Goal of research
To analyze and describe the ways of building identity and preserving the collective memory of small towns exposed to radiation.
In-depth interviews, conducted online via communication applications
Empirical base of research
20 people aged 21 to 71, living in Novozybkov, Bryansk region and Plavsk, Tula region.
Results of research
The ways of preserving the collective memory of the city’s history and of Chernobyl disaster and its effects on the cities are described, the components of their local identity are analyzed. Reconstruction of local historical narratives shows that it fits into the general outline of national history, and that the preservation of collective memory is carried out in traditional formats. The feeling of belonging to key historical events and personalities gives rise to a positive component of identity, while one's own perception in the context of historical trauma constructs a negative component of identity.The conclusion is made about the duality of the collective memory about the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. On the one hand, it is characterized by an orientation towards official discourse and a calmed public opinion as a catastrophe receding into the past. On the other hand, people are worried about the echoes of the accident, when the risks of radiation pollution are perceived as catastrophic and deserving of everyone's attention.