During four years research involving both ethnographic fieldwork and discourse analysis of archival documents this project has assessed the political imbrications of cultural heritage policy in the Russian Federation. At the nexus of anthropology, public history and social archaeology this interdisciplinary project traced how objects inherited from past were discursively assembled by the different traditional state actors (bureaucracies, indigenous elites, Soviet nomenklatura…) and non-state players (multinationals, multilateral organizations, foreign archaeologists…) in an effort to craft the institutional and sociocultural landscapes defining the post-Soviet Russian state. As such this project not only explored the role of heritage and memory in the present. By appraising heritage objects as part of the material culture of present-day Russian society, the project also positioned itself as a sociocultural appraisal of the changing nature of the state in the face of neoliberalism and globalization. By using the social process of ‘past-prensing’ as a central analytical lens, this research specifically spotlighted the role of culture in neoliberal statecraft, and how culture can be used by a variety of players to reify a certain state and its political economy.