What keeps the show on the road?
of the Interdisciplinary Research Network Legacies of Communism? Post‐Communist Europe from Stagnation to Reform, between Autocracy and Revolution
The research project is based on the hypothesis of existing continuities from the Soviet to today’s Russian society. This seems to be especially true for the continuing existence of elites and networks, for the way these networks operate, and for specific values that ensure the persistent existence of such networks. This assumption will be examined using the Russian museum system and museum professionals as a field of research. The project will cover the past three decades: from the mid-1980s through the years of transformation of state and society in the 1990s to the present day. As far as many of the leading persons hold their positions in museums already since late Soviet times the world of Russian museums is an interesting example for constancy and change of Russian elite groups involved in the cultural sphere.
The aim of the study is to examine in detail how the representatives of museums on the one hand compete for prestige and financial resources. How do they on the other hand find common positions, which they can effectively represent as their interests? The analysis focuses on the internal structure of the existing associations of museum’s professionals: the “Union of museums of Russia” and the Russian section of “ICOM”. The lasting relationships between its members will be also discussed as well as their shared values. It should be analyzed which strategies are used when leading persons are talking to public authorities in order to effect changes in their favor. In this context, personal relationships between members of the professional associations and representatives of the state administration are also of great importance.
The study follows on from the fundamental question formulated by colleagues earlier. Already in 1956 Bauer, Inkeles and others called their study: “How the Soviet System works.” Alena Ledeneva put it in one of her books in 2006: “How Russia Really Works”. As far as we are discussing a period of dramatical changes I would ask: “What keeps things going?”
Dr. Corinna Kuhr-Korolev
Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History
Am Neuen Markt 1
Büro: Am Neuen Markt 9d, Zimmer 1.07
Tel.: 0331 74510-123
Fax: 0331 74510-143
E-Mail: kuhr-korolev [at] zzf-potsdam.de