From the country that has added to our vocabulary such colorful terms as purges, pogroms, and gulag, this collection investigates the conspicuous marks of violence in Russian history and culture. Russians and n-Russians alike have long debated the reasons for this endemic violence. Some have cited Russia's huge size, unforgiving climate, and exposed geographical position as formative in its national character, making invasion easy and order difficult. Others have fixed the blame on cultural and religious traditions that spurred internecine violence or on despotic rulers or unfortunate episodes in the nation's history, such as the Mongol invasion, the rule of Ivan the Terrible, or the Red Terror of the revolution. Even in contemporary Russia, the specter of violence continues, from widespread mistreatment of women to racial antagonism, the product of a frustrated nationalism that manifests itself in such phemena as the wars in Chechnya. Times of Trouble is the first book in English to explore the problem of violence in Russia. From a variety of perspectives, essays investigate Russian history as well as depictions of violence in the visual arts and in literature, including the works of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Isaac Babel, Mikhail Lermontov, and Nina Sadur. From the Mongol invasion to the present day, topics include the gulag, gecide, violence against women, anti-Semitism, and terrorism as a tool of revolution.
Marcus C. Levitt is associate professor of Slavic languages at the University of Southern California. Tatyana Novikov is associate professor of Russian at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.