Nostalgia and Identity in Putin's Russia under the spotlight – University of Copenhagen

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08 October 2014

Nostalgia and Identity in Putin's Russia under the spotlight

Matthew Dal Santo has been granted 1.7 million DKK from the Danish Council for Independent Research – Humanities (FKK) for a project at the Saxo Institute entitled History and Identity in Putin’s Russia: Towards a ‘Holy Soviet Empire of the Russian Nation’.

Russian identity being formed
The project examines the relationship between history and identity in today’s Russia. It seeks to understand how nostalgia for the Soviet Union and a resurgent Orthodox Church work together in shaping Russians’ identity, the policies and ambitions of Russia’s government and its ability to garner public support for them.

Putin and the media
By examining presidential speeches and press statements, the project will sketch the contours of President Vladimir Putin’s view of Russian history. Through an analysis of the media’s representation of Russian history, from newspapers to television documentaries, the project will also attempt to measure how far and in what form the Kremlin’s view of history is disseminated among the Russian public.

Vladimir Putin kneels at a Soviet World War II monument commemorating the ‘defenders of Sevastopol’, May 9th, 2014. Photo: kremlin.ru

Vladimir Putin kneels at a Soviet World War II monument commemorating the ‘defenders of Sevastopol’, May 9th, 2014. Photo: kremlin.ru

 

Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, 8 September 2010. Photo: premier.gov.ru

Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, 8 September 2010. Photo: premier.gov.ru

Public reception and alternatives
Through interviews with ethnic Russians both within and outside Russia’s borders, it will seek to find out what measure of support the Kremlin’s view of history has and how it shapes their view of themselves as Russians. On the basis of these interviews, the project will also explore the alternative histories and narratives of the past available to Russians.

In a final section the project will explore the implications Russians’ view of the past has for the actions of the Russian government, at home and abroad.

Read more about The Danish Council for Independent Research.