Introduction

Timothy J. Haehn

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Volume Seven, 2014-2015

Przeszczepiać albo nie przeszczepiać? [To Transplant or Not to Transplant?]: A Quantitative Approach to How Health Science Students in Poland Approach Questions of Transplantation

Michael Chruściel, Wayne State University

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    With one of the lowest cell and organ transplantation rates in Europe, Poland’s future in transplantation is uncertain. To investigate a possible link between progression through medical education and attitudes towards cell and organ transplantation in Polish health science students, anonymous surveys were completed by students from the Medical University of Lódz in August 2011. It was deemed necessary to approach future health care providers in Poland during their professional schooling to determine if an increase in education leads to higher levels of support for organ transplantation and adult and embryonic stem cell treatments in the face of religious and ethical questions specific to the Polish cultural context. Results show several correlations between the amount of medical education a student received and his or her acceptance of cell and organ transplantation techniques. Although the percentages of students giving positive responses to the importance of religion and profession of Catholic faith remain steady throughout their education, knowledge of Poland’s legal regulations concerning transplants, approval of adult and embryonic stem cell treatments, and acceptance of human embryo research have found increasing support among students as they progress through their medical education.

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Divine Physiology: The Hellenism of Mandelstam’s Dormition Cathedral

Emily Kanner, Columbia University

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    In his seminal 1913 manifesto “Morning of Acmeism,” Silver Age poet Osip Mandelstam articulates the tenets of his new Acmeist poetics through the metaphor of the cathedral. This paper analyzes how Mandelstam’s poetic depiction of Moscow’s Dormition Cathedral employs the cathedral metaphor to position Russia as a cultural heir of classical antiquity. Specifically, it examines how the archaic diction and sublime imagery of the poem exemplify Mandelstam’s principle of the “Hellenic philology” of the Russian language, espoused in his 1922 essay “On The Nature of the Word.” The poem invokes the cultural influences of Byzantium and Renaissance Italy as two emissaries of the Hellenic legacy. However, Mandelstam’s understanding of the Dormition Cathedral as a living vessel of human culture ultimately resides in the poem’s autobiographical allusion to fellow poet Marina Tsvetaeva, whom Mandelstam links to his meta-philological conception of the architectural monument.

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Beethoven the Soviet Revolutionary

Yelena Muratova, University of California, Los Angeles

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    For more than a century-and-a-half, the character, Ludwig van Beethoven, has been inextricably associated with revolution. Nowhere has this connection been made as salient as in the early Soviet Union, where the composer’s image was sculpted into that of ‘Beethoven the Revolutionary.’ As exemplified by the musical celebrations of 1927 (the centennial of Beethoven’s death and the ten-year anniversary of the October Revolution) this Beethoven was raised to heights of insurmountable heroism and used in an attempt to create a musical cultural revolution that would obliterate the ‘dangerous’ modern music trends of the time. This Beethoven’s revolution: a complete destruction of the old and birth of a new dimension is, however, an over-simplification of the entire body of his work. The Soviet glorification of Ludwig van Beethoven as the musical apotheosis of revolution instead shows us the inherent limitations of such a view on his work. By approaching his compositions from a different direction, with a focus on cyclical evolution, one can draw a parallel between the flaws in the Soviet portrayal of Beethoven’s work and the failures of their musical revolution at large.

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Russian Coal in the National and International Context: The Coal Industry in Post-Soviet Russia

Keith Philippe, University of Minnesota, Twin-Cities

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    The Russian Federation’s coal industry is poised for development. Depleting oil and gas reserves and a slow development in renewable fuels have marked a fundamental shift from an era characterized by a petroleum-functioning society to a coal-indispensable society. The high integration of fossil fuel dependent world economies, which rely heavily on Russian fuels, the unique ability of the Federation to diversify energy resources, and the geopolitical leverage that an energy abundant nation can exact, an increase in national and international energy consumption, and the vast supply of state coal reserves are but five of many more reasons why the Russian coal industry is poised for expansion. Increased coal production is a direct response to increased national and global energy demands, diminishing petroleum and natural gas reservoirs, geographic and geological constraints, transportation bottlenecks, and international environmental compliances. This paper argues that since coal is critical to the Russian Federation, Russia will not only lend more weight to its coal industry, but will increase coal production at levels beyond what is forecast. The very nature of petroleum energy markets presents a number of uncertainties making Russia’s coal sector one that deserves careful consideration.

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The Post-Soviet Development of Elite Athletics in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan

Matej B. Silecky, University of California, Berkeley

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    The former Soviet Union is among countries renowned for Olympic prowess in many sports, the result of a structured program to develop and support elite-level athletics. In contrast, many developing countries, including the Central Asian former Soviet republics, seek access and participation in high-level sports events, but have limited resources to do so successfully. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan participated in the Soviet athletic development program, and then had to reevaluate and rebuild their athletic programs, as well as their governance systems and economies, after the break-up of the Soviet Union. This paper evaluates each country’s participation in the modern Olympic movement, the sports each country has supported at the Olympic level, their possible reasons for doing so, and compares and contrasts the relative levels of success among these five countries prior to the Sochi 2014 Olympics.

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Art as a Mirror in National Socialism and Early Socialist Realism

Hannah Strassburger, University of California, Los Angeles

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    This paper reflects the culmination of an independent studies course on totalitarian art in Europe. It compares Nazi Germany’s critique of degenerate art with the Soviet Union’s critique of formalism and each regimes’ response to modern art in National Socialism and Socialist Realism, respectively. Examining official state art depicting peasantry, a genre culturally significant to both Germany and Russia, exposes the underlying ideals governing art and the mechanisms of power trying influence public opinion and propagate a totalitarian political structure. The state sanctioned styles that result are nearly identical to one another, and best described as kitsch. It is what Igor Golomstock describes in his book totalitarian art as the “totalitarian aesthetic.” Despite their supposed ideological opposition to one another, this shared aesthetic betrays the inner likeness and totalitarian structure of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

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The Green Fuse Drives the Flower: Olya Meshcherskaya in Bunin’s “Light Breathing”

Brian Tich, Stanford University

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    Ivan Bunin’s “Light Breathing” (1916) tells the story of a young schoolgirl named Olya Meshcherskaya, sketching a brief account of her life and her abrupt murder. Yet Bunin’s decidedly non-linear rendering of this straightforward plot suggests that the focus of his narrative is not as simple as it might first appear to be. For this reason, “Light Breathing” attracted the attention of psychologist Lev Vygotsky, who used the story as a case study in his Psychology of Art (1925), claiming that its contorted chronology completely reorients its meaning. In this article, I offer a close reading of “Light Breathing” that builds on Vygotsky’s insights into the story, while foregrounding—as Vygotsky did not—Bunin’s complex and strangely opaque portrayal of Olya herself. I argue that beneath Olya and the other figures in “Light Breathing,” Bunin has delineated a more fundamental and even impersonal ‘force of vibrancy’ that is at work driving the story forward and drawing together all of its fractured elements.

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