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Hierotopy of “Great Victory” in Soviet and Russian memory culture: a comparative analysis

October 27, 2023 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm EDT


Yana Prymachenko, PhD, Visiting Research Scholar at Princeton University, and Senior Researcher at the Institute of History of Ukraine, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, joins the CUNY REEES Kruzhok to discuss a comparative analysis of the “Great Victory” in Soviet and Russian memory culture.


Since 1965, Victory Day became the main holiday in the Soviet calendar that demanded its sacred places. The “Great Victory” cult became the core of the Soviet myth of the “Great Patriotic War.” In 1967, the Soviet authority erected a memorial complex on the Mamaev burial mound in Volgograd. This composition, “Motherland is calling!” became a sacred place for the Soviet people.

In 2005, the cult of “Great Victory” was revived in Russia. It has evolved into the so-called “pobedobesiye”. This new memory politics also needed its sacred place. On December 4, 2018, the Russian power decided to build the main temple of the Russian Armed Forces. This shrine or temple combined the Soviet military and Orthodox symbolism.

Both cases are vivid examples of the creation of sacred spaces that are supposed to serve the “empire of memory”. How do they function? What messages are encrypted there? What’s the difference?

This talk is online only. Register in advance to receive a Zoom link. A paper will be circulated a week in advance of the event for discussion at the workshop.

The CUNY REEES Kruzhok is a space for scholars in the social sciences and humanities to share research in progress for feedback, with a wider aim of connecting specialists focused on this region within CUNY, New York, and further afield. It is coordinated by Mark Lewis (College of Staten Island/Graduate Center, CUNY), Merrill Sovner (EU Studies Center, Graduate Center, CUNY) and Lukasz Chielminski (Baruch College/CUNY Baccalaureate). It meets on selected Fridays at 12:30 pm ET during the semester. Email cunyreeeskruzhok@gmail.com to join the mailing list or express interest in presenting.


October 27, 2023
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm EDT




Merrill Sovner