Memory of the Past and Memory for the Future: History on the Crossroads of Nation-building

Yuliya Yurchuk
Södertörn University College, Sweden / Stockholm University, Sweden

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Ingår i: Current Issues in European Cultural Studies; June 15-17; Norrköping; Sweden 2011

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 62:15, s. 133-145

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Publicerad: 2011-11-22

ISBN: 978-91-7519-993-1

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


The paper focuses on the nationalisation of history and changes in memory politics of Ukraine after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The questions of history re-writing and re-evaluating is endemic to transitional societies. The very possibility to approach certain events is a direct consequence of freedom of speech that followed the disintegration of the socialist bloc. As a case study the paper scrutinizes new conceptualisations and interpretations of history of the WWII with a special focus on Ukrainian nationalist movements that acted in Western Ukraine in 1929-1956: the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and Ukrainian Insurgent Army. There have been constant attempts to place the heroic narrative about these movements into the core of a national history; yet this narrative failed to cross the invisible walls within Ukraine and the narrative purposed for the whole nation remains regional in its significance. The paper is to fill the gap in an existing debate and to show how complex the memory work is in the modern world. A lot of interferences on international; regional; and local levels make the representational take-over of a state-sanctioned view on history more difficult and complex. While the facts about the above-mentioned movements and their leaders were silenced and misrepresented under the Soviet rule; there are traces of new mythologization of these movements nowadays. This study analyzes politics of history in the post-soviet Ukraine as it is realized through erection of new monuments.


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