New Imperial History. Post-Soviet historiography in search of a new paradigm for the history of empire and nationalism
The main trends are examined in historical reflection, since 1991 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, on the imperial and national past of Russia and the USSR. The revival of national historiography is placed in the epistemological and political context of postmodernity, which fuses late 19th-century paradigms with the Soviet concept of “ethnos” and with postcolonial sensitivities. The problematic national history of Russians is seen in relation to this complex methodological and ideological background. The evolution of imperial history is traced from the statecentered rediscovery of “empire” to different interpretations of “empire” as a general framework for the region’s entangled history. The new paradigm of imperial history is then introduced with its focus on the “imperial situation” of complex societies and multilayered, irregular diversity. This understanding of imperial history is precisely what has made studies of the Russian Empire relevant internationally. Students of the Russian and Soviet empires and their successor states have much to contribute to this field of intense scholarly activity.