On the Frontline of European Memory Wars: Memory Laws and Policy in Ukraine

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Table of Contents: I. Introduction. – II. Dealing with the communist past: the Ukrainian case. – II.1. Ukraine’s waves of decommunization. – II.2. Ukrainian memory laws: the decommunization package. – III. Ukraine in the European memory wars. – VI. Conclusions.

Abstract: In April 2015, Ukraine adopted the so-called decommunization package which reflects its attempts to deal with the past and defines directions of its current memory policy. To cope with the communist past and create a new pantheon of national heroes, Ukraine is re-writing its history, selectively choosing among the several memories those that can foster its national identity and cohesion. This is a controversial process which divided Ukraine’s society and resulted in so-called memory wars – a clash of the State-sponsored historical narratives – with Russia and Poland. The internal and external contradictions which are a feature of decommunization in Ukraine give a reason to state that the frontline of European memory wars goes across this country. The present Article provides an overview of memory laws from Ukraine’s decommunization package, analyses Ukraine’s “official” historical narratives, and discusses the memory wars with Russia and Poland that it has been recently involved in.

Keywords: memory laws – memory wars – memory policy – decommunization – Ukraine – Russia – Poland.

European Papers, Vol. 5, 2020, No 1, pp. 119-136
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/387

* Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University (Kharkiv, Ukraine), alinach@ukr.net.


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