Formal and Real Efficiency of Memory Policy (as Exemplified by Historical Cinematography of the Cold War Period)

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The article attempts to record and evaluate formal criteria for determining the effectiveness of the Cold War era Soviet films (box office revenue in the USSR, box office sales in the socialist countries, foreign currency take, number of viewers, number of positive letters from the audience to the authorities, number of professional favorable reviews, prizes and awards, positive evaluation of the Cinema Arts Council) as a tool for implementation of “memory policy” in the Soviet Union. During the period in question, there was no adequate system for assessing ideological work in the USSR. Formal criteria mainly focused on the number of viewers, ignoring the quality of message assimilation by the audience. Through the example of Soviet historical films, the article examines the practice of building collective and cultural memory in the context of pursuing a political objective. The author also proposes a list of criteria for assessing cinema as a tool for forming long-term ideas about the past, shaping an enemy’s image, and implementing the national memory policy.

About the authors

Sergey I Belov

Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945

Author for correspondence.

PhD in History, Scientific Secretary

Moscow, Russian Federation


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