Historical Politics in Post-Soviet Central Asia and Prospects for Overcoming the Antagonistic Memory Regime
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Historical Politics in Post-Soviet Central Asia and Prospects for Overcoming the Antagonistic Memory Regime
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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
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