Author: James Glaser

What to do with Confederate Statues?

Could Russia teach us something about how to deal with difficult aspects of our national history? Many places in the South – from New Orleans to Louisville – are in the process of bringing down statues that glorify the Confederacy. That process raises questions about what to do with these remnants of the past. Do we just toss them into the ash bin of history, purging them as if they never existed? As a student of southern politics who recently traveled to Moscow, I wondered if we can look to the Russians and how they have treated their Soviet past. The situations are not perfectly analogous. Many Russian people lived through the Soviet experience. Not so for the Confederacy. That said, in both cases, there is the question of whether – and how – to purge the past. From propaganda to kitsch In Moscow, and in the former Soviet Union in general, there is Soviet detritus all over the place. Hammers and sickles are chiseled into buildings, bridges and other infrastructure. Sculptures of happy, heroic …