This study examines memory of the Soviet Union and political opinions in modern Russia through qualitative, semi-structured interviews across generations in two Russian cities. The study aims to explore the differences in memory and meaning of the Soviet Union across generation and geography, and to connect those differences to political dispositions in modern Russia. Respondents were asked about their impressions of the Soviet Union and modern-day Russia, and responses were coded for emergent themes and trends. The research finds that youth bifurcate along geographic lines; respondents in St. Petersburg were more likely to reject Soviet ideals than their counterparts in Yoshkar-Ola. The former also tended to prefer liberalism and globalization, while the latter expressed greater nationalism. Older respondents showed no distinct geographic trend, but gave more nuanced assessments of the Soviet Union due to the power of personal memory over cultural reconstruction. In younger respondents, these findings indicate that living in a cosmopolitan metropolis may condition interpretations of the Soviet past and influence contemporary political identity toward globalization. Youths living in smaller cities have less interaction with other global cities and therefore may have more conservative perceptions of the Soviet Union and Russia.
Generational and Geographic Effects on Collective Memory of the USSR
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Rachel Mohr, Kate Pride Brown; Generational and Geographic Effects on Collective Memory of the USSR. Communist and Post-Communist Studies 1 June 2021; 54 (1-2): 156–175. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/j.postcomstud.2021.54.1-2.156
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