History as Therapy: Alternative History and Nationalist Imaginings in Russia

This astonishing book explores the delusional imaginings of Russia's past by the pseudo-scientific 'Alternative History' movement. Despite the chaotic collapse of two empires in the last century, Russia's glorious imperial past continues to inspire millions. The lively movement of 'Alternative History', diligently re-writing Russia's past and 'rediscovering' its hidden greatness, has been growing dramatically since the collapse of Communism in 1991. Virtually unknown in the West, these pseudo-historians have published best-selling books, attracted widespread media attention, and are a prominent voice in Internet discussions about Russian and world history. Alternative History claims that Russia is much older than Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome; that the medieval Mongol Empire was in fact a Slav-Turk world empire; and that, in the twentieth century, duplicitous foreign powers stabbed Russia in the back and stole its empire. For its followers the key to Russia's greatness in the future lies in ensuring that Russians understand the true wealth of their past. Alternative history has become a popular therapy for Russians still coming to terms with the reality of Post-Soviet life. It is one of the forces shaping a new Russian nationalism and an important factor in the geopolitics of the twenty-first centu0.