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Excavating MemorySites of Remembering and Forgetting$
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Maria Theresia Starzmann and John R. Roby

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813061603

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813061603.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

Bureaucratizing the Glorious Past

Bureaucratizing the Glorious Past

Moscow’s Victory Memorial Project during Late Socialism

(p.25) 1 Bureaucratizing the Glorious Past
Excavating Memory

Jonathan Brunstedt

University Press of Florida

Through the lens of a long-drawn-out project for a Second World War memorial complex in Moscow, this chapter explores the ambiguities involved in official commemoration in what was a highly authoritarian one-party state—the Soviet Union. The chapter traces the development of 'Victory Memorial' during the peak of state-sponsored commemoration of the war (1950s–1980s), focusing on the determination of the building site and design for the complex's central monument. The essay argues that ad hoc decisions by Soviet elites, and the increasingly standardized and self-referential process by which the state's mythmaking apparatus operated, rendered authoritative public symbols susceptible to redefinition. While not necessarily antagonistic to the Soviet state or the Communist Party, such redefinition could undermine notions of all-Soviet identity by privileging national (i.e., Russian) allegiances over those of the broader supranational (Soviet) community.

Keywords:   Commemoration, Second World War, mythmaking, Soviet state

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