterer forskere til å ta del i den nordiske debatten om utviklingen i et av våre viktigste nærområder.

  1. Abstract: The Collapse of the Planned Economy – and Other Widespread Misconceptions of the Transitions in Russia and Eastern Europe
    According to the prevailing view, the Soviet planned economy collapsed around 1990; it was a failure, because a planned economy cannot work. Comparing this common view, as it appears in numerous quotations from special and general sources, with basic empirical evidence reveals deep discrepancies. This also applies to other common conceptions regarding the transition in Russia and Eastern Europe e.g. environmental problems, agricultural crisis, poverty and inequality. The command economies in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union did not collapse; they were dismantled, and until then they functioned and delivered growth rates comparable to those of western countries. The transition after 1989 was driven by marketliberalistic enthusiasm as a short cut to imitation of western prosperity and entailed a refusal of economic planning in the East and in the West. A more realistic evaluation of the planned economy is important for how we politically and economically address our two great challenges, the global environment, and the global distribution.

  2. Abstract: ‘Have we ever been European?’ Everyday reflections from Russia on the gender and sexuality ‘culture wars’
    Drawing on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in European Russia, Jeremy Morris examines everyday attitudes to homosexuality in Russia, and the linkage to an understanding of terpimost (or ‘tolerantnost’) – ‘tolerance’ – as an insincere ‘Euro-American’ attitude. In this companion-piece to work focusing on male homophobia and conservative attitudes to childrearing (Morris & Garibyan, 2021), the focus is on how women describe their experience of same-sex relations and their heteronormative attitudes towards what they understand as ‘non-normative’ sexuality. Whereas the influence of Russia’s state-led policy of conservatism is reflected in everyday talk – especially in relation to the idea that Euro-American values of permissiveness and ‘tolerance’ are misplaced – the findings reveal more nuanced ideas ‘from below’ about cultural differences between Russia and the putatively ‘other’ Europe. The article further notes the volatility and variance in survey methods that seek to measure ‘intolerance’ and cultural difference. They can exacerbate what, as Katherina Wiedlack and others have pointed out, is a colonial and orientalizing discourse that features an ‘enlightened’ West and a ‘passive, backward’ East. This article shows how ‘intolerance’ and acceptance of non-normative sexuality in Russia do not differ greatly from the situation in comparable societies of the global North.

  3. Abstract: Language policy in Slovakia and the Czech Republic after 1993
    The establishment of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic in 1993 sparked challenges for language policy in the two new states. From a linguistic point of view, the Czech and Slovak languages are very similar but the language situations in the two countries differ: Slovakia is home to two sizable linguistic minorities (Hungarian and Romani), whereas Czechia houses several small minority languages. Applying Robert L. Cooper’s and Joshua A. Fishman’s analytical categories and focusing on the activities of national politicians and prominent linguists, this article examines status and corpus planning in the two countries. In Slovakia, politicians have engaged intensely in status planning, focused on legislating Slovak as a state language. The establishment of a state language opened for political interference in corpus planning. In Czechia, status planning started out from a liberal platform in the 1990s, and interest mainly focused on corpus planning. Hotly debated questions of corpus planning put Czech linguistic authorities on the defensive. Increasingly, adaptations to the charters and conventions of the European Council have co-shaped both countries’ language policy. During the period analyzed here, Slovakia has seen the linguistic standardization of Rusyn and Romani, and linguists in both countries have advanced their theoretical understanding of corpus planning.

  4. The amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation adoped after a 2020 referendum included a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. This is a recent manifestation of the turn to ‘traditional values’ in Russian politics and society, the best-known expression of which is the 2013 ban on ‘propaganda for non-traditional sexual orientation’. This development cannot be understood as solely reflecting ‘traditional’ attitudes of the Russian population, nor as a backlash against LGBTQ activism. The turn to ‘traditional values’ must be considered in the context of a global pattern of increased pro-family mobilization, which opposes LGBTQ rights, feminism and the alleged undermining of gender as biologically determined and strictly binary – described by researchers as ‘anti-gender mobilization’. Traditionalist politics in Russia should be analysed in a transnational and international perspective, but conservative mobilization is not a monolithic phenomenon. Using the concept of ‘discourse coalition’ developed by Maarten Hajer, I show how the identification of shared storylines enables a range of actors to act in similar ways, sometimes coordinating their actions, despite ideological, religious or strategic disagreements, on the domestic as well as the global arena.

  5. Kapitlene i Greg Simons (red.), The Image of Islam in Russia drøfter ulike sider av forholdet mellom muslimer og staten i Russland siden 1990-årene og holder høy akademisk standard. Boken er et opptrykk av to-tre år gamle utgaver av tidsskriftet Religion, State and Society.

    The chapters in Greg Simons (ed.), The Image of Islam in Russia discuss various aspects of Muslim–state relations in Putin’s Russia and are of high academic quality. This collected volume is a massive reprint of 2 to 3-year-old issues of the journal Religion, State and Society.

  6. I boken Urban Protest: A Spatial Perspective on Kyiv, Minsk, and Moscow utvecklas och testas ett teoretiskt ramverk för att kartlägga hur massprotester påverkas av den plats där de utspelar sig och den politiska kontexten. Modellen är gedigen och utan tvekan ett bra verktyg för att förstå hur en specifik plats bidrar till att möjliggöra eller begränsa protesters utveckling. Författaren borde nöjt sig med detta och inte strävat efter att modellen också ska förklara varför protester »lyckas» eller »misslyckas». En sådan kausalitet framställer, felaktigt, massprotester som någon slags demokratisk »quick fix» trots att politisk förändring i de allra flesta fall i stället är resultatet av en lång utvecklingsprocess.

    Urban Protest: A Spatial Perspective on Kyiv, Minsk, and Moscowdevelops and tests a theoretical framework for mapping how mass protests are affected by the political context and the space in which they take place. This model provides a useful tool for understanding how a specific location contributes to facilitating or impeding a protest. However, the author should have stopped here, and not additionally tried to use the model to explain why protests 'succeed' or 'fail'. Such causality depicts mass protests as some kind of democratic 'quick fix – but, in the vast majority of cases, political change comes about as the result of a longer-term process.

  7. Ett år i Belaruser ei samling av tekstar som gir skandinaviske lesarar eit innblikk i korleis belarusarane gjennomlevde og forsto det politiske opprøret som traff landet i 2020. Boka er full av sterke observasjonar og refleksjonar, og framstår difor som eit tidsbilete på ei historisk fase som no er forbi.

    Ett år i Belarus (One Year in Belarus), a collection of texts written by Belarusian authors, offers Scandinavian readers an understanding of how Belarusians lived through and interpreted the political upheavals that hit the country in 2020. The book is full of observations and reflections, offering valuable insights into a turbulent historical phase which has now passed.

  8. Denna bok lyfter frågan om hur vilka planer som finns i Ryssland för tiden efter Putin som president. Huvudargumentet är att de strategier för att bygga politisk legitimitet nästan helt har fokuserats på Putin som Rysslands räddare och beskyddare. Därmed har också möjliga efterträdare svårt att bygga upp en egen plattform. Den nya konstitutionen som möjliggör för Putin att sitta kvar fram till 2036 visar att man inte har någon lösning på detta dilemma. Kvar finns en åldrande president och ett politiskt system som i övrigt hyser lågt förtroende hos befolkningen.

    This book raises the question of Russia’s plans for the time after Putin as Russia’s president. The main argument is that the strategies for political legitimacy in Russia has focused almost entirely on Putin himself as the saviour and protector of the Russian nation. Consequently, any potential successor has a difficult task in building up his/her own platform. The new constitution, which makes it possible for Putin to continue as president until 2036 demonstrates that this dilemma has yet no solution. What remains is an aging president and a political system with a very low level of popular trust.

  9. Boken Nationalism as an Argument in Contemporary Russia: Four Perspectives on Language in Actioner Veera Laines ph.d.-avhandling som hun forsvarte ved Universitetet i Helsingfors i 2021. Den består av tre artikler, et bokkapittel og en lang og grundig innledningstekst. Alt i alt har Laine skrevet en solid, veldokumentert og teoretisk velfundert avhandling.

    The book Nationalism as an Argument in Contemporary Russia: Four Perspectives on Language in Actionis Vera Laine’s PhD dissertation which she defended at the University of Helsinki in 2021. It contains three research articles, one book chapter and a long and thorough introductory part. All things considered, Laine has written a solid, well-documented and theoretically well-founded dissertation.

  10. Boken er en personlig beretning om Russland og russere skrevet av en pioneerene innen nordisk østforskning. Bokens hovedtese er at sovjetisk mentalitet aldri døde ut og nå i økende grad tar over, men at de autoritære tendensene tross alt møtes av et annet Russland av intellektuelle, dissidenter og bloggere hvis betydning ikke bør undervurderes.

    This book is a personal tour d’horizon written by one of the pioneers and mainstays of Nordic Soviet, Russian and East European studies through the last half century. The main thesis of the book is that Soviet mindsets never died and are in the ascendant to day, but that there also exists another Russia of intellectuals, dissident and bloggers whose impirtance should not be underestimated.

  11. Denne bokomtalen dreier seg om Hilma Salonens studie av overgangen til fornybar energi i Russlands arktiske strøk: Russian Renewable Energy Politics in the Arctic: National Priorities and Local Realities. Hun viser at det er mulig å realisere fornybar-prosjekter i fossilavhengige land som Russland. Selv om aktørene som fremmer slike prosjekter ikke synes å være fremtredende i Russland, viser studien at de har et visst handlingsrom som de lykkes med å utnytte.  

    In Russian Renewable Energy Politics in the Arctic: National Priorities and Local Realities,Hilma Salonen examines the renewable energy transition in the Russian Arctic. She documents how, even in a heavily fossil-fuel dominated country like Russia, renewable energy players can achieve their goals. Hidden at first glance, these actors exhibit features of agency and can act successfully to develop renewable energy projects.

  12. I Mina ryska vänner skriver den svenske journalisten Johanna Melén godt og innsiktsfullt om egne opplevelser i Russland fra Putins maktovertakelse. Likevel støter hun på et kjent problem: Hvor mye mer kan en bok om Russlands nære historie bli enn en nok en Putin-biografi?

    Mina ryska vänner (My Russian Friends) is a well-written and insightful book by the Swedish journalist Johanna Melén about her experiences in Russia after Putin's ascent to power. However, she encounters a common problem: How much more can a book on Russia's recent history be than yet another Putin biography?

  13. Den ortodokse kirke er forholdsvist ukendt blandt den brede befolkning i de nordiske lande, selvom antallet af ortodokse kristne i disse år er stærkt stigende grundet øget migration fra ortodokse majoritetslande. Derfor er Caroline Serck-Hanssens bog Den ortodokse kirke: Historie – lære – troslivet relevant og velkomment bidrag. Bogen formidler den ortodokse kirkes historie, lære og aktuelle situation med særligt fokus på den norske og russiske kontekst. Den er skrevet i et klart og letlæseligt sprog, og er primært henvendt til den alment interesserede læser.

    The Orthodox Church has remained relatively unknown among the general population in the Nordic countries, even though the number of Orthodox Christians in the region has been rising, due to increased in-migration from Orthodox-majority countries. Caroline Serck-Hanssen’s Den ortodokse kirke: Historie – lære – trosliv(The Orthodox Church: History – Doctrine – Religious Life) is a welcome and relevant contribution. It relates the history, doctrines and current situation of the eastern Orthodox churches, with particular attention to the Norwegian and Russian contexts. It is written in clear and concise prose and is primarily addressed to the interested general reader.

  14. Aksel V. Carlsen arbetade som forskare vid Institutet för internationella arbetarrörelsen under de två sista decennierna av den sovjetiska eran. I boken IMRD – min arbejdsplads i Moskva berättar han om kollegor, forskningsprojekt och den komplicerade relationen som institutet hade till den politiska regimen i det auktoritära sovjetsystemet. Ett intrikat nätverk mellan ”sextitalisterna”, som strävade efter socialistiska reformer av systemet, och de toppstyrda rigida politiska maktstrukturerna omgav och definierade IMRD:s verksamhet.

    During the two final decades of the Soviet era, Aksel V. Carlsen worked as a researcher at the Institute for the International Labor Movement (IMRD). In IMRD – min arbejdsplads i Moskva (IMRD: my workplace in Moscow) he writes about colleagues, research activities and the institute’s complicated interaction with the authoritarian Soviet regime. An intricate network existed between members of the ‘sixties generation’, who aimed at reforming the Soviet system, and the centralized rigid power structures – a network that enveloped and determined the work of the IMRD.



  15. Russian Modernization: A New Paradigmär en antologi om Rysslands modernisering och presenterar resultat efter ett stort projekt som forskargruppen av 34 medverkande författare bedrivit vid Aleksanteriinstitutet under ledning av Markku Kivinen och Brendan Humphreys.

    Russian Modernization: A New Paradigmpresents the result of a large project about Russian modernization conducted by a research group of 34 participants at the Aleksanteri Institute under the leadership of Markku Kivinen and Brendan Humphreys.

  16. Fyrtårnet i Øst er en yderst velskrevet og informativ analyse af den fascination, som Ruslands præsident Vladimir Putin og hans system nyder i mange forskellige kredse i Vesten. Bogen er rig på detaljer, og den dækker et stort antal lande og forskellige typer af Putin-fascination. Den er kærkommen læsning i forbindelse med dels krigen i Ukraine, dels det politiske opgør som vil følge efter krigen. Her vil den uundgåelige diskussion være, om alt for mange gik alt for langt i deres dyrkelse af Putin og hans system?

    Fyrtårnet i Øst (Lighthouse in the East) offers a well-written, informative analysis of the fascination accorded to Vladimir Putin and his system in various circles in the West. Rich in details, the book covers a large number of countries and different types of ‘Putin fascination’. It is a welcome read in relation to the war in Ukraine, as well as the political showdown which is bound to ensue. The inevitable question will be: did too many go too far in their idolization of Putin and his system?

  17. The Accommodation of Regional and Ethno-cultural Diversity in Ukraine är sprungen ur ett högaktuellt norskt-ukrainskt forskningsprojekt som innehåller mycket matnyttigt material för den som forskar om de senaste årens ukrainska språk- och regionpolitik.

    The Accommodation of Regional and Ethno-cultural Diversity in Ukraineis the product of a timely Ukrainian–Norwegian research project. It presents materials and analyses very useful for researchers of Ukraine’s language and regional policies of recent years.

  18. Små russiske hverdager är norsklektorn Torunn Berntsens oredigerade minnesbilder av livet i det sena 1990-talets Ryssland. Navet i berättelsen är köket hos Berntsens hyresvärdinna i Sankt Petersburg, där en stor del av vardagen försiggår och funderingar uppstår. Författaren grubblar mycket över Rysslands väsen och framtid.

    Små russiske hverdager(An Average Day in Russia) are Norwegian lecturer Torunn Berntsen's unedited memoirs of life in late 1990s Russia. The hub of the story is the kitchen at Berntsen's landlady in St. Petersburg, where a large part of everyday life takes place and thoughts arise. The author ponders a lot about Russia's essence and future.

  19. Putins Ryssland är en antologi om den moderna politiska och ekonomiska utvecklingen i landet. Regimens utveckling i alltmer auktoritär riktning och näringslivets oförmåga att ta sig ur en ensidig inriktning på råvaruproduktion är några ämnen som belyses, liksom interaktionen mellan en alltmer offensiv säkerhetspolitik och de ekonomiska sanktionerna från väst som en följd av aggressionen mot stater i det nära utlandet.

    Putins Ryssland (Putin’s Russia) presents contributions by Russia specialists on recent political and economic developments in the country. In particular, the authors note the tendency towards an increasingly authoritarian political system, as well as the inability of the economic sector to shift towards more diversified production, away from the focus on extraction of raw materials. One chapter is dedicated to the interaction between the Kremlin’s increasingly offensive security policy and the Western economic sanctions triggered by Russian aggression towards states in its near abroad.

  20. Det seneste årti er politiske rettigheder i Rusland blevet kraftigt indskrænkede. Efterladt med et valg mellem at tie eller flytte, vælger flere civilsamfundsaktører at fortsætte deres aktiviteter uden for landets grænser. Political Dissent and Democratic Remittances:The Activities of Russian Migrants in Europe, et nyt kvalitativt, etnografisk studie undersøger aktiviteterne hos dem, der udøver systemkritik efter at have forladt Rusland.

    Over the past decade, political freedoms in Russia have severely restricted. Faced with the choice between leaving the country or being left without a voice, more and more civil society actors are choosing to conduct their activities abroad. Political Dissent and Democratic Remittances:The Activities of Russian Migrants in Europe is a new qualitative ethnographic study that explores the activities of those who have Russia in order to be able to voice their political dissent.