Friday, November 17, 2023

Soviet Films Played Key Role in Defining Uniqueness of Siberians for Them and for Russians Generally, Chernyshov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 14 – Soviet films played a key role in defining how Siberians and Russians who grew up with them understood what it meant to be a Siberian and made that identity more important than those connected with being a resident of one of the federal subjects into which that enormous land was divided up by Moscow, Sergey Chernyshov says.

            But with the end of the Soviet system, Russian films have generally focused not on Siberia and Siberians as a whole but on specific regions within that area east of the Urals, the RFE/RL journalist says (

            That has meant, Chernyshov says, that older residents of Siberia tend to identify more often as Siberians than do younger ones who typically identify in terms of this or that region or republic, a pattern documented by Irkutsk State University scholar Maria Plotnikova a few years ago.

            (Plotnikova’s study, “Local and Regional Identity in Siberian Cities in the 21st Century,” Journal of Siberian Federal University, Humanities and Social Sciences, 8 (2015): 245-252, in Russia with English summary is available online at

            That pattern, in which Soviet films defined regions in one way and post-Soviet ones do another, undoubtedly exists in other part of the Russian Federation as well and may play an unexpectedly large role in the regionalist and republic politics of the future of that territory, with older people defining themselves one way and younger ones in a quite different one.

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