Barash R. E.

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  • № 4, 2023

    • Family History and Family Memory in Russia of the 2020s

      The author explores how chronicle and memoirs, history and memory reconstruct the past, while simultaneously influencing each other, using the methodological division of commemorative resources. The empirical basis of the study is the data of surveys conducted by the scientific group of the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences in the fall of 2020 and spring of 2022.

      The sociological data help the author to clarify how today, in the postmemory era, the private and family memory of our compatriots responds to the state historical discourse and to what extent family history acts as a means of reconstructing the national past. With the growing interest of Russians in their own identity and their inclusion in digital communication, the popularity of genealogical projects is increasing, with the help of which not only family memory, but also national history, is reconstructed, and the perception of the past is changing. Information about family history is the most important source of information about national history. Emotionally and meaningfully rich stories from eyewitnesses increase the historical interest of their children and grandchildren. History as a resource of identity turns post-memory carriers — close relatives, civil society, and bureaucracy — into creators of memory, and therefore history makers.

      One of the most striking examples of genealogical mnemonic, which became possible due to the post-memorial commemoration, as well as the digitalization of archival information about the war period, is the Immortal Regiment project, which symbolically connects national history and family memory. With the help of digitized archival data and virtual genealogy projects, many Russians are successfully reconstructing family history, especially when unknown circumstances of family history are felt as a “premonition” of family memory. The “incompleteness” of stories of a significant part of Russian families, primarily about the 1930—1950 time period, gives rise to a demand for historical authenticity, but the perception of the past through the circumstances of the lives of relatives makes such perception less “white-or-black”, calling for a balanced and “understanding” assessment of history, whatever it may be.

      DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-111-4-141-162

      Pages: 141-162