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Title: Constructions of the past and trauma in Simferopol, Crimea
Author: Vogelsang, Ina Barbara
ISNI:       0000 0001 3548 9369
Awarding Body: University of Manchester : University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2002
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This study looks at the constructions of the past in post-Soviet Simferopol, the capital of Crimea. Revelations about the Soviet period since Perestroika and Ukrainian independence resulted in countless and contrasting interpretations of the past which leaves people to make their own decisions as to where "truth" lies. Literature concerning memory in post-authoritarian states usually focuses on repression and trauma (cf.Hann 1993:11). My study, on the other hand, tries to integrate the substantial amount of positive memories that were being told during my fieldwork.It therefore deals With the question how these memories can be interpreted in the context of former political repression, social trauma and the gaps in the overall picture. Furthermore, the researcher is confronted With a situation of rapid change (cf. Hann 1994) that influences peoples' assessment of the present and the past in major ways. Part of what has been termed "nostalgia" can be seen as a way of resisting social change that has been too radical for many to follow.The positive portrayal of the past can furthermore be connected to the fact that they were directed at me, the 'Western" researcher. This is affected by a past of ideological confrontation and present economic and political decline. This thesis thus also addresses reflexive issues concerning the position of the researcher and how the collection of data and subsequent representation are influenced by various audiences. Crimea is said to have a multiplicity of ethnicities, the three strongest being "Ukrainian", "Russian" and 'Tartar". Looking at genealogies I argue that these cannot simply be designated as "ethnic" identities but that one has to take into account the Soviet past of internationalism and nationalities politics. Contentions over the past centre on issues connected to social accountability. "Ukrainian" nationalists look at the Soviet past as totalitarian and destructive. In connection with this, their appraisal of the present is more positive. 'Tartars" protest at the wholesale deportation of their people by Soviet forces and are trying to claim back their rights as the "original" inhabitants of Crimea. "Russians", on the other hand, fondly remember the security and stability they perceive to have enjoyed under the Soviet regime. My material shows that to interpret this as the repression of former trauma, does not do justice to the ways in which the present (social insecurity, joblessness, crime, poverty)is at the centre of the reconstruction of the past. Nevertheless, public ceremonies commemorating the past as well as monuments and people's narratives show a concentration in remembering certain times more than others closely related to Soviet rhetoric.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available