Yves Montand in the USSR interviews, source
Based on extensive collection of interviews with Soviet, mostly - Ukrainian, - Jews born before the World War II, the essay examines the problem of religious observance and attitudes to it before and after the war concentrating on the circumcision, the first rite of passage, primal in Judaism and exceedingly dangerous during the Holocaust.
The article focuses on the limits of using oral history methods in the research of academic communities. The authors analyze the language and ways of self-description used by modern Russian academic community. The study is based on the interviews of Post-Soviet university professors, which helps to clarify what is the concept of tradition for them, what is the origin of their individual memories, and how these memories correspond to the collective perceptions of the ideal university.
In Chapter discusses the origins of oral history and the formation of oral history as a scientific direction. In addition to the Genesis of oral history in Western Europe and the USA, understand the basic stages and directions of development of the oral tradition in the USSR and modern Russia. It shows the specificity of oral sources, including rumors. Understanding the features of collecting and interpreting verbal materials.
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).
A major contribution to the growing literature on Soviet nationality policy. David Brandenberger frames his study with a large and important question: the generation of a Russian/Soviet national identity during the Stalinist years. He tells the important story of the production of a more nationalist world view and how it was received, moving from elites to the masses. Focusing on history and historians, Brandenberger links historiography with nation-making and state building. This work should be widely read, not least because it clearly and eloquently illuminates the painful process of forging national identity. (Ronald Grigor Suny, University of Chicago) Brandenberger alters our understanding of how Soviet culture was created and how it held Soviet society together. Perhaps the greatest strength of the book is the foundation of documents on which it rests. Clearly the result of years of gathering, these documents show us Stalinism as received, as a set of social practices and discourses in constant revision and misuse. National Bolshevism illuminates broader debates about the functioning of Soviet society, the origins of national consciousness, and the formation of the subject with the modern state, and will be a widely read contribution to the field. (James von Geldern, Macalester College)