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Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Based on declassified materials from eight Ukrainian and Russian archives, Stalin's Empire of Memory , offers a complex and vivid analysis of the politics of memory under Stalinism. Using the Ukrainian republic as a case study, Serhy Yekelchyk elucidates the intricate interaction between the Kremlin, non-Russian intellectuals, and their audiences. Yekelchyk posits that conte Based on declassified materials from eight Ukrainian and Russian archives, Stalin's Empire of Memory , offers a complex and vivid analysis of the politics of memory under Stalinism.
Yekelchyk posits that contemporary representations of the past reflected the USSR's evolution into an empire with a complex hierarchy among its nations. In reality, he argues, the authorities never quite managed to control popular historical imagination or fully reconcile Russia's 'glorious past' with national mythologies of the non-Russian nationalities. Combining archival research with an innovative methodology that links scholarly and political texts with the literary works and artistic images, Stalin's Empire of Memory presents a lucid, readable text that will become a must-have for students, academics, and anyone interested in Russian history.
Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. Published March 20th by University of Toronto Press first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions 5. Friend Reviews.
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Serhy Yekelchyk's book is a must read for students of East European history and politics. Rather than to assume homogeneity of cultural memory production in the Soviet Ukraine, the author poses and develops alternative argument. According to Yekelchyk, the Ukrainian intellectuals navigated between the notions of class and nation in mass culture production in the late Stalin's years. Paradoxically, even in harsh years of purges and repressions, they contributed to codification of Ukrainian litera Serhy Yekelchyk's book is a must read for students of East European history and politics.
Paradoxically, even in harsh years of purges and repressions, they contributed to codification of Ukrainian literary canon, which has its longplasting impact nowadays. Nov 10, tomsyak added it.
Summary: In his book, Yekelchyk moves past the question of whether the Soviet Union was a nation-braker or a nation-maker and instead asks "how interaction among Moscow ideologues, local bureaucrats, non-Russian intellectuals and their audiences had shaped national identities within the USSR. Focusing on Ukraine, Yekelchyk shows that Stalinist Ukrainian culture was not only created by policy-makers in the Kremlin, but produced through the interaction of local bureaucrats who had some room for ideological maneuvering and exploited it and intellectuals with Moscow.
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Using recently declassified archival documents, Yekelchyk shows how the Ukrainian historical narrative was re-conceptualized as a national, and not class history during late s, and how the relationship of the Russian and Ukrainian peoples originally portrayed as a "lesser evil" was made out into a "great friendship" of an older and a younger brother. Yekelchyk doesn't buy the idea of total constructedness of nations, and posits instead that "nations are always imagined through the concrete social and cultural practices of their given societies," supporting this contention by the evidence that Ukrainian audiences were able to choose the message they wanted to receive from the cultural canon propagated from above.
Not only could the state not control individual interpretations of historical narratives, it could also not suppress the existing memories of the population, or its confusion over the internal tensions in the narrative and "confusing signals from Moscow" is a recurring theme of this book. In place of a coherent and convincing historical narrative, it was coercion that held Stalin's empire of memory together.
On the other hand, the idea that we will never know what they thought is depressing; so maybe kudos for trying?
I was also unsure about author's reasons for the structure of the book; it is unclear why the chapters are organized in the way that they are, and much of the author's analysis seems repetitive. He also seems to be missing Moscow intellectuals - did they not write Ukrainian histories? How did their narratives fit into the picture? In her review, Devlin notes that perhaps Yekelchyk overemphasized the autonomy of the Ukrainian intellectuals, and in light of Yekelchyk's ultimate conclusion coercion instead of coherence the critique makes sense.
Had the intellectuals really enjoyed autonomy, would they not have been able to create a convincing narrative for their people? Alternatively, had they abused their autonomy, would they not have been silenced? And if so, what kind of autonomy was it? Kozlov asks a possibly unanswerable question of how self-conscious the Ukrainian intellectuals were in their interpretations of the past: "to what extent [was] the survival of autonomous historical agendas Pavlo rated it liked it Dec 20, Olga rated it really liked it Dec 26, Gull-Catcher rated it it was amazing Sep 26, Anna rated it really liked it Jan 03, Kostiantyn Levin rated it liked it Oct 02, Paul rated it it was amazing Nov 20, Sign up.
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