THE RUSSIANS FROM INNER MONGOLIA IN THE SHADOW OF THEIR PROJECTED AND PRACTISED PAST. THE PITFALLS OF 'RETROSPECTIVE RUSSIANNESS' ALONG THE RUSSIAN-CHINESE BORDER (Polish title below)
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(Polish title: Rosjanie z Mongolii Wewnetrznej w cieniu projektowanej i praktykowanej przeszlosci. Pulapki 'rosyjskosci retrospektywnej' na pograniczu rosyjsko-chinskim). The article offers a case study of a Russian borderline community living in Inner Mongolia, China. The key cultural feature of the group is its retrospective orientation to the 'Russian' period of the region's history. Its members' cultural practice includes constant references to the past and is based on the manifestation of public memory concentrated solely on the Russian aspects of the group's history. Simultaneously, the community keeps generating fairly complicated references to the contemporary Russian culture. The latter in turn has been dynamically adapting both the Soviet and emigrational models of conceptualising the region's past. The juxtaposition of the two concepts of 'retrospective Russianness' has created a unique situation of enchantment with the past expressed by both researchers and their respondents. Consequently, the cultural needs of the post-Soviet society have considerably influenced the methodology employed by the researchers studying the region in question. In this context 'Russianness' - both the one projected by the Russians and the one represented by the local community - constitutes, first of all, a significant obstacle to understanding the social role of the group's memory and, secondly, an instrument for conscious deformation of the real situation in order to create an idealised image of the past.
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