Evaluation of postcolonial/ imperial experience;

Konstantin Romanov, Moscow State University


National and post-national discourse in modern Canada

in the light of the 150th anniversary of Canada


In 2017, Canada broadly celebrated the 150th anniversary the Confederation of Canada that united previously separate British colonies in North America. This event, usually associated with the beginning of the country’s statehood, triggered political and academic discussions about the past, the present and the future of the country.

For 150 years Canada’s “national narrative” has been dominated by different trends. At first, it was imperial trend related to colonization and the emergence of French and British colonies. Then national trend related to independence from Britain and participation in World Wars came to the fore. Recently postcolonial paradigm related to integration of Canada to international community, adoption of multiculturalism as official policy, Quebec separatism and the struggle of indigenous groups for recognition of their political rights emerged as a powerful force. At the beginning of the 21st century, it seemed that postcolonial discourse strengthened its position as the dominant trend: Canada’s government officially apologized to previously discriminated minorities, tolerance to “visible minorities” grew up, and the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada” was set up in 2008. The victory of the Liberal party in the federal elections of 2015 marked the beginning of the new “post-national” discourse in politics. In the first interviews as the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau called Canada “the first post-national state”, claiming its pan-cultural heritage and pointing out indisputable allegiance of Canadians to shared human values such as human rights, equality and justice, and respect to differences.

However, during the official 150-th anniversary celebrations indigenous communities launched massive “anticolonial” protests (#Resistance 150). These protests attracted many indigenous and non-indigenous supporters. The question of national self-determination is still pressing and the direction of the national politics is likely to be changing.


Key words: Canada, postcolonialism post-nationalims, Resistance 150.



Ksenia Eremenko, Far Eastern Federal University, Vladivostok.


«Colony-to- nation-to- colony»: Canada’s national development in the discourse of Canadian intellectuals in the mid-20th century


The paper examines how Canadian intellectuals viewed the path of their country's national development during the period of the late 1940s to the early 1970s. If in 1946 historian Arthur Lower presented the history of Canada as an evolutionary movement from the status of Great Britain’s colony to the status of an independent North American nation in his famous book “From colony to nation”, then in the new realities of the late 1950s and early 1970s the positive attitude was replaced by the idea that the country is rapidly returning to its colonial status, this time becoming an American colony.


Key words: Canada, colony, nation, discourse, intellectuals.



Denis Rodin, Moscow State University


The imperial legacy: colonial revisionism in Weimar republic


The signing of the Treaty of Versailles, which deprived young Weimar republic of all its colonies, did not mean German nation`s renouncement of its colonial aspirations. Citizens of Germany were used to seeing their colonies as a verification of Germany's imperial status, which meant that the struggle for retrieval of the colonies  was a dominant aspect of German policy in 1920s. It may be argued that Weimar republic developed the policy of colonial revisionism, which became a major factor for both social development and foreign policy of Germany. 

This policy manifested itself in heightening colonial hysteria through  numerous articles, brochures and prospectuses on colonialism. Such groups as “German colonial society”, “German-east-African society”, “German society of colonial warriors” were at their most active and served as improvised headquarters to the entire colonial movement. At the German Colonial congress of 1924 scholars from all across the country presented their projects on assimilation of lost colonies aiming at their active involvement into economic and cultural fields of Germany. Such initiatives were largely supported by major politicians like H. Schacht, G. Stresemann and H. Luther.

Foreign policy office was involved as well. It spawned many projects on  retrieving lost colonies  by means diplomacy (by authorship of A.G. Maltzan, E. Brückner, and T. Seitz). German diplomats used any given opportunity to tackle the subject of reestablishing lost German colonies. G. Stresemann addressed the issue at Locarno Conference in October of 1925; and after Germany joined the League of Nations, he insisted  that   a mandate be given  for its former colonies. Furthermore, in 1920s the influx of German immigrants promoting German influence  into former African colonies increased. Taking everything in consideration, it is possible to state that there was a continuity of colonial policy of German Empire and Weimar Republic,  whose people considered inconceivable  to be a Great Power without their colonies.


Key words: revisionism, colonialism, colonies, German foreign policy, Weimar republic, emigration, public opinion.



Olga Saprykina, Moscow State University


The moduses of louzophone discourse in postcolonial Africa 


Postcolonial discourse represents a specific discoursive formation that arose in the second half of the XX th century in the formerly colonized space of Africa.

In the speech strategies of postcolonial discourse there are two fundamental options - indigenization and rhetorical modus.

Indigenization is usually specified in several vectors: first, as a pidginization associated with the reorganization of the phonetic, lexical and grammatical systems of the source language, and secondly, as its re-indexation.

Strategies of rhetorical modus include remithologization, built on the desacralization of old myths and the building of new ones, metaphorization as the process of forming a new African identity, its evidence and sign, as well as allegorization and irony. Rhetorical strategies are associated with transformations in discourse.

Mythology is the source of fundamental cosmogonic and ethical concepts.

Thus, in particular, the bearer of the ancient knowledge of the organization of the universe in the novel by M. Couto Terra Sonâmbula "Sleeping Land" is an old man named Siqueleto Siqueleto. Sikeleto is connected with the world tree arbor mundi.

The symbol of the eternal nature, which comes into conflict with the technogenic civilization, is the goddess of the sea, the mermaid of Kianda [Kituta, Kiximbi]. The main linguistic means of preserving and renewing the mythopoetic tradition is the name. Onimization is a complex strategy that contains several discursive practices: naming, renaming, tabulating, assigning a pseudo-name. It is interesting that masks in the form of the heart are widespread in the art of the peoples of Central Africa. The heart shape assumes a single pictorial archetype. But what is very important - masks often depict faces not from one, but from two or even four sides. A mask is a kind of name that can be opened in different horizons.

In one of the interviews, M. Couto cited as an example the difficult situation in Mozambique, manifested in the fact that in almost every province of the country a person can change his name: new circumstances create a new person. The person's name determines his fate. A new name can change a destiny. The act of naming is sacred.

In the poetics of lusophone authors, the role of the animistic (theriomorphic) component is significant.

Animals and relations between them are a kind of paradigm of relations in human society. Each animal is the peak of a qualitative substance: there are animals associated with courage, courage, fearlessness; there are those who are considered to be the companions of death; there are greedy and stupid; there are lords and there are their hangers-on. Couto's animals are incorporated  into several imaginative systems - symbolic, allegorical and metaphorical.


Key words: discourse, postcolonial discursive formation, discursive strategies, modus, indigenization, relexification, remyphologization, metaphorization, allegorization, irony.



Nadezda Pazuhina, University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia / Baltic international academy, Riga, Latvia


“Imperial legacy” vs “keepers of the past”: thematization of the religious identity of the Russians in public discourse of the interwar period in Latvia


The beginning of the 1920s in the Baltic States – Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – the period of formation of the new political elite, construction of the national discourse of the political history and legitimation of some ethnic groups in the national minority status. At the same time the Baltic States and their capitals retained the informal status of “Russia abroad” (Russian émigrés), “Baltische Randstaaten”, which was  closely associated with  the former pre-revolutionary Russia. In this tense context, with the construction of the image of national state, on the one hand, and the representations of “Russia in exile”, on the other hand,  the questions arose  in the public discourse, concerning  not pragmatic aspects of state building, but emotional and  psychological attitudes to some social (ethnic) groups, whose image was interpreted as a problematic in the new political discourse.  


The interwar period in the context of the history of the “Russian émigrés”, as well as of the cultural history of Russian minority in Latvia reflected an experience of the construction of cultural memory of the Russians in diaspora. Simultaneously,  the image of the Russian and  German minorities was understood as the “other” in the dominant  national (Latvian) discourse. Religious identity, for example, the Russian Orthodoxy, was perceived as part of “imperial legacy”, contradictory to democratic values, whereas  the Orthodox Old-Believers, having been persecuted  by the imperial authorities  were considered more loyal citizens, despite their distancing from  the state as an institution. How was he image of “ the Russian” in the public discourse in the 1920s constructed?  Which new traits did  this image acquire  after the coup of Kārlis Ulmanis (15/05/1934)? How was the religious identity  instrumentalized in political and public discussions in Latvian and Russian communities? From this viewpoint the paper analyzes  periodicals and the archival documents, reflecting the activities of some public organizations during the period in question.  


Key words: public discourse, identity, religious identity, national minority, Russians in Latvia, interwar period.



Natalja Suvorova, Omsk State University 


«Nation» and «Nationality» in the discourse of resettlement of late imperial and early Soviet colonization experts 


The paper compares the perception and use of the concepts "nationality" and "narodnost" by late imperial and early Soviet colonization experts. In the context of radical socio-political and ideological transformations, a certain personnel and institutional continuity of the resettlement institutions was preserved. Thus, comparison of the positions (before and after the revolution) of a group of experts who continued their activities in the resettlement department is deemed .In productive. On the basis of scholarly and business-related texts and personal data files of experts  the  paper  shows a change in the hierarchy of colonization practices, and also compares   administrative, national and class criteria for the classification of the resettled population and old-timers.


Key words: Nation, nationality, ethnicity, colonization expert, resettlement discourse.



Stanislav Zvonok, Stavropol Congress of the peoples of Russia “Dialogue”


Negative trends of post-colonial discourse in the Caucasus in 2017


Moderation of the Caucasian segment of social networks revealed a growth of negative tendencies in post-colonial discourse of citizens living in the republics of the North Caucasus Federal district. It has been over 150 years since the end of the Caucasian war, and the discourse continues. The intensity of claims from both sides increased in 2017 . The author sheds light  the several reasons behind them 


Key words: Caucasian war, Circassian issue, genocide against Nogai people, genocide of Cossacks, crisis of national elites in the Caucasus.



Oleg Ryabov, Saint Petersburg State University


“Two Russias”: 2011-2013 Russian protests’ discourse through the lenses of postcolonial studies


The paper deals with analysis of the Russian protests’ discourse (so called the “Snow revolution”) through the prism of postcolonial studies. The author points out that the Center-Periphery relations that are produced by division of the world into “The West and the Rest” (Stuart Hall) received political meaning in the Snow revolution; “Europeanness” was exploited not only as a marker of geographical and civilizational  differences but also as a means of hierarchizing the political forces  within a nation. 

Initially the Snow revolution discourse was founded on the opposition “the authorities vs. the people”; later it became focusing on juxtaposing “two Russias”, the “progressive” and the “conservative”.  Political differences started to be interpreted as the cultural ones that manifested themselves in the level of education, moral  standards, attitudes to fashion, views on gender issues, manners and so on; various discourse of identity  intersected and impacted the political actors’ hierarchy. These political and cultural differences received also the space marking; the support of Vladimir Putin was stigmatized as a sign of provinciality. That is why the opposition’s discourse can be considered as a sort of the Orientalistic discourse;  it employed the oppositions “culture vs. nature”, “freedom vs. slavery”, “democracy vs. despotism”, “progress vs. backwardness”, “order vs. chaos”, “activity vs. passivity”, “individual vs. collective”, and others. 

The author examines the representations of Svetlana Kuritsyna (“Sveta from Ivanovo”), a member of pro-Kremlin youth movement “Stal”, as a case study. The opposition discourse treated her as a typical definition of the “Putin’s electorate”, and  mobilized the “creative class” ’ negativity  based on rejection of the traits attributed to this image, including lack of freedom, subjectivity and self-control; provinciality, backwardness, fleshliness, femaleness, naturalness.


Key words: postcolonial study, Orientalism, capital and province, 2011-2013 Russian protests.



Marina Raevskaya, Moscow State University


«Linguistic identity without borders» as

a new Panhispanic project of our time


The slogan "Linguistic identity without borders" can be considered as a new Panhispanic project of modernity, which is essentially a new mechanism of social management, another lever of the so-called "soft power", another discursive practice implemented within the post-colonial Spanish-speaking community.

The need to introduce this concept into the modern academic knowledge and socio-political practice is dictated by purely pragmatic reasons, namely, the urgent obligatoriness for the Hispanic community to define the role of the Spanish language as a symbol of supranational identity that opposes the growing processes of globalization (at least within the Hispanic societies).

The linguistic identity can be defined as  the awareness of one's identity within the particular linguistic community that ensures the use of adequate models of verbal communication in the cross-cultural interaction, as well as the stability of linguistic well-being in the habitual communication context. The construction of the Panhispanic linguistic identity was initiated at the Third International Congress of the Spanish Language (CILE: Rosario, 2004), when an unusual step was taken to solve the complex dilemma of the relationship between language and territory: the notion of the Spanish language was politically freed from its cultural and national bindings. From this point on, the new concept conveys the idea of a “language taken outside its specific territories”, which enables it to adopt a more heterogeneous identity and, therefore, to go beyond its geographical and political boundaries.

Naturally, the Spanish language, spread over vast territories, has undergone and continues to undergo transformations, fraught with more global differences within its regional diversity. An important restraining factor to this divergence process is a unified linguistic policy based on the so-called Panhispanic linguistic ideology and the Panhispanic linguistic identity, which can be called the main braces of a united supranational socio-cultural Spanish-speaking space, taken out of its political and economic systems.

In an era of global change, the linguistic ideology and linguistic identity are one the most important regulators of social life within the interstate space bound by a common colonial past, due to their influence on the spiritual being of the individual and the society, as well as to providing its members with a sense of unity and mutual complementarity on a diversified political continuum.


Key words: linguistic identity, supranational identity, Panhispanic linguistic ideology, Hispanic community, International Congress of the Spanish language, post-colonial Hispanic formation.



Olga Bogatova, Ogarev Mordovia State Universit, Saransk


“Imperial” and “state-building” ethnos: regional historical narrative and its political use in postimperial construction of dominating groups (the case of Republic Mordovia)


The research paper examines the case of Mordovia  as thee specificity of discoursivee formation of titular ethnos in the republic of the Russian Federation  in the context of a republican policy of ethnic “nationalization” of these regions in historical and political narrative. The author analyses the content of the dominant historical narrative by Prof. V. A. Yurchenkov  concerning  the status of the Mordovian people in  the system of center-peripheral relations with the Russian princedoms and Russian empire. It also focuses on the example of ideological preparation for the celebration of two anniversaries (in 2006 and 2012) in Mordovia -  the 1000 anniversary of a unification of the Mordovian people with the people of the Russian state and the All-Russia population census, which transformed this narrative in the context of  the republican symbolical policy of nationalization of “titular” ethnicity  and ethnization of republican statehood.The author believes 

that in the course of this transformation the supposed fact of the establishment  of tribute relations  in the second half of the XI - the beginning of XII centuries  was rearticulated in the logic of the “inverted empire” so that the participation of Mordovian ethnos in the formation of the Russian state   could symbolically promote the ethnic status and this discoursive formation could politically affect  the process of Post-Soviet Russian state-building. The author point out that among the consequences of this projection  there was the transformation of anniversary of these historical events into a referential point for  the republican political discourse, which  enabled the Head of Republic Mordovia to speak on behalf  of the  titular ethnic community («we declare ourselves as one of the state-building nations»). The celebrations also served quasi-constitutional function, based on the idea, prevalent in  the regional political discource,  about  «an official recognition of the Mordovian people as state-building» in the text of the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation about celebrating of the 1000 anniversary of a unification of the Mordovian people with the people of the Russian state in 2012, as well as  “nationalizing” function involving the policy of further Mordovian ethnicity “territorialization” and achievement of the demographic superiority in Republic Mordovia. The author concludes  that there is a possibility of rejecting not only academic but also constitutional knowledge  in  “postimperial” historical policy.



Alexander Ovchinnikov, Kazan State Technological University


«Russian world», «Tatar world» and «history of the Kryashens»: historical components of (neo)colonial myths in modern Tatarstan


Federal division along ethnic lines (we are talking about the so-called «national republics») is the reason for the presence in modern Russia interacting and competing in some respects historical and mythical discourses. The study of them raises the question of (neo)Imperial and (neo)colonial nature of this phenomenon. In Tatarstan, a Republic within Russia, after the official Declaration of sovereignty in 1990  constructing myths of history of «the Tatar world», geographically and chronologically spanning the Millenniums and a considerable space of Eurasia, intensified. 7-volume «History of Tatars»  prepared under the supervision of the Academy of Sciences of Tatarstan became one of the outcomes. The narrative of «history of the Tatar people» in the 1990s – early 2000s, often came into confrontation with the Federal historical narrative. The federal historical narrative since the beginning of the policy of strengthening of the «vertical of power» has become part of the concept of « the Russian world». The coexistence of ideologies of the «Russian» and «Tatar» «worlds» is the «echo» of the nuances of the relationships of the Federal and Republican political elites. The support of national authorities provides prestige, academic quality, and a certain autarchy of plots of « the history of the Tatar people»  At the same time, there are attempts in Tatarstan's socio-political, journalistic, and partly academic spheres  to construct an image of separate «people of the Kryashens». Tatar historians consider the ethnic group of baptized Tatars (Kryashen) as part of a single Tatar nation, while the Kryashen activists and historians (I.G. Maksimov, M.S. Glukhov, A.V. Fokin, G.M. Makarov, T.G. Dunaeva, etc.) insist that there are Turkic-speaking Orthodox people of Kryashens, and not the Tatars who were forcibly baptized after the conquest of Kazan in 1552 by Ivan IV and(or) later. In these authors’ publications it is argued that the Kryashens had been formed long before 1552. The historical myth of the Kryashens at the moment includes subjects related to the Aryans, the Kerayits, the medieval population of Volga Bulgaria and the Golden Horde. The lack of administrative support is the main cause of marginalization of history of the Kryashens. The coexistence in one region of the state of three competing primordially and essentialist historical narratives, the success or failure of which depends on the position of the authorities, replicates the classic «Imperial situation» of  the XIX, early XX centuries. One of the political units of the Empire, constructing its own ethnic ideology, tries to isolate itself from the «metropolis», at the same time it is a «mini-Empire» and tries to unify its own «ideological space». 


Key words: myth, «The Tatar world», Kryashens, «(neo)Imperial situation».