'Returning to roots' in post-Soviet Russia
Paul Kroopkin (Center for Modernity Studies)
The current social transformation pushed majority of Russian people to a profound identity crisis, and caused a significant fragmentation of the Russian society. The mental and behavioral patterns of a significant portion of society's lower strata, adversely affected by the social changes, can be interpreted as a form of "ancestor worship". These people tend to rally around chosen periods of Russian history ("Golden Ages") and appropriate "true ancestors". For every "Golden Age" there are collections of corresponding glorifying texts, which are of a "sacred" nature and devoid of application of criticism. Numerous senseless "flaming" threads of pseudo-historical debates on the Internet can be understood as rituals, which people use to worship their own "ancestors" with unrestrained praise, as well as through disparaging the "ancestors" and beliefs of other groups. This presentation provides a classification of such identities, and proposes explanatory models for their genesis and sustainable reproduction.
The other within the other: creative alternatives in the Balkans and post communist Europe