1st Edition

Russia's Regional Museums Representing and Misrepresenting Knowledge about Nature, History and Society

By Sofia Gavrilova Copyright 2023
    176 Pages 56 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    176 Pages 56 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book presents the results of extensive research into the very interesting phenomenon of local museums—kraevedschskyi museums—in Russia’s regions. It outlines how numerous such museums are, how long they have existed, what they display, and how this has changed, or not, from Soviet times up to the present. It shows how the museums’ displays often are about nature, history, and society. It goes on to discuss how what is portrayed represents particular interpretations of knowledge— including the heroism of the Soviet past, a colonial-style view of Russia’s very many non-Russian people, and the failure to mention things which might present Russia in a critical way. The book is much more than ‘museum studies’: it sheds a great deal of light on how Russians think about themselves and about how this self-view is fostered, and it also highlights the vast regional differences which exist in Russia.


    Note on transliteration

    List of figures


    1 Cultural myths and common silences in (post-)Soviet museums

    2 ‘Ask anyone; it’s just around the corner’: kraevedenie museums in the Russian cityscape

    3 A brief overview of the history of Russian regional museums

    4 ‘Arctic tundra. Forest. Desert’: constructing nature in kraevedenie museums

    5 Nature–human relations in contemporary kraevedenie museums

    6 ‘From ancient times to the present day’: the construction of history

    7 Representations of the Great Terror: from denial to understanding?

    8 ‘A northern man with a harpoon’: representing a socialist society and creating ‘others’

    9 Creating ‘the other’ in contemporary Russian kraevedenie museums

    10 Creating (post-)Soviet taxonomies: cultural myths and ‘common unsaids’



    Sofia Gavrilova completed her doctorate at the University of Oxford.