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On the throne and atop the Mausoleum: women and power in new Russian TV-series

I. L. Savkina
80,00 Р

UDC 82-3:791

https://doi.org/10.20339/PhS.2-21.077   

 

Savkina Irina L.,

Doctor of Philosophy, Candidate of Philology,

Lecturer of the Language, Translation and Literary Studies School

University of Tampere (Finland)

e-mail: irina.savkina@tuni.fi

 

This essay explores issues of gender and power in three recent Russian TV series: the first two, “Catherine” (2014–2019) and “The Great” (2015) feature the empress Catherine the Second as a protagonist, while a third, “Fourtseva. The Legend of Catherine” (2011) tells the story of the high-level Soviet official Ekaterina Fourtseva. The producers of these shows have a contradictory task: they seek to strengthen patriarchal stereotypes of femininity through the character of a female monarch while at the same time keeping intact the concept of strong imperial power. Thus, they ‘divide’ their heroine into Catherine-the-female, who had to sacrifice her feminine maternal essence, and Catherine the Great, the empress and the conqueror. The series about ‘Catherine the Third’, as Fourtseva was sometime called, treats the issue of gender and power in a more straightforward way, suggesting that a woman in high power is out of place: doomed to marginality and ‘secondary’ roles, she, at the same time, has no chance of finding happiness as a woman. Differences between the series notwithstanding, none of them question the masculine nature of political power, to which a woman can accede only on the basis of luck or as a sad exception.

Keywords: popular culture, historical TV series, gender, Catherine the Great, Catherine Furtseva.

 

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