Blood of Others: Stalin's Crimean Atrocity and the Poetics of Solidarity

Blood of Others: Stalin's Crimean Atrocity and the Poetics of Solidarity

by Rory Finnin
Blood of Others: Stalin's Crimean Atrocity and the Poetics of Solidarity

Blood of Others: Stalin's Crimean Atrocity and the Poetics of Solidarity

by Rory Finnin


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In the spring of 1944, Stalin deported the Crimean Tatars, a small Sunni Muslim nation, from their ancestral homeland on the Black Sea peninsula. The gravity of this event, which ultimately claimed the lives of tens of thousands of victims, was shrouded in secrecy after the Second World War. What broke the silence in Soviet Russia, Soviet Ukraine, and the Republic of Turkey were works of literature. These texts of poetry and prose — some passed hand-to-hand underground, others published to controversy — shocked the conscience of readers and sought to move them to action.

Blood of Others presents these works as vivid evidence of literature's power to lift our moral horizons. In bringing these remarkable texts to light and contextualizing them among Russian, Turkish, and Ukrainian representations of Crimea from 1783, Rory Finnin provides an innovative cultural history of the Black Sea region. He reveals how a "poetics of solidarity" promoted empathy and support for an oppressed people through complex provocations of guilt rather than shame.

Forging new roads between Slavic studies and Middle Eastern studies, Blood of Others is a compelling and timely exploration of the ideas and identities coursing between Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine — three countries determining the fate of a volatile and geopolitically pivotal part of our world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781487507817
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
Publication date: 04/07/2022
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Rory Finnin is an associate professor of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Cambridge.

Table of Contents


Part One: Possession

1. Imperial Objects
2. Colonial Eyes

Part Two: Dispossession

3. Ethnic Cleansing, Discursive Cleansing
4. The Guiltless Guilty
5. Trident and Tamğa
6. Incense and Drum

Part Three: Repossession

7. Selective Affinities
8. Losing Home, Finding Home


What People are Saying About This

Charles King

"Rory Finnin has written the definitive account of cultural responses to a still-hidden atrocity: the deportation of the Crimean Tatars. Through new research and sensitive interpretations, Blood of Others shows how the Crimean Tatar experience is deeply connected to global themes of colonialism, dispossession, and survival. It is a record of cultural resilience against astounding odds and a detailed portrait of art and memory in action."

Serhii Plokhy

"The deportation of the Crimean Tatars from their ancestral homeland in 1944 was not only one of the crimes of Stalinism. It was also a triumph of settler colonialism that opened the door to the Russian annexation of the Crimea in 2014. In Blood of Others Rory Finnin shows the power of literary texts to forge ties of solidarity with an oppressed people across national, ethnic, and linguistic lines, ties of solidarity that would not exist otherwise. It is a book about the tragedy of the past that inspires optimism about the future, and an essential read for anyone interested in the literature, history, and politics of the Black Sea region."

Amelia Glaser

"In this thoughtful, nuanced study of the literature of Crimea, Rory Finnin exposes the seams connecting the nations and empires that have coexisted in the Black Sea. Blood of Others corrects a significant lacuna in English language scholarship on Eurasian history and literature."

Anne Applebaum

"In his introduction to Blood of Others, Rory Finnin writes that he aims to 'realign our intellectual horizons,' to refocus our attention on the cultural crossroads that is the Black Sea. He succeeds: using Russian, Ukrainian, Tatar, and Turkish sources, and with the tragic history of the Crimean Tatars as his focus, he shows how writers in the region influenced and enhanced one another's work. A brilliant book by the UK's most important scholar of Ukraine."

Kevin M.F. Platt

"Blood of Others is an astonishing account of the entanglement of Russian, Crimean Tatar, Turkish, and Ukrainian cultural life with the political and social history of the Crimean Tatars. Rory Finnin's work is an impressive navigation among the languages and religious confessions of the Black Sea region, cultural works from poetry to film, centuries of imperial domination, and methodological toolkits, revealing the historical effects and ethical burdens of cultural expression in a fraught, multiply colonized territory."

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