COMPETING NARRATIVES: MEMORY OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN UKRAINE: BETWEEN POLITICS AND REFLECTION
The article reviews several issues concerning the memory of the Second World War in the USSR and sovereign Ukraine. Historical memory in its every dimension – collective, corporate, individual – plays an outstanding role in the processes of forming the nation and state. The official memory model is often based on the historical myth. Tracing the long evolution of commemorative practices during the Soviet era, one can record the change from the myth of the “Great October socialist revolution” which dominated the collective/official memory until the mid‑1960–70s, yet exhausted its resource of mobilization, to the myth of the “Great Patriotic War”. The latter became particularly the central ideological pillar, an efficient tool of communist regime legitimization and the factor of consolidation in Soviet society. Exploiting the victim glorification components of this myth, the promoters of the mnemonic policy have made undeniable strides. Evidence of this is the great inertia of the myth of the “Great Patriotic War” in the post-Soviet territory, especially in the Russian Federation, where it remains the main “brace” for authority and society. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, a lengthy and controversial process to overcome the “Soviet heritage” began. Formation of the historical collective memory of the Ukrainian political nation, methods, and forms of “remembrance” of historical events in independent Ukraine have grown increasingly detached from the imperial model and approach Western models, although not deprived of certain rudiments. The fact that this path is filled with multiple obstacles substantiates the competition between various memory models. Analysis of approaches by the Ukrainian leadership, political circles, and civil institutions in the state to forming modern historical policy and mnemonic procedures, successes and failures along the way, provides grounds to suggest that the main destructive factors are: first, the interests of certain political groups; second, the distinctive character of the social consciousness of Ukrainian society; third, notable regional differences in the perceptions of the world; fourth, the lack of scientific modeling of political decisions in the memorial sphere. The process of de-communization was particularly complicated, which directly relates to the ground of memory. Some citizens have perceived steps taken by the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory (UINM) in an ambiguous mannerby. The article highlights the means and mechanisms of external forces, first of all of the Russian Federation, within practices of intervention into the spaces of Ukrainian memory of electoral mobilization. In a broad context of hybrid war against Ukraine, they are aimed at destabilizing the political situation in the country, setting up different political and regional groups pitted against one another, so as to place in doubt the historical perspective of the Ukrainian political nation.
Keywords: Ukraine, Second World War, historical memory, myths, historical politics, commemorative practices, mnemonic procedures, manipulative technologies.