Mythmaking in the New Russia: Politics and Memory in the Yeltsin Era by Kathleen E. SmithMythmaking in the New Russia: Politics and Memory in the Yeltsin Era by Kathleen E. Smith

Mythmaking in the New Russia: Politics and Memory in the Yeltsin Era

byKathleen E. Smith

Hardcover | March 19, 2002

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After the collapse of Communist rule in 1991, those loyal to the old regime tried to salvage their political dreams by rejecting some aspects of their history and embracing others. Yeltsin and the democrats, although initially hesitant to rely on the patriotic mythmaking they associated with Communist propaganda, also turned to the national past in times of crisis, realizing they needed not only to create new institutions, but also to encourage popular support for them.Kathleen E. Smith examines the use of collective memories in Russian politics during the Yeltsin years, surveying the various issues that became battlegrounds for contending notions of what it means to be Russian. Both the new establishment and its opponents have struggled to shape versions of past events into symbolic political capital. What parts of the Communist past, Smith asks, have proved useful for interpreting political options? Which versions of their history have Russians chosen to cling to, and which Soviet memories have they deliberately tried to forget? What symbols do they hold up as truly Russian? Which will help define the attitudes shaping Russian policy for decades to come?Smith illustrates the potency of memory debates across a broad range of fields—law, politics, art, and architecture. Her case studies include the changing interpretations of the attempted coups of 1991 and 1993, the recasting of the holiday calendar, the controversy over the national anthem, the status of "trophy art" brought to Russia at the end of World War II, and the partisan use of historical symbols in elections.

Kathleen E. Smith is Adjunct Professor of Government at Georgetown University. She is author of Remembering Stalin's Victims: Popular Memory and the End of the USSR, also from Cornell.
Title:Mythmaking in the New Russia: Politics and Memory in the Yeltsin EraFormat:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.94 inPublished:March 19, 2002Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801439639

ISBN - 13:9780801439636


Editorial Reviews

"With her careful recounting of the post-Soviet conflicts over symbols, commemorations, and historical interpretation, Kathleen E. Smith not only illuminates the celebration of centralist statism and the utter marginalization of political liberalism, she demonstrates convincingly that symbols were themselves the stuff of politics."

- John Bushnell, Northwestern University