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uni'wissen 02-2013_ENG

Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Cheauré studied German studies, philosophy, and Slavic studies in Austria and Russia. In 1977 she re- ceived her PhD from the University of Graz. In 1986 she submitted her habilita- tion thesis on stories about artists in Russian realism to the same institution. Since 1990 she has served as pro- fessor of Slavic philology at the University of Freiburg. In the course of her career, Chauré has taught as a vis- iting lecturer in Russia, Bul- garia, Spain, and Switzerland. She is currently coordinating the project “Napoleon, Borodino, and the Patriotic War: On Popu- larization within the Context of the Search for a National Identity in Russia,” which is receiving funding from the German Research Founda- tion. Her research interests include gender studies, identity and alterity, cultural transfer, and cultures of lei- sure. Photo: Marie-Elisa- beth Weiher Further Reading Cheauré, E./Nohejl, R./Napp, A. (Eds.) (2005): Vater Rhein und Mutter Wolga. Diskurse um Nation und Gender in Deutschland und Russland. Würzburg. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Osteuropakunde (Ed.) (2013): Mythos Erinnerung. Russland und das Jahr 1812. Berlin (= Osteuropa 63/1). Nohejl, R./Gorfinkel, O./Carl, F./Cheauré, E. (Eds.) (2013): Genderdiskurse und nationale Identität in Russland. München. tory over Napoleon. 200 years later, Pussy Riot chooses exactly this spot to protest against Pu- tin. Roughly 80 years earlier, the Soviets had torn down the church; they wanted to build a sky- scraper to the glory of the revolution, but they failed and instead built an outdoor swimming pool on the site. Not until the 1990s did citizens start an initiative and begin collecting donations for the reconstruction of the church. “This spot plays an unbelievably important role for Russia,” underlines Cheauré. “What the cathedral sym- bolizes is not just the country’s newfound self- confidence in Europe but also the new age, a synthesis between the orthodoxy and the state.” The researchers found this dimension lacking in Western coverage of the Pussy Riot scandal. “The sentence is of course far too severe, but we would have liked to have seen more reflection on the part of Western media and politicians.” After all, the performance was a fundamental attack on the age-old principles of the Russian state model – the unity of God, leader, and people. Putin also plays with familiar imagery: When the prime minister sits on a horse with a muscle- bound chest, holds up a hunting rifle, shows endangered cranes the way south on an ultra- light hang glider, or presses a fluffy puppy to his cheek, he is putting himself on display as ag- gressive machine and nature boy, as macho and mother figure at the same time. “The impression these images leave on us is of Putin as a carica- ture of the West,” says Nohejl. “But they also re- flect a traditional understanding of power. Putin is just playing with certain stereotypical images that Western Europeans also recognize.” “The supposedly underdeveloped nation that lags behind France and Germany advances to the status of Europe’s savior” Dr. Regine Nohejl studied Slavic studies, East- ern European history, and sociology at the Universities of Freiburg and Tübingen as well as in Russia and the Czech Republic. From 1985 to 1997 she served as a lec- turer at the Department of Slavic Studies of the Univer- sity of Tübingen. In 1998 she accepted a position as a lecturer for literary studies and Eastern Slavic studies at the University of Freiburg, where she completed her dissertation on discourses of identity and alterity in Russia in 2007. Since 2011 Nohejl has collaborated on the project “Napoleon, Borodino, and the Patriotic War: On Popularization within the Context of the Search for a National Iden- tity in Russia.” Her research interests include gender studies, identity and alterity, and Russian cultural and intellectual history from the 18th century to the present. Photo: Viktoria Gräser 31