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The Gumilev Mystique: Biopolitics, Eurasianism, and the Construction of Community in Modern Russia

Professor Mark Bassin’s book deals with Lev Gumilev, the seminal Russian historian, ethnographer and philosopher, who is quite popular in Russia. Gumilev’s popularity was especially strong in the last years of the Soviet regime and the early post-Soviet era, as Bassin makes clear.

 

Professor Mark Bassin’s book deals with Lev Gumilev, the seminal Russian historian, ethnographer and philosopher, who is quite popular in Russia. Gumilev’s popularity was especially strong in the last years of the Soviet regime and the early post-Soviet era, as Bassin makes clear. Still, no books on Gumilev had been published in English until Bassin’s work, and very few of Gumilev’s works have been translated into English. Indeed, Gumilev has been practically ignored in the West. Why? Most Western historians and ethnographers would provide an easy answer, based on the materials presented in Bassin’s work: Gumilev’s views are beyond Western science. In fact, they are not scientific at all and could be seen at best as peculiar science fiction. Readers of Bassin’s work can well substantiate this conclusion.

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