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Title: Reliving the past : how the Russian government and media use history to frame the present
Author: McGlynn, Jade
ISNI:       0000 0004 9356 607X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2020
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In this thesis, I examine political uses of history in Russia during Vladimir Putin’s third term (2012-2018). Arguing that domestic politicians and state-aligned media continuously invoked history as a means of political legitimation and discursive (re)construction of Russian identity, I separate my research into two parts: 1) How did the Russian government, supported by state-aligned media, conflate specific contemporary issues with historical events? 2) How did the Russian government, supported by state-aligned media, use this conflation to promote selective engagement with history as central to Russian identity? I answer these questions through a large-scale discourse analysis of Russian media sources and official government documents, as well as interviews with cultural practitioners. I first examine the government and media’s use of historical framing (the detailed conflation of a current event with a historical precedent) in their depictions of the Ukraine Crisis, sanctions, and Russian intervention in Syria. I then use these case studies to provide a framework of historical framing that can be applied beyond the Russian context. Historical framing was also part of a larger government-led ‘call to history’, whereby politicians and the media centred Russian identity around history and ‘correct’ historical interpretation. I provide practical examples in the second part of my thesis, when I detail how the Ministry of Culture and Russian Military Historical Society promoted and funded hundreds of thousands of historical organisations, activities, and festivals to propagate a standard cultural historical narrative. Through the enormous scale of these efforts, the government also reinforced its narrative that Russians were experiencing a patriotic upsurge and had attained a heightened consciousness of their own history and cultural heritage (which I term cultural consciousness). In the conclusion, I argue that these processes and narratives are not unique to Russia and that my findings provide a template for exploring similarly politicised treatments of history and identity in other countries.
Supervisor: Jones, Polly Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History ; Communication and media studies ; Cultural studies ; Memory studies ; Politics