Du local au global | séance 3
Circulation of historical events at different scales:
two examples from the history of the Soviet Union
“The return of the past: debates on the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in the context of the disintegration of the USSR 1989-1991”
'By the end of eighties public intellectuals in all 15 soviet republics seized the opportunity, offered by Gorbachev's glasnost, to challenge the official history of the Soviet Union. This presentation follows the debates on Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that firstly took place in the Baltic republics, then became a burning issue for the Congress of People's Deputies and finally were used by the Balts and their allies abroad (Baltic diaspora as well as members of the US Congress) in their attempts to obtain international support for Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian independence.'
“Narratives on the Central Asian pilgrimage to Mecca in 1959: from a religious experience to a non-aligned diplomatic attempt”
'From early June to July 1959, a delegation of Soviet Muslims was sent to Mecca on an official journey to the Hajj, the most important pilgrimage for Muslim believers. In the midst of the non-aligned movement and the decolonization process of the mid 1950s, the pilgrimage was seen as an opportunity to foster and reinforce good relationships between Arabic non-aligned states and the Soviet Union. As such, Soviet pilgrims were in charge of representing their country's interests throughout the Hajj. Domestically, the presence of Soviet Muslims in Mecca was a strong token of a changing relationship with Islam and religion in general in the USSR, one that aimed at encompassing and channeling religion into the state's institutions. By analyzing different sources on the 1959 Hajj (pilgrims' diaries, national, Soviet and Arabic press, official reports) we try to understand the meaning and implications of the pilgrimage for the variety of civil and state actors invested in it, in terms of diplomatic relations, cross-cultural contacts within the Muslim world and definition of Self.'