Sowjetische Heimatkunde (kraevedenie) und die Rückkehr der nationalen Erinnerung in Litauen 1956–1973




This contribution aims to demonstrate that and to what extent the Soviet kraevedenie strengthened the role of Lithuanian history during the late socialism (1956–1973). The Post-Stalinist memory politics encouraged the creation of local historical narratives within the context of people’s friendship and Soviet patriotism. This policy enabled a reemergence of pre-soviet Lithuanian history in the public discourses and culture that focused on medieval past and some more recent events. Established together with domestic tourism in the early 1960s, the kraevedenie institutions of Lithuanian SSR quickly turned into an essential platform for popularization of Soviet as well as national memory. This memory focus had to do with the omnipresence of history within the competences of the institution. This as well as the fact that the historical research of was performed using personal approach and continuing the krevedenie traditions of the interwar period enabled questioning of the history version of the communist party. These specific preconditions made possible to explore Lithuanian national past within the kraevedenie activities even though the main focus was devoted to the communist partisans or veterans of the World War II. It was the popularity of the “feudal” and “bourgeois” past of Lithuania that concerned the KGB the most as early as in the early 1960s. Some kraevedenie expeditions concentrated on objects of Lithuanian medieval past. A lot of interest—triggered by the former political prisoners was also paid more recent events such as the activism of the antiSoviet partisans, deportations and other repressions of the regime. Also Lithuanians living outside of the LSSR and certain important figures of Lithuanian national pantheon played a role.

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