Small voices, big narratives. Problems of remembering and identifying the Post-Soviet Space. The case of Stalinist architectural ensemble in Sillamae, Estonia

Zavjalova, Aleksandra (2013) Small voices, big narratives. Problems of remembering and identifying the Post-Soviet Space. The case of Stalinist architectural ensemble in Sillamae, Estonia. (MA(R) thesis), Kingston University, .

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Abstract

Since 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the proliferation of attempts to build national identities, and nation-focused collective memories in Central and Eastern Europe has left ethnic minorities and “borderland” residents in a situation of “identity crisis”. This thesis explores and unpicks the identity shifts in Sillamae, a Russophone former closed town town in North-East Estonian region of Ida-Virumaa, and makes claim for its ambiguous nature as a site of conflicting memories in the Post-Socialist context. The notion of identity is complex and multi-layered, and here the focus lies in its interrelation with memory and space. This thesis discusses the spatial and experiential nature of identity construction in Sillamae, interpreted through unheard oral histories, original photographs and controversial history of the region. The memory aspect is understood through analysing the narratives of oral history, consisting from transcriptions of personal memories from Sillamae Museum, interviews conducted by the author and their family history, and the contrasting nation-focused Estonian collective memory narrative and the tendency of exclusion of the so-called Estonian Russians from it. Furthermore, it is claimed that Sillamae town, its architecture, planning and public spaces remain strongly informed by the Soviet past and Soviet urge for constructing homogenised identities; despite the attempts for its cultural transformation after the Singing Revolution its symbolism retains some of its ideological message for the inhabitants until today. Finally, emphasis is made on the town’s location with close proximity to the border with Russia and Russian-language media field, which endure the residents’ predisposition to non-Estonian influences on their identity construction.

Item Type: Thesis (MA(R))
Physical Location: This item is held in stock at Kingston University library.
Research Area: Art and design
Communication, cultural and media studies
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (until 2017) > Centre for Contemporary Visual and Material Culture
Depositing User: Niki Wilson
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2014 17:32
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2018 11:53
URI: http://eprints.kingston.ac.uk/id/eprint/27012

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