THIRD ANNUAL TARTU CONFERENCE ON RUSSIAN AND EAST EUROPEAN STUDIES
Keynote address by Professor Catriona Kelly (Oxford University) at the Third Annual Tartu Conference on Russian and East European Studies on 11 June 2018.
The synopsis: It is commonly argued that Russia's role as an imperial power led, both before 1917 and in the Soviet period, to the atrophy or at the very least marginalisation of national identity. An accompanying argument is that Russia (and later, the Soviet Union) was also not a 'colonial' power, and that transnational relations within its borders were characterised by highly specific forms of inter-ethnic interaction and cooperation. Yet such arguments could themselves be seen as less objective depictions of historical reality than as imperial (and indeed national) myths. In this lecture, I shall consider the role of 'Russification' in the late C19-early C20, and examine the extent to which beliefs in Russia's historic destiny persisted even during the brief period of Soviet internationalism, before looking in more detail at the complex picture which emerged in the post-war years, and particularly under Khrushchev and Brezhnev. I shall conclude with a discussion of how accurate it is to suggest that the twenty-first century has seen a gradual 're-Sovietisation' of Russian culture in this respect.
The conference was financially supported by the European Commission under a Horizon 2020 Twinning project entitled “Building Research Excellence in Russian and East European Studies at the Universities of Tartu, Uppsala and Kent" (UPTAKE). It received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 691818.