Book review

Bennich-Björkman, Li & Sergiy Kurbatov, eds. When the Future Came: The Collapse of the USSR and the Emergence of National Memory in Post-Soviet History Textbooks

Published: 9 Jul 2021
Summary:

Perestroika, the fateful years when Mikhail Gorbachev's plans for reforming the Soviet structure ended with the Union’s full collapse, is for many of us still a lived memory. But how is perestroika remembered today in the states that arose from the ashes of the USSR? And what can this tell us about national self-understanding in the Soviet successor states? This is the starting point for Li Bennich-Björkman and Sergiy Kurbatov’s edited volume When the Future Came: The Collapse of the USSR and the Emergence of National Memory in Post-Soviet History Textbooks. The volume consists of four case studies of history textbooks currently in use in secondary schools and universities in four of the former union republics – Russia, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine – and a close reading of how these cover perestroika as part of the new "national" history.