Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

Unraveling the Threads of History: Soviet-Era Monuments and Post-Soviet National Identity in Moscow

Benjamin Forest and Juliet Johnson
Annals of the Association of American Geographers
Vol. 92, No. 3 (Sep., 2002), pp. 524-547
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1515475
Page Count: 24
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
Unraveling the Threads of History: Soviet-Era Monuments and Post-Soviet National Identity in Moscow
Preview not available

Abstract

This article explores the formation of post-Soviet Russian national identity through a study of political struggles over key Soviet-era monuments and memorials in Moscow during the "critical juncture" in Russian history from 1991 through 1999. We draw on the work of Pierre Bourdieu and Pierre Nora to explain how competition among political elites for control over the sites guided their transformation from symbols of the Soviet Union into symbols of Russia. By co-opting, contesting, ignoring, or removing certain types of monuments through both physical transformations and "commemorative maintenance," Russian political elites engaged in a symbolic dialogue with each other and with the public in an attempt to gain prestige, legitimacy, and influence. We make this argument through case studies of four monument sites in Moscow: Victory Park (Park Pobedy), the Lenin Mausoleum, the former Exhibition of the Achievements of the National Economy (VDNKh), and the Park of Arts (Park Isskustv). In the article, we first discuss the role of symbolic capital in the transformation of national identity. Following an examination of the political struggles over places of memory in Moscow, we analyze the interplay between elite and popular uses of the monuments, exploring the extent to which popular "reading" of the sites limits the ability of elites to manipulate their meaning. We conclude by looking at the Russian case in comparative perspective and exploring the reasons behind the dearth of civic monuments in post-Soviet Russia.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[524]
    [524]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
525
    525
  • Thumbnail: Page 
526
    526
  • Thumbnail: Page 
527
    527
  • Thumbnail: Page 
528
    528
  • Thumbnail: Page 
529
    529
  • Thumbnail: Page 
530
    530
  • Thumbnail: Page 
531
    531
  • Thumbnail: Page 
532
    532
  • Thumbnail: Page 
533
    533
  • Thumbnail: Page 
534
    534
  • Thumbnail: Page 
535
    535
  • Thumbnail: Page 
536
    536
  • Thumbnail: Page 
537
    537
  • Thumbnail: Page 
538
    538
  • Thumbnail: Page 
539
    539
  • Thumbnail: Page 
540
    540
  • Thumbnail: Page 
541
    541
  • Thumbnail: Page 
542
    542
  • Thumbnail: Page 
543
    543
  • Thumbnail: Page 
544
    544
  • Thumbnail: Page 
545
    545
  • Thumbnail: Page 
546
    546
  • Thumbnail: Page 
547
    547