This concluding chapter reflects on the findings provided by the previous chapters. It considers how the Russian Northwest has so often been seen as a “center” or “capital” of cultural production. Since the end of the war, the region has been imagined variously as a heartland of authentic Russian traditions, a preserve of “Old Russian” architecture, a hub of Russian folk culture, and even a chalice containing the sacred soils of Russian history. The exceptional status of the Northwest in the national imaginary is due in part to its celebration by Russian patriots and nationalists, who seized upon the region's associations with ideas of Russian cultural authenticity to promote their own cultural agendas. Yet, as this chapter shows, it is also a consequence of the Soviet nation-building politics of the postwar era. The strategic endorsement of northwestern heritage at moments of political crisis in the second half of the twentieth century resulted in the region becoming not only a showcase of Russian traditions, but also a focus of Soviet identity politics.
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