Commemoration of the De Facto Restoration of the Independence of Latvia (1991–2011)

Laura Ardava (University of Latvia)

On August 21, 2011, the 20th anniversary of the de facto restoration of the independence of Latvia was commemorated. To celebrate the significant anniversary, several commemorative events took place in Riga, gaining considerable media attention. The events of August 1991 are considered to be the essential turning point in the last decades of 20th century history in Latvia. On August 21, 1991, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia adopted the Constitutional Law on the Statehood of the Republic of Latvia.

The theoretical ground of the intended research will be worked out on the basis of multilateral description of ‘commemoration’, ‘mediation’, ‘media event’, ‘ritual’ and ‘social memory’ concepts. Discourses produced by media concerning the commemoration of August 1991 in the last two decades will be analyzed using the discourse–historical method developed by Ruth Wodak. I intend to study the content of printed and broadcasting media in Latvian and Russian, as well as the content of website www.21augusts.lv, which was especially devoted to the historical anniversary. The research results show the importance of the events of August 1991 in social memory, the layering of the actual social, political and economical situation on the collective sense the past, and the active role of the media in the functioning of those processes.

 

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