Recordando el Gulag

Hace cien años, el escritor austriaco Robert Musil dijo que "No hay nada más inconspicuo que un monumento". Contemplando las ruinas de otro imperio, el ruso, yo añadiría: No hay nada más conspicuo que un monumento ausente.

Los monumentos constituyen el cuerpo de una nación en exhibición. Al ver los monumentos sentimos cómo un Estado-nación reafirma su continuidad. Cuando las revoluciones interrumpen esa continuidad la violencia se torna contra los monumentos. Como el ejemplo de Saddam Hussein muestra otra vez, es más fácil derribar un monumento que juzgar a un dictador. Sin embargo, los periodos posrevolucionarios permiten más variedad. A veces se erigen nuevos monumentos. A veces los viejos monumentos regresan a los lugares que solían ocupar. A veces los monumentos están ausentes, como profesores en año sabático.

Mientras que las universidades alemanas ya no dan cabida a quienes niegan el holocausto, las universidades rusas emplean a varios profesores de historia que conspicuamente excluyen al Gulag en sus cátedras. Aunque los horrores de la Alemania nazi y la Rusia comunista crearon millones de víctimas, los recuerdos de esos acontecimientos son muy diferentes. El más notorio y a la vez el menos reconocido de todos los monumentos postsoviéticos al Gulag es el billete de 500 rublos, emitido a finales de los noventa y que en la actualidad circula ampliamente.

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