Nikolay Epplee

Philologist; translator and columnist, business daily Vedomosti

Visiting Fellow, Russia in Global Dialogue
(April 2018)


Never/Again: In Search of a Formula of Reconciliation for Russia

My work is dedicated to the issue of coming to terms with Russia’s “difficult past”. The problem of the proper reckoning – moral and judicial – with Stalin’s purges and the massive human rights violations of Soviet period is still unresolved and, as such, gives rise to a very deep schism within Russian society.
To deal with this problem, Russia requires a kind of “formula of reconciliation”, based on a close knowledge and deep understanding of the specifics of Russia’s past and present and on a good knowledge of other countries’ experiences. Strangely enough, the only example that currently has any resonance in Russia is the German case, which is in fact quite unique and the least applicable to Russia.
My project is an attempt to review and analyze the basic national models of coming to terms with a difficult past and the “reconstruction” of memory (i.e. Germany, Argentina, Spain, South Africa, Poland and Japan) and to modify their formulas according to Russia’s circumstances.
Such a synthesis of Russian and international experiences will make it possible to offer Russian policymakers and society a “model” of Vergangenheitsbewältigung and mechanisms of national reconciliation.