Impeeriumi ideoloogia etnograafia keelde tõlkimise probleemist / The problem of translating imperial ideology into the language of ethnography
Artiklis käsitletakse probleemi, kuidas Vene Geograafiaseltsi vaated, mis põhinesid Karl Ernst von Baeri etnograafilisel programmil, realiseerusid populaarses ja teaduslikus diskursuses, ning millist osa etendab etnograafilistes kirjeldustes poliitiline faktor. Mitmeköitelise teose „Maaliline Venemaa“ Baltikumi käsitleva teise köite teise osa näitel analüüsitakse impeeriumi ideoloogia peamiste postulaatide mõju piirkonna ajaloo ning põlisrahvaste kuvandi konstrueerimisele. Näidatakse, et autorid püüavad tõestada, nagu oleks piirkonna põhiprobleem Balti erikord, et kohalik elanikkond vihkab sakslasi ja vaatab lootusega Vene võimu poole. Selline tendents sobis täiesti vene 1860.−1870. aastate hoiakutega Balti küsimuses. Põhijäreldus on, et populaarne diskursus tingib etnograafilise käsitluse lihtsustamise ning ideologiseerimise.
The article views, in as great detail as possible, the history of creating the popular scientific ethnographic publication North-Eastern Borderlands of Russia. The Baltic Region (Северо-Западные Окраины России. Прибалтийский край, 1883) from the ethnographic series Picturesque Russia (Живописная Россия). Differently from Karsten Brüggemann (2018) who placed it in the broad context of 19th-century ethnographic publications, this article is less interested in the context and the general paradigm it blends with than in immanent text analysis, its pragmatics and sources. The author has set herself the task to examine how the book’s anonymous authors cope with the dilemma of academic and popular discourses; to which extent they manage to overcome the ideological and political setting of the era straddling the boundary between the epochs of Alexander II and Alexander III; how they implement the conditions of official imperial ideology – the loyalty of the subjects, the need for the acculturation of borderlands, the consolidation of a unified imperial nation. Therefore, a brief digression is made into the general features of imperial ideology.
The beginning of the article describes how the publication reflected the general views of the Russian Geographical Society that should have become the patron of the publication. It is shown that Karl Ernst v. Baer’s article “On ethnographical studies in general and in Russia in particular” (“Об этнографических исследованиях вообще и в России в особенности”, 1846), which makes a clear distinction between the scientific and political tasks of ethnography, played a role in the formation of the concept of Picturesque Russia. The authors met the scholarly criteria in their selection of reliable information about the history of the Baltic provinces and their peoples and the new stage in the formation of the national mentality of Estonians and Latvians in the period of modernisation. The authors underscored how education influenced the gradual breakaway from the traditional lifestyle, creation of national cultural societies and periodicals, development of new literature in the local languages. They tried to present to the readers interesting digressions into the history of the region and its peoples, thus meeting the criterion of popularity.
Simultaneously, the authors adhered to clear ideological principles: the territory of the Baltic provinces is a primordial “Russian” territory and must forever remain a part of the Russian Empire (the authors, naturally, could not imagine that the empire was not eternal). The indigenous peoples suffered greatly because of the German invasion in the 13th century and the long-time German rule that would follow; they hated Germans, strove for liberation from German domination and wanted to integrate into the Russian context. This attitude fully met the ideology and policy of the Russian authorities concerning the Russian acculturation of the region and gradual cancellation of the Baltic special order. One of the principles of the authors of the publication was to show the indigenous peoples’ support to such policy.
The book about the Baltic provinces was published anonymously, and, until now, archive searches have not revealed the authors’ names. Analysis shows that the book is a compilation; the authors relied on many sources, which are listed in the current article. However, the lack of a single editor, heterogeneity of different parts of the book, and ideological engagement had a negative effect on the quality of the book. Picturesque Russia, which was planned as an extensive and very expensive project covering the history, geography and ethnography of the all regions of the Russian Empire did not prove as successful as its initiator, the renowned Russian published Maurycy Wolff, had expected. The bulky and heavy tomes did not sell well and did not get a serious response from Russian readers. Still, the books of this series, and The Baltic Region in particular, became sources for many popular publications of the time, including guidebooks on Russia not only in Russian, but also in German.