This project is an attempt at an alternative view on Russian and European history of the last 300 years through re-evaluating the notion and genesis of Modernity, its main characteristics and various consequences to the fates of different countries. The goal is to study the phenomenon of „closed societies“—like Imperial and Soviet Russia, Franco‘s Spain or Nazi Germany—from the perspective of the theory of „multiple modernities“. Using an anthropological approach the project is mainly focusing on the level of society and individuals. It explores the common strategies of individual as well as corporate survival and resistance, and studies the alternative ways of evolution and development which ultimately led to the opening up of these rigid and self-isolated cultures.
Endless battles about national history, particularly of its most crucial and dramatic moments (Bolshevik revolution, World War II, Stalinist terror, the end of the Soviet regime etc) are characteristic of Russian political and intellectual scene over the last 20 years. To some extent it may be compared to public debates in post-Nazi Germany but Russian situation is complicated by the total loss of direction concerning the country’s economic perspectives and ethical priorities. On the one hand, the present regime plays a quasi-Soviet restoration card, on the other – there starts an intensive search for new historical paradigms, social imagery and intellectual approaches to revaluate Russian past for the sake of its democratic future.