Felix Münch: The Hero’s Many Faces. »Alyosha« Monuments in Tallinn, Vienna, Plovdiv, and the Post-Soviet Space

Abstract

In: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2013. Berlin: Aufbau Verlag, pp. 263-272.

After the end of the »Great Patriotic War« in 1945, statues of Red Army soldiers were erected in the entire sphere of influence of the Soviet Union. Mostly as monuments to the »Liberators from German Fascism« or the »Unknown Soldier«, they were to remember the heroic deeds of the soldiers during the liberation of Europe from the Third Reich. Some of these relics of Soviet iconography still have their place in the cities of the post-Socialist space. These monuments are surprisingly often called »Alyosha« by the local, mostly Russophone population – a broad phenomenon in many countries. Beside the best-known and most conflict-laden case in the Estonian capital Tallinn, »Alyosha« monuments exist, for example, in Rēzekne (Latvia), in the Russian cities of Murmansk, Severomorsk, Krasnoyarsk, Nizhnevartovsk, and Kosaja Gora, in Kharkiv (Ukraine), in the Bulgarian cities Sofia, Plovdiv, Ruse, and Burgas, but also in the Austrian capital Vienna. The primary points of reference of this article are the »Alyosha« monuments in Tallinn, Vienna, and Plovdiv regarding their potential for controversy in the respective countries. The focus here is on the politics of history of the different national governments in dealing with the Communist heritage, particularly after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Über den Autor

Felix Münch, M.A., geb. 1981 in Gießen, 2002–2008 Studium der Politikwissenschaft, Neueren und Osteuropäischen Geschichte in Gießen, Tartu, Moskau und Warschau. Doktorand am International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture der Universität Gießen, 2010 Gastdozentur an der Universität Wien, 2010–2011 wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter an einem Forschungsprojekt an der Södertörn University Stockholm. Seit 2012 Geschäftsführer für deutsche und internationale Beziehungen bei der Stiftung für Wissenschaft und Kultur Domus Dorpatensis (Tartu). Veröffentlichungen u. a.: »The Russian ›Near Abroad‹ Policy towards Estonia – The Baltic States as an Area of World Power Interests«, in: Andreas Langenohl/Kirsten Westphal (Hg.): Comparing and Inter-Relating the European Union and the Russian Federation, Gießen 2006; Diskriminierung durch Geschichte? Der Deutungsstreit um den »Bronzenen Soldaten« im postsowjetischen Estland, Marburg 2008; »New Symbols of the Old Empire. Re-Bordering through Historical Remembrance on the Crimea Peninsula«, in: Jaroslaw Janczak (Hg.): De-Bordering, Re-Bordering and Symbols on the European Boundaries, Berlin 2011.