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  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: September 2009

Chapter 5 - Soviet Television: russian memories


Post-Soviet television viewers

Young Russians today would likely not have watched most of the programs – political analysis, news, speeches of Politburo leaders, the high culture of opera, poetry readings, theater – on television in the Soviet era. Today's twenty-somethings were toddlers or babies at the time. Yet, for the most part, they have strong opinions about it. The research questions addressed here are twofold: First, what memories of Soviet television might have survived in the attitudes that these young post-Soviets stored in their memories? Second, what can we say about all those other emotionally charged attitudes that post-Soviets attribute to Soviet television, which they could not have seen, much less understood?

Soviet-era media discourse was largely abstract, bureaucratic, and filled with evasive euphemisms, such as “internationalist duty of a limited contingent” which stood for “war in Afghanistan.” This opaque abstract world, plus their very young age, would have inhibited understanding at the time.

Theories of childhood and memory

Some memories erode and decay; others can remain stable and durable.