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Preview: The Journal of Power Institutions in Post-Soviet Societies

The Journal of Power Institutions in Post-Soviet Societies

The Journal of power institutions in post-soviet societies. Revue électronique. Cette revue internationale de sciences sociales est consacrée aux forces armées et aux structures de force dans les sociétés post-soviétiques.


Uncertain Borders in the Post-Soviet Space


"Ukraine's border is sacred and untouchable," reads a sign in a border garrison in the Chernivtsy region of western Ukraine. Sacred and untouchable? The news coming out of Ukraine seems to indicate the opposite. Though protected by a specific international agreement, the Ukrainian border was brutally redrawn with the annexation of Crimea by Russia in March 2014. Immediately after, the armed conflict that erupted in Donbass deprived Kyiv of its control on almost four hundred kilometres of borders in eastern Ukraine.

The Ukrainian situation is not unique in the region. Post-Soviet borders offer a particularly rich and complex picture, rooted in Russian and Austro-Hungarian imperial history, as well as in the consequences of the two world Wars and of Soviet Union’s foreign policy. With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, local wars on the periphery led to the formation of unrecognized states and disputed borders. More recently, with the EU’s eastward enlargement, these problematic b...

Mark Galeotti, Russia’s Wars in Chechnya


The aim of popularizing the Chechen Wars is commendable, and the series “Essential Histories”, into which this book is published, seems well suited to this purpose. At the same time, it poses a challenge, as it is difficult to sum up two wars of such magnitude in such a short format, especially since the author also devotes a part to the history of the region, going back to the nineteenth century and the colonization of the Caucasus.

The combination of factual and historical information with portraits is an interesting albeit unusual format, and the portraits allow a more vivid and personified approach to the issues at stake. Biographical information is a useful benchmark for a non-specialist audience. Maps, photographs, and engravings offer rich and enlightening picture materials.

In terms of analysis, the author rightly points out that the current situation in Chechnya cannot be described as a peaceful one. He also questions the existence and viability of Moscow's victory and the in...

Territoires perdus et frontières imaginaires en Ukraine. Interview avec Andriï Portnov


Andriï Portnov est professeur d’histoire, enseignant invité à l’Université Humboldt Berlin depuis 2012, rédacteur en chef de la revue Ukraina Moderna (2006-2010), ainsi que co-fondateur et contributeur régulier du portail historique Ses recherches portent, entre autres, sur l’Ukraine pendant la Seconde guerre mondiale, l’identité nationale et les politiques mémorielles en Ukraine postsoviétique, les dynamiques d’entrée en guerre dans le Donbass. L’entretien ci-dessous a été réalisé par Anna Colin Lebedev et Ioulia Shukan à l’occasion du séjour de recherche d’Andriï Portnov à Paris, en mars 2015, au Centre d’histoire de Sciences Po Paris.

L’Ukraine après 2014


Nations Online Project.

Penser les territoires perdus

PIPSS - Les frontières de l’Etat ukrainien ont considérablement changé durant les deux dernières années, avec l’annexion de la Crimée, la guerre à l’Est du pays, la perte de contrôle de l’Etat sur ses frontières. Mais dans quelle mesure les représentations sur ...

Proceedings of the Paris Seminar “Understand the Soldier's Experience: Methods, Interests and Limits”



The seminar organized by Etienne Boisserie, Centre de l’Europe médiane, INALCO & Isabelle Davion, SIRICE, Université Paris-Sorbonne is part of the 2017-2018 workshop cycle: “Austria-Hungary from the Great War to peace treaties: new tools and new approaches ». Within the framework of axis 5 of the LabEx EHNE and UMR SIRICE, this cycle of workshops which has a methodological purpose, is meant to bring together French researchers and Central European colleagues, mostly from the “new generation”. It aims to revisit the history of Austria-Hungary between 1914 and 1919 in the light of new approaches and new tools.

The participants of the December 13th seminar were :

  • Dr Rok Stergar (Department of History, University of Ljubljana), historian of the Habsburg Empire in the long 19th century; specialist of WWI and the history of nationalism;

  • Dr Sante Lesti (University of Pisa) has defended a phd thesis supervised Ph. Boutry “In hoc signo vinces. Pratiques des consécrations des soldats au Sacré C...

Aglaya Snetkov, Russia's Security Policy under Putin: A critical perspective


A leading specialist on contemporary Russia’s security issues, Senior researcher at the Center For Security Studies at ETH in Zurich, Aglaya Snetkov has been working on Russia’s security issues for many years. She has focused in particular on the situation in Chechnya and the North Caucasus in the 2000s as a highly revealing case of the way Security Policy has been thought and undertaken since Vladimir Putin came to power in 1999 and of the role it played in both the domestic and external agendas of the Russian regime.

So if Aglaya Snetkov’s book, published in 2014, may sound like one more expert book on foreign policy or security issues in contemporary Russia, it certainly is not. It provides the audience with reflections derived from a rather precise and formalized theoretical agenda, based on her doctoral thesis (University of Birmingham).

A. Snetkov reminds us that a lot of scholarly attention has been directed to, on the one hand, the role of Russia as a major and renewed securi...

Theorizing the Karta Polaka


This article offers a contribution to theorizing the Karta Polaka, a kin-state law addressing the Polish diaspora in the successor states of the USSR, in the context of the Europeanization of Poland’s borders with Ukraine and Belarus. Building on the observation that the modern state includes individuals according to an ideal model based on a congruency of the categories “citizenship”, “territory” and “nation”, it is argued that kin-state laws, by addressing non-resident non-citizens of national belonging, not only diverge from the ideal inclusion but also redraw the very boundaries of these categories. Building on a qualitative analysis of the Act on the Karta Polaka, accompanying documents and the minutes of parliamentary (committee) sessions concerned with the draft act, this article traces the discursive processes that redraw the boundaries of these categories. Employing the concept of De-/Rebordering, this article shows how the categories of Polish citizenship, territory and na...

Vyborg Castle as a Symbol of Power Institutions


In this article we focus on a remembered and imagined border: the changed border between Finland and Russia. We take as a case study the formerly Finnish now Russian town of Vyborg and its castle. The centuries-old castle has marked the limits of power in the Karelia region of the Swedish and Russian empires, the Finnish state, the Soviet Union and now Russia. We argue, based on our empirical studies that, for older generations of Finns, the castle can be the “symbol of everything”, whereas for today's Finnish teens the castle is a meaningless image. Thus this article also looks at the boundaries between social generations in their understandings of Finnish history and territory.

Conflits de souveraineté et frontières contestées


Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, four entities (Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabagh, South Ossetia and Transnistria) declared themselves independent, though their claim to sovereignty never earned international recognition. Their inhabitants have, therefore, been forced to live within de facto borders, ones that, in the eyes of the international community, do not exist, unlike the borders of the neighbouring Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova, which are recognised. This sovereignty conflict involving four post-soviet territories (six with the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk) has led to the creation of new border-like frontiers, ones that, though unrecognised, function like traditional borders in practice.

F. Ackermann, M. Galbas (Eds), “Back from Afghanistan: The Experiences of Soviet Afghan War Veterans”


Le Journal of Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society est une revue nouvelle, lancée en 2015 par une équipe interdisciplinaire et internationale de chercheurs spécialistes de l’histoire et des évolutions actuelles des pays de la zone postsoviétique. La revue, publiée par Ibidem, a cherché à se positionner dans la suite de la série de livres éponyme, chez le même éditeur, afin d’offrir un nouveau format aux recherches actuelles sur ces thématiques.

Le deuxième numéro de la revue, datant de 2015, est un numéro thématique double portant sur deux sujets : « Les expériences des vétérans de la guerre soviétique en Afghanistan » et « Martyr et mémoire en Europe de l’Est », chaque volet étant coordonné par un duo de rédacteurs invités. Le numéro offre par ailleurs un compte-rendu de conférence sur la culture politique des morts en Ukraine, trois recensions croisées des biographies récentes de Stepan Bandera, et enfin un volet plus classique de recension d’ouvrages. Ce format particulier,...

S. Oushakine, A. Golubev, sost., vstup. stat'ia, red.; E. Goncharova, I. Rebrova, podgotovka dokumentov, XX vek: Pis'ma voiny


This is a book about letters rather than a book of letters. It doesn’t so much use letters to tell a story as much as tells the stories of letters. A massive, highly original collection of essays and documents, Pis’ma voiny sets out to define and examine war letters as a genre.

A challenging, theory-heavy introduction sets the overall stakes and claims of the project as a whole. Oushakine and Golubev define the twentieth century as the era of the war letter. They note the rise of the genre due to mass mobilization, mass education and the creation of a system of regular mail to and from the army, claiming that the rise of cell phones “made the exchange of paper letters superfluous” (p. 14). We are asked not to think of these letters as evidence in an historical argument, but rather as an “independent discursive phenomenon” (p. 13). They complain that letters are often seen as an auxiliary source, mobilized by historians who have mined them for “gold” to prove their point, bringing as...