The Donbass as a Space of Socialist Enthusiasm, Memory, and Trauma: Cinematic and Literary Images

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Roman Abramov


This essay is written in the genre of psychogeography, employing sources from Soviet
and post-Soviet films and novels that portray the Donbass as an industrialized space of
both collective amnesia and collective memory, conjuring up the surreal territory of the
“mining-metallurgical civilization.” The modern context of the Donbass as an area of
armed conflict comes up only when related to the industrial past of this region. The
problem of Donbass identity in the context of the collapse of the Soviet Union is discussed
in terms of its integration into the new reality of an independent Ukraine. The
essay is about several Soviet films that show the Donbass as a space of labor heroism, a
site in the memory of the Great Patriotic War, and contradictory first postwar years of
the late Stalinist era. This analysis covers several important films about this space where
spy stories and the struggle to improve productivity are complemented by scenes of
building a new life on the basis of “cultural” principles.

Text in English.

DOI: 10.25285/2078-1938-2018-10-1-79-94


Psychogeography, Post-Soviet Spaces, Soviet Cinema, Cultural Studies, Miners, Donbass

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