By Olga Shevchenko

During this ethnography of postsocialist Moscow within the overdue Nineteen Nineties, Olga Shevchenko attracts on interviews with a cross-section of Muscovites to explain how humans made feel of the extreme uncertainties of daily life, and the recent identities and capabilities that emerged in line with those demanding situations. starting from intake to day-by-day rhetoric, and from city geography to overall healthiness care, this research illuminates the connection among main issue and normality and provides a brand new measurement to the debates approximately postsocialist tradition and politics.

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As a result, events under discussion developed an aura of exceptionality, incomparability, and uniqueness, much like the “tragedy of the Russian intelligentsia,” setting Russia aside from the rest of the world in a move that was nothing short of self-orientalizing. However, while the early publications on the fate of the Russian intelligentsia viewed the ongoing changes in eschatological terms,30 by the end of the 1990s the proclamations of an imminent collapse had sounded so often that they acquired a ritualistic, repetitive ring.

46 Several themes thus appear central to the evolution of the crisis rhetoric in postsocialist public arenas. First, like many rhetorical tropes, “crisis” had its antecedents in the rhetorical politics of a prior (in our case, pre-perestroika) era, and in many ways its uses were conditioned by this prior history. However, the crisis rhetoric slowly lost its telos as the decade of the 1990s marched on. Initially taken up as a shortcut toward the discussion of sensitive political issues, it quickly became a subject of discussion in its own right.

Furthermore, this tendency was exacerbated by two uniquely local developments. First, the initial easing of censorship during the late 1980s understandably released a wave of previously suppressed information regarding the past. Revelations about the scope of Stalinist repressions, as well as previously undisclosed information about the social ills of late Soviet society, made crisis imagery sound more than appropriate. But even this initial “elective affinity” with crisis rhetoric might not have been as lasting had there not been a second factor at play.

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