The Social Constriction of Legacy: Strategic Uses of a “Good Soviet Union” in Russia

  • Date: –17:00
  • Location: IRES Library, Gamla torget 3, 3rd floor
  • Organiser: Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies (IRES)
  • Contact person: Anna Appelberg
  • Föreläsning

According to elite and mass surveys, the late-Soviet socio-political and economic order largely perceived as the only existing alternative to domestic political and economic status quo in Russia before February 2022. These tendencies are driven by ideas and interests of Russia’ elites, who invested significant efforts and funds into deliberative promotion of a complex of ideational legacies through different tools. This complex, labeled a “good Soviet Union”, is an imagined socio-political and economic order, which somehow resembles that of the late-Soviet past, while lacking its inherent flaws. Elements of the Soviet legacy were selectively chosen for the sake of preservation of political and socio-economic status quo. In the new paper, co-authored with Anastassia Obydenkova, we consider a “good Soviet Union” as a socially constructed legacy of the past and focus on mechanisms of translation of this legacy into Russia’s current agenda. We discuss its effects on politics and policy-making, as well as its limitations and constraints, and implications of the social construction of Soviet legacies for further research.

Vladimir Gelman is Professor of Russian politics at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki. He published numerous books and journal articles, including Authoritarian Russia: Analyzing Post-Soviet Regime Changes (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015). His new book, The Politics of Bad Governance in Contemporary Russia, will appear in the University of Michigan Press in 2022.