Remembering War: Celebrating Russianness

Nataliya Danilova*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


In the UK, rising social diversity within British society, combined with new security threats, facilitated a discussion about the nature of British national identity; in Russia, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 triggered a search for a national identity for a country which happened to have none (Urban, 1998; Tolz, 1998, 2004; Lieven, 1999). The dissolution of the Soviet state gave rise to a swift decline in the self-esteem of the Russian population. In the early 1990s, ‘Russians had a very negative view of themselves’ and responded to public opinion surveys with answers such as ‘we are worse than everybody in in the world’ and ‘we bring only negative things to the world’ (Lamelle, 2009, p. 154). To find a new national identity for Russian society was a mammoth task. This undertaking required Russia ‘to be its own successor, to create a new identity based on the denial of the Soviet past … to fall into emptiness and start its history from a blank slate’ (Morozov, 2009, p. 429; cited in Shevel, 2011, p. 181). At the level of political discourse, experts observed a move from ‘civic rossiiskii nation-building in 1992 … towards a more ethnic and imperial conceptualisation of the new Russian state as a homeland for the Russians and Russian-speakers throughout the former USSR’ (Shevel, 2011, p. 190). However, during the 1990s, the search for a national identity was constantly plagued by contradictory policy agendas, contradictory movements between civil and ethnic conceptualisations of Russian identity, and an inability of the authorities to develop a functional policy implementation mechanism for national identity building.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Politics of War Commemoration in the UK and Russia
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages33
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-137-39571-9
ISBN (Print)978-1-349-67939-3
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NamePalgrave Macmillan Memory Studies
ISSN (Print)2634-6257
ISSN (Electronic)2634-6265

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Nataliya Danilova.


  • Armed Force
  • Military Service
  • National Identity
  • Public Opinion Survey
  • Russian Society


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