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Russian Speakers in Post-Soviet LatviaDiscursive Identity Strategies$
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Ammon Cheskin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780748697434

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748697434.001.0001

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The ‘Democratisation of History’ and Generational Change1

The ‘Democratisation of History’ and Generational Change1

(p.129) Chapter 6 The ‘Democratisation of History’ and Generational Change1
Russian Speakers in Post-Soviet Latvia

Ammon Cheskin

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter returns to the theme of memory which was explored in Chapter 3. This time, however, the focus is on ground-level perceptions of history and collective memory-myths. Data is analysed from a survey of Russian speakers in Latvia, conducted at the site of the 2011 Victory Day celebrations. In this chapter special emphasis is attached to generational changes which are potentially occurring in among Latvia’s Russian speakers. It is argued that, by focusing on generational change, it is possible to understand how young Russian speakers are negotiating bottom-up and top-down identity pressures. The data suggest that young Russian speakers have been greatly influenced by Latvian memory discourses. As such younger cohorts of Russian speakers are displaying identity and memory positions which increasingly differ from those of their parents’ and grandparents’ generations. Young Russian speakers, who are fully exposed to the Latvian ‘mythscape’ are increasingly likely to accept notions of Latvia’s Soviet occupation and are willing to tolerate various interpretations of history.

Keywords:   Memory, Generations, Victory Day, Mythscapes, Democratisation of history, History, Soviet occupation

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