In spite of the fact that this issue of NZ is not the thematic one, generally it is devoted to the history. Our authors deal with a history in two different ways: description of the recent past and a part of the present time. In this case our authors consider a history not as a “history of the future” but as a phenomenon which unfolds to a widest historical context called a tradition. Another characteristic feature of the current issue is that our authors interpret the tradition either as a method of scientific apprehension of contemporary times or as attributive quality of “modernity”.
Our permanent columnists touch all these aspects. Aleksandr Kustarev who deals with political and philosophical nuances, Evgeny Saburov who presents ironical and sad story of mass consciousness scientific prejudice and Aleksei Levinson who analyses the shaky existence of Russian “middle class”.
The first thematic section of the issue is dedicated to the ruling party “United Russia” where observers are inclined to interpret this institution either as a future pillar of two-party system or as a new reincarnation of the Communist party of the Soviet Union deprived of the strict ideology. The dialectics of the mentioned versions were exposed in the articles prepared by Victor Martiyanov, Galina Mikhaleva, Ilya Maksimov, Aleksandr Belgorokov and Roman Pivovarov. The problem of “the historic succession” connected with “United Russia” and former CPSU is extended from the sphere of political reflection to the realm of “pure” politics in NZ interview with a prominent Russian politician Vladimir Ryzhkov. This publication is a good illustration of specificity of the Russian politics in Putin’s epoch.
The problem of existence and definition of “the middle class” in contemporary Russia reveals as a contradictory and sophisticated as abovementioned question whether political party “United Russia” can be interpreted as “CPSU light”. The second thematic section is dedicated to some mainly economic sides of this subject. Tatyana Maleva covers its theoretical aspects in her article “Russia in the Search of the Middle Сlass”. Private investments, consumer boom, financial behavior of the middle class were taken as a subject by Denis Strebkov, Olga Kuzina, Galina Gradoselskaya.
In Politics of Culture section Aleksandr Sogomonov reflects on social identity of such significant element of post-soviet society as university. The problems of corruption, professional orientation, and scientific specialization are among the main points of his analysis.
The main topic of the third thematic section is the Soviet cinema of 1970s. All its authors — Mark Lipovetsky, Kirill Kobrin, Sergei Ushakov, Marina Balina — concentrated on the popular serial movies of that period of time. They consider films as the reflection of the Homo soveticus outlook and the basic view on the history, society and politics.
The issue concluded by reviews of the Russian intellectual magazines prepared by Vyacheslav Morozov and Petr Rezvyh as usual. In New Books section NZ publishes an interview with Anne Applebaum — an American journalist and author of “GULAG: A History of the Soviet Camps” (this book was translated in Russian and published last year).