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Myths in the Russian Collective Memory: The Golden Era of Pre-Revolutionary Russia and the Disaster of 1917
University of Glasgow.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0188-4074
2018 (English)In: Scando-Slavica, ISSN 0080-6765, E-ISSN 1600-082X, Vol. 64, no 1, p. 31-46Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper examines shared ideas, values and interpretations of the past in the"collective memory" of the 1917 October Revolution. Employing a qualitativeapproach to examine collective memory "from below," two age cohorts wereinterviewed in three Russian cities from a variety of social groups in 2014–2015. What was revealed was the existence of a strong positive myth aboutthe pre-revolutionary era of 1900–1914, as well as positive references to the current Putin era. Both eras were "positive" in that Russia was/is a "normal European power," "on the rise economically" and "respected by the other powers." In terms of the definitive national trauma, an overwhelming majority viewed the 1917 October Revolution as a break or rupture in Russian history that caused appalling destruction. This view of 1917 as catastrophic leads tocertain key "lessons": that revolutionary change is inherently destructive and wasteful and that external forces had (and have) a vested interest in weakening Russia from without whenever she is at her most vulnerable. Overall, at the heart of myths over 1917 we find a central occupation with the threat of disintegration and a yearning for stability and normality, highlighting how collective memory interacts with political values and social identity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 64, no 1, p. 31-46
Keywords [en]
Collective memory; myths; historical memory policy; national identity; golden ages; national victimhood
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-378253DOI: 10.1080/00806765.2018.1447816OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-378253DiVA, id: diva2:1293460
Available from: 2019-03-04 Created: 2019-03-04 Last updated: 2019-03-07Bibliographically approved

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Blackburn, Matthew

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