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The Gumilev MystiqueBiopolitics, Eurasianism, and the Construction of Community in Modern Russia$
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Mark Bassin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780801445941

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801445941.001.0001

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Neo-Eurasianism and the Russian Question

Neo-Eurasianism and the Russian Question

(p.209) 8 Neo-Eurasianism and the Russian Question
The Gumilev Mystique

Mark Bassin

Cornell University Press

This chapter considers Gumilev's importance for the late- and post-Soviet revival of Eurasianism. In the early 1980s, Gumilev's Eurasianist retelling of ancient Russian history was received for the most part with hostility and scorn. Within less than ten years, however, this critical stance underwent a striking transformation on the part of individuals who carried forward the statist Russian nationalism of the early 1980s. The catalyst for this transformation was the change in Soviet politics and society associated with the perestroika of Mikhail Gorbachev. The Gorbachev regime initiated the rehabilitation of generations of cultural and scholarly figures who had been repressed across the decades by the Soviet authorities. Out of this process, Gumilev emerged as a veritable living legend: a flesh-and-bones intermediary whose very existence directly connected the perestroika public both to the glorious heights of Silver Age culture as well as the darkest chapters of the Soviet passage through the twentieth century.

Keywords:   neo-Eurasianism, Lev Nikolaevich Gumilev, Mikhail Gorbachev, perestroika, Russian nationalism

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