Komi-Permyan mythology in the context of regional politics of memory

Ryazanova S.V., Iurganov F.A. (Perm, Russian Federation)


             page 132139


The article is aimed at defining characteristic features of the modern Komi-Permyan myth existing in the Western Urals (Kama river area). The process of mythogenesis is analysed as part of regional policy of historical memory. This policy includes ideas about creating a collective-past image, some principles behind the education system functioning, as well as legislative regulation of the forms of its presentation. Prerequisites and reasons for the formation of a new national myth at different stages of the historical process are considered. The construction of contemporary national mythology is associated with the processes of national self-identification in the post-Soviet period. New images are based on narratives developing the ethnocultural idea of the Komi-Permyan ethnos and uniting different Komi-Permyan branches. The first step in creating a new myth is associated with the emergence of the Komi-Permyan national movement in the 1920s. The second one coincides with the processes of national self-identification following the decline of the Soviet Union in the 1990s. The image of a Komi-Permyan can be represented as consisting of two parts, including elements of a cultural hero as well as a number of geopolitical and sociocultural ideas of a mythological nature. The most popular mythological image to spread new myth is chud who has been a famous character of local folklore throughout the entire period of West Ural history. Real persons and well-known historical figures, such as Stefan Velikopemcky and Ermak, have joined the Komi-Permyan pantheon of traditional characters. The legendary past is formed via appropriation and adaptation of the facts from the all-Russian history. The new policy of historical memory is based on attempts to present the Komi-Permyan cultural tradition as very ancient and affirm its great value for neighbouring ethnic groups. The Russian population and government are perceived as related to and influenced by the Komi-Permyan culture, whereas Russian science is said to be distorting the history of the Kama area. Characteristic features of the new Komi-Permyan myth include rejecting traditional mythological logic, as well as the timeserving nature of conclusions. The media, local politicians and regional cultural elite have been most active in communicating contemporary Komi-Permyan mythology. The new mythology of the Komi-Permyan ethnos can be characterized as having a constructivist and voluntarist character, as well as being very convenient for validating the uniqueness of the Komi-Permyans in the situation of their national decline.

Key words: myth, social mythology, cultural memory, ethnic consolidation, Komi-Permyans.


DOI: 10.20874/2071-0437-2019-45-2-132-139


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Submitted: 18.03.2019

Accepted: 01.04.2019

Article is published: 28.06.2019


S.V. Ryazanova

Perm Federal Research Center of Ural division RAS, Lenina st., 13a, Perm, 614990, Russian Federation

Perm State Agro-technical University, Petropavlovskaja st., 23, Perm, 614990, Russian Federation



F.A. Iurganov

Perm State Agro-technical University, Petropavlovskaja st., 23, Perm, 614990, Russian Federation