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In Search of the True Russia
The Provinces in Contemporary Nationalist Discourse

Negotiating national identity in today's Russian culture

Russia's provinces have long held a prominent place in the nation's cultural imagination. Lyudmila Parts looks at the contested place of the provinces in twenty-first-century Russian literature and popular culture, addressing notions of nationalism, authenticity, Orientalism, Occidentalism, and postimperial identity.

Surveying a largely unexplored body of Russian journalism, literature, and film from the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, Parts finds that the harshest portrayals of the provinces arise within "high" culture. Popular culture, however, has increasingly turned from the newly prosperous, multiethnic, and westernized Moscow to celebrate the hinterlands as repositories of national traditions and moral strength. This change, she argues, has directed debate about Russia's identity away from its loss of imperial might and global prestige and toward a hermetic national identity based on the opposition of "us vs. us" rather than "us vs. them." She offers an intriguing analysis of the contemporary debate over what it means to be Russian and where "true" Russians reside.


Author. Photo credit, NameLyudmila Parts is an associate professor of Russian and Slavic studies at McGill University in Montreal. She is the author of The Chekhovian Intertext: Dialogue with a Classic and the editor of The Russian Twentieth-Century Short Story: A Critical Companion.



“A fascinating study of how the internal Other of the provinces has been replacing the external Other of the West in post-Soviet cultural discourse. Useful for anyone interested in contemporary Russian culture.”
—Anne Lounsbery, New York University


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June 2018
LC: 2017046045 PG
176 pp. 6 x 9
5 b/w illus.

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Cloth $69.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-31760-7
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