Newly collected and restudied earlier materials on an enigmatic fish Ventalepis ketleriensis Schultze, 1980 from the upper Famennian (postera – ? Lower expansa conodont zones) of Latvia and central and northwestern Russia support its porolepiform affinities. A new family Ventalepididae fam. nova is established for this genus upon a peculiar combination of characters, including scale structure and dermal bones ornamentation. New records extend the distribution of this genus and the Ventalepis vertebrate assemblage on the whole to a vast geographical zone along the south-eastern coast of the Old Red Sandstone continent. The habitat area of the Devonian vertebrate assemblage over such a large territory within the zoogeographical province of Baltica is established for the first time. Palaeozoogeographical analysis suggests Laurentian affinities of the Ventalepis assemblage demonstrating the major congruency to the Belgian and East Greenland ones. These and Russian localities are separated by a vast ORS continent. Presence of the dipnoan Jarvikia in all three locations, as well as an Ichthyostega-like tetrapod in the Belgian one reveals palaeozoogeographical connections, which might reflect possible dwelling not only in the near-shore continent periphery but also in the river systems of the continent itself.
The avifaunistic observations carried out in the tundra valley of the Sob River's upper course (west slopes of the Polar Ural) in July 1995 revealed the occurrence of 39 breeding and 8 non-breeding bird species. The most numerous were Anthus pratensis, Calcarius lapponicus, Phylloscopus trochilus and Anthus cervinus. The great variety of wetland and aquatic habitats had a decisive influence on species-richness and abundance of birds (jointly 30 breeding and 4 non-breeding species). Areas of low humidity were inhabited by 14 whereas anthropogenic habitats by 4 species. Most of them (except for eurytopic A. pratensis and C. lapponicus) occupied one-two habitats irrespective of their numbers. The density of Buteo lagopus was estimated at 1.67-2.00 p/10 km2. Three species of distribution ranges laying to the south from the study area, namely Bucephala clangula, Dendrocopos major, Circus macrourus, were noted in the valley. The results obtained have been compared with available data on the avifauna of the region concerned.
The article discusses views and the ideological evolution carried out by Pitirim Alexandrovich Sorokin, a Russian-American sociologist, philosopher and political activist. Influenced by his observations of the events of 1917, Sorokin radically reformulated his opinions about Marx and Marxism which resulted in his espousing of a traditionalist and anti-revolutionary position. He still shared with Marx his negative diagnosis of the modern world, but proposed a different solution as a remedy. His solution was a purification of the idea of equality by liberating it from reductive materialism. Nevertheless Sorokin’s concept of spiritual equality was as utopian as Marx’s. He presented his ideas in a littleknown novel titled: Предтеча (or Прачечная человеческих душ – ‘предтеча’ means ‘ancestor’ and is commonly referred to John the Baptist). This work is a signal for Sorokin’s denial of Marx’s ideas and his revolutionary zeal.
The paper describes the political use of symbols of childhood and orphanhood in the current policy of the Russian authorities. At the beginning of the Bolshevik regime, homeless children (bezprizorni) became a subject of interest for the security apparatus organized by F. Dzerzhinsky. At that time, A. Makarenko developed his innovative pedagogical approach. These activities were designed to create a “new Soviet man”. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia again faced the problem of homeless children. After several years, however, children and orphans are now being used as a symbol of vulnerability in the government policy of the Kremlin. As an answer to the so-called “Magnitsky Act”, the Russian authorities implemented the “DimaYakovlev law” prohibiting adoptions of Russian children to the United States. In addition to this, the child as a symbol of innocence and vulnerability is an invariant element in the policy of the Russian authorities. This combines symbolism associated with bravery, dedication and sacrifice, allowing justification of the current political course of power in Russia.
The study focuses on one of the ways to express for eignness of ethnicities encountered by the inhabitants of Medieval Rus’, namely on constructing the origin of those ethnicities. The narrative about the origin of an ethnicity and its ancestors (origo gentis) is known from European medieval historiography in general. The oldest Russian chronicles, however, are distinguishable for not only recording the origin of their own nation, but noting the roots of completely different cultures, i.e. steppe tribes and northern peoples; later the origin of Mongols is refl ected in a similar way. The comparison of the Primary Chronicle and Latin Central European chronicles which were created almost at the same time period (Chronica Boemorum by Cosmas of Prague, Chronica et gesta ducum sive principum Polonorum by Gallus Anonymus and a slightly younger anonymous Gesta Hungarorum) demonstrates that the primary function of Latin origo gentis was to define the identity of the medieval gens, which was changing into natio of the High Medieval Period, and to legitimate its political structures. In these chronicles, origo gentis never became a separate theme in relation to other nations. On the contrary, the authors of the oldest Russian chronicles considered the identifi cation of the origins of the foreign nations to be the key for recognizing their functions not only in the present or in the past, but, first and foremost, in the future, in the end time.
The authors presented the tendencies in Russian toponomy after the October Revolution, when geographic naming became one of the most important tools of communist propaganda. They showed – following A. Supieranska – three groups of oekokonyms in the 1920s and 30s: 1) those derived from the names of individuals who had achieved renown (e.g. Ленинакан, Ленинск, Лениногорск, Ленинабад, Троцк, Киров), 2) those commemorating phenomena and events linked with the Revolution and the era of Soviet rule (e.g. Комсомольск-на-Амуре, Красногвардейск), 3) those referring to areas of production (e.g. Асбест, Бокситогорск, Магнитогорск, Электросталь). In this context, changes in the naming of towns inhabited by Germans are presented, in particular Marx and Engels, located in the Volga Region. The presentation of the changes is preceeded by a description of the development of the oekonymic system of Volga Germans.
The paper will discuss the Russian involvement in the Holy Land that started from informal actions to evolve into formal activities of religious, trading and scientific institutions related to the Russian authorities.