“Distinctive Paths” of Russia and Germany in the Twentieth Century: “Overcoming the Past” in the Culture of Memory

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Abstract. “Distinctive paths” occupy an important place in the historical memory of Russia and Germany. “A distinctive path” is a concept equally Russian and German. In the history of the Russian “distinctive path” there is a strong influence of the German historiosophical tradition. The article deals with the “distinctive paths” of Russia and Germany in the German culture of memory. In modern Germany, it is generally recognized that the German “distinctive path” led the Germans into the criminal “Third Reich”. But the Germans managed to “overcome” the most painful page of their history with great difficulty. At the beginning of the 21st century, when the newly United Germany became a key element of the European liberal democracy, only philosophers and historians remember the “distinctive path” in Germany. The concept of the German “distinctive path” has lost its political relevance. Unfortunately, neither Russian nor German experience of “overcoming the past” is in demand in modern Russia. Despite the collapse of the Bolshevik experiment in the twentieth century, Russia is still searching for its new “distinctive path”.

Keywords: Russia and Germany: culture of memory, “special ways”, “distinctive path”, “overcoming the past”, similarity of historical destinies.

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