Grozny: Reinventing a “Small Soviet Union” in the Caucasus

Paradoxical Nostalgias and Identity Constructions
By Walter Sperling

Focusing on the multinational community of Grozny, the article explores the ambiguities of Soviet everyday life in the Caucasus and its remembrance in post-Soviet Russia. Grozny can be regarded as a metaphor for other post-Soviet communities. Typically, they are looking back to the 1990s transformation period as a time of catastrophe. For the multinational community of Grozny represented by Russians, Chechens, Armenians and Jews, loss is not only a metaphor, but a bodily experience due to the two disastrous wars in the Northern Caucasus. “Our small Soviet Union”, as members of this today partly transnational community refer to their former city, can be understood as part of an effort to restore the lost feeling of belonging and to re-establish connections with the past destroyed by violence and war.

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