The 100th NZ issue marks two celebratory occasions. Published on the 70th anniversary of Russia's Victory Day, it echoes the recent celebrations commemorating the end of the Great Patriotic War, which have turned into an important event for the Russian society and state, embracing almost every aspect of life, from ideological to political to sociocultural and even extending to family and everyday life. To mark both the Victory Day and the publication of its 100th issue, NZ felt it appropriate to compile a special topical issue (which has in the process grown into two numbers, 100th and 101st), in which the national holiday theme is analysed and interpreted in various contexts, reaching beyond the Victory Day commemorative events. It is also worth mentioning that both issues, being focused on a variety of special occasions of the modern era, are geographically diverse.
As a theoretical introduction to this issue, we have included in it an essay by Alexander Kustarev titled “Today the Whole Nation Is Celebrating the Glorious Anniversary...” (Political Imaginary), as well as the regular topic Political Theory and Depoliticisation Practices, which contains two excerpts from theoretical works, now considered to be classical, concerned with the phenomenon of holidays. One of them is the chapter “Holidays: The Neglected Seedbeds of Virtue”, extracted from “The Monochrome Society”, a book by the American Israeli sociologist Amitai Etzioni, in which he attempts to lay foundations for a sociological theory of holidays. The other is a translated excerpt from “Time Maps: Collective Memory and The Social Shape of the Past”, a book by Eviatar Zerubavel, an American scholar specialising in the sociology of everyday life. Zerubavel talks about a prerequisite condition for a holiday as a social and psychological phenomenon, that is, the so-called “gap” between two historical periods; what interests him the most is the way the society itself defines the role of this gap and assesses it.
Issue 100 pays special attention to studies of national holidays outside of Russia (and the former USSR). The first section, “National Holidays and Political Order”, focuses on the interrelationship between modernity, nationalism and local cultural circumstances, especially those related to revolutions and wars. This section concerns with official rituals (those linked to wars or revolutions, either affirming or questioning an existing social order) dating back to the 19th-century era of classical nationalism, as well as with last century's holidays.
Olivier Ille offers a survey of French state holidays, covering the period from the Great Revolution to the Third Republic. In “Citizenship Landscape and Memory Landscape: The Vargas Regime and Rio de Janeiro”, the American historian Daryl Williams addresses “historical” policies implemented in Brazil during the rule of Getúlio Vargas. A history of Thanksgivings Day tracing its gradual transformation from a local occasion to an all-American event, is given in an article by Diana Muir. National holidays versus social protest are the subject of a brief study by Francesca Polletta that considers numerous examples going back to the 19th and 20th centuries. Finally, Leonid Isaev outlines the history of national holidays in Egypt, covering the period from Nasser's presidency to the present day.
The “invention” of independent states in Eastern and Central Europe, sprung from the ruins of the empires that collapsed after the end of WWI, along with the preceding period of “national revival” make for a fascinating subject. It is also interesting to trace the development of classical nationalism adopted by “liberated nations”, especially those ruled by Communists, after WWII. These topics are central to the other key section of issue 100, titled “Central Europe: Empire Celebration and National Holidays” and comprising four articles. The first, by the American historian Daniel L. Unowsky, analyses the cult of Emperor Franz Josef in Austria-Hungary and the 1898 celebrations held by the empire to mark the so-called “great anniversary”. Yaroslav Shimov describes the strange history of an occasion (or more precisely, several occasions) inherited from extinct Czechoslovakia and still celebrated in present-day Czech Republic. Melinda Kalmár, a Hungarian sociologist, writes about the invention of an “old-new” celebratory tradition in Socialist Hungary after the tragic events of 1956. Olga Serebryanaya's essay, “Unfinished Revolution Day”, focused on the commemorations of Hungarian independence that stemmed from the 1848--1849 national revolution, considers their development in the subsequent century and a half. These two essays are aptly illustrated by an excerpt from “Monkey on the Bicycle”, a novel-cum-interview by János Kőbányai, in which the renowned Hungarian philosopher and writer Ágnes Heller remembers festive occasions and ordinary days at the times of the Rákóczi dictatorship.
This block is complemented by an important piece published in Politics of Culture, in which the composer and music theorist Fedor Sofronov considers the national anthems of the Eastern Europe countries. It is followed by an essay on a related subject, written by Kirill Kobrin's for his regular column Old World Chronicles: centred on the “soundtrack of war”, it compares some sociocultural and sociopsychological features manifest in popular WWI and WWII songs.