Russian Media Lab researcher Mariëlle Wijermars will give a lecture at Higher School of Economics (Moscow), faculty of Communication, Media and Design on 28 September. During her talk she will explore how the Russian central government employs cultural memory to claim political legitimacy and discredit political opposition. Also Wijermars will present her new book “Memory Politics in Contemporary Russia: Television, Cinema and the State”.
“Memory Politics in Contemporary Russia: Television, Cinema and the State”
Since Vladimir Putin became president, the Russian central government has increasingly actively employed cultural memory to claim political legitimacy and discredit political opposition. The rhetorical use of the past has become a defining characteristic of Russian politics, creating a historical foundation for the regime’s emphasis on a strong state and centralised leadership. Yet the Russian government is not the only one who has used history to spread its ideas about how the Russian state ‘traditionally’ should be governed. Various societal, cultural and religious groups and organisations, have put forward their own historically framed visions on Russian statehood. In this lecture, Mariëlle Wijermars presents her new book Memory Politics in Contemporary Russia: Television, Cinema and the State, published by Routledge in July 2018, that examines this societal dynamics of memory politics in contemporary Russia in the period 2000-2012.
Exploring memory politics, the book analyses a wide range of actors, from the central government and the Russian Orthodox Church to filmmaker and cultural heavyweight Nikita Mikhalkov and radical thinkers such as Aleksandr Dugin. In addition, in view of the steady decline in media freedom since 2000, it critically examines the role of cinema and television in shaping and spreading these narratives. Thus, it aims to gain a better understanding of the various means through which the Russian government practices its memory politics (e.g., the role of state media) and, on the other hand, to sufficiently value the existence of alternative and critical voices and criticism that existing studies tend to overlook. The lecture will draw from the case studies included in the book as well as refer to more recent trends in Russian memory politics.
Registration for the lecture here.