[стр. 341—343 бумажной версии номера]
The 132nd NZ issue contains three major thematic sections. Two of them are centred around certain forms of political, historical and cultural thought existing in both political rhetoric and contemporary art. The third section is related to a global issue that until lately was rarely a subject of studies and media coverage but has become increasingly topical in the recent years.
The first section is titled “Political Rhetoric in Post-Soviet Russia”. It opens with a piece by Riccardo Nicolosi, professor of Slavic literatures at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, which introduces the section's general themes. Political rhetoric, Nicolosi writes, “is a social mechanism that is neither good nor bad in itself; it comprises an arsenal of potential means of persuasion, initially neutral, designed to create verisimilitude rather than to convey the truth”. The American scholar Michael Gorham offers a brief overview of political trolling in Russia, tracing the origin of the term and its various uses in Russian internet resources. “Sincerity’ suggests its own rhetoric, and the workings of its mechanisms in Russian scenarios are discussed in an article by two Dutch researchers, Barbara Roggeveen and Ellen Rutten. It is organised in two parts, the first considering different types of “sincerity discourse” in present-day Russia, the second, approaches to sincerity rhetoric practiced by Vladimir Putin and Aleksey Navalny. The Swiss Slavist Daniel Weiss offers an interesting case study outlining the uses of the Russian proverb “The first pancake always comes out lumpy” in Russian parliamentary debates. The rhetoric of conflict and aggression complemented by political argumentation is analysed in a piece by the German Slavist Holger Kusse, “Aggression and Argumentation Intertwined: The Russia-Ukraine Conflict”. Mikhail Odessky uses the example of “new drama” to study how the domination of emotional and expressive principles in the ideology of Russian protest results in key political notions losing their semantical meanings. To write “On an Involuntary Experiment in 21st-Century Russian Political Rhetoric”, Gasan Guseinov undertook a difficult task: that of analysing numerous social media comments and posts whose authors insulted him for expressing his views on the everyday use of Russian. The section concludes with a piece by NZ editor-in-chief Ilya Kalinin, “A Lofty Subject of Political Rhetoric: Between the Metaphor of Representation and the Metonymy of Presence”, which considers the underlying rhetorical infrastructure of Russia's mechanisms of power.
The second thematic section focuses on nostalgia, retromania and melancholy: sentiments that have come to the fore in today's world (including Russia and parts of the post-Soviet space). The section opens with an excerpt from “Pleasure of Ruins”, a 1953 book by the British writer Rose Macaulay (1881–1958), introduced by its translator Vladislav Degtyarev. The writer's nostalgic gaze is drawn to mediaeval ruins and remnants of Catholic monasteries that were devastated and abandoned during the Reformation. The dialectics of memory and of ruins sinking into oblivion are the subject of Degtyarev's own essay, which is mainly concerned with architectural ruins and the way their perception has changed over the past centuries. Galina Belyaeva and Vadim Mikhailin tell a fascinating story in their article about pigeons, pigeon fanciers and dovecots in post-war Soviet cinema, demonstrating how pigeon keeping came to symbolise individual freedom in the USSR and how the dovecot became, depending on the context, either a place of personal Utopia or a private Arcadia. Concluding the section is a piece by one of the NZ editors, Kirill Kobrin, on the Riga-based collective “Orbita”, a text-group bringing together poets, artists and publishers whose work, according to the author, combines melancholy with cultural nostalgia for the era of high modernity. Kobrin introduces a new notion, analogue punk, modelled on steampunk.
The third thematic section of the issue is titled “Africa in Russia's Political Imagination”. In the times of the Cold War, the Soviet Union was extremely active in implementing its policies aimed at supporting “progressive”, “popular democratic” and “Socialist” movements on the continent. After the collapse of the USSR, Russia's foreign policy all but ignored African affairs, but in the recent years, Africa once again became an important target for political and military investments; a development resulting from Russia's growing claims to the status of a superpower. The American political scientist Kimberly Marten offers an overview of the situation in “Russia's Back in Africa: Is the Cold War Returning?”. Leonid Isaev and Anton Mardasov consider the methods and scale of Russia's involvement in African politics and economics, along with various forms of Russian diplomacy – shadow, official and military – on the continent. Vladimir Shubin tells a fascinating story about the ways in which the past and the present South Africa have been transformed in the Russian political consciousness. The section ends with Timur Akhmetov's analysis of rivalry between Russia and Turkey in Libya.
The thematic sections are complemented by the journal's regular ones, Culture of Politics and Politics of Culture. The former features the German Slavist Klavdia Smola's article “What Is Putin's Magical Realism?”; the latter, the second part of Dmitry Uzlaner's study “Russia in Transnational Culture Wars”. Finally, we publish two essays by our regular contributors, Alexander Kustarev's “War Continued by Other Means, or War for Peace” and Aleksey Levinson's “A Special Kind of Timelessness”.