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Homicide in the Russian Empire and Soviet Union
Södertörns högskola, Institutionen för samhällsvetenskaper, SCOHOST (Stockholm Centre on Health of Societies in Transition).ORCID-id: 0000-0002-1260-2223
Södertörns högskola, Institutionen för samhällsvetenskaper, Sociologi. Södertörns högskola, Institutionen för samhällsvetenskaper, SCOHOST (Stockholm Centre on Health of Societies in Transition).ORCID-id: 0000-0003-0010-7863
2005 (Engelska)Ingår i: British Journal of Criminology, ISSN 0007-0955, E-ISSN 1464-3529, Vol. 45, nr 5, s. 647-670Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

With the collapse of Communism, statistics relating to previously ‘taboo’ phenomena such as homicide became available in the Soviet Union for the first time in over 50 years. The current study builds on several recent studies of homicide in Russia by extending both its time-frame and geographical coverage. Taking data from the end of the tsarist (1910) and Communist (1989) periods, the study maps the changes that occurred in the geographical distribution of homicide rates in ‘European Russia’ across the Soviet years. While non-Russian areas tended to remain or become less violent, Russia became more violent. These differences may have had a cultural component underlying them which was further exacerbated by the role of the state in the Soviet period.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
2005. Vol. 45, nr 5, s. 647-670
Nationell ämneskategori
Sociologi
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-6620DOI: 10.1093/bjc/azi019ISI: 000231473000004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-6620DiVA, id: diva2:402729
Tillgänglig från: 2011-03-09 Skapad: 2011-03-09 Senast uppdaterad: 2017-12-11Bibliografiskt granskad
Ingår i avhandling
1. On Interpersonal Violence in Russia in the Present and the Past: A Sociological Study
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>On Interpersonal Violence in Russia in the Present and the Past: A Sociological Study
2006 (Engelska)Doktorsavhandling, sammanläggning (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
Abstract [en]

For much of the twentieth century researchers in the West knew little about the phenomenon of interpersonal violence in Russia as the Soviet authorities kept the vital and criminal justice statistics of violence secret. It was not until the Soviet Union was in its final death throes that these statistics were officially released for the first time in over fifty years. They showed that at least in terms of its level of lethal violence, Russia was one of the most violent countries in the industrialized world. Since that time, the sharp rise in violent mortality that has occurred in post-Soviet Russia during the transition period has attracted the attention of many researchers in both the East and West. The studies that have resulted have done much to enhance our understanding of violence in contemporary Russia. However, there are still many questions to be answered. For example, was Russia a violent country in much earlier periods of its history and are there particular social and/or cultural processes that have been important in explaining the occurrence of violence in Russia across time?

To address these and other questions I have made use of the vital statistics data of homicide from tsarist and Soviet Russia, as well as individual-level survey data on violence from the contemporary period. By doing this it has been possible to show that there was a high level of lethal interpersonal violence in Russia throughout those periods of the twentieth century for which data exist and that Soviet Russia became comparatively more violent between the end of the tsarist and Soviet periods. Moreover, alcohol seems to have played an extremely important role in the occurrence of both lethal and non-lethal violence across time. In relation to this, I have focused on the particular drinking culture in Russia as a possible explanatory mechanism for the occurrence of violence, in conjunction with the Russian state’s dependence on the taxable revenue alcohol generated – which in both tsarist and Soviet Russia prevented any prolonged attempts to act against the deleterious effects of alcohol. The high level of violence in Russian society also highlights the problems that the Russian authorities had when trying to impose order on a geographically vast and ethnically diverse country. This might explain why even by the end of the Soviet period, rates of lethal violence were highest in those places (i.e. Siberia and rural Russia more generally) where the state’s presence is likely to have been at its weakest.

The consequences of interpersonal violence have become a serious public health issue in contemporary Russia. The lesson that ‘might makes right’ seems to be learnt at an early age by some men who may subsequently model their behaviour on what they have witnessed in their childhood homes, with alcohol acting to facilitate the occurrence of violence in some instances. Any attempt to address the issue of violence in Russia must therefore focus on the specifics of the Russian drinking culture, as it is likely that if this can be changed, a reduction in levels of serious interpersonal injury can also be achieved. However, it may be the case, that it is not only changes in the drinking culture which are necessary, but also perhaps, the way in which violence is seen in Russian society traditionally, both by the state and its citizens – as a means of resolving both relatively minor and more intractable problems.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Stockholm: Stockholms universitet, 2006. s. 168
Serie
Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations, ISSN 1652-7399 ; 7
Nationell ämneskategori
Sociologi (exklusive socialt arbete, socialpsykologi och socialantropologi)
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-11994 (URN)91-7155-332-0 (ISBN)
Tillgänglig från: 2011-10-11 Skapad: 2011-10-08 Senast uppdaterad: 2024-01-29Bibliografiskt granskad

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Stickley, AndrewMäkinen, Ilkka Henrik

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