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Memories about “the Hard 1990s” as a Resource for Adaptation to the New Turbulence: The Analysis of the Russian Media

Olga Malinova ()
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Olga Malinova: National Research University Higher School of Economics

HSE Working papers from National Research University Higher School of Economics

Abstract: The paper contributes to better understanding of public perceptions of the new reality emerging after the entry of Russia’s troops in Ukraine on February 24, 2022 and the unprecedented retaliatory sanctions from the West. It focuses on how the memories about the traumatic experience of the 1990s were activated to manage the new turbulence and uncertainty. Based on publications of the printed and electronic media in February-August, 2022, through the qualitative content analysis conducted in the MAXQDA app, the paper reveals typical patterns of framing the connections between “then” and “now”. The author argues that memories turned to be an essential symbolic resource for making sense of the new reality, as soon as the latter displayed many analogies with the past traumatic experience. It finds that the activation of memories about the 1990s was largely based on the established frames of remembrance that became re-interpreted in the new context. In particular, the past experience of “hard times” that had been overcome provides confidence that the current situation is manageable. At the same time, a dangerous proliferation of a xenophobic discourse proposing then eradication of a liberal “fifth column” was detected.

Keywords: Collective memory; frames of remembrance; the hard 1990s; public discourse (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Z (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 19 pages
Date: 2023
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cis and nep-his
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Published in WP BRP Series: Political Science / PS, April 2023, pages 1-19

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