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Back From Utopia: How Donbas Fighters Reinvent Themselves in a Post-Novorossiya Russia

  • Marlene Laruelle (a1)

Abstract

How to cope with the end of utopia? How to move from making history on a day-to-day basis to capitalizing on a legend? That is the dilemma Russian veterans of the Donbas insurgency have faced since the exalting atmosphere of Novorossiya faded away. In this article, I trace the transformations of the Novorossiya utopia from the point at which Russian volunteer fighters began to return to Russia and found themselves compelled to reinvent themselves in a new context. I first look at the difficult reconversion from war to politics of Donbas heroes such as Igor Strelkov and Aleksandr Borodai and how their efforts to launch new structures based on their war legitimacy have succeeded or failed. I then turn to investigate the birth of new heroes, such as the writer Zakhar Prilepin, who wave the metaphorical flag of Donbas at a time when exaltation of the war has declined. After that, I explore how Novorossiya has become a literature genre that occupies the shelves of Russian bookstores, spanning from Novorossievedenie—the “science of Novorossiya”—to the rich subgenre of war memoirs and veteran diaries.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author. Email: laruelle@gwu.edu

References

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Back From Utopia: How Donbas Fighters Reinvent Themselves in a Post-Novorossiya Russia

  • Marlene Laruelle (a1)

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