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Key words
commemoration policy, Great Patriotic (Second World) War, kraevedenie, mass culture of Russian (post-soviet) rural area
About the Author
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3а, Gagarinskaya str., Saint Petersburg, 191187, Russian Federation
Junior researcher in the “Studies of the North” — project, faculty of anthropology, European University at Saint Petersburg

The article analyses pragmatics of the Great Patriotic War image as a part of local commemoration policy implemented by a “kraeved”, local historian from a distant village of Urzhum district of Kirov region. There in rural Russia local historians possess symbolic right to observe, comment or contest the local historical narrative. They are “authorized” even to express their own views about the history of their village or small town in different formats. Alexandr Petrushin’s commemoration activity and social and ethnic and local identity revival projects are remarkable. Main outcomes of commemorative programme range from historical albums (exposed at a local museum) to the articles about veterans published in local press. The village chronicle presents a remarkable contribution to the local revival and commemoration as well.

Historical albums are focused on enumerating and portraying those who had an experience of the War (either in the battlefield or in the rear), while articles attempt to create coherent biographical narratives out of albums data and promote them within the region. The rhetorical and compositional peculiarities of these texts reveal the links between contemporary strategies of commemoration and ideological patterns of Soviet origin (such as ideas of sacrifice of the deceased, duty of the living generations, importance of memory maintainance). The consistent chronicle (written by Petrushin) juxtaposes the account of village history in the 20th century with the grand historical narrative about Soviet Union (Russia). Within the book the competition between Great War discourse and ethnic discourse functions as a means of shaping the village image and representing local community as a community of commemoration.


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