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Boeles

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Boeles

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Otto Boele

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This article examines the way in which "ordinary" Russians remember the era of Leonid Brezhnev (1964-1982). Using various concepts of post-communist nostalgia, it demonstrates that the period is exceptionally popular, but that this should not be construed as an unambiguous desire to revive the "Golden" 1970s. Positive evaluations of the Brezhnev era are often predicated on personal memories of one's youth, which shows that post-Soviet nostalgia is not a "common," but a generation-bound phenomenon. After attempting to explain Brezhnev's popularity in the 1990s and the Putin era, the article proceeds with a discussion of Novorossiisk, a city that claims to have a special bond with Brezhnev and decided to erect a statue of him in 2004. Detailing the controversy over the statue over a period of six years, the author demonstrates the existence of a locally defined Brezhnev "text" that allows the city's inhabitants to remember him as a great leader and a staunch defender of the fatherland, but also to appropriate him for their own political needs.

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Boeles and Schild

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Pieter Boeles

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Boeles and Wijnakker

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Otto Boele

This article focuses on a crucial, if largely forgotten polemic in the history of Russian literary criticism which revolved around the question as to why late nineteenth-century literature had stopped featuring truly inspiring, “epoch-making” heroes, such as Grigorii Pechorin (A Hero of Our Time) or Evgenii Bazarov (Fathers and Children). Some critics regarded the disappearance of such strong and lonely characters as an encouraging development testifying to the rapid spread of enlightenment among the lower strata of society. Others explained the “de-heroization” of Russian literature as a corollary of the political reaction under Tsar Alexander III. After examining the writings of various liberal and radical critics who spoke out on the demise of the epoch-making hero, the article proceeds to discuss Iakov Abramov’s theory of “small deeds” and, in particular, its assumed practitioner: the law-abiding intellectual who rejects the radicalism of the 1860s and modestly serves the people. Drawing on three longer stories by Ignatii Potapenko and on the writings of the critics Dmitrii Ovsianiko-Kulikovskii and Vatslav Vorovskii, the author argues that Abramov’s alternative role model (which in practice was highly successful) did not fit the dominant paradigm of late nineteenth-century criticism. Hence the critics’ refusal to accept Abramov’s non-heroic toiler as a successor to Bazarov and admit him to the canon of epoch-making heroes of Russian literature