The Centenary of the First World War in Russia: Historical Exhibitions and their Visitors
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Pages: p. 40-49
In Russia the centenary of the First World War was state-organized and state-sponsored. This was the first official nation-scale commemoration ever since the end of that war. The ambition of the officials was to impose a new vision of the role of Russia in the War. Russia is ambivalently presented as a victim and as a victor. The conflict in the Ukraine contributed to accentuate anti-occidental, “patriotic” and militaristic trends that had been already manifest in the cultural policy. A sociological research was conducted in museums in 2014 in order to understand, to what extent the commemorative context determined the activities of cultural institutions and the perception of the events by the public. The majority of museums’ activities contributed to complexify the presentation of the war history and the message of the state. If the perception of the war history by the visitors is greatly influenced by mass-media, their appreciation of each museum exhibit is mediated much more by their personal experience.