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After Stalin's death in 1953, the Soviet Union dismantled the enormous system of terror and torture that he had created. But there has never been any Russian ban on former party functionaries, nor any external authority to dispense justice. Memorials to the Soviet victims are inadequate, and their families have received no significant compensation. This book's premise is that late Soviet and post-Soviet culture, haunted by its past, has produced a unique set of memorial practices. More than twenty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia remains "the land of the unburied": the events of the mid-twentieth century are still very much alive, and still contentious. Alexander Etkind shows how post-Soviet Russia has turned the painful process of mastering the past into an important part of its political present.