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.
A significant part of the research is devoted to the Soviet musical and ideological construction. The ideal type of "Soviet man", presented in popular musical genres, is characterized by radical novelty and constitutive universalism, which is illustrated on the material of Soviet “songs about the time”, understood not simply as a thematically distinct genre. The history of the «Soviet» as such, can be read as the story of the rise and intensification of reflection of collective engagement into the temporal cognition.
In the period under review, from the late twenties to mid-sixties - you receive a lot of songs, somehow fixing the course of time: here thematized not just subjective experience of immersion into an unordered medium of temporality, but the presence of a sustainable and rational order, to which this medium is submitted. Investigation of the representation of time, memory and youth in the Soviet song of the classical period allows making a conclusion that the stage of final crystallization of «Soviet» musical-poetic meanings is the period of «thaw». In this period the Soviet song takes the genuine universality and integrity, starts to play the role of substance of the «Soviet» as such. Songs about the time - and the Soviet song always somehow relates with time, «small» or «Large» - forms together a generalized three-part formula of the «Soviet»: the link of times (present time is comprehended only through the memory of the legendary past) is given as the fullness of time (memory of the past is not simply subjectively and emotionally experienced, but objectively and actively performed in the present, that is the moment of eternity), which in relation to the future has the quality of absolute novelty (incomplete, flowing, unfinished present is decrepit by definition since its incompleteness requires the occurrence of something different and new; totally completed time, in contrast, is new in comparison with any possible future, because the future is nothing more than the repetition and, perhaps, the isolation, the «privatization» of what is already given in the integrity of the fullness of the time).