» » 2, 2009

Summary

The 64th issue of NZ is devoted to the burning topic of public reflection in Russia - to the Soviet past. Unlike numerous texts, films and programs that have appeared recently, the authors of this NZ issue generally do not recollect and build retrospective utopias (or dystopias) - they analyze the phenomenon of memories of the Soviet past itself. Certainly there are also actual memoirs in this issue, however, they are given under specially allocated section and - in the context of all NZ issue - carry out an illustrative function. First of all this is the article by Boris Firsov The Leningrad Collectors as a Cultural and Historical Phenomenon (Case Study).

The main analytical component of the 64th issue starts with Alexander Kustarev\'s column Tell Me, What You Remember. The author focuses on the phenomenon of pop-memory which has recently become a point of issue due to the TV-project The Name of Russia (and its British original). Kustarev introduces the notion of reminder - and this theme for several times arises in other texts of this NZ issue. First of all, especially in undemocratic states, the reminder is deemed to be the State. The public, contesting this function, moves memory to the sphere of policy as it happened in the USSR after the end of Stalins period and especially during the perestroika. The article of British researcher Catriona Kelly Whether the History Should be Corrected? Disputes on Protection of Monuments in Leningrad 1960s-1970s deals with this issue.

The main topics of the Soviet memory are revolution, Stalin era, system of total deficiency (memory of war has been consciously excluded and considered separately in the special issue of NZ (2005. 40-41)). Articles dealing with mentioned topics constitute the main part of two blocks: The Soviet Past between a Policy of Memory and Real Policy and To Be Born, to Eat and Die in the USSR. In the first of them Boris Kolonitsky provides a research of memory of the first Russian revolution (1905-1907) in the heat of the second one, in 1917. Svetlana Bykova analyzes a phenomenon of the compelled memory - evidence on the own past of those who has appeared to be a victim of Stalins terror. The articles by Ekaterina Melnikova (Our Own Foreign History: the Finnish Karelia with the Eyes of the Soviet Migrants), Tatyana Voronina (Memory about Baikal-Amur Railroad: Thematic Dominants in Biographic Interviews with the Former Workers) and Andy Byford (The Last Soviet Generation in Britain) are devoted to the memory of foreign places - memory of migrants, colonists and emigrants.

Memory of everyday life of the Soviet citizen - including certainly his or her death - is the topic of the second block. Different aspects of the gastronomic memory are considered in the articles by Evgeny Dobrenko (Gastronomic Communism: Tasty Versus Healthy) and Anna Kushkova (Perception of the Soviet Past through the Memory on Food Deficiency). The genre of the Soviet obituary is analyzed by Galina Orlova, and Albert Bayburin investigates the pre-history of the Soviet passport.

There is a comment on some cases of memories about Soviet in the article by Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov and Olga Sosnina (it is devoted to reception with regard to the recent exhibition Gifts to Leaders). The historian from the European University in Florence Steve Smith analyzes archaic and modern representations about the soul in the Soviet Russia (in particular, the memory of a religious, orthodox context of a pre-revolutionary life).

As always there are columns by Alexey Levinson (Sociological Lyrics) and Evgeny Saburov (Humanitarian Economics), New Books and Russian Intellectual Journals Review (by Vyacheslav Morozov).

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