2017 | 46 | 253-265
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Trzydzieści lat później… Społeczna pamięć o pieriestrojce we współczesnej Rosji

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Perestroika, although it began 30 years ago, is still alive in Russians’ collective memory. Its recollection is fading but constantly provokes heated debate and, at times, extreme emotions. Looking into contemporary sociological researches conducted e.g. by the Levada Center – concerning perestroika’s memories, its consequences and values – one can conclude that Russians are quite critical of what had been achieved by Mikhail Gorbachev. Russians look at the perestroika through the prism of socio-political and economic trauma (smuta) of the nineties. They praise the process for opening borders and allowing citizens to speak openly and criticize government actions, they like giving people possibility to run their own business, but at the same time they are deeply dissatisfied with weakening of the Soviet Union’s state structure and allowing uncontrolled political pluralism and rivalry – doing more harm than good for the Russian state. There is also a tendency to deny the perestroika memory – it seems to be a symbol of lost opportunity, it is easier to forget about it than to come to terms with its failure. At the same time its values (pro-democratic and pro-western) are replaced by those associated with traditional type of political regime (authoritarian). Perestroika is blamed for the Soviet Union’s collapse and Russians feel nostalgia for the “good old times”, associated mainly with Brezhnev and the time when he was at the helm of CPSU. But one must be aware of the fact that those emotions associated with Soviet Union and its socio-political and economic order have bearing on Russians’ expectations concerning contemporary Russia. Bitter lesson taken from perestroika and the nineties stops Russian from pushing harder for changes and make them cling on to the Putin’s rule.
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