Historical Politics in Post-Soviet Central Asia and Prospects for Overcoming the Antagonistic Memory Regime
Table of contents
Historical Politics in Post-Soviet Central Asia and Prospects for Overcoming the Antagonistic Memory Regime
Publication type
Natalia Emelyanova 
Affiliation: State Academic University for the Humanities
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Denis Letnyakov
Affiliation: State Academic University for the Humanities
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow

After the collapse of the USSR, post-Soviet states vigorously engaged in the “nationalization” of their history, that is to say they began to mould their own historical narrative, tasked with legitimizing the fact of getting independence in 1991. 

Within the framework of this strategy, the most natural mode of working with historical memory was the “antagonistic” one. It is based on pushing away from the former “metropolis”, on victimization and, at the same time, on the glorification of one’s own past. However, the “antagonistic” memory mode is not the only one. The alternative is the “cosmopolitan” memory research, trying to rise above a narrowly national point of view and to reconcile conflicting historical narratives. A good example of this we can find in the European Community (joint history textbooks, the Holocaust as the main pan-European tragedy, etc.).

The key question of the paper is whether there are today any chances to partially overcome the “antagonistic” memory mode in the post-Soviet countries. An object of our research is Central Asia. This part of the FSU is the most actively engaged in different integration projects after 1991 (under the auspices of Russia, China, etc.). In contemporary world such projects are often based on humanitarian interaction, on the elements of “soft power”, including the appeal to a common past, a unified cultural heritage. The authors aim to assess whether such actors as Russia, Iran, Turkey, China and India have some potential capacity to build a transnational historical narrative with the states of the region, and if they do, what this capacities can be based on.

Central Asia, Former Soviet Union, politics of memory, transnational memory, soft power
Publication date
Number of characters
Number of purchasers
Readers community rating
0.0 (0 votes)
Cite Download pdf 200 RUB / 1.0 SU

To download PDF you should sign in

Full text is available to subscribers only
Subscribe right now
Only article and additional services
Whole issue and additional services
All issues and additional services for 2020


1. Abashin S. N. Zarozhdenie i sovremennoe sostoyanie sredneaziatskikh natsionalizmov // Natsionalizm v mirovoj istorii / pod red. V. A. Tishkova, V. A. Shnirel'mana. M., 2008. S. 351—374.

2. Avatkov V. A. Idejno-tsennostnyj faktor vo vneshnej politike Turtsii // Vestnik MGIMO-Universiteta. 2019. 12(4). S. 113—129.

3. Ayagan B. G., Shajmerdenova M. D. Istoriya Kazakhstana (nachalo XX v. — nastoyaschee vremya). Uchebnik dlya 9 klassa obscheobrazovatel'noj shkoly. Almaty, 2013.

4. Assman A. Dlinnaya ten' proshlogo. Memorial'naya kul'tura i istoricheskaya politika. M., 2007.

5. Dyushenbiev S. U. Islam v sovremennom Kyrgyzstane: sostoyanie i problemy // Religiovedenie. 2011. № 3. S. 107—126.

6. Il'khamov A. Postsovetskaya ehtnografiya, mifotvorchestvo i vlast' // Ab imperio. 2005. №4. S. 327—336.

7. Imankulov M. K. Istoriya Kyrgyzstana (XX—XXI vv.) 9 klass. Uchebnik dlya obscheobrazovatel'nykh shkol. Bishkek, 2014.

8. Kulsarieva A. T., Sultanova M. Eh., Shajgozova Zh. N. Velikij Shelkovyj put' i tengrianstvo v strategiyakh kul'turnoj politiki sovremennogo Kazakhstana // Nowa Polityka Wschodnia. 2017. № 4 (15). S. 96—111.

9. Lisitsyna N. N. Rasshirenie Rossijskoj imperii v Tsentral'noj Azii i vospriyatie russkikh i Rossii naseleniem Turkestana (vtoraya polovina XIX v.) // Vestnik MGU im. M.A . Sholokhova. № 2. 2014. S. 26—30.

10. Mekhdiev Eh. T. Sostoyanie i perspektivy otnoshenij Irana so stranami Tsentral'noj Azii i Zakavkaz'ya // Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya. 2017. № 4. S. 1—15.

11. Miller A. I. Rost znachimosti institutsional'nogo faktora v politike pamyati: prichiny i posledstviya // Politiya. 2019. № 3 (94). S. 87—102.

12. Nurova Kh. S. Vklad akademika R. M. Masova v izuchenie istorii i istoriografii tadzhikskogo naroda. Dissertatsiya na soiskanie uchenoj stepeni kandidata istoricheskikh nauk. Dushanbe, 2019.

13. Razhabov K., Zamonov A. Istoriya Uzbekistana. Uchebnik dlya uchaschikhsya 10-klassov srednikh obrazovatel'nykh uchrezhdenij i uchrezhdenij srednego spetsial'nogo, professional'nogo obrazovaniya. 1-oe izdanie. Tashkent, 2017.

14. Skakov A. Yu. Probnye uchebniki istorii dlya klassov s russkim yazykom obucheniya srednikh shkol Turkmenistana // Istoricheskaya ehkspertiza. 2016. № 1. S. 110—120.

15. Uostnidzh Eh. Vneshnyaya kul'turnaya politika Irana v Tsentral'noj Azii: demonstratsiya politicheskogo pragmatizma // Tsentral'naya Aziya i Kavkaz. 2014. T. 17. Vyp. 4. S. 131—143.

16. Shnirel'man V. Prezidenty i arkheologiya, ili chto ischut politiki v drevnosti // Ab Imperio. 2009. № 1. S. 279—323.

17. Abashin S. Nation-construction in post-Soviet Central Asia // Soviet and post-Soviet Identities / ed. by M. Bassin, C. Kelly. Cambridge; N. Y., 2012. P. 150—168.

18. Abuseitova M. Kh. Historical and Cultural Relations between Kazakhstan, Central Asia and India from Ancient times to the beginning of the XX century // Dialogue October-December. 2004. Vol. 6. № 2 [Ehlektronnyj resurs]. URL: https://www.asthabharati.org/Dia_Oct04/Abus.htm.

19. Beyen M. A Parricidal Memory: Flanders’ Memorial Universe as Product and Producer of Belgian History // Memory Studies. 2011. Vol. 5. № 1. P. 32—44.

20. Brubaker R. National Minorities, Nationalizing States, and External National Homelands in the New Europe // Daedalus. 1995. Vol. 124. № 2. P. 107—132.

21. Bull A. C., Hansen H. L. On Agonistic Memory // Memory Studies. 2016. Vol. 9. №. 4. P. 390—404.

22. Erll A. Wars We Have Seen: Literature As a Medium of Collective Memory in the “Age of Extremes” // Memories and Representations of War: The Case of World War I and World War II / ed. by E. Lamberti and V. Fortunati. Amsterdam; N. Y., 2009. P. 41—42.

23. Horac S. In Search of History of Tajikistan. What Are Tajik and Uzbek Historians Arguing About? // Russian Politics and Law. 2010. Vol. 48. № 5. P. 65—77.

24. Khalid A. Making Uzbekistan. Nation, Empire, and Revolution in the Early USSR. Ithaca; L., 2015.

25. Levy D., Sznaider N. Memory Unbound: the Holocaust and the Formation of Cosmopolitan Memory // European Journal of Social Theory. 2002. Vol. 5. № 1. P. 87—106.

26. Paskaleva E. G. Memmory and Commemoration in Central Asia // The Newsletter. 2016. № 74. P. 29—31.

27. Singh A. T. India and Central Asia: An Interpretation of Mutually Indelible Historical Relationship and its Multi-Faceted Impact // International Journal of Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Studies (IJIMS). 2015. Vol. 2. № 7. P. 61—72.

28. Soest Ch., Grauvogel J. Comparing Legitimation Strategies in Post-Soviet Countries // Politics and Legitimacy in Post-Soviet Eurasia / ed. by M. Brusis, J. Ahrens, M. S. Wessel. R. 18—46.


No posts found

Write a review