Analysis - Apr 1, 2017 0:03 - 0 Comments

Blank Spots on the Holocaust Map Attitudes toward the Jewish past are changing in Ukraine and Russia, but old ways of thought cling on.

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Tatiana Kozak (Ukraine) and Yulia Korchagina (Russia)  

The article was prepared within the project “Creating a space for dialogue: Mass media and peaceful conflict transformation in the post-Soviet space.” The project was supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany and carried out by the Center for Independent Social Research (CISR) in Berlin, in cooperation with CISR St. Petersburg, the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, and the Imagine Center for Conflict Transformation (South Caucasus).

The construction of “places of memory” connected to vanished Jewish communities and the Holocaust was very different in the Soviet Union and in Germany. Postwar West Germany did not shrink from accepting its responsibility for the Holocaust, ultimately, after reunification, building in Berlin widely praised and popular places of remembrance of the Jewish past and the Holocaust.

There is nothing in the former Soviet Union similar to the Jewish Museum in Berlin. Daniel Libeskind’s structure resembles a huge scar or Star of David torn into pieces. The museum tells the story of the Jews in Germany, employing empty space as a leitmotif. Exhibition halls with artifacts, works of art, and items of daily life culminate in unfilled, curved spaces that evoke disorientation in the visitor, wordlessly testifying to the tragedy of the Jews under the Nazi regime.

In the Sovie . . . Read More

Analysis - Feb 15, 2017 0:01 - 0 Comments

Anti-War Narratives in Post-Soviet Azerbaijani Literature

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Azerbaijani writer Alakbar Aliyev wrote on the occasion of the April 2016 exacerbation of the conflict on the border of Azerbaijan and Armenia, which killed more than 200 people.

I am asking Armenians and Azerbaijanis to trust our writers, real writers, not fascist ones, because a true writer cannot be a fascist. Writers reflect of our souls, and if you want to understand who is an Azerbaijani, be sure to read “Kamancheh”[1] by Jalil Mammadguluzadeh. In this play, you will find the Azerbaijani soul. The desecrated soul, oppressed and humiliated for many centuries … by demeaning our good, kind, hospitable, and very stupid people, by humiliating all of us”. (From the essay “Appeal to the Armenians”, May 2016).

Background

The collapse of the Soviet Union brought about not only the creation of new independent states, but also an increase in their national consciousness that grew more pronounced against the background of the resulting rejection of the unified Soviet community. In some cases, the demands for independence of the Soviet republics – the so-called parade of sovereignties – subsequently led to a military intervention by what was still the “Soviet Army” (Tbilisi in 1989, Baku in January 1990, Vilnius in January 1991). Military actions of the Soviet Army led to a sharp ideological transformation: almost everything Soviet became seen in many Soviet Republics as hostile, alien, harmful, and oppressive. The situation was aggravated by the outbreak of local conflicts on ethnic gr . . . Read More

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