Torn MemoriesApproaches towards Stalinism and the Second World War in contemporary Russia
152 pages, 12,5 x 21 cm
ISBN: 978-3-8353-0601-1 (September 2010)
In present-day Russia, any critical view of the past may quickly be interpreted as the denigration of one`s own country. How can we explain the fact that, during the past few years, even Stalin has become socially acceptable again, viewed under the guise of an »effective manager«? What does this imply as far as the memory of the mass terror in the nineteen-thirties is concerned, the horror of the Gulag, the victims of two dictatorships and the fate of the forced labourers and prisoners of war during that era? What kind of picture of the past do young people have in today`s Russia? How should we understand the cult surrounding the »glorious victory« in the Second World War?
These questions and historical political controversies are the central themes of Irina Scherbakowa`s essay. In a detailed discussion, the Russian historian also gives us an insight into her own family biography, which motivated her to hold interviews with victims of Stalinism in the nineteen-eighties.
Irina Scherbakowa, born in 1949, is a historian and publicist. She works for the human rights organization »Memorial« in Moscow. From 1992 to 2007, she taught at the Centre for Oral History at the University of Arts and Social Sciences in Moscow. She was a fellow of the »Wissenschaftskolleg« in Berlin and at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.
Pubications include: Unruhige Zeiten. Lebensgeschichten aus Russland und Deutschland (Troubled times. Life histories from Russia and Germany, 2006); Russlands Gedächtnis. Jugendliche entdecken vergessene Lebensgeschichten (Russia`s remembrance. Young people discover forgotten life histories, 2003); Nur ein Wunder konnte uns retten. Leben und Überleben unter Stalins Terror (Only a miracle could save us. Life and survival under Stalin`s reign of terror, 2000).