Символическая политика как предмет political science и Russian studies: исследования политического использования прошлого в постстветской России
In this review article we examine political science’s contribution to post-Soviet symbolic politics through a focus on memory politics, which took center stage in the political competition among post-Communist elites. Under the Soviet regime, Communist ideology and its symbolism permeated both public and private life. After this system collapsed, confronting the ancient regime’s symbolic presence became a visible and often dramatic aspect of post-Soviet transformation in the newly independent states. This led to the proliferation of research on symbolic politics in post-Communist countries.
The authors argue that political scientists, newly inspired by post-Soviet memory politics, have made two major contributions to the field of memory studies. First, political scientists brought the issue of power to the fore - who had the power to manipulate symbols in public space, and to what political ends? This research encourages a focus on the interactions among various mnemonic actors, rather than solely on the state. Second, political scientists brought innovative comparative theories and methods to a field previously dominated by studies of single monuments, cities, and countries. At the same time, the interdisciplinary nature of memory studies has encouraged political scientists to conceptualize power in more nuanced ways and helped to spread and legitimize the use of interpretive and ethnographic methods in political science.