Forward, into the past! Russia and politics of memory

Russian authorities started a campaign to close Memorial, the country’s leading independent civil society group that has contributed immensely to the preservation of historical memory in the Soviet Union and Russia. The Kremlin’s vision of the past is becoming increasingly ideologised.

The logo for Memorial (public domain)

This applies especially to the notion of victory over Nazi Germany in 1945, which has become a kind of a founding myth of Putinism. The historical narrative is intended to legitimise the authoritarian system of government as being optimal for Russia, and thus to perpetuate the model of state-society relationship that serves the Kremlin’s interests. Its important function is to justify Moscow’s aggressive foreign policy in the twenty-first century and its ambitions to influence the international order, including the European security architecture.

Several questions arise. How does the regime guard the ‘canonical’ vision of the past? Why is popular culture one of the most effective tools for shaping minds in a militarised and authoritarian manner? Why do Russians view Stalin more and more favourably, and how does it correspond with the fact that more and more young people are eager to research the difficult history of their families, communities and hometowns? How does the Internet help? In search of answers, the authors examine both the activity of the state and the changes in the mentality of Russian citizens.

We invite you to the event “Forward, into the past! Russia and politics of memory” organised by Pilecki Institute. During the event the main theses of the OSW report: “Forward, into the past! Russia’s politics of memory in the service of ‘eternal’ authoritarianism. OSW Report, Warsaw 2021.” by Maria Domańska and Jadwiga Rogoża will be presented.

Participants: Hanna Radziejowska, Maria Domańska (Pilecki Institute-Berlin), Jadwiga Rogoża (OSW), Nikita Pietrow (Memorial), Gabriele Woidelko (Head Department History and Politics, Körber-Stiftung), Juliane Fürst (Head Department Communism and Society, ZZF Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History).

Discussion will be moderated by Mateusz Fałkowski.

The event will take place on 16 December at 6 pm CEST in Pariser Platz 4A, 10117 Berlin.


To attend the event please register at:
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