The historical memory of Russians as a source of anti-Western sentiment

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Sergei Asaturov
Andrei Martynov


In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the opposition between European history and Russian imperial history, as well as Soviet history, accelerated the process of losing the myths of historical narrative. The analysis of this experience has become the subject of developments in modern Russia concerning the so-called information-psychological weapons. “Historical politics” should protect the traditional perception of Russian historical myths, social values and national heroes. The dominant is the asymmetric mirror attitude towards the liberal West as the antipode of Russian civilization. This did not prevent Russian dictators from modernizing Russia through cluster westernization. The misunderstanding of the imperial mentality by the elite and society forms the matrix of Russian historical memory. The anti-Western myth has become a mechanism of social consensus in Russia. The degree of anti-Western sentiment varies at the levels of official collective historical memory, the historical memory of social cohorts, and individual historical memory. The greatest dissonance is observed between individual and collective memories. The Second World War remains at the center of Russian historical memory. This story is used to legitimize the policy of modern Russia. Historical memory has become an instrument of geopolitical revenge for the Russian authorities. The resumption of control over the territory of Ukraine was the idea of returning to the myth of the “Kyiv roots” of the Russian empire. Sociological data show that a significant part of Russian society remains Soviet people in terms of the type of thinking. This phenomenon manifests itself despite the wide availability of information about the cost of revolutions and Stalinism. The society which is in a transitive state, continues to identify itself with the Soviet historical memory. Russia and the West claim the monopoly of their principles of the universality of the values of their own civilization. This is the root cause of anti-Westernism and Russophobia. Freedom from the West, including in the sphere of historical memory, is gradually becoming an attempt to gain freedom from freedom.


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Asaturov, S., & Martynov, A. . (2022). The historical memory of Russians as a source of anti-Western sentiment. National Interest, 2(9), 34–40. Retrieved from
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