Accepted paper:

Transformations of the enemy of the people into a new Russian martyr: how the public memory of Soviet repressions changes in Russia


Zuzanna Bogumił (Philosophy and Sociology)

Paper short abstract:

The presentation deconstructs the process of transformation of the public memory of the Soviet repressions in Russia after 1991 with particular emphasis on time of Putin’s regime.

Paper long abstract:

Since the Millennium of Baptism of Russia, the Russian Orthodox Church has canonised over a thousand new martyrs, confessors and other sainted persons who died ‘martyr’s death’ in the times of ‘religious persecutions’, the period of Soviet repression, mainly during the Bolshevik Revolution and The Great Terror. The event that gave the new martyrdom a wider social meaning was the celebration of the anniversary of the Great Terror in 2007, when Vladimir Putin visited the Butovsky firing range and participated in a religious service there. It was the first time when the state, which is not interested in creation of its own memory projects to the victims of Soviet repressions, supported the ROC remembering acts. The preparation of the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolutions in 2017 shows that this alliance of the State and the Church continues and may have a great impact on the public memory of the Soviet Repressions in Russia. On a base of the collected quantitative data during the field research in Russia in 2014, I will try to establish whether the new Russian martyrdom phenomenon is a continuation of the old beliefs or it is rather a new invented tradition? What is its texture? Why the new Russian martyrdom so willingly uses the historical sources and methods typical for the historians’ language of commemoration? What are the social consequences of this alliance of history and religion and what may be its impact on a shape of the cultural memory of the Soviet Repressions in Russia.

panel SPS003
Remembering and forgetting the communist past in post-communist Europe: politics, social practices and everyday life