A considerable number of studies in philosophy, historiography, sociology, psychology, cognitive science, semiotics, etc. are devoted to the problems of historical memory national identity. Special journals are published); in many philosophical and historical journals, there are special headings devoted to this problem. Therefore, we dwell only on those aspects that will be developed in our study.

Modern memory studies rely on the canonical corpus of works in which the main approaches to the phenomenon of collective memory are formulated. Starting with Ernst Renan, the problem of historical memory (although this term was not introduced) was associated with the problems of the identity of the nation and the generality of its ideas about the past and its own genesis. The concept of collective memory was proposed by E. Durkheim. Although the concept of historical memory was introduced by M. Halbwax (“The Social Framework of Memory," 1925) as far back as the 1920s, an active discussion of the topics of "political use of history," "historical politics," "politics of the past," "politics of the memory," and "collective public memory," "historical memory," "memory modes," “culture of memory” became the subject of interest for a wide range of historians, sociologists, philosophers, political scientists, psychologists, cultural scientists and other specialists only at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries. This concept was developed by the representatives of the "post-structural school" P. Norra, J. Baudrillard and P.Bourdieu. According to J. Baudrillard, most of the phenomena of reality are "simulacra’s", or simple they are non-existing false notions, which, however, are widely spread, firmly fixed and used in everyday discourse. Aleida Asmani, Ian Asmani, P. Nora (see "Realms of Memory", three-volume collection 1984-1992), in the works of A.Etkind and others (see also reviews of Vasilyev 2012, Sofronova 2018, Ponomareva 2018).In the works of J.T.Toshchenko, historical memory is considered as an irreplaceable feature of social consciousness. Social memory is a theoretically generalized collective experience of civilization. It develops as a process of understanding the meaning of history, which is reflected in the cultural evaluation of historical events. The concept of social memory was presented in the 60-70s of the last century by Soviet sociologists (K. Rebane), K. Rebin, U.A. Levada and others. It was emphasized that the memory of the "consolidated object" has new qualities, which could not lead to a simple sum of the qualities contained in the memories of single individuals (B.F. Lomov). The most common form of memory formation is usually referred to as commemorative practices, which are the stable ways of representing the historical past, and which are meant to emphasize the importance of the past in evaluating the present state of society, as well as the formation of public opinion about the historical past.

Besides the commemorative practices, in the formation of social memory of population the so-called spontaneous, undesirable processes of disorganization of social memory are used. For example such as "social amnesia" and actions aimed at "forgetting" the insignificant retrospective information. М.Halbwachs attributed it to the forgetting process. The works of Aleida Assman, Jan Assman, P. Nore reflected on the results of these discussions, developed a conceptual content of the basic ideas and applications of historical memory. At the same time, the main positions of critics of this approach were formulated – from the denial of the very possibility of extending the concept of “memory” to the phenomena of collective consciousness (from R. Kozelleck to S. Sontag, which repeated M. Blok’s criticism of Halbwax) to recognizing the specificity of these phenomena (T. Judt). The works of Paul Ricoeur are of particular importance for our study because he applied the interpretative, hermeneutic approach to historical memory and the mechanisms of narrativization. This may be due to the so-called linguistic turn in the philosophy of history, in which the problem of understanding and explanation is posed (works by A. Danto, White, Ackerman, and others).

In modern Armenia and Russia, owing to the peculiarities of the post-Soviet period, the need to abandon existing official ideas and develop new problems of historical memory have acquired special significance. Russian scientists carried out fundamental research in this direction, first of all, according to the Program of fundamental research of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences “Historical memory and Russian identity” (2015–2017). The following collective and individual monographs can be mentioned: Malinova 2015 (“Actual past: the symbolic policy of the ruling elite and the dilemmas of Russian identity”); “Empire and nation in the mirror of historical memory," 2011; “Historical memory and Russian identity," 2018; “Symbolic politics." Vol. 2: “Disputes about the past as designing the future," 2014; “Methodological issues of studying the politics of memory," 2018. Armenian scientists Hamlet Gevorgyan, Levon Abrahamyan, Armen Petrosyan, Harutyun Marutyan, Razmik Panosyan, Ronald Suni, Houri Berberyan, and others have repeatedly appealed to various empirical phenomena of historical memory in connection with the interpretation and re-interpretation of Armenian history. However, there are no studies on the systematic approach and methodological foundations of historical memory, its symbolic, conceptual, interpretative, and discursive mechanisms.

Project Aims and Objectives

The study will deal with the analysis of symbolic and interpretative mechanisms of the formation of historical memory. The relevance of the project lies in the fact that it is focused on the implementation of a fundamentally interdisciplinary approach to the study of the phenomenon of historical memory. The international team proposes to consider historical memory as a special mechanism for the preservation, processing, and transmission of important social information. It is assumed that the components and factors that make up the national identity can function only by acquiring meaning and symbolic significance and forming a coherent discourse explaining what a nation is, what is its purpose, what are its unifying ideas about the past, present, and future. This is a constantly evolving adaptation process, which is reflected in various communicative processes of storing, searching, and transmitting semantically significant information about the past and the modes of its interpretation.

Regular communication becomes a basis for the formation of a national social context. Due to this, there is the possibility of mutual translatability of functioning discourses on condition that there is a necessary extent of their heterogeneity, and thereby it enables mutual understanding between different social and ethnic groups. History and its representation in the form of historical memory can exist only as a semantic and axiological system, which is a system of meanings and values. In communication processes, this system is implemented through a variety of interpretative and discursive practices, which our project seeks to identify and describe. The academic novelty of the project lies in a fundamentally new approach to understanding and describing historical memory — considering it not as an archive of documents or narratives, but as a dynamic information and communication process. Historical memory will be considered as an adaptive mechanism based on recursive semantic operations.

The Armenian research team will focus on the hermeneutical and cognitive-semiotic analysis of Armenian historiographic monuments and will identify the mechanisms of formation and functioning of historical memory and its conceptual characteristics. The research program envisages the study of ways of actualization of historical events in the primary narratives. Theoretical and practical analysis of the meta-concepts of "nation", "hero", “we-they”, “enemy”, "time", "history", "reliability" will be performed in the Armenian epic, in the monuments of historiography and political discourse. For this purpose, an applied sociological research will be designed, dedicated to the main images of social memory validated by and fixed in the public consciousness of current Armenian society. The connection and influence of the main elements of the social historical memory of the Armenian society with the modern perception of public self-identification will be revealed.

The sociological survey among the broad population of the country is planned to be organized and carried out in cooperation with the experienced specialists from Armenian Sociological Association (headed by G. Poghosyan). The survey will be conducted with the adult population, including representatives of different age, educational and social groups in the cities and rural areas of the republic.