Between socialist homeland and totalitarian dictatorship. The image of the post-World War II period in Ukrainian historical discourse

To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.


This paper is devoted to the analysis of selected aspects how Ukrainian schools present the historical narrative that covers the post-World War II history of this country – particularly the period of late socialism. My goal was to establish how post-Maidan textbooks presented the times when Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union in its superpower phase. I was especially interested in the current assessment of such phenomena as: post-Stalinist modernization, the movements opposing communist ideology, and the late socialist concept of the Soviet people. The source material was five new textbooks for historical education at high-school level approved for use by the Ukrainian authorities in 2019. The basic research method was discourse analysis: the content of the textbooks were critically evaluated in light of the ongoing political and social situation. Among the theoretical assumptions that were applied in the paper was that the historical narrative has a key importance as a function of the nation-state and as such serves its interests. To conclude the analysis below, it should be emphasized that historical narrative of Ukrainian Schools presents the past of the country in the second half of the 20th century as a general process of gaining independence from the Soviet centre. In the context of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, it should be assumed that the emancipatory nature of the interpretation of Ukraine’s national history is now irreversible.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Full-text available
In March of 2014, I attended the first screening of Euromaidan: Rough Cut—a collective documentary chronicle of Ukraine’s Maidan Revolution. Quite unexpectedly the event ended with an improvized mourning ritual for deceased Maidan protesters. Observed in the film, this ritual then transcended the screen and spread through the audience, stimulating an experience similar to a “collective catharsis.” What are the reasons for such a strong affective response to a visual document, capturing the fluidity of still unfolding revolutionary events? This article (written before the Russian invasion of Ukraine) considers both the documentary and its screening as invaluable research sites, allowing us to study ethnographically the uncertainties preceding and accompanying the reification of (new) ideological narratives. By discussing the multifaceted understanding of cathartic experiences in the complex processes of group-building, truth-finding, and justice-making, this article considers new directions for the anthropological understanding of collective catharsis, as it has been experienced in post-industrial democratic societies.
Full-text available
Silencing the past, retrotopia, and teaching history The essay analyzes contemporary controversies connected with teaching history in Europe, with particular focus on Poland. It discusses contexts that condition the relation between academic, every day and school narratives about history as it is taught in today’s schools. These contexts are both political and ideological (historical policy), as well as—in a deepersense—are an expression of national mythologies. The main thesis is the following: an analysis of teaching programs in schools tells us much more about the present than the past, and the main mechanism used to build a vision of national history is the notion of silencing the past. In our times, which Zygmunt Bauman has called the retrotopia, history becomes a bastion for nationalism and new tribalism. Uciszanie dziejów, retrotopia i nauczanie historii Artykuł analizuje współczesne kontrowersje wokół programów nauczania historii w różnych krajach europejskich, ze szczególnym uwzględnieniem Polski. Wskazany został kontekst różnic między historią akademicką, potoczną świadomością historyczną i szkolnymi narracjami o dziejach. Historia nauczania w szkołach ma zarówno charakter polityczno-ideologiczny, jak i – w szerszym i głębszym sensie – jest wyrazem preferowanych wersji narodowych mitologii. Główna teza tekstu brzmi: analiza programów i sposobów nauczania historii więcej mówi o współczesności niż o historii w tym sensie, że metody i techniki akcentowania lub uciszania pewnych aspektów dziejów pełnią ważną rolę dla budowania określonej wizji tożsamości zbiorowych, dla których legitymizacją jest ideologicznie podbudowana „historia narodowa”. Widać to także w kontekście pojęcia retrotopii Zygmunta Baumana. W ramach tej ostatniej historia staje się głównym bastionem dzisiejszych postaci nacjonalizmu i nowego trybalizmu.
Full-text available
Written from the dual perspective of a political philosopher and social analyst, this book is a rich—in many ways, indispensable— source of conceptual information about Ukraine, Eastern Europe, the European Union, and global modernity. Its primary subject is the dirty, hybrid politics of Eastern Europe but even more so, its human substance—those traumatized, depressed and awkward but intrepid, entrepreneurial, and ultimately optimistic women and men whom Mikhail Minakov aptly calls “Post-Soviet Homo Politicus.”
Full-text available
Paper is devoted to the issue of implementation of transitional justice mechanisms in Ukraine in the aftermath of the Revolution of Dignity at the break of 2013/2014. In the light of the illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula by the Russian Federation and outbreak of an armed conflict in Donbas, another example of the Kremlin’s aggression, Ukraine became a state, which in addition to instruments oriented at reckoning with past, was forced to seek for a proper toolbox with the aim of ending the violence in its eastern provinces, prosecute and punish wrongdoers, responsible for committing international crimes and create conditions of reintegrating Donbas and Crimea into the Ukrainian state. Undoubtedly, transitional justice tool-kit does appear as useful in the matter.
The aim of the article is historical, political analysis and analysis of scientific discourse on the direction of decommunization transition since Ukraine’s independence. The main research question concerns the effectiveness of the process. When describing the decommunization of public space in Ukraine, it should be stressed that it was characterized by varying intensity and regionality. The process can be divided into two main phases – 1990- 2014 and after 2015. The first period was determined by the historical policy pursued by the presidents of Ukraine. During the presidency of Yushchenko, with the increasing interest in historical politics, and especially the theme of Holodomor 1932/33, the names and monuments in honor of those responsible for these events were removed. The last phase of decommunization involves four acts passed in April 2015. The pace and consistency with which the laws were implemented, especially 317-VIII on communist symbolism, was linked to the Ukrainian-Russian conflict. It determined the need for radical steps towards the Ukrainian state taking control of its own symbolic space. A parliamentary majority and a social atmosphere have made the implementation of the laws effective and today Ukraine can be considered to have decommunized public space. This does not apply, of course, to occupied areas.
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.
Riweń standartu: pidrucznyk dla 11 kłasu zakładiw zahalnoji seredńioji oswity
  • H Chlibowśka
Istorija: Ukrajina i swit: (intehr. kurs, riweń standartu): pidrucz. dla 11 ho kł. zakł. zah. sered. oswity
  • M Mudryj
  • O Arkusza
Ukrajina w umowach systemnoji kryzy (1946-1980-i rr
  • W Baran
  • W Danylenko
Istorija Ukrajiny (profilnyjriweń): pidrucznyk dla 11 kłasu zakładiw zahalnoji seredńioji oswity
  • W Własow
  • S Kulczyćkyj
Wings to Lift the Truth Up High: The Role of Language for the Shistdesiatnyky
  • S A Bellezza
Kultury pamięci Ukrainy i Polski w związkach wzajemnych i porównaniach
  • O Hrycenko
Yevhen Mahda - Facebook profile
  • Y Mahda
Ukraińska polityka historyczna czasu wojny
  • T A Olszański
  • Wielka Dekomunizacja
Ewolucja elity władzy w Związku Radzieckim i Rosji
  • K Świder
Powojenna Ukrajina: narysy socialnoji istoriji (druha połowyna 1940-ch - seredyna 1950-ch rr
  • O Jankowśka
The Soviet People”: Multiethnic Alternative or Ruse?
  • R O Rasiak