In post-Soviet Russia, there is a persistent trend to repress, control, or even co-opt national history. By reshaping memory to suit a politically convenient narrative, Russia has fashioned a good future out of a "bad past."
While Putin's regime has acquired nearly complete control over interpretations of the past, The Future of the Soviet Past reveals that Russia's inability to fully rewrite its Soviet history plays an essential part in its current political agenda. Diverse contributors consider the many ways in which public narrative shapes Russian culture—from cinema, television, and music to museums, legislature, and education—as well as how patriotism reflected in these forms of culture implies a casual acceptance of the valorization of Stalin and his role in World War II. The Future of the Soviet Past provides effective and nuanced examples of how Russia has reimagined its Soviet history as well as how that past still influences Russia's policymaking.
Acknowledgments Introduction: Revisiting the Future of the Soviet Past and the Memory of Stalinist Repression, by Nanci Adler and Anton Weiss-Wendt Part I: The Present Memory of the Past 1. Presentism, Politicization of History, and the New Role of the Historian in Russia, by Ivan Kurilla 2. Secondhand History: Outsourcing Russia's Past to Kremlin's Proxies, by Anton Weiss-Wendt 3. The Soviet Past and the 1945 Victory Cult as Civil Religion in Contemporary Russia, by Nikita Petrov 4. Russia as a Bulwark against Anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial: The Second World War according to Moscow, by Kiril Feferman Part II: Museums, Pop Culture, and Other Memory Battlegrounds 5. Keeping the Past in the Past: The Attack on the Perm 36 Gulag Museum and Russian Historical Memory of Soviet Repression, by Steven A. Barnes 6. Known and Unknown Soldiers: Remembering Russia's Fallen in the Great Patriotic War, by Johanna Dahlin 7. Fighters of the Invisible Front: Re-imaging the Aftermath of the Great Patriotic War in Recent Russian Television Series, by Boris Noordenbos 8. War, Cinema, and the Politics of Memory in Putin 2.0 Culture, by Stephen M. Norris Part III: Remembering and Framing the Soviet Past beyond Russia's Borders 9. The 2014 Russian Memory Law in European Context, by Nikolay Koposov 10. Tenacious Pasts: Geopolitics and the Polish-Russian Group on Difficult Issues, by George Soroka 11. The 1968 Invasion of Czechoslovakia: Return to the Soviet Interpretation, by Štěpán Černoušek Index
Anton Weiss-Wendt is the head of the research department at the Center for the Study of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities in Oslo, Norway. He is the author of Murder without Hatred: Estonians and the Holocaust. Rory Yeomans is the senior international research analyst at the International Directorate of the UK Ministry of Justice. He is the author of Visions of Annihilation: The Ustasha Regime and the Cultural Politics of Fascism, 1941–1945.
"The Future of the Soviet Past offers original and quite diverse perspectives on memory politics in today's Russia."—Marlene Laruelle, author of Russian Nationalism: Imaginaries, Doctrines, and Political Battlefields
"The Future of the Soviet Past showcases exciting new research on memory politics—a crucial ideological battleground in contemporary Russia. In this volume, leading international scholars examine the Putin government's manipulation of history to serve political purposes, both domestic and international. The chapters explore historical representations in a range of media-history textbooks, museums, films, and television—and demonstrate how patriotic uses of history whitewash the Stalinist past rather than confronting it. Expertly edited and introduced by Nanci Adler and Anton Weiss-Wendt, this volume is essential reading for those interested in Russian history and politics."—David L. Hoffmann, Distinguished Professor of History, Ohio State University, Distinguished Professor of History, Ohio State University
"This collection brings together leading authorities on the history of the Soviet Union in a truly exciting volume exploring the memory-making in relation to the Stalinist repressions. Through their choice of authors and themes, the editors achieve the impressive task of weaving together a coherent argument to support their central proposition that 'the repressed memory of repression' casts a long shadow over the present. The volume is especially prescient at a time when a proposal to use prisoners to clean up oil spills in the Artic and complete the BAM railroad in the Far East, which began life in 1932 as one of the gulag's earliest major construction projects, raises the prospect of gulag-denial becoming (semi-) official policy. In chapters on historical scholarship, school texts, cultural representations, museums and laws, the book describes the rhetorical devices that have helped the current leadership achieve 'the casual acceptance' of repression and valorisation of Stalin in Russia, and its attempts to spread this acceptance to countries on its western borders. This collection contains valuable insights about Russia's current direction of travel, which contributes to our understanding of the politics of the Putin regime, as well as enriching the scholarship on memory-making."—Judith Pallot, Emeritus Professor University of Oxford and Research Director, Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, Emeritus Professor University of Oxford and Research Director, Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki
"Overall, this is a popular topic well handled and essential for students and scholars across several disciplines. The volume provides a good overview of contemporary Russia, and as scholars we should now consider how else these new avenues of research can be unlocked."—James C. Pearce - College of the Marshall Islands, The Russian Review
"This volume considers the relationship between the history of the Soviet Union and contemporary Russian culture, exploring how cinema, television, music, education and more reflect historical narratives, particularly in relation to Josef Stalin. The contributors contend that 'Russia's inability to fully rewrite Soviet history plays [a] part in its current political agenda'."—Survival