“The collapse of the Soviet Union: 20 years on”

Constructing USSR image in Russia: between new reality and old forms

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3. Constructing USSR image in Russia: between new reality and old forms

The study examines the changing image of the USSR in contemporary Russia during the presidency of Vladimir Putin. The image of USSR was ambiguous and multivocal even in Soviet times. At the end of the 80. with the beginning of perestroika and glasnost policy it started to gain more negative connotations – the press liberated from the bounds of censorship accomplished the “inversion” of founding Soviet myths: the myth of social equality was replaced with stories about communist nomenclature, the myth about veridical socialistic way of development with reportages describing areas of poverty, etc. Yet at the beginning of 90. opinion polls noticed the fatigue of negative information about Soviet state, increasing longing for “old good times” and popularity of Soviet cultural schemes in interpreting surrounding reality. Hence the second president of Russia faced a difficult task: to maintain liberal rhetoric justifying reforms and at the same time the necessity to appeal to widespread concepts about foregone epoch. The study based on discursive analysis of presidential addresses to the Parliament (2000-2007) shows not only ambiguous meanings ascribed to the symbol of USSR by use of allusions, purposeful brachylogies, references to widespread Soviet topoi but also the dynamics of metanarration used to interpret past and present experience.

Aleksandra Zamarajewa

Graduate School for Social Research, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Science

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