The Russian Federation is heir to the Soviet Union and to Imperial Russia. The loss of an empire clearly has affected the search for a national self-image. This article examines the political leadership’s normative efforts to create a modern national identity. It argues that the issue of national identity is closely linked to Russia’s view of national security, an aspect of Russian identity seeking that so far has not been sufficiently explored. Therefore, it is important to analyse the development in relation not only to the domestic situation, but also to foreign policy. The article examines the patriotic policy efforts, the role of the Armed Forces and the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as the efforts to create a unified version of history. These policy choices may in the long term rather lead away from stability than towards it.
Today, nearly 250 000 people are displaced within Georgia as a result of armed ethnic conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the 1990s and the Georgian–Russian war in 2008. Bonds to places of temporary living have been created and new generations born. At least one-fifth of the internally displaced in Georgia are children and adolescents below 18 years of age. Many of them have never seen the homes in Abkhazia and South Ossetia where they are expected (by their parents and by the Georgian government) to return to when circumstances permit. The purpose of this article is to explore attitudes on belonging among Georgian IDP youth and their parents. How is attachment to a “native home” created and maintained over a protracted period of time when it is inaccessible? Conducted in February 2012, this study of intergenerational value discrepancies among IDPs in Georgia is based on individual and group interviews with parents (n=19) and adolescents (n=39) living in the region bordering Abkhazia. Research on migrants is generally based on segregated age groups, but with its intergenerational scope this study is an important contribution to research on forcibly displaced populations.
This article explores the different ways in which the nuclear catastrophe at the Chernobyl plant in 1986 is represented in selected films and novels produced and written since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The most common way of imagining Chernobyl during this period is the apocalypse foreshadowing the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, it is also viewed as the catalyst for resurrection, promising a new way of life after the fall of the Soviet Union, liberated from Soviet heroism and war culture. Interestingly, the catastrophe zone as the symbol of resurrection can be identified in the literature written before Chernobyl as well, which in this article is illustrated by examples from Andrei Tarkovskii’s film Stalker and the nuclear physicist Grigorii Medvedev’s short novel The Powerplant.