Although the 59th issue of NZ is not a thematic one in a strict sense of the word, mainly it is devoted to history, put in so broad perspective as allowed under the modern approaches to the humanitarian sciences. This historic theme is introduced by the article of the well-known German-American culture historian and philosopher Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht “Swarming / Thoughts”, where the author considers the phenomenon of “people’s swarming” and “human swarm” through the limbeck of historical disciplines and, what is typical for this author, modern medias. The article is followed by the first thematic section “Memory, History, Identity: In Search of Solids”. Here the authors based on different materials are groping for some “historical reality” taking off one by one all mnemonic (“History, Memory, National Identity” by Yury Zaretsky), rhetorical (“Time Order, Regimes of Historicity” by François Hartog), political and psychological (an article by Kirill Kobrin) layers. The theme of history is continued by the conversation between the critic and culture historian Mark Lipovetsky and the well-known novelist Vladimir Sharov (whose work is exactly the “game with history”) and -- in the second part of the 59th issue -- by the conversation between two famous poets and philologists Lev Losev and Tomas Venslova (the main subject of the latter is the memories of the both authors of the 1960--1970ies in Soviet Leningrad and Vilnius).
The following section (“Technique of Control: Soviet Power, Confessions and Spirituals -- from the End of the War to the End of the Soviet Union”) is devoted to another concrete and factual history -- the history of relations between the Soviet state and different religious denominations acting in within the territory of the Soviet Union. These materials are preceded by the article of Nikolai Mitrokhin who draws readers’ attention to some not yet investigated aspects of the matter. That was also he who prepared an interview with the Soviet apparatchiks Olga Brushlinskaya and Vladimir Saprykin once working in the sphere of “control over religions”. The articles of Zhanna Kormina, Elena Zhidkova and Nadezhda Belyakova demonstrate the mechanisms of this control on the various regional materials. The theme of “memoirs” and memories of the Soviet activists is continued in the New Books section where Maxim Artemyev reviews two books on such an issue. In the Case Study section there is an article of the well-known Russian specialist in the French history Alexander Chudinov where he reconstructs the interpretation mistake made by Yury Lotman while analyzing one episode of “Letters of the Russian Traveler” by Nikolai Karamzin.
The third thematic section -- “The Theory of Plot or the Successful Trade in Air” is focused on the possibility and techniques of building “parallel histories”. The theoretical principles of the Theory of Plot (based on the Russian material as well) are investigated in the article by Leonid Fishman and their economic representations in the text by Sergey Guriev. The article “Dark Side of the Moon: the Theory of Plot and State Investments” by Dmitri Grushevskiy deals with rather unexpected economic aspect of the matter.
Finally in Culture of Politics section Sergey Ryzhenkov in his article “Soft Dictatorship: Russian Version” performs analysis of the current Russian political regime. Furthermore, as usual this issue of NZ contains traditional columns of Alexander Kustarev (under the rubric Political Unconscious), Evgeny Saburov (under the rubric Humanitarian Economy) and Aleksey Levinson (under the rubric Sociological Lyrics). At the end there are Russian Intellectual Journal Review (Vyacheslav Morozov, Petr Rezvyh) and New Books section.