The «Policy of Memory» in the Context of Ukraine’s Foreign Policy in 2014 – Early 2019

Levchenkov A.S.


The article analyzes the content and main directions of the «policy of memory» in Ukraine in the period from the coup or the so-called «euromaidan» of 2014 up to the presidential elections of 2019. The major driving force behind this policy was the desire to present the history of the Ukrainian statehood as more ancient than it really was, while setting it against the history of the Russian statehood. The main components and themes of this discourse have been decommunization, the decoupling of the national historical memory from the Soviet legacy, the interpretation of the Holodomor as a genocide of the Ukrainian people, the formation of a new pantheon of national heroes, among whom the most prominent are the figures of the nationalistic organizations, including those who collaborated with the Nazi regime during World War II. At that, the new ideological developments went into legislative provisions and envisaged penalties for violation. At the same time, the «politics of memory» became an instrument for attaining «sovereignty» and «independence» from the Russian influence and a tool for pursuing the course towards European and Euro-Atlantic integration in the foreign policy of the country. As a matter of fact, the elaboration of the collective historical memory stopped being part of academic discourse of professionals and turned into a component of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Besides, the «nationalization» of historical memory has led to increased tensions between Kyiv and a number of its European partners, particularly with Poland. Domestically, this policy, along with the reforms in education and language issues, have greatly distanced the official Kyiv both from the neighboring states and sizeable parts of Ukrainian population.


the «politics of memory»; the Great Patriotic War; holodomor; decommunization; European integration; Euro-Atlanticism; Ukrainian crisis; Ukrainian nationalists.

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2019.04.07

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