Policy Memos

Rethinking the Revolutionary Past: How Color Revolutions Have Led to New Interpretations of Russian History

Policy Memo:

99

Publication Date:

04-2010

Description:

Contemporary historical writing in Eastern and Central Europe is filled with “presentism,” the idea that major past events should be treated in a way that supports the pursuit of specific, usually political, goals. One prominent example of this is history writing for the purpose of nation-building. In newly independent states, whether in the post-Soviet space or elsewhere, this typically involves the creation of new pantheons of heroes and “historical foes.” Other examples include the re-evaluation of the diplomatic failures and betrayals that led to two world wars and the occurrence of genocide in Europe, the study of ethnic and class-based purges, and many more dark and difficult pages of the last century. In many cases, such history writing incorporates different “sides” that are easily associated with contemporary political entities. [...]

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About the author

Professor
European University at St. Petersburg