“Censorship and the Third Section: How thinking became dangerous in 19th Century Russia”, an original history research paper by rootsnwingz

Introduction

When Nicholas I succeeded his older brother Alexander and became the tsar of Russia in late 1825, the attitude of the state towards its subjects changed dramatically. Nicholas’s thirty year long autocratic rule is characterized by oppressive reforms aimed at maintaining the status quo and preventing dissent in a time of socio-political instability and uncertainty. Any kind of unconventional thought or criticism of the state had to be considered a threat to the tsar’s authority and, as a consequence, Nicholas sought complete control over what could be safely published. Strict censorship laws were enacted, while a secret police, which became known as the “Third Section”, was re-established in order to regulate the press. Writers who refused to obey the tsar’s guidelines and wished to be the sole authority over their writings’ style and content were ruthlessly persecuted.

But was Nicholas’s austerity paranoid? In fact, Nicholas had real reasons to be concerned about his position on the throne and to worry about dissent. First of all, when he came to power, he immediately had to deal with the Decembrist Uprising. This uprising is generally understood as the manifestation of the educated elite’s disappointment with Alexander’s liberal, yet ineffective, government. More notably, it “produced the first open confrontation between the autocracy and members of the intelligentsia.” (Shatz, 31)

Despite the fast suppression of the Decembrist Uprising, Nicholas was left convinced that he had to adopt stricter policies. Moreover, keeping in mind that at the same time in the 19th century, revolutionary movements were blooming all over Europe, he must have been terrified by the possibility of the creation of an influential movement of dissent. “The very foundations of autocratic rule were menaced by the changes in social thought brought about by the growth of revolutionary successes abroad and their influence on internal politics at home” (Squire, 48).

As a result, the priority of Nicholas’s reforms was to ensure that public opinion agreed with the government’s views and thus, censorship and persecution on the grounds of crimes of thought reached unprecedented heights in Russian history. The success of the French revolution was also the reason why Nicholas denounced French philosophy and the Enlightenment ideas, which had been propagated in the 18th century by Catherine the Great. In the 19th century, however, such ideologies were considered dangerous. Nevertheless, Nicholas was not afraid of all Western thought. In fact, he was particularly fond of German philosophy, such as Hegel and the other “Idealists”. Therefore, the cultural shift from France to Germany reflects that the tsar had carefully observed the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars and had thus witnessed the double risk of overexpansion and fall of autocracy, which were probably his two biggest fears.

The Decembrist Uprising played a vital role in ascertaining the divide between the government’s interests and the interests of the people, especially the educated elite. In this sense, Nicholas’s adversaries were now identifiable; they were the writers, poets and playwrights who dared to challenge –either directly or subliminally- the state’s authority over the people. Therefore, perhaps for the first time, the intelligentsia was recognized as the most influential threat to the existing order in Russia. The fact that Nicholas now regarded the intelligentsia as the state’s visible internal enemy explains the abundance of repression that freethinking intellectuals faced in the second quarter of the 19th century. In other words, the absurdity of the censorship laws and the birth of the secret police affirm Nicholas’s fearfulness of the intelligentsia.

Therefore, the present research paper is an examination of Nicholas’s censorship laws and the “Third Section’s” activity. I primarily aim to demonstrate how the intelligentsia had a real effect on the society they lived in and belonged to, which in turn became a serious cause of concern for the authorities and has led to atrocious and oppressive government responses. In addition, I intend to look into the ways “intelligenty” overcame or eluded national policing, as well as the cases where they were less fortunate and paid a heavy price for their mental freedom. Specifically, illustrative examples from the lives of Alexander Herzen and Mikhail Bakunin will be provided to help the reader get a clearer idea of the limitations and sufferings they endured due to Nicholas’s repression. The fact that poets and novelists were exiled or sent off to mental asylums suggests that, historically, Russian authorities have been deeply troubled by the intelligentsia’s activity, especially its capacity to change sociopolitical structures and express dissent from the autocracy. This is why I believe that an inquiry into the censorship laws and the “Third Section” will serve to contextualize the intelligentsia’s experience under the rule of Nicholas I.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Vibzin’: rootsnwingz recommends new dub and reggae albums (February 18th 2015)

Dub Choir EP by Suns of Dub and BuzzRock

buzzrockThe band, BuzzRock, is a high energy reggae band hailing from the twin isle of Trinidad and Tobago. The name BuzzRock represents the pulse of the earth or the vibration of the people, hence the name ‘Buzz’ (vibration) and ‘Rock’ (the Earth). The neo-foundation reggae band proves to be a mystical experience for both vintage and modern reggae lovers alike. BuzzRock’s performances have been known to mesmerize reggae lovers but also non-reggae listeners, with their mystical presence on stage, raw emotion and passion each member puts into the music. Their first album titled ‘Universal Blacks’ was released in 2009. The album, fully produced by BuzzRock and mastered at Tuff Gong Studios – Jamaica, created waves in Trinidad and Tobago and a number of independent record labels have taken interest in the project with plans underway to secure international distribution.

Consisting of six (6) core members; Sadiki Niamke Philips (Rhythm Guitar, Lead Vocals, Backup Vocals), Haile-Sion Sam (Drums), Candace ‘Keys’ Moore (Keyboards), Rodney ‘Yahrod’ Rique (Lead Vocals, Backup Vocals), Lamar ‘Beebo’ Pollard (Bass) and Stephen ‘Blitz’ Peterson (Lead Guitars). BuzzRock is often considered a family band as most of the members have known each other for a number of years through their pursuit of musical and spiritual knowledge. When put on a stage together, what ensues can only be described as mind blowing. To date the band has performed alongside a host of international reggae icons including: Midnite, Steel Pulse, Barrington Levy, Max Romeo, Dezarie, Ras Shiloh, Ijahman Levi, Cocoa Tea, Tarrus Riley and Beres Hammond.

This new EP features the awesome melodica and dubbing of Addis Pablo and Ras Jammy (Suns of Dub)!

Move On (Deluxe Edition) by Omari Banks

moveonomari

omatimoveontracklist

buy full album on itunes

Virunga (2014 Documentary)

I am familiar with Virunga, the volcanoes and mountain gorillas thanks to the incredible music group, Samba Mapangala.  Naturally, I am looking forward to watching this Oscar nominated documentary by Orlando Von Einsiedel.  You can watch the official trailer here and I’ve also embedded a relevant song by Samba Mapangala, called “Les Gorilles de Montagnes“, for your listening pleasure.

VIRUNGA is the incredible true story of a group of brave people risking their lives to build a better future in a part of Africa the world’s forgotten and a gripping expose of the realities of life in the Congo. In the forested depths of eastern Congo lies Virunga National Park, one of the most bio-diverse places in the world and home to the last of the mountain gorillas. In this wild, but enchanted environment, a small and embattled team of park rangers – including an ex-child soldier turned ranger, a caretaker of orphan gorillas and a Belgian conservationist – protect this UNESCO world heritage site from armed militia, poachers and the dark forces struggling to control Congo’s rich natural resources. When the newly formed M23 rebel group declares war in May 2012, a new conflict threatens the lives and stability of everyone and everything they’ve worked so hard to protect.”

“Necessary Love” – Necessary Mayhem (February 2015)

necessarylove Curtis Lynch with his brainchild “Necessary Mayhem Records” is one of the top dub reggae producers in the UK and a personal longtime favorite.  With Valentine’s Day coming up, this album was released two days ago.  You can listen to 7 of the 12 massive, perfectly mixed, tracks for free here.  ONE LOVE

“Le Métèque” – Live Acoustic Reggae Cover of Georges Moustaki’s classic song , by Alpha Blondy

The Egyptian / French / Greek / Italian musician, Georges Moustaki released this in the late 1960s and is one of my personal favorites, both lyrically and musically.  The Ivory Coast artist, Alpha Blondy, did a great job covering this classic in a reggae style and tweaking it appropriately.   Watch & Share the original official music video by Moustaki, the live acoustic reggae version on TV5MONDE as well as the studio version off Alpha Blondy’s latest album, “Mystic Power”.  A song of love and suffering, the lyrics are so good, check them out below the videos!

http://tune.pk/player/embed_player.php?vid=1836351&folder=2014/01/11/&width=600&height=350&autoplay=no

Avec ma gueule de nègre métèque
De Juif errant, de rasta grec
Et mes dreadlocks aux quatre vents
Avec mes yeux tout délavés
Qui me donnent l’air de rêver
Moi qui ne rêve plus souvent
Avec mes mains de maraudeur
De musicien et de rôdeur
Qui ont pillé tant de jardins
Avec ma bouche qui a bu
Qui a embrassé et mordu
Sans jamais assouvir sa faim
Avec ma gueule de nègre métèque
De Juif errant, de rasta grec
De voleur et de vagabond
Avec ma peau qui s’est frottée
Au soleil de tous les étés
Et a tout ce qui portait jupon
Avec mon cœur qui a su faire
Souffrir autant qu’il a souffert
Sans pour cela faire d’histoires
Avec mon âme qui n’a plus
La moindre chance de salut
Pour éviter le purgatoire
Avec ma gueule de nègre métèque
De Juif errant, de rasta grec
Et mes dreadlocks aux quatre vents
Je viendrai, ma douce captive
Mon âme sœur, ma source vive
Je viendrai boire tes vingt ans
Et je serai prince de sang
Rêveur ou bien adolescent
Comme il te plaira de choisir
Et nous ferons de chaque jour
Toute une éternité d’amour
Que nous vivrons à en mourir
Et nous ferons de chaque jour
Toute une éternité d’amour
Que nous vivrons à en mourir

“Good Feelings” – Adolf Fayaman featuring Lion Boy aka One Zeal (Official Music Video 2015)

lionboyLion Boy (One Zeal) is a talented Cameroonian Reggae singer based in Johannesburg. Rague Entertainment artist, Adolf Fayaman, recently collaborated with Lion Boy to create this awesome video for his hit single “Good Feelings”.  The track is the first single from Fayaman’s latest project, the “Good Feelings” E.P. The video was shot in locations around Johannesburg, South Africa.  Big up the artists for sharing such powerful, strictly positive vibes and energy. Keep living it up and making good music!

“This Town” – The Skints featuring Tippa Irie & Horseman (Official Music Video February 2015)


The Skints, the dub reggae group from London, UK, present their brand new music video for the first single off their upcoming Easy Star Records produced album , entitled “FM” and to be released on March 9th/10th 2015. Watch the East London Reggae band come together with skilled vocalists Tippa Irie and Horseman to pay tribute to their home city. A great collaboration and first glimpse of the new album.

Preorder from iTunes now and receive ‘This Town’ and ‘My Way’ instantly! http://smarturl.it/TheSkints-FM.

http://www.theskints.co.uk.