Ekaterina Boltunova at the 29th Bath Readings
On April 9, 2023, Ekaterina Boltunova, Head of the Laboratory presented a paper “ ‘Consider Me a Member of Society’: Voluntary Societies for Heritage Protection in the USSR and Reflections on the Historical Past from the 1960s to the 1980s” at the 29th International Coference "Bath Readings".
It is common knowledge that the 1960s, especially the latter half of the decade, were a time when Soviet society was focused on the notion of heritage. Societies for Heritage Protection were set up in Georgia and Latvia (1959); Azerbaijan (1962); Armenia (1964); Lithuania (1965); Tajikistan and Turkmenistan (1965); Kyrgyzstan, Moldavia, Byelorussia, Ukraine, and Russia (1966), and in Uzbekistan (1967). The rise of these voluntary associations was accompanied by the codification of 8 their regulations (in regional languages), development of their agenda of restoration and cultural redevelopment, and sprucing up new tourist destinations (such as the Golden Ring of Russia). Also started were a number of periodicals (Friends of Monuments of Culture in Georgia, Monuments of Turkmenistan, The Calendar of Nature and History in Lithuania) and newsletters (Monuments of Ukraine; Monuments of Kyrgyzstan; Monuments of the History and Culture of Byelorussia; and Monuments of the Motherland, published in the RSFSR). In 1967, the USSR joined the promotion effort for the year of international tourism, and the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences signed a joint resolution with the USSR’s Ministry of Culture authorizing the preparation of the colossal Corpus of Monuments of History of Culture in the USSR.
What impact did all of this have on Soviet society? Did it change anything regarding how history, culture and the self were seen in different regions of the country? This paper will attempt to answer these questions from the outcomes of a study of the archives of the Soviet voluntary associations, active both regionally and nationally in the Byelorussian and Russian Soviet Socialist Republics (All-Russian Society for the Preservation of the Monuments and History and Culture [VOOPIiK] and Byelorussian Voluntary Society for the Preservation for the Monuments and History and Culture [BDOOPIiK]).More information about the event is here.