In Search of Identity: The Collapse of the Soviet Union and the Recreation of Russia

Nanci Adler

in The Politics of Memory and Democratization

Published in print April 2001 | ISBN: 9780199240906
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598869 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Democratization

 In Search of Identity: The Collapse of the Soviet Union and the Recreation of Russia

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This chapter explores Russia’s attempts to come to terms with its Stalinist past in an endeavour to build a civil society based on the rule of law. It begins by examining the nature of Stalinist repression and the legacy of Soviet terror. It goes on to focus on halted official efforts at truth telling, and persistent unofficial efforts, led by the organization Memorial, at remembering and commemorating; this provides insight into the issues that daunted the quest for moral recovery. The chapter then looks at post-Soviet efforts to come to terms with the Stalinist past, and finally it assesses the impact of the discussion of past injustices, or the politics of memory, on Russia’s subsequent process of democratization. The information presented and the conclusions drawn are necessarily based on a number of scattered sources, including memoirs, interviews and official archives; Russia’s experience is unique, and difficult to compare with other post-authoritarian political systems, especially as democracy has not taken substantial hold, and, since the transition is so new, questions of accountability are only beginning to be addressed.

Keywords: accountability; civil society; commemoration; democratization; injustice; Memorial; moral recovery; politics of memory; remembrance; repression; Russia; Soviet Union; Stalinism; terror; }{transitional democracy; truth telling

Chapter.  11632 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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