This article explores the role played by the Eternitate memorial complex, the central site for World War II commemoration in Chişinău, as a tool and site of history politics in the Republic of Moldova. It analyzes different facets of the history of the memorial complex, focusing in particular on the years after its renovation in 2006. The article traces the evolution of the site from a Soviet military glory complex to a more multi-layered and diverse commemorative space, which even includes monuments not related to World War II. It demonstrates how commemorations at the complex interact with the complexities of history politics in independent Moldova, as well as with the culturally diverse history of Chişinău and the site itself.
The new book by the prominent Russian scholar Olga Malinova deals with how Russia’s ruling elites used its national past in the changing ideological contexts from the rule of Boris Yeltsin up to the second presidency of Vladimir Putin (1991-2014).
This article offers a survey of the key tendencies observable in the museumification of the Soviet past in contemporary Russia, based on fieldwork and interviews with museum curators and other staff. The key focus is on aspects of the commodification of and nostalgia for the Soviet era. The article begins by examining repression and the Gulag as objects of museumification in Russia. Special attention is paid to the controversial situation when it comes to museumification of Stalin’s repressions in the Russian context. The next part discusses museumification of the “Thaw” era and the growth in the number of exhibitions devoted to the late 1950s–early 1960s in Russian museums and art galleries, especially in 2016–2017. The Thaw era has begun to be re-imagined as an era defined primarily by upbeat interior design, optimism, “Soviet hipsters,” and a generally positive mood. Nostalgia for the late Soviet period more broadly is becoming a noteworthy phenomenon in modern Russia. The last thirty years of the existence of the USSR are a key preoccupation unifying and driving the “folk museum” movement. This movement is non-expert in nature. Ordinary people are establishing thematic folk museums, and virtual nostalgic communities are devoted to the material world of the late Soviet period. The article goes on to examine patriotic trends in museumification. Museums and exhibitions played a significant role in military-patriotic education in the Soviet period.