When Memorials Cease to Commemorate: The Museum of the History of Political Repression in Tomsk as a Place of non-Patriotic Remembering

Dmitriy Skulskiy


This article examines tourists’ experiences of visiting the Tomsk Memorial Museum of Political Repression. Through a semiological reading of the exhibitions and textual analysis of visitor books, I show how despite the museum’s proclaimed purpose as a place of remembrance, tourists frame their visits in terms of education and entertainment. Referring to memory as a discursive practice, I demonstrate how the exhibition does not fit the dominant patriotic discourse, wherein actors are remembered for their contributions to the Motherland. Because those killed in Gulags are represented as victims rather than heroes, their story remains insignificant and immemorable to many Russians. 


memory, dark tourism, patriotism, discourse, gulag

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.29311/mas.v17i3.2596

Copyright (c) 2019 Dmitriy Skulskiy

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Museum and Society

ISSN 1479-8360