The “Politics of Memory” and “Historical Policy” in Post-Soviet Moldova and Transnistria: Competing Narratives and Uses of an Uncertain Past
The article traces the evolution of politics of memory and historical policy in Post-Soviet Moldova. The authors desribe how the conflict between "Romanianists" and "Moldovenists" developed in independent Moldova and how internal and external factors influenced it. Overall, the article outlines 5 stages of the evolution of "politics of memory" and "historical policy" in Moldova. The last part of the article shortly discusses the "politics of memory" in the unrecognized Transnistrian Moldovan Republic. The authors analyze the specificity of the evolution of the "politics of memory" in the context of the separatist republic with contested legitimacy.
History of classical philology and the reception of Greek and Roman antiquity in Moldova (Moldavia, Bessarabia).
The Republic of Moldova has a long history of shifting borders, and a short history as an independent state. Higher education only expanded during the Soviet era, which saw 9 public higher education institutions come into existence between 1926 and 1988. On the one hand, ample state funding for higher education allowed an unprecedented growth in access to higher education, a well-developed technical and material base, and internationally comparable educational standards. On the other hand, high level of centralization of the Soviet educational system made it static and unable to adequately respond to the changing needs of a dynamic labor market. Strict educational centralization led to bureaucratization of management, authoritarianism, excessive uniformity, lack of understanding of local conditions, stifling of ‘bottom-up’ initiative, and lack of academic mobility. At the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, participation in higher education was still the third lowest among all Soviet republics.
Scientific and educational project "Culture of Reconiliation: New historical consciousness in Ukraine" was held in autumn 2015 with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany and the society "Bochum - Donetsk" (Germany). The project brought together the experts studying the problems of historical memory and the collisions of historical narratives, problems of healing the wounds of the past. How can we exclude the exploration of historical knowledge as a instrument of war propaganda? How can we turn history into space of coexistence and the retention of the human dignity. Historians, philosophers, sociologists and culture experts from several European states combined their efforts in this book.
The book is aimed at the audience of specialists in philosophy of history and all those who are interested in the nature of past and historical memory.
The recent crisis in Ukraine cast a spotlight on those countries located between Russia and the EU, a region that had long existed beneath the radar of international politics. Indeed, even its name remains indeterminate: the term 'post-Soviet' is too encompassing (it could also designate Estonia or Tajikistan) while the notion of 'Eastern Europe' has long lost any geographical anchor. Instead, this space is often named after regional powers’ attempts to shape it: as the EU’s 'Eastern Neighbourhood' or as Russia’s 'Near Abroad'. The new region-building endeavour pursued by Russia through Eurasian integration frameworks is a crucial development in this regard.
On the 29 of May 2014, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan signed the Treaty establishing the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), which extends the provisions of the existing Eurasian Customs Union (ECU) and comes into being in 2015. This integration regime has been lauded by Russian President Vladimir Putin as a new, better version of the European Union, and castigated by US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton as a new form of the Soviet Union. This report shows that it is neither. The EEU is a modern and far-reaching attempt at economic integration, but one that is weakened by internal and conceptual contradictions. What was designed as a geo-economic framework is increasingly becoming a geopolitical issue. In attempting to counter the influence of the EU’s alternative integration regime (the Eastern Partnership), Russia has shifted its diplomacy from persuasion to coercion, and Moscow is increasingly resorting to using the EEU as a foreign policy tool. The countries of the entredeux – literally, something placed between two things – are being forced to face to a geopolitical choice they had been trying to avoid, or at least to defuse. Divisive domestic politics, separatism, structural dependencies and the economic and political calculations of internal actors are key factors mediating and complicating their choice. This report focuses on these issues that are too often overlooked in the debate on Russia-EU regional competition.
This edited collection offers an empirical exploration of social memory in the context of politics, war, identity and culture. With a substantive focus on Eastern Europe, it employs the methodologies of visual studies, content and discourse analysis, in-depth interviews and surveys to substantiate how memory narratives are composed and rewritten in changing ideological and political contexts. The book examines various historical events, including the Russian-Afghan war of 1979-89 and World War II, and considers public and local rituals, monuments and museums, textbook accounts, gender and the body. As such it provides a rich picture of post-socialist memory construction and function based in interdisciplinary memory studies.
Jeffrey Olick is one of the most prominent researchers in the field of memory studies nowadays. Yet, none of his works have been translated into Russian. “Figurations of memory” as the author himself states is one of his most important texts. It is dedicated to the process-relational methodology. J. Olick criticizes traditional approaches as they see collective memory as a static thing, whereas it should be studied as a process. On the other hand author criticizes a mainstream understanding of memory as a unified object. Instead he suggests that there are multiple mnemonic forms and practices that should be investigated. As a result he presents a new methodology that is based on analysis of the four essential aspects of memory work: field (mostly in a sense in which Bourdieu used it), medium, genre and profile. This method of analysis leads to emergence of additional empirical categories, such as official, vernacular, public, and private memory; affective, aesthetic-expressive, instrumental-cognitive, and political-moral media; the normal legitimation, German traditions, German victimhood, and German guilt genres; and the reliable, moral, and normal profiles. Though in the end the model may seem rather complex, author claims that it is by far more clear and precise that other models of research of collective memory. More than that, he claims that this methodology can be universal for studying a large number of sociological topics.
Public history (PH) as a concept and movement emerged in the United States in the 1970s. It has become an academic field that provides opportunities for the representatives of the Humanities, academic community and the museum staff to establish communication ties. With the help of PH, historians became able to communicate with the society and, as a result, came into the public sphere. Public history is a relatively new area of knowledge in Russia - it appeared in 2012–2013 with the emergence of the first Master's program in the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences and, in what follows, conferences and round tables. The article discusses the development of public history in Russia. It is based on a review and analysis of academic literature and is aimed at understanding and exploring this new academic field. After analyzing the academic discourse on the current problems of historical science and the role of public history in the process of developing new ways of communication, the author comes to the following conclusions. The contemporary academic community is facing the problems of understanding how the audience showing today an increasing interest in history looks like. Besides, the field struggles with the problems of the “academic vs popular” languages and difficulties with the translation of historians’ texts. There is also a lack of direct communication between those creating a variety of historical products, such as teachers, employees of museums, filmmakers, media, etc., on the one hand, and historians, on the other hand. The result of the analysis, along with the post-Soviet “hereditary” problems of confidence in the subject of history, allows us to speak about the crisis of professional historical community as an expert in public sphere.