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In search of lost time: Memory politics in Estonia, 1991-2011

  • Marek Tamm (a1)


This article analyzes memory politics during the first 20 years (1991-2011) of the newly independent Estonia. Memory politics is understood as a politics endeavoring to shape the society's collective memory and establish notions of what is and is not to be remembered of the past, employing to this end both legislative means and practical measures. The paper presents one possible scheme for analyzing Estonian memory politics and limits its treatment in two important ways. Firstly, the focus is on national memory politics, that is the decisions of the parliament, government, and president oriented toward shaping collective memory. And second, only internal memory politics is discussed; that is, bi- or multilateral memory-political relations with other states or political unions are not examined separately. The analysis is built on four interrelated dimensions of memory politics, which have played the most important roles in Estonia: the legal, institutional, commemorative, and monumental dimensions. Also, a general characterization and temporal articulation of memory politics in newly independent Estonia is proposed.



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