The moral right to economic crime: Remembering the Russian 1990s in a tragic mode in Aleksey Ivanov's Nasty Weather (Nenast'ye)

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This chapter inquires into a transformation in the remembrance of the ‘turbulent 1990s’ (likhiye devyanostyye) in Russia by examining the temporalities and modes of narrating this period in the novel Nasty Weather, published by the bestselling writer Aleksey Ivanov in 2015. This chapter’s reading inquires into the ways in which the novel’s narrative about the life of working-class communities in a provincial town both intersects with and differs from the memories of the 1990s mediated by official (state-supported) representations as well as cultural productions that have shaped popular memories, such as Aleksey Balabanov’s films Brat [Brother] (1997) and Brat 2 (2000), and their contemporary remediations. While the novel engages with the themes and tropes of moral collapse, lawlessness and community-building on the ruins of the Soviet, all of which are central to official and popular memories, the story it tells is, ultimately, not one of national victimhood (and recovery) but rather that of the tragedy of resistance to socio-economic and moral dispossession. Overall, it is the agency lent to the main protagonist and the novel’s emphasis on social justice (rather than national identity) that encapsulate this novel’s contribution to cultural memory of the 1990s in Russia.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRemembering the Neoliberal Turn
Subtitle of host publicationEconomic Change and Collective Memory in Eastern Europe after 1989
EditorsVeronika Pehe, Joanna Wawrzyniak
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781003430179
ISBN (Print)9781032553337
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2023

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