Date Thesis Awarded

4-2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

Global Studies

Advisor

Alexander Prokhorov

Committee Members

Elena Prokhorova

Frederick Corney

Abstract

The focus of this thesis is Svetlana Alexievich’s role in shaping new forms of emplotment and a sense of post-Soviet authenticity. I focus on her two oral histories examining war experiences under socialism—War’s Unwomanly Face (U voiny ne zhenskoe litso) and Zinky Boys (Tsinkovye mal’chiki). Alexievich’s works provide alternative histories that differ from official narratives of events, especially as represented in film, which has been a key state tool for shaping collective memory both in Soviet times and in contemporary Russia. Hence, I compare Alexievich’s books with films about World War II and the Afghan war either fully funded or supported by the Soviet or Russian state. I first provide an overview of the evolution of the cult of the Great Patriotic War in the Soviet Union. In the next section, I discuss Iurii Ozerov’s Liberation as a representation of the state-sponsored war cult, and compare this to Alexievich’s female-centric oral history in War’s Unwomanly Face. Finally, I discuss the Soviet war in Afghanistan and compare Alexievich’s oral history Zinky Boys with Fedor Bondarchuk’s film 9th Company.

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