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Staging the Transnistrian Identity: A Deconstruction of the Official Holliday’s Discourse

Ala Svet – 2009

The politics of identity loom large in post-Soviet societies. It matters as conceptually as a contested fact of contemporary political life. This article focuses upon the consolidation processes of Transnistrian society where Transnistrian leaders play a key role in the construction of national identity via a top-down process. Are analyzed different approaches of self-identification practices; paternalistic atavisms in the creation and keeping of a separate identity; consolidating factors and strategies in analysis of ideology; analyzing of state in-group projection and attitude toward out-group. An important attention is paid to the speeches of Transnistrian leadership in mass media and interviews with the residents of Rybnitsa regarding the official holidays. Key Soviet holidays, May Day and October Revolution, are still celebrated in Transnistria mostly by older generation and members of communist party. Transnistria has instituted a secular public holiday: Independence Day (September, 2). This date is related specifically to the formation of a new Transnistrian region. Military might and pioneers prowess, a Soviet source of pride, are now included in celebrations of the Transnistrian state. October Revolution Day, May Day, Victory Day, Independence Day permits to understand the dynamics of nation-building process and the impact of these commemorations on transnistrian nation-building discourse. The theoretical framework is therefore consistent with a constructivist view of elite manipulation of public opinion during the nation-building process. The formation of a Transnistrian collective identity is still in the process of formation but this article agrees with William Zimmerman (1998) that a ‘process of differentiation’ is already taking place. This process of differentiation ‘constitutes a core element in state and political community formation’ (Zimmerman 1998: 45).

Staging the Transnistrian Identity: A Deconstruction of the Official Holliday’s Discourse
Research Project: New and Ambiguous Nation-building Processes in South-eastern Europe
Transnistria, state-building, nation-building, construction, discourse, regional identity