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<ul><li><p>8/12/2019 0 Published How Old</p><p> 1/23</p><p> Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2013 DOI ./-</p><p>Russian History 40 (2013) 428450 brill.com/ruhi</p><p>How Old Magic Does the Trick for Modern Politics</p><p>Claudio Sergio Nun-IngeromCNRS, Paris and Universidad Nacional de San Martin, Buenos Aires</p><p>claudio.ingerlom@gmail.com</p><p>Abstract</p><p>This article attempts to interpret the insurrection led by Razin in the seventeenth century as</p><p>the beginning of modern politics, because it was founded on the immanence of the social in</p><p>contrast to the transcendent conceptions of power maintained by the court and church.</p><p>This advance was made possible by the working of magic. Through performative speech,</p><p>magic permitted the creation of a verbal presence for the non-existent tsarevich Alexis, who,</p><p>however, was never given material form. In keeping the self-appointed heir invisible and by</p><p>declaring his fathers rule illegitimate, the rebels reduced the role of the tsar to a pure signi-</p><p>er. The proof that this uprising represented a turn toward modern politics is that it did not</p><p>rely upon the invocation of an intangible philosophical or spiritual ideal (as in the West); itwas built instead upon an armed people, expressing itself in a language that was still archaic</p><p>but already oriented toward a new representation of power as socially legitimatized. This</p><p>analysis opens an important line of argument that has power beyond this specic case.</p><p>Keywords</p><p>Razin Rebellion; self-appointment; Invisible tsarevich; magic; political expression; modern</p><p>political formation; immanence</p><p>No empty place is ever sacred.</p><p>(Variations on a Russian theme.)</p><p>I. The Topic</p><p>In the last few years, the historiographical renewal in the study of magic,including its relationship with religion and politics in Russia, has beenremarkable. Magic has been studied from many perspectives, including as</p><p> Valerie Kivelson, Patrolling the Boundaries: Witchcraft Accusations and Household</p><p>Strife in Seventeenth-Century Muscovy, Harvard Ukrainian Studies, XIX (1995): 302-323;</p></li><li><p>8/12/2019 0 Published How Old</p><p> 2/23</p><p> C.S. Nun-Ingerlom / Russian History 40 (2013) 428450 429</p><p>a means for revealing collective representations of power and as a politicalweapon used, for instance, by individuals against the tsars. It will be consid-</p><p>ered here as a vehicle productive of political innovation, during the insur-rection led by Stepan Razin.</p><p>In August 1670, Razin asserts that Tsarevich Aleksei, the death of whomhad been announced months earlier by the court, had in fact joined theinsurrection, sent by his father to help the Cossacks in their ght againstthe traitors to the crown. It is unclear whether somebody acted as the falseTsarevich because, strangely enough, he was never publicly exposed.Researchers have expressed their inability to grasp this mystery. Yet, if onetries to elucidate this question, sources lead towards magic, which wascollectively practiced by the rebels. Hence the question the followingpages will try to answer: what was thefunctionof this massive recourse tomagic?</p><p>II. Mainstream Interpretations</p><p>Without any pretense to being exhaustive, I will recall some of the most</p><p>widespread theses advanced by previous scholarship, in order to better sit-uate my argument.</p><p>1. According to Martin Malia, this peasant uprising negates thestate. For Paul Avrich, it was an outright revolt against the state.</p><p>Ibid., Political Sorcery in Sixteenth-Century Muscovy, ed. A. M. Kleimola, G. D. Lenhof,</p><p>Culture and Identity in Muscovy 1359-1584(Moscow: ITZ-Garant, 1997); Ibid.., Male Witches</p><p>and gendered Categories in Seventeenth-Century Russia, Comparative Studies in Society</p><p>and History45, no. 3 (2003): 606-631; William F. Ryan, The Bathhouse at Midnight. An histori-</p><p>cal survey of magic and divination in Russia, (Stroud: Sutton, 1999); A.S. Lavrov,Koldovstvo i</p><p>religiia v Rossii, 1700-1740 gg. (Moscow: Drevnekhranilishche, 2000); E.B. Smiliianskaia,</p><p>Volshebniki, Vogokhulniki, Eretiki. Narodnaia religioznost i dukhovnye prestupleniia v Rossii</p><p>XVIII veka(Moscow: Indrik, 2003).</p><p> K. V. Chistov,Russkie narodnye socialno-utopicheskie legendy(Moscow: Nauka, 1967), 84.</p><p>E. V. Chistiakova, V.M.Solovev, Stepan Razin i ego soratniki(Moscow: Mysl, 1988), 54-55.</p><p> Martin Malia, La Tragdie sovitique. Histoire du socialisme en Russie 1917 1991 (Paris:</p><p>Seuil, 1995): 98. For a critique of this formulation, see Michael Khodarkovsky, The Stepan</p><p>Razin Uprising. Was It a Peasant War?Jahrbcher fr Geschichte Osteuropas, 42 (1994): 119.</p><p> Martin Malia, Comprendre la Rvolution russe, (Paris: Seuil, 1980): 43.</p><p> Paul Avrich, Russian Rebels, 1600 1800, 2 ed., (New York: W. W. Norton and Company,</p><p>1976): 116.</p></li><li><p>8/12/2019 0 Published How Old</p><p> 3/23</p><p>430 C.S. Nun-Ingerlom / Russian History 40 (2013) 428450</p><p>By conating the modern concept (state) the elaboration of whichstarts with Hobbes and materializes institutionally with the French</p><p>Revolution and the older word.State, which is used to convey theconcept, these authors apply a modern juridical category to an earlierform of government and endow the rebels with intentions that theycould not have had. It is enough to consider the meaning of against thestate (protiv gosudarstva) in the language of the seventeenth century tounderstand the extent to which the expression against the state is atthe same time anachronistic and impossible to translate in the contextof Razins Muscovy.</p><p> Reinhart Koselleck, III. Staat im Zeitalter revolutionrer Bewegung, in Staat und</p><p>Souvernitt, ed. Otto Brunner, Werner Conze, Reinhart Koselleck, Geschichtliche</p><p>Grundbegrife. Historisches Lexicon zur politisch-sozialen Sprache in Deutschland, vol. VI,</p><p>(Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1990); Quentin Skinner From the state of princes to the person of</p><p>state, in, Idem, Visions of Politics, vol. 2: Renaissance Virtues, (Cambridge: Cambridge</p><p>University Press, 2002); Sandro Chignola, Giuseppe Duso, Storia dei Concetti e Filosoa</p><p>Politica, (Milan: Franco Angelli, 2008).</p><p> Let us remember that until the 17th centurygosudarstvo the rst form of which was</p><p>gospodarstvo was used rst and foremost in two ways: the dignity of the gosudar(domi-</p><p>nus,Master), rst the grand prince and later the tsar, and the lands that belonged to him. It</p><p>follows the model of the Polish panstwowhich copied the Latin words dominumand domi-</p><p>natio, Zoltan Andrs, Fejezetek az orosz skkincs trtnetbl, (Budapest, 1987): 14-50. The</p><p>word gosudarstvo was understood at the time as the sovereigns property (gosudarskaia</p><p>votchina), see A. I. Zaozerskii, Tsarskaia votchina XVII veka, (Moscow: Gosudarstvennyi</p><p>sotsialno-ekonomicheskoe izdatelstvo, 1937 [1 ed., 1917]): 43). It also denoted the power of</p><p>the gosudarover that which belonged to him, hence its meaning of government (pravle-</p><p>nie) and possessions of the gosudar, over all the land and those living on it. During the</p><p>Times of Trouble, when there was no stable gosudar, gosudarstvo also designated the</p><p>population of a certain territory;Slovar russkogo iazyka XVIII veka</p><p>, v. 4: 135; v. 5: 198-9;</p><p>Etimologicheskii slovar russkogo iazyka, ed. N. M. Shanskii (Moscow: MGU, 1968), v. 3: 196;</p><p>A.V. Tolstikov, Predstavleniia o Gosudare i Gosudarstve v Rossii vtoroi poloviny XVI </p><p>pervoi poloviny XVII veka, Odissei, (Moscow: Nauka, 2002): 295-6. Gosudarstvocould also</p><p>signify the throne: M.M., Rozhdenie gosudarstva: iz istorii moskovskogo politich-</p><p>eskogo diskursa XVI veka, inIstoricheskie poniatiia i politicheskie idei v Rossii XVI XX veka,</p><p>ed. N.Koposov, St Petersburg: Aleteia, 2006): 60-1. The rst meaning of gosudarstvo, in the</p><p>general sense, was empire or kingdom (tsarstvo). Gosudarstvowas also understood as coun-</p><p>try (strana) but also a part of the country, a particular region, a province of the Russian</p><p>Empire, For example, it was common to say in thegosudarstvoof Siberia:Pisma i bumagi</p><p>imperatora Petra Velikogo, ed. B. B. Kafengauz, 9 vols, (Moscow: Gosudarstvennaia TipograiaSankt Peterbourg, 1887-1952), v.9/1: 291. See also: Bog dal nam na vse gosudarstva</p><p>Rossiiskogo tsarstviia gosudarem, tsarem i velikim kniazem vseia Rusii, Gramota</p><p>announcing the election of Mikhail Romanov, in Irina V. Pozdeeva, Pervye Romanovy i</p></li><li><p>8/12/2019 0 Published How Old</p><p> 4/23</p><p> C.S. Nun-Ingerlom / Russian History 40 (2013) 428450 431</p><p>2. For Malia, this movement is purely destructive, purely negative, itproves to be incapable to create anything. According to Avrich, Razin</p><p>was resisting the modernization and secularization of Russian life; hisprogram was essentially destructive. He argues that it was a conictbetween growth of the state on the one hand, and a reluctant peoplewho remained deeply conservative and steadfast in their resistance tochange on the other. Yet, in contradictory fashion, Avrich adds to hisargument about Russian revolts in the seventeenth and eighteenth cen-turies that despite their traditionalist framework and backward look-ing orientation, in their determination to sweep away the existing orderthey were profoundly revolutionary.</p><p>3. Ethnologists have undertaken the study of the magic component thathas been largely ignored by historians in their interpretation of theinsurrection. The latter tend to consider magic as superuous, as part ofthe backward-looking orientation they ascribe to the Razin revolt. Thus,Philip Longworth reviews the magical powers attributed to Razinwhile Avrich recalls that Razin was regarded as a sorcerer and that heoperated by magic. He concludes that these legends gave rise in turnto the legend of his immortality. But Avrich brings up magical thought</p><p>only in order to argue that it awakened, however dimly, the social</p><p>tsaristskaia ideia (XVII vek), Voprosy istorii, 1, (1996): 48. Other examples can be also found</p><p>inPolnoe sobranie zakonov Rossiiskoi imperii. Sobranie pervoe s 1649 po 12 dekabria 1825g., 45</p><p>vols, (St Petersburg: Tipograia II Otdeleniia Sobstvennoi Ego Imperatorskogo Velichestva</p><p>Kantseliarii, 1830), v. 1, no.114: 308 and in Viktor M. Zhivov, Iz tserkovnoi istorii vremen Petra</p><p>Velikogo, (Moscow: NLO, 2004), 82, n. 5. On the absence of the concept and of the institution</p><p>of a state in the 17th 18th century and on the debate around the concept in Russia, see</p><p>Claudio Nun Ingerom, Novoevropeiskaia paradigma Gosudarstvennost: teoreticheskie</p><p>predposylki i kognitivnye nesootvetstviia,Rossiia XXI, 2, 2011: 110 127 and Loyalty to theState under Peter the Great?, in Loyalties; Solidarities and Identities in Russian Society,</p><p>History and Culture, ed. by G. Hosking, C.S. Ingerom and allii, (London: SSEES, University</p><p>College London, 2012), p. 3-19</p><p> Malia, Comprendre, 43-44.</p><p> Avrich,Russian Rebels,117, 118.</p><p> Ibid., 256.</p><p> Ibid., 258.</p><p> See the work of L.S. Sheptaev, Rannie predaniia i legendy o Razine, Slavianskii folklor i</p><p>istoricheskaia deistvitelnost, (Moscow: Nauka, 1965); Skazy o Stepane Razine XIX veka,</p><p>Uchenye zapiski, Leningradskii pedagogicheskii Institut, 275, (1966); Pesennyi razinskii tsikli istoricheskie pesni XVIII veka, Uchenye zapiski, Leningradskii pedagogicheskii Institut, 321</p><p>(1967).</p><p> Philip Longworth, The Subversive Legend of Stenka Razin,Russia(Torino, 1975), 2: 21.</p></li><li><p>8/12/2019 0 Published How Old</p><p> 5/23</p><p>432 C.S. Nun-Ingerlom / Russian History 40 (2013) 428450</p><p>consciousness of the poor, gave them a new sense of power, and madethe upper classes tremble for their lives and possessions. Moreover, it</p><p>left a myth of rebellion that would inspire future generations whosememory was preserved in ballad, lore, and epic. Magic then appearsas a means to agitate the poor, frighten the rich and feed the memory ofrebel tradition through legend and myth. For the historian of anar-chism, the function of magic is located in the realm of afect and emo-tions. Its results are, at best, an unexpected gain produced by theirrational. It is then possible to exclude magic from historical researchat no cognitive expense. Randall Styers warning highlighting the wayin which modern theories of disavowal of magic are used to stigma-tize the practices of groups on the margins of social power istotally justied.</p><p>4. Michael Khodarkovsky considers that on the part of the rebels, apolitical discourse in seventeenth-century Muscovy could only takeplace in terms of restoration of justice, before concluding that Razinand Aleksei Mikhailovich were not competing for diferent concep-tions of sovereignty and social values, instead they were vying for thesame source of legitimacy. But it is certain that if we seek among</p><p>the rebels what would be just a primitive version of a reexive speech ofthe kind developed in western universities of the time to nd their aconception of sovereignty and a political discourse diferent from those</p><p> Avrich,Russian Rebels,119-120.</p><p> Randall Styers,Making Magic. Religion, Magic, and Science in the Modern World, (Oxford:</p><p>Oxford Universty Press, 2004): 222-223.</p><p> Of course, Razins understanding of freedom was not dened in terms of social justice.</p><p>His was a Cossack freedom, and every non-Cossack, peasant or townsman, rich or poor, wasconsidered enslaved to the state, Khodarkovsky, The Stepan Razin Uprising, 12-13. It is nec-</p><p>essary, however, to note that we are dealing not with legal texts but with pamphlets written</p><p>by an ocer in the middle of the insurrection. Under these conditions, the content of a</p><p>slogan like the conquest of freedom becomes dynamic, and is less that meaning attributed</p><p>by Razin than that given to the idea of freedom by the participants in a collective action</p><p>covering an immense territory and uniting thousands of people from diverse social, reli-</p><p>gious and ethnic groups. Concerning the expression enslaved to the state, see note 7. On</p><p>the promise of volia and the appeals to various social and ethnic groups to join the rebel-</p><p>lion, see Krestianskaia vojna pod predvoditelstvom Stepana Razina. Sbornik dokumentov,5</p><p>vols., (Moscow: Izdatelstvo Akademii Nauk, 1954), I: 183, 212, 235-236; (1957), II, 1: 62, 91,106, 341, 407.</p><p> Khodarkovsky, op. cit, 17.</p></li><li><p>8/12/2019 0 Published How Old</p><p> 6/23</p><p> C.S. Nun-Ingerlom / Russian History 40 (2013) 428450 433</p><p>of the monarch, we shall not nd them. It takes a diferent approach torebel speech and another reading.</p><p>I argue that, within the uprising, magical thought creates the possibility fora form of political thought still expressed in archaic language but headingtowards an immanent legitimation of power. It requires us to conceive ofthe radical separation between magic and politics as illusory, and not toapproach mythosas a thought process that could be superseded by a morecorrect one, the logos.</p><p>III. A Precedent: The History of Science</p><p>The debate on the relationship between magic and science has alreadytaken place. In the twentieth century, science was rst considered asopposed to magic, as an evolutionary stage both superior to and independ-ent from magic. Then there was a period in which the emphasis was put onthe similarities between magic and science; I am thinking here aboutFrances Yates work. Today, a consensus seems to have emerged. The</p><p>radical novelty of modernity in the West is asserted, without failing toackno...</p></li></ul>