Politics of memory and journalism’s memory work: changes of commemoration practices of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact in the Estonian and Russian press 1989 – 2014
MetadataShow full item record
The current thesis set out to explore the dynamics of collective memory and identity in anniversary journalism, using the case study of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (MRP) signed between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany in 1939. MRP was chosen due to offering multiple layers of commemoration and also being politically relevant in the present day, and not only domestically or bilaterally but starting from 2009 also at pan-European level. The empirical material comprised newspaper articles from the Estonian (both in the Estonian and Russian language) and Russian press between 1989-2004, thus also allowing for a comparison across different mnemonic communities. The theoretical part of the thesis dealt with the key concepts of collective memory and identity, politics of memory and journalism’s memory work (anniversary journalism). Content analysis was used to achieve the research aim. The given study provides an overview of the emergence and gradual disappearance – the dynamics – of the commemoration of the MRP in the Estonian press. The results give ground to conclude that the current politics of memory behind the MRP, now mostly at European level, will keep the anniversary date of 23 August as a worthy object of research for memory scholars. However, even if the relevance of 23 August is increasing, it will most likely not be the MRP as the centrepoint. It remains to be seen to which extent it will become a commemoration day of the Baltic Way and/or for the victims of totalitarian regimes. As for Russia and the Russian press, the relevance of the MRP and 23 August will most likely depend on the role this date will become to hold in the European politics of memory, since the thesis showed the journalistic treatment of the MRP in the Russian press to be mostly of reactionary nature to others’ initiatives.