The Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory NUBS 4.25
Jul 07, 2023 09:00 - 10:30(Europe/London)
20230707T0900 20230707T1030 Europe/London 8.1. Files successfully deleted? Imperial memory politics in Russian culture (1721 -1917)

The session aims at discussing, in a comparative transnational memory frame, the latest research results on memory politics in Russian culture starting from the foundation of the Russian Empire in 1721 until the Russian Revolution in 1917. This approach reveals different scenarios of control, mobilization, conflicts and agreements between imperial institutions and various representatives of civil society on the contents, forms and performativity of Russian cultural memory. Such actors as literary and artistic elites, local aristocracy or political opponents of Russian state structures in various periods of Russian contemporary history have created a variety of meanings regarding the past, whose marks are visible in collective memory politics in Russia to this day.      The interaction between top-down imperial politics and civil society, in producing cultural memory contents will be analysed in the panel as multifaceted scenarios and tools for manipulating memories. Throughout the period covered, superficial Westernisation of Russian elites and some state structures have produced various forms of "deleting and faking memories", which includes state-controlled process of adjusting mnemonic contents to the needs of domestic politics and geopolitics.The role of journalism and censorship in Russia, as crucial elements of memory building –and manipulation- will be integrated into the panel. A seldom-analysed memory actor - Orthodox Church - will be included in the analysis as well. Ritual studies, such as legitimization of a political coup during a ceremony of coronation of Russian empress Elizabeth will be included, examining practices of deleting memories of a previous reign. The link between imperial goals and memory politics allied ...

NUBS 4.25 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
19 attendees saved this session

The session aims at discussing, in a comparative transnational memory frame, the latest research results on memory politics in Russian culture starting from the foundation of the Russian Empire in 1721 until the Russian Revolution in 1917. This approach reveals different scenarios of control, mobilization, conflicts and agreements between imperial institutions and various representatives of civil society on the contents, forms and performativity of Russian cultural memory. Such actors as literary and artistic elites, local aristocracy or political opponents of Russian state structures in various periods of Russian contemporary history have created a variety of meanings regarding the past, whose marks are visible in collective memory politics in Russia to this day.
      The interaction between top-down imperial politics and civil society, in producing cultural memory contents will be analysed in the panel as multifaceted scenarios and tools for manipulating memories. Throughout the period covered, superficial Westernisation of Russian elites and some state structures have produced various forms of "deleting and faking memories", which includes state-controlled process of adjusting mnemonic contents to the needs of domestic politics and geopolitics.
The role of journalism and censorship in Russia, as crucial elements of memory building –and manipulation- will be integrated into the panel. A seldom-analysed memory actor - Orthodox Church - will be included in the analysis as well. Ritual studies, such as legitimization of a political coup during a ceremony of coronation of Russian empress Elizabeth will be included, examining practices of deleting memories of a previous reign. The link between imperial goals and memory politics allied in the state narratives will add another explanatory frame.
      The panel consists of media historians, historians of churches and cultural anthropologists. Thus, the panel will offer an interdisciplinary approach on memory politics in Russia, which at the moment uses memories of World War II as a propaganda tool against a legitimate government of an independent state. The panel presents certain case studies placed in time and space over more than two hundred years and consists of 5 papers.



Dr. Miguel Vázquez-Liñán (University of Seville, Spain) and Dr. art. Deniss Hanovs (Latvian Art Academy)

The role of censorship, journalism and political rituals in the shaping of imperial memory.

The authors will discuss the topic from three different, but related perspectives. On the one hand, describing the role of censorship in the making of memory politics in imperial Russia as well as in the deleting of "uncomfortable memories". As a result, Russians will learn how to read between the lines, which leads us to the second line of the presentation: analysing the role of journalism in the building of an imperial memory in Russia. Journalism is seen here both as a propaganda tool for institutional power and the arena where an always limited political discussion will be held and give birth to an emerging public sphere at the beginning of the XX century. Finally, the politics of deleting memories of the previous reign during the coup of Empress Elizabeth in November 1741 will be examined. Her coronation rituals, consisting of performative actions, texts and multiple visual printed media were aimed at deleting collective memories of the legitimate male heir, positioning the daughter of Peter I as the only real, natural and legal heiress to the political system created by Peter. The paper will reflect upon major messages of court "memory lab" which set as its aim the idea of restoration and return to the Golden age by applying a proto-nationalistic formula, allied with European absolutism imagery and Russian traditions of sacred ruler based on Byzantinian tradition.


Dr. Valdis Tēraudkalns (University of Latvia)

The representation of Russian Empire in contemporary Orthodox media in Latvia

The author will examine how 19th century is presented in contemporary Orthodox media in Latvia. He will concentrate on images of imperial Russia (tsar, his family, political discourse (Russification) etc.) and on the Latvian mass conversation movement from Lutheranism to Russian Orthodox faith in Vidzeme (part of Latvia). The Orthodox Church of Latvia traditionally has tried to show itself as a "Latvian" faith thus using "tools" of nationalist discourse. It uses romanticised past to avoid talking about contemporary challenges (attitude towards the war between Russia and Ukraine, for instance) and to connect with the imperial discourse of tsarist Russia so popular in some Russian Orthodox circles.


Dr.sc.soc. Vladislav Volkov (Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the University of Latvia)

The memory of the Russian minority in Riga in the late 19th - early 20th centuries

Dr. Volkov will present his research on politics of collective memory of the Russian minority of Riga in late 19th - early 20th century. The presentation will focus on the formation of the social memory of the Russian population in interaction with the social memory of the Baltic Germans and Latvians during the late Russian empire (1870-ies until 1914). The historical period of the study covers several episodes, including the time of liberal reforms, the conservative reaction during Alexander III, the period of revolutionary upheavals of 1905-1096 and the beginning of political struggle within various concepts of Russian social memory during the period of the Duma monarchy. The author will present vast materials from Russian minority media (mainly newspapers and monthly magazines), as well as texts of the period by Russian scientists from St. Petersburg and Moscow, as well as from Riga, articles published in the newspapers of Riga in Russian language ("Rizhskiy Vestnik", "Rizhskaya Mysl", "Pribaltiyskiy Kray"). The report will show major patterns of collective memory politics of Russians who were still a cultural and ethnic minority in the Baltic provinces despite the status of the dominant ethnic group throughout the empire. There two parallel statuses had produced glocalisation and hybridisation of ethnic memory and cultural identities of the group.


Dr. Priit Rohtmets (University of Tartu)

Competing and Conflicting ideas in memory politics during the First World War in Western borderlands of the Russian Empire.

The First World War radically changed the world. Not only did the war reshape the political map of Europe, leading to the collapse of empires and the birth of new nation states, but it also had a fundamental impact on church-state relations, the social image and position of churches and people's religious habits, but also on theological thought. At the beginning of the war, an ideological and national conflict broke out in the Russian empire between the German and Slavic peoples. In addition to nationalism, it was religion that was an important aspect that allowed people and ethnic groups to be categorized as "us" and "them". It first strained the relationship between the Lutheran and Orthodox Churches, but it also perpetuated the Russian and imperial image of the Orthodox Church in the Baltic provinces. This paper deals with the creation of the image of an enemy during the First World War, its connections with national self-determination and with memory politics of the Russian Empire.

Associate Professor
,
University of Seville
Professor
,
University of Latvia
Professor
,
Art Academy of Latvia
senior researcher
,
Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the University of Latvia
Associate Professor
,
University of Tartu
Associate Professor
,
University of Seville
Upcoming Sessions
405 visits