Cover Osteuropa 6/2007

In Osteuropa 6/2007

Memory on the Defensive
Schoolchildren in Russia on the Gulag and Repression

Irina Ščerbakova

Deutsche Fassung


A broad reassessment of Stalinism with its terror, repression, and Gulag system got underway during perestroika. But the hope proved deceptive that knowledge of this history would lead to Russia overcoming this aspect of its past forever. The political and social climate has changed. It is difficult for schoolchildren to learn about the repressions. Memory of the repressions is being increasingly marginalised, responsibility suppressed. Politics and television are creating myths and instrumentalising Stalin and the Soviet past. The last representatives of the generation which experienced this past are dying, visual materials from the Gulag are lacking. But there are the first signs of a remembrance culture. That it is possible to tie into these and pass on memory is shown by the contribution of schoolchildren in history competitions sponsored by Memorial.

(Osteuropa 6/2007, pp. 409–420)