ISSN online: 2221-1616

Bulletin of the Institute of Sociology (Vestnik instituta sotziologii)

Research Article

Pavel V. Fadeev Candidate of Sociology
Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS, Moscow, Russia
ORCID ID=0000-0001-5767-0329
The historical memory of Russians in sociological surveys: foundations, reality, problems.
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2021. Vol. 12. No. 2. P. 36-54

Дата поступления статьи: 17.06.2020
This Article is downloaded: 133 times
Topic: Historic Memory Sociology (To 80th Anniversary of Great Patriotic War Start)

For citation:
Fadeev P. V. The historical memory of Russians in sociological surveys: foundations, reality, problems. Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2021. Vol. 12. No. 2. P. 36-54


The publication presents an analysis of the materials of the surveys of the FCTAS RAS, the Interregional Social Science Study "The Future of Russia", the Levada Center and the Public Opinion Foundation for the last two decades, covering historical topics. The aim of the study was to identify the main characteristics of the historical consciousness and the state of the historical memory of Russians at present. Studies by sociological centres in recent years show that the historical knowledge of a large part of Russians is fragmentary, comes from different sources, and is not always correct. Many events and personalities are mixed up in consciousness, or even forgotten altogether. Moreover, this phenomenon refers not only to distant events in history, known exclusively from textbooks, but also to decades directly related to the person´s life. Choosing between various historical alternatives of the country's future vision, Russians to a greater extent are focused on neutral ideas of strengthening Russia's position in the external and internal arena, whilst the ideas of an “Orthodox state”, a turn towards Europe or Eurasianism do not find major support among the population. With major contribution by the authorities the Great Patriotic War at present is the main historical event, overshadowing all the others. At the same time, the constant emphasis on the war theme and on heroic moments, combined with the levelling of tragic ones, causes a distorted perception of the event among a part of the population. In addition, the interpretation of history (especially during the Great Patriotic War) becomes the arena of a "political war." Various political forces give their own interpretation of events, that can both confuse some citizens and, on the other hand, form irreconcilable ideological opponents. The memory of the war is becoming more and more mythologised as a consequence of the fact that its real participants are gradually passing away. In connection with all above, current and future generations will have to look for grains of truth in a highly politicised and sometimes deceptive information field. The correct perspective of raising the awareness of the Russian population, “clarifying historical consciousness” is seen in a multifaceted historical discourse with the participation of professional historians, openness to any discussion, and broader media coverage.


Russian identity, history, historical memory, the Great Patriotic War, patriotism



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