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Alexander Pushkin as Foreign Heritage: Transformation and Cultural Disintegration in post-Soviet Societies

The research seeks to analyze the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union and further transformation in the region for the change of status of Russian cultural heritage represented by an iconic poet in the Russian cultural pantheon. A symbolic personality of the highest value in the Soviet cultural canon, Pushkin became a contested icon for post-Soviet countries. This was particularly relevant for the areas in the former Soviet periphery with the developed Pushkin-related infrastructure for tourists and pilgrims. Such areas were known for Pushkin museums. The research comparatively approaches three case studies: Vilnius, Chisinau and Odessa to critically trace the dynamics of cultural disintegration in between 1991 and 2017. On the one hand, right after the collapse of the USSR, the infrastructure that promoted Pushkin as symbolic and cultural capital relevant for Lithuania, Moldova and Ukraine, was in severe crisis. On the other hand, recent developments (new festivals, new monuments, new campaigns) indicate that potential of using Pushkin at the political forefront of the ‘Russian World’ shall not be underestimated.

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