Social Memory and Images of the Past

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Abstract. Social memory appears to be an inevitably important phenomenon with respect to democratization and cultural pluralism, when the uniform Truth of the Modern Age was replaced by numerous local and regional truths of the post-Modern period. An author scrutinizes the phenomenon in its complexity making a difference between objectivized memory and memory in action, which express themselves in various institutions and social fields. A great role of the state is emphasized, which occupies itself with construction of the images of the past. Nowadays it is by no means a monopolist and has to compete with political movements as well as ethnic and religious groups. A dynamic of the images of the past with time is analyzed, especially as a response to drastic social transformations. Relationships between social memory and history are analyzed as well. A social role of the ethnogenetic discourse is underlined as being directly affected by shifts of the Soviet domestic politics. A great role of the remote ancestors’ images and views of ethnic roots is demonstrated as an important basis of identity and a legitimization of ethnic politics. A discussion dwells on the case studies from the former Soviet Union as well as post-Soviet states, especially Russia.

Keywords: social memory, images of history, politics of the past, alternative history, nationalism, Russia.

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