History Slogans in Political Public Demonstrations (2011–16)

Militant Uses of the Past
By Alexandra Arkhipova, Elena Iougaï, Anna Kirziouk, Darya Radtchenko, Alexeï Titkov, Anna Volkova

This article uses a corpus of more than 6,000 slogans and symbols that include historical references, gathered during street demonstrations in Russia between 2011 and 2016 as part of the collective investigation carried out by the “Contemporary Folklore Monitoring” research group. A quantitative analysis of this corpus reveals the main features of how the past is represented in the various kinds of demonstrations – whether held by pro-regime organisations, opposition political actions, demonstrations defending social claims, or marches organised by various partisan forces. This approach enables us to compare the interest in various periods of Russian history and to analyse the ways that historical references are instrumentalised in order to fuel various political interpretations of contemporary events, dominated by the annexation of Crimea, the conflict with Ukraine and the repression of protest movements against Vladimir Putin.

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