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Soviet and Post-Soviet Identities

edited by: Mark Bassin and Catriona Kelly
Date Published: April 2012
ISBN: 9781107011175

Book's frontpage

Since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, questions of identity have dominated the culture not only of Russia, but of all the countries of the former Soviet bloc. This timely collection examines the ways in which cultural activities such as fiction, TV, cinema, architecture and exhibitions have addressed these questions and also describes other cultural flashpoints, from attitudes to language to the use of passports. It discusses definitions of political and cultural nationalism, as well as the myths, institutions and practices that moulded and expressed national identity. From post-Soviet recollections of food shortages to the attempts by officials to control popular religion, it analyses a variety of unexpected and compelling topics to offer fresh insights about this key area of world culture. Illustrated with numerous photographs, it presents the results of recent research in an accessible and lively way.


Table of contents

Introduction Mark Bassin and Catriona Kelly
Part I. The Status of National Identity:
1. The contradictions of identity: being Soviet and National in the USSR and after Ronald Grigor Suny
2. Tales told by Nationalists Nancy Condee
Part II. Institutions of National Identity:
3. National identity through visions of the past: contemporary Russian cinema Birgit Beumers
4. Archaising culture: the Museum of Ethnography Dmitry Baranov
5. Rituals of identity: the Soviet passport Albert Baiburin
Part III. Myths of National Identity:
6. 'If the war comes tomorrow': patriotic education in Soviet and post-Soviet primary school Vitaly Bezrogov
7. Conquering space: the cult of Yuri Gagarin Andrew Jenks
8. Nation-construction in post-Soviet Central Asia Sergei Abashin
Part IV. Spaces of National Identity:
9. Soviet and post-Soviet Moscow: literary reality or nightmare? Dina Khapaeva
10. From the USSR to the Orient: national and ethnic symbols in the city text of Elista Elza-Bair Guchinova
11. The place(s) of Islam in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia Victoria Arnold
Part V. Languages of National Identity:
12. Language culture and identity in post-Soviet Russia: the economies of Mat Michael Gorham
13. Policies and practices of language education in post-Soviet Central Asia: between ethnic identity and civic consciousness Olivier Ferrando
14. Surviving in the time of deficit: the narrative construction of a 'Soviet identity' Anna Kushkova
Part VI. Creeds of National Identity:
15. Competing orthodoxies: identity and religious belief in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia Catriona Kelly
16. 'Popular orthodoxy' and identity in twentieth-century Russia: ideology, consumption and competition Alexander Panchenko
17. Religious affiliation and the politics of post-Soviet identity: the case of Belarus Galina Miazhevich

About the Authors


Mark Bassin, Södertörns Högskola, Sweden
Mark Bassin is Research Professor in the History of Ideas, Center for Baltic and East European Studies, Södertörn University, Stockholm.

Catriona Kelly, University of Oxford
Catriona Kelly is Professor of Russian, University of Oxford (Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages; Fellow of New College, Oxford).


Mark Bassin, Catriona Kelly, Ronald Grigor Suny, Nancy Condee, Birgit Beumers, Dmitry Baranov, Albert Baiburin, Vitaly Bezrogov, Andrew Jenks, Sergei Abashin, Dina Khapaeva, Elza-Bair Guchinova, Victoria Arnold, Michael Gorham, Olivier Ferrando, Anna Kushkova, Alexander Panchenko, Galina Miazhevich


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