Boris Gasparov. The image of the Soviet Union in the Modern Mass Consciousness

The therapeutic effectiveness of the ideal that is nostalgically directed into the past can not be lesser or even can be greater than the drive for the future. However, the negative sides of the soviet life (at least, the material ones) are so evident that only full amnesia and absence of self-consciousness seem to be the conditions for «nostalgia for the sovietic». The report contains the assumption that in mass culture this difficulty is resolved by means of creation of a special stylized image of the Soviet Union in which its apparently negative features are not at all eliminated, but acquire a specific modality that makes it possible to integrate them into a positively charged picture. The main strategic direction of such memory design is identification of the Soviet Union with pre-revolutionary Russia – or rather with its, in its turn, stylized image as it established in the depths of mass soviet culture. It is, first of all, a great empire, a world power. It is characterized by constraint of political and social freedom in combination with spiritual fullness of life; superficial «backwardness», even «half-wildness» in combination with breakthrough achievements in essentially significant spheres; hardship of people’s life, suffering and privation with a tinge of selfless readiness for sacrifices; and, finally, the high role of  intelligentsia as the conscience and the voice of the nation. The mythological fusion of the «Russian» and the «Soviet» leads to devaluation of the October Revolution as a historic watershed; it appears rather as some temporary interruption of history, a sort of new Time of Troubles. In opposition to this, the war as the moment of merging of Russian and Soviet patriotism acquires the fundamental significance. In the light of this symbolic rearrangement, the 1990s, in their turn, lose the status of «revolution» turning into another Time of Troubles – another interlude in the process of continuous realization of the Russian idea. With all the difference in the intellectual levels, one cannot help noting the similarities of this therapeutic mythologization of the history with the Eurasian movement of the 1920s.