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Collective traumas, personal overcoming: In memory of Tatyana Nikolaevna Pushkareva

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In this article, prior to introducing the work of Tatyana Pushkareva and Paolo Fonda, I would like to share some personal memories of Tatyana and thoughts on the topics that she touches on in her article “Ruined lives: Repressions in the Soviet Union” (2020). Her tragic death in July 2020 left a gaping wound in the Ukrainian psychoanalytic community and in the hearts of all who knew her. I hope this article will be a modest tribute to her memory.

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  1. The conference was organized by Eastern European Committee of the European Psychoanalytic Federation, which later became The Han Groen Prakken European Psychoanalytic Institute.

  2. However, by Freud’s and other analysts’ address of traumatic experience, the reverse process also occurs—rethinking theories of the mind in the light of these studies (see May, 2015).

  3. Epple (2020, p. 19) describes the result of society’s refusal to comprehend the painful past as the transformation of the slogan “Never Again” into its opposite “Never/Again.”

  4. It is important that Volkan tries to differentiate the “chosen trauma” from “undigested past.” Volkan (2021, p. 9) writes: “A large group does not choose to be victimized. Its choice is to make the shared representation of the ancestors’ massive trauma at the hand of the enemy a most significant large-group identity marker. … A chosen trauma is not an image of a relatively recent historical event. For example, the Holocaust that links all Jewish persons, whether they were directly affected by Nazis or not, is not a chosen trauma. Survivors and their descendants still possess photographs and some belongings from that time, and their stories are still ‘alive.’ Those affected by the Holocaust and their offspring are still dealing with their undigested past. Only over many generations, when an individual, that person’s parents, grandparents, other relatives and friends have no actual memory of the ancestors’ trauma, it may become a chosen trauma.” But it seems Gomolin insists on their intertwining.

  5. The Holodomor (1932–1933), which translates to “death by hunger,” was a man-made famine created by the collectivization of agriculture under the leadership of Joseph Stalin. This famine caused mass starvation in the rural, grain-producing regions of Soviet Ukraine, resulting in an estimated 3.5 to 7 million deaths [translator’s note].

  6. In the courses on general psychology and the psychology of memory during my years as a student, the conversation always began with a definition: memory is a mental activity consisting of the processes of remembering and forgetting.

  7. It is interesting that some psychoanalysts, such as Money-Kyrle and Fornari, and philosophers, like Jaspers, feared that the legalization of “German guilt” would make it difficult to accept moral responsibility, would cause a backlash of denial and “paranoid processing,” and also hinder the awareness of the contribution to the tragedy of the Second World War of governments not convicted by the tribunal. However, as history has shown, these fears were not justified.

  8. The Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) was a Ukrainian nationalist paramilitary group which engaged in guerilla warfare during the Second World War against the Soviet and German occupational regimes. The purpose of the UPA was to protect the Ukrainian population from Soviet and German repression with the ultimate goal of an independent Ukrainian state [translator’s note].


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This paper was translated from Russian to English by Breanna Vizlakh, Adelphi University, New York, USA. This translation was supported by the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society’s translation fund. A previous version of this paper was published in Russian in Journal of Clinical and Applied Psychoanalysis, 2(4) (2021).

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Correspondence to Igor Romanov.

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Romanov, I. Collective traumas, personal overcoming: In memory of Tatyana Nikolaevna Pushkareva. Psychoanal Cult Soc 28, 376–392 (2023).

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