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

Kirill Solovyov (Russian State University for the Humanities)

The Strong State and the Obedient People: The Use of History in Contemporary Russia

Having concentrated the power in his hands, the Russian leader Vladimir Putin made considerable efforts to seize control over the public space. It also suggested the control over historical knowledge because of history's unique role in shaping of national and geopolitical identity. The Russian authorities pay a particular attention to the new historical narrative which is being constructed nowadays. There are not direct bans and taboos (except the World War II and the recent events connected with Crimea's joining Russia) but the certain views on Russian history are given preference on TV and other media. The spread of the views is institutionally supported by Russian historical society, Russian society for military history and other organizations. As to the essence of the views and aims of their spread, several interesting tendencies can be noticed. There are frequent attempts to rehabilitate the soviet period including Stalin's policy but it does not mean the negative attitude to the tsarist time. The efforts to reconcile two parts of Russian history are quite evident but the point is the basis of this reconciliation. It is on the one hand the state and the authoritarian methods of its ruling and on the other absolute submission of the people. It can unite the tsarist and soviet time and draw together such figures as e.g. Stalin, Alexander III and even Ivan the Terrible. Personifying the ideal of a "strong state", they are considered as patterns for new Russian leaders. And the people should obey and love contemporary leaders like it obeyed and loved their predecessors. So the apology of soviet time does not contradict the apology of the pre-Revolutionary period because at any case the authoritarian state is apologized. It is only its antagonists - both revolutionaries and soviet dissidents who are blamed as alien to Russian values and even "agents of the West".