History, conflicting collective memories, and national identities: how Latvia's Russian-speakers are learning to remember

Cheskin, A. (2012) History, conflicting collective memories, and national identities: how Latvia's Russian-speakers are learning to remember. Nationalities Papers, 40(4), pp. 561-584. (doi:10.1080/00905992.2012.685062)

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Abstract

The literature on collective memories in the Baltic states often stresses the irreconcilable division between Russian and Baltic official interpretations of the Second World War. This paper seeks to challenge this popular notion of two polemic collective memories – “Latvian” and “Russian”. While there is evidence that Latvia's Russian-speakers are heavily influenced by Russian cultural and political discourses, I will argue that the actual positions taken up by Russian-speakers are more nuanced than a crude Latvian–Russian dichotomy would suggest. Based on survey data collected at the site of the 2011 Victory Day celebrations in Riga, this paper points to the germane existence of a partial “democratization of history” among Latvia's Russian-speakers, typified by an increasing willingness to countenance and take stock of alternative views of history. Through an examination of the data it will be argued that such tentative steps towards a democratization of history are most visible among the younger cohort of Russian-speakers, whose collective memory-myths have been tempered by their dual habitation of the Latvian, as well as Russian, mythscapes. In order to more fully understand this process both bottom-up and top-down pressures will be examined.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cheskin, Dr Ammon
Authors: Cheskin, A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Central and East European Studies
Journal Name:Nationalities Papers
ISSN:0090-5992
ISSN (Online):1465-3923
Published Online:31 May 2012

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