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The Future of the Soviet Past

The Politics of History in Putin's Russia

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.

About the Authors

Anton Weiss-Wendt is Research Professor at the Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies. He is author of the two-volume Documents on the Genocide Convention from the American, British, and Russian Archives; A Rhetorical Crime: Genocide in the Geopolitical Discourse of the Cold War; The Soviet Union and the Gutting of the UN Genocide Convention; and Murder Without Hatred: Estonians and the Holocaust. He is editor of Racial Science in Hitler's New Europe, 1938–1945 and The Nazi Genocide of the Roma: Reassessment and Commemoration. Nanci Adler is Professor of Memory, History, and Transitional Justice at the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies and the University of Amsterdam. She has authored and/or edited, among others, Keeping Faith with the Party: Communist Believers Return from the Gulag, The Gulag Survivor: Beyond the Soviet System, Victims of Soviet Terror: The Story of the Memorial Movement, and Understanding the Age of Transitional Justice: Crimes, Courts, Commissions, and Chronicling. Her current research focuses on transitional justice and the legacy of Communism.

Reviews

"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

9780253057594 : the-future-of-the-soviet-past-weiss-wendt-adler-feferman
Hardback
270 Pages
$50.00 USD
9780253057624 : the-future-of-the-soviet-past-weiss-wendt-adler-feferman
Paperback / softback
270 Pages
$42.00 USD

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On the Margins

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