The Patriotism Of Despair By Serguei Alex Oushakine Essay

1792 Words Oct 26th, 2016 8 Pages
We all want to belong. We all want to feel part of something important. In his book The Patriotism of Despair, Serguei Alex Oushakine examines the magnification of this desire amid ideological turmoil in post-Soviet Russia. Drawing from interviews conducted during his fieldwork in Barnaul from 2001 to 2003 and scholarship published in the Altai region, Oushakine uncovers post-Soviet Russian nationalism as grounded in a pessimistic discourse of loss. Although he concentrates on how traumatic stories have produced a national narrative of despair in Russia, satellite states also experienced loss and uncertainty with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Thus I am left with the question: How have Ukraine and East Germany experienced the ‘patriotism of despair’ as described by Oushakine? To answer this question, I will first define and examine the ‘patriotism of despair’ in Russia in order to provide context for analyzing the same phenomenon in Ukraine and East Germany. Oushakine employs the phrase ‘patriotism of despair’ to connect trauma and loss with post-Soviet Russian nationalism. In the opening pages of the book, Oushakine cites “the post-Soviet tendency to achieve a sense of belonging by framing the nation’s history as one of experienced, imagined, or anticipated traumatic events” as his principle focus (Oushakine, 5). This statement underscores an important assumption: Oushakine intends for his ethnographic study of Barnaul to illuminate other regions of post-Soviet…

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