The Depths of Russia
Oil, Power, and Culture after Socialism
Cornell University Press 2015
New Books in AnthropologyNew Books in EconomicsNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in PoliticsNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Russian and Eurasian StudiesNew Books Network November 3, 2016 Olga Breininger-Umetayeva
Ever since the accidental discovery of oil in Perm in 1929, the so-called “Second Baku” has been known to be an industrial hub as well as the home to a GULAG labor camp. In post-Soviet times, however, Perm has become a new cultural center on Russia’s map. In his book The Depths of Russia: Oil, Power, and Culture after Socialism (Cornell University Press, 2015), Douglas Rogers discusses the role which oil, the precious resource hidden in the depths of the Earth, played in Perm’s story.
Conceptually innovative, this book invites the readers to think about the co-production of natural resources and culture and the role state and corporation structures play in this process. In the Perm region, the Lukoil company has been adept at the production of new cultural identity of Perm as a vibrant post-industrial capital, and became the lead sponsor of historical and cultural revival of the city through its high-profile corporate social responsibility work.
Douglas argues that Lukoil’s cultural activities helped to recast the Soviet-era identity formation patterns and facilitated Perm’s regaining its cultural authenticity and belonging after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Olga Breininger is a PhD candidate in Slavic and Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University.Her research interests include post-Soviet culture and geopolitics, with a special focus on Islam, nation-building, and energy politics. Olga is the author of the novel There Was No Adderall in the Soviet Union and columnist at Literatura.