Time Capsule Messages to Future Generations as a Genre of Soviet Public Texts

Keywords: time capsule; message for descendants; Soviet literature; speech genre; image of the author; image of the addressee


This article considers a special genre of Soviet lore, i. e. time capsule messages addressed to future generations who were thought to be living in a communist society at the time they received the message. In the USSR, time capsules were actively laid between the late 1960s and early 1970s, and many of them were unearthed in 2017 and 2018. The author analyses 148 published messages found in time capsules, making up around 250 pages of text. The article examines the general characteristics of the Soviet language, ideologemes, journalistic and bureaucratic clichés, and censorship; also, it focuses on the peculiarities of the texts and intertextual connections. The author reveals the sources of different levels of text typical of the traditions of world, Russian, and Soviet literature and films, futuristic science fiction of socialist realism, journalistic texts, and the media (reports about achievements, memoirs, and speeches made at meetings and congresses). The author also analyses the images of the addresser (a Soviet person) and the addressee. The texts not only have an explicit addressee in the form of a descendant but an implicit one too, in the form of power. This combination was typical of all Soviet official writings. However, in this case, the direct addressee (a descendant) was unusual, and so were their relations with the implied addressee (power). Ideologically, the latter was surprisingly dependent on the direct addressee despite them being non-material, both functioning equally as bearers of ideology. The author analyses three aspects, i. e. direct addressee (future generations), implied addressee (power), and relations between the addressees.

Author Biography

Vadim Dementyev

Dr. Hab. (Philology), Professor, Saratov State University.

83, Astrakhanskaya Str., 410012, Saratov, Russia.

ORCID 0000-0002-7532-5788



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How to Cite
Dementyev, V. (2020). Time Capsule Messages to Future Generations as a Genre of Soviet Public Texts. Quaestio Rossica, 8(1), 132–149. https://doi.org/10.15826/qr.2020.1.452
Problema voluminis