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Russlands widersprüchliche Vergangenheite

Nina A. Frieß

Russia’s Contradictory Pasts

The article discusses the discourse of memory in contemporary Russia and related to it practices of remembering/commemorating/recalling the Soviet past. The author presents evolution and particular phases of this discourse, beginning with Perestroika and Gorbachev through the Yeltsin era and ending with Putin. The attention is focused on the ways and strategies of constructing the official memory of the past and their relation to the social life. The main thesis of this paper is that in contemporary Russia one may notice competition in various narratives, which most often have ideological character and in which attempts are made to include the Soviet times in positively connoted, however undifferentiated internally overall picture of the Russian history. Similar to other countries of the former Eastern Bloc, also in Russia memory of victims plays a central role; it is separated from the discourse on the perpetrator. However, this kind of memory is subordinated to the goals of the current policy.