Images of Otherness in Russia, 1547-1917

A volume edited by Bulat Rakhimzianov and me, Images of Otherness in Russia, 1547-1917 has been published by Academic Studies Press.

The topical book covers a time span of four hundred years and provides background for the formation of contemporary ideas of collective Russianness and its manifestations. Further, the volume brings into focus the processes of assimilation and integration, applied by Russian administration to the peoples residing in the areas the empire expanded to, such as Siberia and the Caucasus. While the current regime of Russia blames “the West” for colonial practices, it categorically refuses to critically assess the Russian empire’s goals and activities, often equally toned by colonial exploitation.

As social and political tensions arose at the turn of the twentieth century, the empire aimed to consolidate inner cohesion by creating enemy images and stereotypes of hostile “Others.” Simultaneously, harsh propaganda was actively produced on and by competing political groups and actors. As the case studies presented in the book indicate, the borders between “Us” and the “Others” are and have always been porous and fluctuating.

The volume consists of fifteen chapters authored by researchers from the United States, Germany, Finland and Russia. The first section examines how ethnic and religious “Others” were represented and depicted in the fifteenth-seventeenth century Muscovite sources. The second section focuses on the representations of minorities, such as Tatars, Oirats and Jews, in the expanding empire from the seventeenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century. The theme of the third section are the images of “Otherness” in the empire facing multiplying and intertwining crises at the turn of the twentieth century. All the sections are preceded by summaries authored by world-renowned experts of each theme.

You will find more information here: Images of Otherness in Russia, 1547-1917 — Academic Studies Press,

New and upcoming publications

I have published numerous new articles recently; please take a look at my updated list of publications. Also, next year the edited volume Images of Otherness in Russia from 1547 to 1917, coedited with Bulat Rakhimzianov, will be published by Academic Studies Publishing. A very topical theme and interesting contributions!

’This Battle Started Long Before Our Days…’ The Historical and Political Context of the Russo-Turkish War in Russian Popular Publications, 1877–78

My article “’This Battle Started Long Before Our Days…’ The Historical and Political Context of the Russo-Turkish War in Russian Popular Publications, 1877–78″ was published online by Nationalities Papers (FirstView) on 18 June 2020.

The abstract:

Popular publications produced in Russia on the events in the Balkans in 1877–78 offer a valuable opportunity to examine how the historical and political background of the Russo-Turkish War was conveyed to common readers, some of whom were potentially involved in the military action, or persuaded to support the cause by other means. The conceptions produced and distributed in these booklets were firmly based on pan-Slavistic ideas of Russians’ duty to help their “Slavic brothers.” The publications presented the reader with propagandistic images of Turkish enemies, which were compared to Islamic enemies of the Russian national narrative. The result was persuasive and simplified imagery leaning on dualistic representations of ethnic groups and graphic depictions of violence, effectively justifying Russia’s involvement in the events and taking a stand in the internal issues concerning Muslim minorities, too.

’With the Tatar Barbarism of Batu:’ References to History in Russian Works concerning Napoleon’s Campaign, 1812–1814

My article ”’With the Tatar Barbarism of Batu:’ References to History in Russian Works concerning Napoleon’s Campaign, 1812–1814” has been published in Russian History 46 (2019) (Brill Academic Publisher).

The abstract:

The invasion of Napoleon’s troops all the way to Moscow in 1812 has been seen as a turning point that accelerated the development of nationalistic thinking in Russia, already burgeoning at the turn of the century. Depictions of the invasion, produced from 1812–1814 indicate that perceptions of the collective past were in a state of both fermentation and formation, together with questions of Russia’s geopolitical position. The authors were leaning simultaneously on the eighteenth-century image of enlightened, imperial and European Russia, and the medieval ideas of religion as the dividing line between “us” and ”them.”

The Battle of Kulikovo Refought

98407Kirjani ”The Battle of Kulikovo Refought – ’The First National Feat'” on ilmestynyt. Kustantaja on Brill Academic Publishers.

My book ”The Battle of Kulikovo Refought – ’The First National Feat'” has been published by Brill Academic Publishers.

The battle of Kulikovo, fought between Muscovite and Tatar troops in 1380, has been considered as a crucial turning point in the national history of Russia. In The Battle of Kulikovo Refought Kati Parppei examines the layers of contemporary meanings attached to the event from the Middle Ages to the present, following the formation and establishment of the collective images and perceptions concerning the battle. 

By utilizing a diverse set of sources Kati Parppei shows that the present image of the medieval battle was created in retrospect from the 15th century onwards by interpolating, interpreting and simplifying. The narrative themes emphasizing internal unity have been applicable to practically any political situation over the centuries, especially to ones involving external threat.

Kirjaa voit tilata ja lisäinfoa lukea täältä. / You can order the book and find more information about it here.

Akatemiatutkijan rahoitus / Research post as Academy Research Fellow

Suomen Akatemia on myöntänyt viisivuotisen akatemiatutkijan rahoituksen uuden tutkimushankkeeni toteuttamiseen. Projektin nimi on ”Vihollisiin liitetyt mielikuvat ja attribuutit Venäjällä ennen vuoden 1917 vallankumousta”. Pyrkimyksenäni on selvittää, miten mielikuvia (myytti)historiallisista, vihamielisistä ”toisista” on keskiajalta alkaen käytetty kollektiivisen Rus’in/Venäjän ja venäläisyyden ideoiden rakentamiseen sekä valtakunnan geopoliittiseen sijoittamiseen paikkaan ja aikaan. Konfliktien kuvauksia pääasiallisena tutkimusmateriaalina käyttävä projekti pyrkii valottamaan paitsi venäläisiä kehityskulkuja, myös universaaleja viholliskuvien muotoutumisprosesseja ja niiden suhdetta historiapolitiikkaan ja jaettujen identiteettien muodostumiseen.

I was granted Academy Research Fellow funding for my project ”Images and Attributes of Enemies in Pre-Revolutionary Russia”. The project examines the formation and development of enemy images in Russia from the Middle Ages to the Revolution of 1917. The aim is to find out how images of (myt)historical, hostile ”others” have been used in the construction of the collective ideas of Rus’/Russia and Russianness, as well as setting Russia geopolitically in time and space at each given time. The primary material of the project at hand consists of representations of conflicts, and it aims to shed light not just on Russian developments, but also on universal processes of enemy image formation, as well as their relations to history politics and the formation and maintenance of collective identities.


”Notes of The Tale of the Rout of Mamai”

Artikkelini ”Notes of The Tale of the Rout of Mamai in the Context of the Collective Imagery Concerning the Battle of Kulikovo” ilmestyi vuonna 2015 Russian History-julkaisun numerossa 42 (Brill Academic Publishers).

My article ”Notes of The Tale of the Rout of Mamai in the Context of the Collective Imagery Concerning the Battle of Kulikovo” has been published in 2015 in Russian History, volume 42 (Brill Academic Publishers)

Koneen säätiön apuraha / Grant from Kone Foundation

Sain Koneen säätiön kokeneen tutkijan apurahan vuodeksi viimeistelläkseni työn alla olevan monografian Kulikovon taistelun rooleista ja merkityksistä venäläisessä historiankirjoituksessa. Apuraha täydentää siis vuodeksi eteenpäin syyskuussa 2015 päättyvää Suomen Akatemian tutkijatohtorin rahoitusta. Kiitos säätiölle! / I received a one year grant from Kone Foundation to finish my monograph on the roles and meanings of the Battle of Kulikovo in Russian historiography. It will complement my current postdoc funding by Academy of Finland from September 2015 onwards, when the Academy funding ends.