Ilya Kalinin. "To have no screen between this part he play’d and him he play’d it for…": double gangers, hybrids, impostors and dialectics of power

The political tradition of impostorship has a rich history and underpins Russian culture since the Time of Troubles when the Moscow Kingdom, having expanded its borders to the vast territories of the Kazan and Astrakhan Khanates, Siberia and Livonia, had to face both the internal power crisis and its own cultural Other (which  revealed itself both in the East and in the West). From that moment until the second half of the 18th century impostorship became one of the forms that organized spontaneous resistance of enslaved masses, and the figure of impostor, one of the symbols of the Russian riot. The intertwining of different prospects of  enslavement (social and economical, cultural and ethnic, linguistic and epistemological), which is typical for the Russian Empire, allows to place the  impostorship phenomenon in the analytic frame of the post-colonial theory. The phenomenon of  splitting the enslaved subject revealed by this theory describing the colonization process and its cultural effects, can also be found in the figure of an impostor. 

According to Homi Bhabha, usually imperial colonization forms hybrids (when two cultural sources bring about the creation of something third, a monstrous subject whose image haunts the cultural imagination of the metropole, "less than one and double", as he describes the situation. According to the concept developed by Alexander Etkind, the mechanisms of internal colonization that are typical for the Russian Empire, lead to the appearance of doppelgängers (where the whole splits in two mirror reflections that show the internal split and incompleteness of the imperial whole and tend to further multiplication). However, it seems like the figure of an impostor can change this difference. If the doppelgänger is the imperial reflex to the situation of internal colonization, its painful and ugly copy, an impostor is a suicidal resistance attempt of the enslaved subject to the system that tries to deprive them of any subject properties. In the figure of  impostor there is dramatic dialectics of the two forces: the slave pretends to be the mister, and one of the forces is being hidden, being denied only on the outside being preserved as one's own Other (in this sense, the  impostor embodies the structure of anti-colonial resistance; paraphrasing Bhabha, they are "more than double and one": claiming similarity in appearance they personify not only the imperial thesis and the opposing anticolonial antithesis, but also their struggle against each other). 

Basing on The Captain's Daughter, we'll try to expand the subject of the report to the cultural phenomenon of  impostorship as a whole.