Narratives of Revolutionary Struggle and Construction of PostSoviet Identities in Russia (1991-2018)

Project leader: Nadezda Petrusenko
Starting year: 2020
Project type: Postdoctoral project
Total funding: SEK 2,097,000

The project deals with the place of Russian revolutionary heritage in the memory politics of post-Soviet Russia. It studies the way revolutionary struggle in pre-revolutionary Russia has been narrated in different discourses. The purpose of the research project is to analyse the role that these narratives have played in the construction of post-Soviet identities in Russia. Specifically, it will focus on: a) the role of these narratives in the construction of the national identity; b) the role of these narratives in the construction of different group identities in post-Soviet Russia. Narratives of revolutionary struggle refer to attempts by different individuals and groups active in post-Soviet Russia to “grasp together” sets of temporally distributed events into interpretable wholes (Wertsch 2001, 515), i.e. to construct their own accounts of events connected to the revolutionary struggle before 1917 with the purpose of creating different social identities. These narratives were connected to the foundation myth of USSR, which has lost its significance during the post-Soviet period. However, narratives of revolutionary struggle seem to have been crucial for construction of different post-Soviet identities and their relation both to the Soviet legacy and to the revolutionary tradition of the country. Through the analysis of secondary school textbooks in history as well as popular historical books, street-art, internet blogs, articles in newspapers and journals, the project will show how different memory actors have constructed their identities in different historical contexts of the post-Soviet period.