Head of the Organising Committee
Sanna Turoma
sanna.turoma [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Coordinator
Kaarina Aitamurto
kaarina.aitamurto [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Secretary
Maarit Elo-Valente
maarit.elo-valente [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Intern
Miikka Piiroinen
miikka.piiroinen [at] helsinki.fi

Conference e-mail:
fcree-aleksconf [at] helsinki.fi

The Aleksanteri Institute

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O. Box 42)
00014 University of Helsinki
phone +358-(0)50-3565 802

aleksanteri [at] helsinki.fi


Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Dimitri Bratkin (St. Petersburg State University, Russia)

Meeting With the Veterans' (встреча с ветеранами) as 'Oral Non-History' and Para-Religious Ceremony

Over the last years the meaning of the Victory Day, 9 May, and the commemoration of the Great Victory (i.e. that over Germany in 1945) has been constantly increasing. This is an interesting phenomenon in itself, linked to the political process of Russia in the 2000s and 2010s. This commemoration wave has revived many of the Soviet habitual events held in the course of commemoration period. One of them is 'Meeting with the veterans' which was, amd now again is, a form of school-based extra-curriculum educational event, held by the educational authorities on the class or school level and aimed at the 'patriotic upbringing of the students'. For this paper I have collected a number of guidance papers that were completed in partial fulfillment of 'tuition methods research' (standard professional assignment for a Russian schoolteacher) and then posted on the Russian professional web pages. Analysis of those shows that (1) the meetings have evolved into a part of secular cult, with para-religious ritual overtones, and should be studies as part of ritualistic framework rather than that of standard schooling activity, and (2) sometimes for the sake of persuasion and earning reputation these meetings are presented as part of the Oral History project; however, if compared with the standards of Oral History as a methodological approach and trend of historiography, these meetings are to be styled as 'Oral Non-History' as they oppose virtually every rule of Oral History research.