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Le prospettive della memoria: i memoriali di Stalingrado e di Chatyn’ e la letteratura di guerra sovietica


Evgeny Vuchetich’s statue of a Soviet soldier from the Berlin War Memorial (1947) holds a sword; this is an indication to the importance of the Classicist element in Socialist Realism, which will find its fullest realization in Vuchetich’s giant, sword-brandishing statue of the Motherland for the Stalingrad memorial (1967). Such sculptures are paralleled by the fluvial ‘novel-epics’ by Aleksandr Chakovskii and Ivan Stadniuk. A diametrical different approach can be found in the work of the representatives of the so-called ‘truth of the trenches’ movement, whose work was criticized precisely because of the narrowness of the point of view – here, the war was observed from inside a trench, with no attempt at generalization. Do monuments inevitably have to be vertical, tall, allegorical? A different solution can be seen in the Khatyn’ memorial to the destroyed villages of Byelorussia (1969), where the remains of the burned-down huts are reconstructed in cement. Not casually, it is in a book called The Khatyn’ Novella that Ales’ Adamovich first experimented the collage of interviews technique, which was to become the basics of his future work and of that of his disciple, the Nobel-prize winner Svetlana Aleksievich.