This introductory chapter discusses the Russian Northwest and its role in imagining Soviet-Russian nationhood. Novgorod, Pskov, and Vologda here served as symbolic homelands for the Soviet and post-Soviet Russian nations, mediating between the local, national, and transnational. Following the war, the state marketed the region's cultural heritage to the nation as the symbols of Russified Soviet identity linked to myths of sacredness, sacrifice, and patriotism. The idea of the Northwest was placed at the center of everyday life, emerging as a center of tourism and cultural activity in the 1960s to 1980s. The region thus formed a vehicle for internalizing the impersonal nation by placing it within the familiar local world, or a site where local and national memory could be fused.
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