• “Address your questions to Dostoevsky”: Privatizing Punishment in Russian Cinema. In: Russia’s New Fin de Siècle: Contemporary Culture between Past and Present. Edited by Birgit Beumers. Intellect: Chicago.

    Serguei Alex Oushakine (see profile)
    LLC Russian and Eurasian, LLC Slavic and East European
    Culture--Study and teaching, Russia, History, Russian literature
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    crime, Dostoevsky, social justice, vengence, violence, Cultural studies, Film studies, Russian history
    Permanent URL:
    The chapter offers a close reading of two cinematic cases, Andrei Zviagintsev’s Elena (2011) and Govorukhin’s Voroshilov Sniper, in order to demonstrate in a reverse engineering move how publically executed punishments of the late 1990s were translated into quiet murders a decade later. This transition from ‘punishments outside the law’ to ‘crimes without punishment’, I suggest, is usually linked in Russian cinema to two important trends. First, the impotence of the existing legal system – the inefficiency of the regulatory functions of the state are often counterbalanced by the increasing prominence of networks of reciprocity and forms of loyalty based on family ties. Second, the privatization of punishment, the appropriation of extrajudicial authority is frequently achieved through the aestheticization of violence. The separation of moral issues from the distribution of force allows us to perceive violence as a “communicative phenomenon,” as Birgit Beumers and Mark Lipovetsky aptly put it (2009, 63), that is to say, as an artistic device, as a structural solution which is called upon to restore a necessary (narrative) balance.
    Published as:
    Book chapter    
    All Rights Reserved


    Item Name: pdf address_your_questions_to_dostoevsky_pr.pdf
      Download View in browser
    Activity: Downloads: 142