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Reviewed by: Christine Oka, Research & Instruction, Northeastern University Libraries, Boston, MA
Published semi-annually since 2012, the International Journal of Russian Studies (IJORS) is an open access, e-journal with the aim “to publish original articles on any topic related to Russia throughout its long history including linguistics, literature, culture, folklore, religion, history, international relations, domestic politics, law[,] military affairs and economics.” The members of the Editorial Board reflect the geographic diversity of the magazine content; they hail from the United States, Turkey, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, and Poland. Articles are mostly in English; some are in Russian, or Kyrgyz or Turkish. One article, comparing the idioms used in Kyrgyz and Turkish newspapers, has both languages.
This year is the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution and the latest issue contains articles relevant to the Revolution and the Soviet era. Interdisciplinary topics in English related to the Revolution include “Doctor Zhivago: Russian Literature as a Tool of American Propaganda During the Cold War and the Role of the Vatican and Feltrinelli.” In the abstract, the author makes the argument “the novel and the Nobel Prize given to its author were used by U.S. intelligence as a ‘soft power’ weapon against [the] Soviet Union, with the collaboration of two Italians: Giangiacomo Feltrinelli and The Vatican.” The article discloses a cloak and dagger operation from recently declassified CIA files about how the “CIA operated in order to make Pasternak a Nobel Laureate.” The purpose of the propaganda was “to spread a negative image of the Russian Revolution.” Another English language article analyzes the long-lasting effects of revolution (“The First Russian Revolution -- The Decembrist Movement and Its Impact on Russian Political History”) while “Revolution in Russia and China: 100 Years” illustrates the influence the events in Russia have had on what has been happening in China, where “This year, in the People‘s Republic of China, the 100th anniversary of the events of 1917 in Russia will be commemorated officially as an historical antecedent and a political foundation.” This article examines the relationship throughout history to see how revolution in each place evolved, in order to understand “The future direction that China will take, politically and economically,” a matter of importance to the entire world.
IJORS issues have Articles and contain a section for Notes and Comments, as well as Reviews. In the latest issue, the founding editor, Ayse Dietrich, wrote all of the book reviews. Reviews included an older book, published in 2004, Chechnya: Life in a War-Torn Society, an ethnographic study derived from interviews with Chechen combatants about life during the 10-year conflict. This is a look at the harsh realities of rebellion and counterinsurgency in Chechnya. Other reviews are a complementary blend of books, ranging from Creating the Empress: Politics and Poetry in the Age of Catherine, with the author discussing “the relationship between political and literary symbolism in the creation of the imperial image of Catherine II. . .” to Russian Monarchy: Representation and Rule, which considers the monarchy “as a continuing institution and political culture rather than a succession of individual rulers. . . . “ The last review is a tip of the hat to the Russian Revolution, a review of A People’s History of the Russian Revolution, a “well-written, readable source which provides a comprehensive presentation of the preconditions and the core concepts that led to the Bolshevik Revolution and describes the positive and the negative effects of the state policies that its leaders imposed.”
Useful for libraries collecting exhaustively in Russian studies.