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A New Rival State? »

Australia in Tsarist Diplomatic Communications

Publication date: October 2018
A New Rival State? is a unique collection of dispatches written in 1857–1917 by the Russian consuls in Melbourne to the Imperial Russian Embassy in London and the Russian Foreign Ministry in St Petersburg. Written by eight consuls, they offer a Russian view of the development of the settler colonies in the late nineteenth century and the first years of the federated Commonwealth of Australia. They cover the federalist movement, the changing domestic political situation, labour politics, the treatment of the Indigenous population, the ‘White Australia’ policy, Australia’s defensive capacity and foreign policy as part of the British Empire. The bulk of the material is drawn from the Russian-language collection The Russian Consular Service in Australia 1857–1917, edited by Alexander Massov and Marina Pollard (2014), using documents from the archive of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

East Asia Forum Quarterly: Volume 10, Number 4, 2018 »

Publication date: October 2018
East Asia Forum Quarterly grew out of East Asia Forum (EAF) online, which has developed a reputation for providing a platform for the best in Asian analysis, research and policy comment on the Asia Pacific region in world affairs. EAFQ aims to provide a further window onto research in the leading research institutes in Asia and to provide expert comment on current developments within the region. The East Asia Forum Quarterly, like East Asia Forum online, is an initiative of the East Asia Forum (EAF) and its host organisation, the East Asian Bureau of Economic Research (EABER) in the Crawford School of Economics and Government in the College of Asia & the Pacific at The Australian National University.
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The personality cult of Stalin in Soviet posters, 1929–1953 »

Archetypes, inventions and fabrications

Authored by: Anita Pisch
Publication date: December 2016
From 1929 until 1953, Iosif Stalin’s image became a central symbol in Soviet propaganda. Touched up images of an omniscient Stalin appeared everywhere: emblazoned across buildings and lining the streets; carried in parades and woven into carpets; and saturating the media of socialist realist painting, statuary, monumental architecture, friezes, banners, and posters. From the beginning of the Soviet regime, posters were seen as a vitally important medium for communicating with the population of the vast territories of the USSR. Stalin’s image became a symbol of Bolshevik values and the personification of a revolutionary new type of society. The persona created for Stalin in propaganda posters reflects how the state saw itself or, at the very least, how it wished to appear in the eyes of the people. The ‘Stalin’ who was celebrated in posters bore but scant resemblance to the man Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, whose humble origins, criminal past, penchant for violent solutions and unprepossessing appearance made him an unlikely recipient of uncritical charismatic adulation. The Bolsheviks needed a wise, nurturing and authoritative figure to embody their revolutionary vision and to legitimate their hold on power. This leader would come to embody the sacred and archetypal qualities of the wise Teacher, the Father of the nation, the great Warrior and military strategist, and the Saviour of first the Russian land, and then the whole world. This book is the first dedicated study on the marketing of Stalin in Soviet propaganda posters. Drawing on the archives of libraries and museums throughout Russia, hundreds of previously unpublished posters are examined, with more than 130 reproduced in full colour. The personality cult of Stalin in Soviet posters, 1929–1953 is a unique and valuable contribution to the discourse in Stalinist studies across a number of disciplines.

A Difficult Neighbourhood »

Essays on Russia and East-Central Europe since World War II

Authored by: John Besemeres
Publication date: October 2016
Through a series of essays on key events in recent years in Russia, the western ex-republics of the USSR and the countries of the one-time Warsaw Pact, John Besemeres seeks to illuminate the domestic politics of the most important states, as well as Moscow’s relations with all of them. At the outset, he takes some backward glances at the violent suppression of national life in the ‘bloodlands’ of Europe during World War II by the Stalinist and Nazi regimes, which helps to explain much about the region’s dynamics since. His concern throughout is that a large area of Europe with a combined population well in excess of Russia’s could again be consigned by the West to Moscow’s care, not this time by more and less malign forms of collusion, but by distracted negligence or incomprehension. ‘This is a wonderful collection of essays from a leading Eastern Europe specialist. John Besemeres brings a lifetime of experience, profound insights, and an incisive style to subjects ranging from wartime and post-war Poland through contemporary Ukraine to Putin’s Russia. At a time when doublespeak has become the new normal, his refreshing honesty has never been in greater need.’ — Bobo Lo This publication was awarded a Centre for European Studies Publication Prize in 2015. The prize covers the cost of professional copyediting.

Geography, Power, Strategy and Defence Policy »

Essays in Honour of Paul Dibb

Publication date: May 2016
Paul Dibb AM has had an extraordinary career. He enjoys an international scholarly reputation of the highest order, while at the same time he has done much distinguished public service. He was a pioneer in moving back and forth between posts in government departments, notably the Department of Defence, and academia. He began as a student of Soviet economic geography, and then spent nearly two decades in Australian Defence intelligence, including service as Head of the National Assessments Staff (NAS) in the Joint Intelligence Organisation (JIO) from 1974 to 1978, Deputy Director of JIO in 1978–80, Director of JIO in 1986–88, and Deputy Secretary of Defence (Strategy and Intelligence) in 1988–91, before becoming a Professor in the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre (SDSC) at The Australian National University (where he is now an Emeritus Professor). He has been quite happy to engage in vigorous public debate about important and controversial strategic and defence issues, giving him a high public profile. The contributors include two former Chancellors of ANU, one a former Minister of Defence, and the other a former Secretary of the Department of Defence, a former Chief of the Defence Force (CDF), and other former senior officials, as well as academic specialists in geography, international relations, and strategic and defence studies.   ‘This would be a high-quality set of essays for any edited volume, but for a festschrift – a genre that sometimes generates uneven collections – this is an exceptional assembly. The individual pieces are very good; together, they have coherence and power.’ – Professor Ian Hall, Professor of International Relations, Griffith University

East Asia Forum Quarterly: Volume 7, Number 3, 2015 »

Publication date: September 2015
East Asia Forum Quarterly grew out of East Asia Forum (EAF) online, which has developed a reputation for providing a platform for the best in Asian analysis, research and policy comment on the Asia Pacific region in world affairs. EAFQ aims to provide a further window onto research in the leading research institutes in Asia and to provide expert comment on current developments within the region. The East Asia Forum Quarterly, like East Asia Forum online, is an initiative of the East Asia Forum (EAF) and its host organisation, the East Asian Bureau of Economic Research (EABER) in the Crawford School of Economics and Government in the College of Asia & the Pacific at The Australian National University.
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Power and International Relations »

Essays in Honour of Coral Bell

Publication date: November 2014
Coral Mary Bell AO, who died in 2012, was one of the world’s foremost academic experts on international relations, crisis management and alliance diplomacy. This collection of essays by more than a dozen of her friends and colleagues is intended to honour her life and examine her ideas and, through them, her legacy.  Part 1 describes her growing up during the Great Depression and the Second World War, her short-lived sojourn in the Department of External Affairs in Canberra, where she was friends with some of the spies who worked for Moscow, and her academic career over the subsequent six decades, the last three of which were at The Australian National University. Most of Coral’s academic career was spent in Departments of International Relations. She was disdainful of academic theory, but as discussed in Part 2, she had a very sophisticated understanding of the subject. She was in many ways a Realist, but one for whom agency, in terms of ideas (the beliefs and perceptions of policy-makers) and institutions (including conventions and norms of behaviour), essentially determined events. Part 3 is concerned with power politics, including such matters as Cold War competitions, crisis management, alliance diplomacy, and US and Australian foreign policies. She recognised that power politics left untrammelled was inevitably catastrophic, and was increasingly attracted to notions of Concerts of Power. ‘Coral would be touched by this collection of essays about her professional and personal life. The contributors offer honest, professional and insightful reviews of her many academic achievements and especially her ideas, many of them the forerunners of others’ work, that makes her one of the very best international relations and strategic thinkers.’  — Dr. Pauline Kerr, Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy, The Australian National University  ‘It’s a rare thing in an international relations expert to possess a balance of theory and experience, history and imagination, realism and hope. Coral had this, and she had a 19th-century prose style to match it. Through her writing she explained the chaos of international events and human affairs in simple and clear language to her baffled compatriots. For the rest of the world, she brought an antipodean temperament and perspective to the great questions of our time; she was our George Kennan in thick glasses, blue floral dress, white sneakers and a string of pearls.’  — Minh Bui Jones, The Lowy Interpreter, 5 October 2012 

Phoenix from the Ashes? »

Publication date: December 2009
The continued existence of the Russian defence and arms industry (OPK) was called into question following the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991. Industry experts cited the lack of a domestic market, endemic corruption, and excess capacity within the industry as factors underpinning its predicted demise. However, the industry’s export customers in China, India and Iran during those early years became the OPK’s saving grace. Their orders introduced hard currency back into the industry and went a long way to preventing the forecasted OPK collapse. Although pessimistic predictions continued to plague the OPK throughout the 1990s, the valuable export dollars provided the OPK the breathing space it needed to claw back its competitive advantage as an arms producer. That revival has been further underpinned by a new political commitment, various research and development initiatives, and the restoration of defence industry as a tool of Russian foreign policy. The short-term future of the Russian OPK looks promising. The rising domestic defence order is beginning to challenge the export market as the OPK’s most important customer. Meanwhile, exports will be safeguarded by continued foreign demand for niche Russian defence products. Although the long-term future of the OPK is more difficult to predict, Russia’s solid research and development foundation and successful international joint military ventures suggest that the current thriving trend in exports is likely to continue. Russia represents the next generation of affordable and rugged military equipment for the arsenals of the developing world. Coupled with Russia’s growing ability to rearm itself through higher oil prices and a more streamlined defence industry, the future of the OPK looks bright.

Our Unswerving Loyalty »

A documentary survey of relations between the Communist Party of Australia and Moscow, 1920–1940

Publication date: August 2008
The story of the Communist Party of Australia has been told in various ways. Until now, however, archival collections that have borne on this story have been relatively inaccessible to the ordinary, interested reader. This book begins to redress that deficiency by bringing together 85 key documents from the Russian State Archives of Social and Political History (RGASPI), selected from a collection of thousands of documents concerning the relations between the Communist International and the Communist Party of Australia. The selection focuses on the relationship between the CPA and the Comintern because the activities of the CPA are essentially incomprehensible without understanding the international communist context within which the CPA operated. That context was dominated by the newly-created Soviet state and its decision to authorize and utilize a network of communist parties throughout the world. The documents in this work suggest three major propositions about the relationship between the CPA and the Comintern. First, that the Comintern was crucial in the formation of the CPA, via its emissaries, instructions and authority. Second, that the Comintern played a major role in directing the policies of the CPA in domestic matters (not to mention in international matters, where the Comintern’s decisions were supreme). And third, that the leadership of the CPA was, from 1929 onwards, shaped, trained and authorized by the Comintern. With access to the documents, readers now have a chance not just to hear the voices of the times, but to make their own judgements about the relationship between the CPA and Moscow. The book also includes two extended introductory essays that outline the development of the Comintern and its relations with the CPA, as well as supporting materials that provide information on individuals, organizations and tactics mentioned within the documents themselves.

Interpreting Chekhov »

Authored by: Geoffrey Borny
Publication date: August 2006
The author’s contention is that Chekhov’s plays have often been misinterpreted by scholars and directors, particularly through their failure to adequately balance the comic and tragic elements inherent in these works. Through a close examination of the form and content of Chekhov’s dramas, the author shows how deeply pessimistic or overly optimistic interpretations fail to sufficiently account for the rich complexity and ambiguity of these plays. The author suggests that, by accepting that Chekhov’s plays are synthetic tragi-comedies which juxtapose potentially tragic sub-texts with essentially comic texts, critics and directors are more likely to produce richer and more deeply satisfying interpretations of these works. Besides being of general interest to any reader interested in understanding Chekhov’s work, the book is intended to be of particular interest to students of Drama and Theatre Studies and to potential directors of these subtle plays.