Cover Osteuropa 4-6/2005

In Osteuropa 4-6/2005

Continuity and change
Memorials to the war in Afghanistan

Natalija Danilova

Deutsche Fassung


Commemoration of the war in Afghanistan has taken its place alongside memories of World War II in Russia’s public space. Hundreds of memorials to those who died there make it possible to observe changes in the culture of memory. One can distinguish three types of monument. Memorials erected by veterans with an awareness of having been sent to Afghanistan and betrayed by the state are free from any state or national symbolism. The use of form emphasizes mourning for fallen comrades. The second type are memorials with a religious motif, which stress the element of repentance. Simultaneously, they reflect the patriotic turn and the change in the position of the Russian Orthodox church since the mid-1990s. The third field of interpretation is occupied by memorials which reproduce the traditional Soviet form of remembrance. Monumental and heavily symbolic, they establish a link between the Great Patriotic War and death in Afghanistan.

(Osteuropa 4-6/2005, pp. 367–386)