Everything is Wonderful: Memories of a Collective Farm in Estonia

Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
2
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Just like it was taken for granted that houses could be abandoned and slowly decay, so it was taken for granted that people died in prisons, and that it was possible that no-one would really ever know the cause of death. This is the nature of totalitarianism.

In 1993-94 Sigrid Rausing completed her anthropological fieldwork on the peninsula of Noarootsi, a former Soviet border protection zone in Estonia. Abandoned watch towers dotted the coast line, and the huge fields of the Lenin collective farm were lying fallow, waiting for claims from former owners, fleeing war and Soviet and Nazi occupation. Rausing’s conversations with the local people touched on many subjects: the economic privations of post-Soviet existence, the bewildering influx of western products, and the Swedish background of many of them. In Everything Is Wonderful Rausing reflects on history, political repression, and the story of the minority Swedes in the area. She lived and worked amongst the villagers, witnessing their transition from repression to freedom, and from Soviet neglect to post-Soviet austerity.
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About the author

Sigrid Rausing is a writer, philanthropist, anthropologist, and publisher. She is the founder of the Sigrid Rausing Trust and publisher of Granta magazine and Granta Books. She has won several awards for her work in philanthropy and human rights, serves on the advisory board of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, and is an emeritus member of the international board of Human Rights Watch.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
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Published on
Mar 14, 2014
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9780802192813
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
History / Europe / Baltic States
Travel / Former Soviet Republics
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Sigrid Rausing var 31 när hon flyttade till en by i Estland för att under ett år studera ”avkolchosifieringen”, hur människor upplevde frigörelsen från Sovjetunionen, och hur de förstod och tänkte på Estlands historia. Hon läste socialantropologi på University College London, och detta var hennes fältarbete.

Metoden kallas deltagande observation. Forskaren lever i det sammanhang som studeras, hon deltar, iakttar, skriver ner, och jämför. Sigrid Rausing kom till ett utkylt och smutsigt hus i byn, där hon också arbetade som lärare. Samhället var i förfall. Människorna fick det allt värre och kunde inte veta hur länge den akuta fattigdomen skulle bestå. Sigrid såg deras vanmakt och hopp, och deras strategier för överlevnad. Så småningom resulterade hennes arbete i doktorsavhandlingen History, memory, and identity in post-Soviet Estonia: the end of a collective farm, utgiven som bok av Oxford University Press (2004).

Nu, tjugo år senare, skriver Sigrid Rausing om samma period, men nu berättar hon också om hur den påverkade henne själv. Hur hon långsamt lärde känna människorna hon studerade, och hur det kändes att vara tillbaka i ett nordiskt baltiskt landskap, så likt det hon saknade från Sverige. Estland var som ett sovjetiskt Sverige, och hon såg där hur det abstrakta begreppet bad governance sätter verkliga spår, både i landskapet, och på människorna.

Anteckningar från en kolchos är en paradoxalt vacker skildring, genomsyrad av empati. Sigrid Rausing är en klok och ödmjuk iakttagare. Hennes berättelser om ester och ryssar, om villkoren i kollektivjordbruket, om sommaren och vintern, om gamla kvinnor och unga män mitt emellan två samhällssystem är historier som blir historia. Hon skriver i ett eftersinnande tempo, och scenerna som växer fram ur hennes anteckningar präglas av den äkthet som bara kan uppstå hos en betraktare med respekt för det hon ser.


Översättare: Lena Karlin,

Omslagsformgivare: Susanne Viborg
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