Vol 20, No 2 (2021): The Military Past in the Cultural and Historical Memory of the Peoples of Russia


The Patriotic War of 1812 and the Foreign Campaigns of 1813-1814 in the Historical Memory of the Peoples of the Urals

Zemtsov V.N.


The article identifies the features of the Ural region in terms of preserving and updating the memory of the epoch of 1812-1814. Based on the analysis of various options for preserving images of the epoch (through “living memory,” “materialized memory,” festive events and other means), the author comes to the conclusion that the Ural region, despite its remoteness from the theater of war, organically fit into the all-Russian memorial context. At the same time the memory is shaped by the region’s focus on military production, and by its providing a significant part of the irregular cavalry recruited from the Orenburg Cossacks and non-Russian peoples. The latter circumstance, through images of “Northern cupids,” gave the Urals an “exotic” fame abroad. Forms of preserving Urals memory of the events of 1812-1814 range from variants of “living memory,” which includes elements left over from the communicative memory, to purposeful activities of central and local authorities to organize “mass events” at anniversary dates. A significant role in memory preservation is traditionally played by educational institutions, which, starting from the school level, form the “memory of childhood.” The greatest concentration of “memory elements” related to the epoch is observed in the Southern Urals, which is predetermined, to a large extent, by the presence of compactly living non-Russian peoples who seek to emphasize their role in the events of all-Russian and even global history. Unlike a number of other national regions of the Russian Federation, the appeal to historical memory in the Urals takes place within the framework of a “unifying and reconciling” tradition. Despite some commemorative “gaps,” the three epochs (pre-Soviet, Soviet and post-Soviet) in relation to the historical memory in the Urals about the events of 1812-1814 look quite organic. Images of this great time continue to act as a unifying factor, thus preserving the sense of a “common past” not only with the all-Russian, but also with common European and global history.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(2):192-204
pages 192-204 views

The Crimean War of 1853-1856 in the Memory Space of Russia and France

Malinowski P., Linkova E.V.


On the example of commemoration of various wars and key historical events, it is possible to reconstruct and comprehend the value orientations of states at certain phases of their development. In this article, we propose to turn to the Crimean War of 1853-1856, which was reflected in the historical memory of the two participating countries - Russia and France. With such a comparative approach, attention is drawn to different levels of commemoration of this event: we are talking about scientific research on the Crimean campaign, about the people's memory of generations, about state and political practices. The authors analyze these aspects and identify which of them are most widespread in Russia and Europe, so that the memory of the Crimean War is preserved in modern society. The authors analyze the phenomenon of the “forgotten war” - a term that has entered the scientific lexicon of the French community and is used to describe the campaign of 1854-1856. The study of the problem makes it possible to answer an important question: why do certain traditions of memory exist, whether they help to form a certain consciousness, value attitudes.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(2):205-215
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The Politics of Russian Memory: The Great War in the European Context

Porshneva O.S.


This article examines how the historical memory of World War I emerged and developed in Russia, and also compares it to how Europeans have thought about the conflict. The author argues that the politics of memory differed during the Soviet and post-Soviet periods. In the wake of the 1917 Revolution, Bolshevik efforts to “re-format” the memory of the Great War were part of its attempt to create a new society and new man. At the same time, the regime used it to mobilize society for the impending conflict with the 'imperialist' powers. The key actors that sought to inculcate the notion of the war with imperialism into Soviet mass consciousness were the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Communist Party, the Department of Agitation and Propaganda, and, in particular, the Red Army and Comintern. The latter two worked together to organize the major campaigns dedicated to war anniversaries, which were important both to reinforce the concept of imperialist war as well as to involve the masses in public commemorations, rituals and practices. The Soviet state also relied on organizations of war veterans to promote such commemorative practices while suppressing any alternative narratives. The article goes on to explain how, under Stalin, the government began to change the way it portrayed the Great War in the mid-1930s. And after the Second World War, Soviet politics of memory differed greatly from those in the West. In the USSR the Great Patriotic War was sacralized, while the earlier conflict remained a symbol of unjust imperialist wars.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(2):216-235
pages 216-235 views

Memories from the Future: The Historical Experience of the First World War and the Civil War in Soviet Propaganda of the 1920s and 1930s

Ulyanova S.B.


The article deals with the historical experience of the First World War and the Russian Civil War as it was brought up in Soviet propaganda of the 1920s and 1930s; topic is thus the employment of a “useful past” in the production of ideas about future wars. The present research is based on a corpus of normative texts related to the assessment of the First World War and the Civil War in the late 1920s and 1930s (including periodicals, political writings, materials of the Communist Party) as well as archival documents about campaigns dedicated to the anniversaries of the First World War and the Civil War. Despite their proclaimed policy of peace, Soviet leaders spoke of a major future war as inevitable, and tried to anticipate its nature through comparison with conflicts of the recent past. In the Soviet information space of the 1920s and 1930s, the Great War was presented primarily from a socio-political perspective. Assessing the First World War as imperialist, Soviet propaganda emphasized that the future conflict would inevitably start as a counter-revolutionary war against the USSR. The Civil War became the main source of heroic military discourse, and was presented as a national war against external enemies. The future war was thereby imagined on the model of the foreign interventions of 1918-1920. The author analyzes this approach with the example of the Soviet campaign dedicated to the twentieth anniversary of the defense of Petrograd from Yudenich's troops in 1919.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(2):236-246
pages 236-246 views

Regional Russian Books of Memory as a Form of Preservation and Transfer of Cultural-Historical Memory about the Afghanistan War of 1979-1989

Rabush T.V.


The historical memory of the Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan (1979-1989) is studied through the prism of memory books dedicated to the participants of the war and those who died in it. The present paper is the first study of the “Afghan” books of memory that were published over the past decades in different regions of Russia. The first part of this paper analyzes the regional books of memory published in various regions of the Russian Federation from 1991 to the present day; the second part analyzes the books of memory published in small cities of Russia as a separate cultural phenomenon. In conclusion, the author describes the main features of regional “Afghan” books of memory, emphasizing that the memory books are published with the active participation of various regional organizations - from local archives to representatives of municipalities - revealing that the publication of these books is part of cultural policy in the regions. Many memory books have been reprinted, which indicates the continued collection and processing of information about the military casualties in Afghanistan. The regional books of memory are one of the most important forms of preserving and transmitting the historical memory of the Afghanistan war.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(2):247-257
pages 247-257 views

Children’s Memories of the Leningrad Blockade in the Materials of the Central State Archive of the Udmurt Republic

Uvarov S.N.


The article offers the previously unpublished memoirs of eleven Leningrad residents who were children during the German blockade of the city. All of them were collected in 1998-1999 by Nina Aleksandrovna Koroleva, and are today kept in her collection in the Central State Archive of the Udmurt Republic. After the war, Nina Aleksandrovna came to live in Udmurtia, where she started to record memories about wartime. Conventionally, her documents can be divided into two groups. The first includes the memories of those who were evacuated to Udmurtia during the Great Patriotic War. The second group consists of memories of those who ended up in the republic after the end of the war. All documents are preserved in the author's edition. The memoirs reflect childhood impressions of the siege period. Their authors share their feelings from the beginning of the blockade, and report details of their daily life during the siege; they also reveal the coping strategies of the respective families. Descriptions of the labor conducted by children invite for conclusions about their contribution to the Soviet victory. Very emotional are the reports about the lifting of the blockade. Some memoirs contain details of the evacuation from Leningrad to the mainland. From the perspective of the history of everyday life, the publication of these memoirs expands our knowledge about the Great Patriotic War and, in particular, about the blockade of Leningrad.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(2):258-269
pages 258-269 views


Midwifery as the first official profession of women in Russia, 18th to early 20th centuries

Mitsyuk N.A., Belova A.V.


The authors study the institutionalization of midwife specialization among women in Russia in the period from the 18th through the early 20th centuries. The main sources are legislative acts, clerical documents, as well as reports on the activities of medical institutions and maternity departments. The authors use the approaches of gender history, and the concept of professionalization as developed by E. Freidson. Midwifery was the first area of women’s work that was officially recognized by the state. There were three main stages on the way to professionalizing the midwifery profession among women. The first stage (covering the 18th century) is associated with attempts to study and systematize the activities of midwives. The practical experience of midwifes was actively sought by doctors whose theoretical knowledge was limited. The second stage of professionalization (corresponding to the first half of the 19th century) was associated with the normative regulation of midwife work and the formation of a professional hierarchy in midwifery. The third stage (comprising the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th century) saw a restriction of the midwives’ spheres of activity, as well as the active inclusion of male doctors in practical obstetrics and their rise to a dominant position. With the development of obstetric specialization, operative obstetrics, and the opening of maternity wards, midwives were relegated to a subordinate position in relation to doctors. In contrast to the United States and Western European countries, Russia did not have professional associations of midwives. Intra-professional communication was weak, and there was no corporate solidarity. In Soviet medicine, finally, the midwives’ subordinate place in relation to doctors was only cemented.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(2):270-285
pages 270-285 views

Childhood in the memoirs of Russian female historians of the second half of the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries

Sekenova O.I.


The present paper studies ego-documents of Russian female historians written in the second half of the 19th and the early 20th centuries, with a focus on the works of N.I. Gagen-Thorn, E.V. Gutnova, M.M. Levis, V.N. Kharuzina, S.V. Zhitomirskaya, E.N. Shchepkina, and N.D. Flittner. How do these authors, in their childhood descriptions, discuss their professional choices? By producing ego-documents, the female historians wanted to preserve their memory of childhood events in the form of a new historical source. In so doing they followed the principles that they also adhered to when wri- ting historical essays. At the same time their texts are very subjective: each reflects the respective researcher's personal experiences. Each text is unique, and there are few overlaps with the memoirs of other female historians of their time, or with those of younger colleagues. In many ways, the women were influenced by authors of the Russian memoirist tradition; they often adhered to self-censorship (even when there was no clear ideological pressure from society). As a result, the narrative about childhood turned into a narrative about the prerequisites for the self-identification of women as scientists. Memories became a form of self-representation, and this conditioned the selective nature of childhood narratives; later success in the profession was projected back onto childhood memories. The childhood narratives of Russian female historians differ from texts of their male colleagues: women preferred to describe their impressions with references to material artifacts and to everyday rituals, writing carefully about their emotional experiences. One of the most important subjects in these women’s memoirs and diaries was when they for the first time experienced the gender conflict in their lives: when they understood that their scholarly ambition runs against the common attitudes about gender attitudes that they had internalized in early childhood.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(2):286-294
pages 286-294 views

Leisure and Recreation in the Socio-Cultural Memory of Urban Women in the 1950 and 1960s Based on Materials from Volgograd

Bogdashina I.V.


The article examines everyday practices of rest and leisure among urban women living in the city of Volgograd (Stalingrad) - a city that had been completely destroyed during the war. The goal of the present study is to identify specific characteristics in the everyday practices of women. The methodology combines comparative historical, biographical and aggregate methods. Interviews conducted along the empathy method made it possible to identify the sensual and emotional sides of the respondents' lives. The research is based on ego-documents (diaries, oral history), periodicals (magazines, newspapers), and statistics. The article discusses the concepts of free time and rest as preserved in the memory of townspeople, and also private and public forms of leisure. A major finding is that women's memory and texts reveal sensory and emotional experiences that can be used for the history of everyday life. This allows for an imagination of everyday life from a new angle. Domestic work took away the vast majority of women's free time, and given the cultural potential of the region was still underdeveloped, most city dwellers concentrated pastime activities on their homes. However, with the high workload of women at home and at work, it was leisure outside the home that remained one of the few ways for women to relax and recover from mental and physical stress. The everyday life of urban women in the 1950s and 1960s was characterized by a division of leisure in private and public forms.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(2):295-304
pages 295-304 views

The Daily Lives of Urban Women during the Khrushchev Thaw in Soviet and Post-Soviet Scholarship

Pushkareva N.L., Bitokova T.V.


The article discusses the rise and changes of scholarly interest in urban women's everyday life in the USSR of the mid-twentieth century. By studying the Soviet and post-Soviet historiography of women's everyday life during Khrushchev’s Thaw, the authors explain that at first this subject was treated in analogy to the customary celebration of Soviet achievements: also, the “women’s question” would eventually be “resolved”. With rising doubts about the “resolvability” of the complex problems related to gender relations came a paradigm shift towards reflections on the difficulties and contradictions in the lifestyle of urban women. At the center of debate were now the necessity for shortening the working day and for additional vacation days, as well as the “double bondage” of women who had to combine a professional workload with heavy family obligations. The authors argue that in the 1990s (a period now often called “the new thaw,” and “the nineties of the gender debates”), the political aspects of female life in the 1950s and 1960s became marginal in scholarship. The main attention was now focused on the home and family spheres, on problems of corporeality and fashion, and on the “woman's voice” in literature, cinema and media. In consequence, some aspects of women's everyday life during the Thaw years remained unexplored. Finally, there are no generalizing works that would compare women's everyday life on the levels of the USSR, Russia, or Russia’s regions, and little work has been done on ethnocultural characteristics of women's life in the post-war USSR.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(2):305-320
pages 305-320 views


Book review: V gornile revolyutsiy i voyn: Ukraina v 1917-1920 gg.: istoriko-istoriograficheskie esse [In the Crucible of Revolutions and Wars: Ukraine in 1917-1920: Historical and Historiographic Essays]. Moscow: ROSSPEN Publ., 2018. 669 p.

Bagdasaryan V.E., Resnyansky S.I., Bakaev A.A.



RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(2):321-327
pages 321-327 views

Book Review: Sarah Cameron. The Hungry Steppe: Famine, Violence, and the Making of Soviet Kazakhstan. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press. 2018. 277 p.

Vladimirsky I.



RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(2):328-331
pages 328-331 views

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