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A Risky Chance: The Fall of the USSR in the Perception of the West, Ukraine, and Russia

30 Years Later

In this research project, we want to rethink the critical moment of the collapse of empire and further dynamics of its (semi) disintegration and life after death, engaging students with the study and interpretation of the two valuable oral archives, one of which is a collection of VIP interviews with politicians and diplomats held on UCU servers since 1996: These rich textual and contextual data highly deserve putting in a research effort. Another one is a collection of interviews with Soviet political prisoners and repressed people recorded over the past 3 years by the Territory of Terror Museum team. These data also need to be thickly described, understood and analyzed afresh. On the top of that, we aspire to generate and analyze the third collection – an oral history of the collapse of the Soviet Union in the life experience and outlook of ordinary Ukrainians from different regions across the country: the elder interviewees who were in their 20s or 40s in 1991 will get a chance to share their story, to be heard and understood by those younger relatives who are now in their 20s.


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