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Beskov A.A. Degradation of mass historical consciousness of the Russian people as a threat to national security: causes, trends, and ways of overcoming

Published in journal "Politics and Society", 2016-4 in rubric "Ideology and politics", pages 466-479.

Resume: The subject of this research is the processes, which characterize changes of the specificity of mass historical consciousness of the Russian society. The recent government initiatives in the area of historical education, as well as the noted by sociologists changes in the structure and content of the historical memory of the Russian people, are being examined during the course of this work. The author analyzes the differences between the specificity of the mass historical consciousness of Russian during the Soviet and post-Soviet time, as well as the processes which led to the emergence of such differences.  Special attention is given to the formulation of the concrete practical recommendations, the realization of which will allow turning our mass historical consciousness into a self-regulating system and prevent Russians from the new drastic sociopolitical disturbances. One of the methodological prerequisites for this research became Jan Assmann’s concept about the two varieties of collective memory: communicative and cultural. The scientific novelty consists in the fact that although within the Russian scientific periodicals the topic of mass historical consciousness is being touched upon quite often, and the appeals towards its purification from the corrupted ideas of the past, very little attention is given to the questions why these ideas are being corrupted, and how this process can be counteracted. In the author’s opinion, this is because of insufficient attention of the researchers towards the interconnection between the functioning of mass historical consciousness and the issues of the Russian historical science and historical education. This article demonstrates that during the post-Soviet period, mass historical consciousness stopped progressing, thus it currently does not meet the level of development of the historical science. Its degradation is substantiated by the fact that the knowledge of the historical past became less scientific, rather than the fact that Russians know less about the history. It makes the mass historical consciousness more vulnerable and subjects the society to the targeted negative information influence, the danger of which increases in the era of global information warfare.   

Keywords: historical consciousness, history, collective memory, memory wars, historical education, falsification of history, national security, pseudohistory, positivism, digital diplomacy

DOI: 10.7256/1812-8696.2016.4.14949

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