Mémorial du goulag

" Il n'y a rien de plus invisible qu'un monument " écrivait cent ans plus tôt l'auteur autrichien Robert Musil. Depuis les ruines d'un autre empire, l'empire de Russie, j'ajouterais : il n'y a rien de plus visible qu'un monument absent.

Les monuments composent le corps affiché de la nation. En examinant les monuments, on sent comment un État-nation affirme sa continuité. Quand les révolutions interrompent cette continuité, leur violence se déchaîne contre les monuments. Comme nous l'enseigne l'exemple de Saddam Hussein une fois de plus, il est plus facile de renverser un monument que de juger un dictateur. Les périodes post-révolutionnaires, cependant, permettent une plus grande diversité. Parfois, de nouveaux monuments sont érigés. Parfois, d'anciens monuments retrouvent leur place originales. Parfois, les monuments existent in absentia, comme les professeurs en congé sabbatique.

Tandis que les négationnistes de l'Holocauste ont été purgés des universités allemandes, les universités russes emploient encore un certain nombre de professeurs d'histoire russe qui entretiennent visiblement l'absence du Goulag dans leurs cours. Bien que la terreur nazie en Allemagne et en Russie communiste aient fait des millions de victimes, la mémoire entretenue de ces événements varie énormément. Le monument de l'ère post-soviétique le plus surprenant mais le moins connu élevé à la mémoire du goulag reste le billet de 500 roubles, lancé à la fin des années 90 et très largement utilisé de nos jours.

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