As part of the symposium of the 23rd goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Cinema, curated by Heleen Gerritsen and Barbara Wurm and held between April 26th and May 2nd 2023 in Wiesbaden, Germany, a special issue of Apparatus aims to discuss and apply the concept of decolonization in the context of the (post-)Soviet space including Central Asia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltics, the Caucasus, and the Russian Federation and its autonomous regions.
The Russian full-scale war against Ukraine accelerates certain social tendencies in post-Soviet societies that have been emerging for decades. A significant expression of this is the desire of many regions, (indigenous) peoples and communities to break away from the Russian/post-Soviet mainstream culture. Since the beginning of the war activists have been increasingly denouncing racism in Russia. Especially indigenous peoples, or non-Russian and non-Russian-speaking peoples, some of whom live in autonomous republics and regions, face racism and discrimination at school, at work, and in everyday life. The inception of the war has led to further marginalization of these groups abroad as citizens of the Russian Federation. The fact that a disproportionate number of soldiers from regions such as Buriatia, Kalmykiia or Dagestan die in Ukraine during the war also shows the neocolonial conditions within the Russian Federation.