FRAMING MEMORY ABOUT THE REFORMS OF THE 1990S IN THE LIBERAL DISCOURSE IN THE 2000S

O. Yu. Malinova

Olga Yu. Malinova, Higher School of Economics, Myasnitskaya Str., 20, Moscow, 101000, Russia. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

ORCID 0000-0002-2754-8055

Acknowledgement. The research was carried out through the financial support of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, grant No 17–03–00322 (Constructing frames of collective memory in the political discourse: the “hard 1990s” vs. the “stable 2000s”).

Abstract. The article is part of the research project on the construction of collective memory frames about the 1990s and the 2000s in Russian political discourse. It explores the specificity of the 1990s’ reforms representation in the discourse of the reputed “liberals”. The analysis is based on the publications of the liberal parties’ leaders in federal media in 2000–2001. The thematic coding of the texts was carried out on the basis of MAXQDA 2018 (application). The subsequent assortment of the coded fragments enabled the author to reveal the common and the distinctive patterns of representation. The mnemonic strategies of the liberals, i.e. the logic they followed while “using” the recent past for political purposes, was subjected to their struggle for the “market” and “democratic” reforms. Their desire to rehabilitate their own roles in the 1990s contributed to this strategy. As they were focused on further reforms in the sphere of economy, the leaders of both “Soyuz Pravykh Sil” and “Yabloko” parties tended to empha- size the succession between the 1990s and the 2000s. The former did so because they hoped to influence the economic policy of the new president through their representatives in the government and with the help of expert organizations. The latter were critical of both Yeltsin’s and Putin’s reforms and argued that the the policy of new government aggravates old prob- lems. Both were concerned with Putin’s attacks on democratic freedoms. Yet, aware of the de- fects of the 1990s democratic practices they did not emphasize the contrast between the “new authoritarianism” and the “past freedoms”. The liberals did their best to defend the legacy of the 1990s from the newly arising criticism, but while doing so they were much more concerned with the rehabilitation of their own programs of political reforms than with constructing a general apologetic narrative. As a result, their discourse contributed to, rather than challenged the image of Yeltsin’s’ 1990s and Putin’s 2000s.

Keywords: use of the past for political purposes, mnemonic strategy, the liberals, the 1990s, the 2000s.

DOI: 10.31429/26190567-20-3-91-105