Yuliya Yurchuk: Commemorative Practices

Commemorative Practices Dedicated to WWII During and After Euromaidan

In my project I will concentrate on how and why the history of the Second World War was reanimated and used during the mass protests in winter 2013/2014 and during the period which followed the protests. Drawing on the theory of myth proposed by Mircea Eliade I see the revived history of WWII as a myth that provides important sense-giving mechanisms that help to overcome difficult times. By analyzing new trends in memory politics and new features introduced to the commemoration of WWII, I will scrutinize the reasons and ways in which historical themes are used. The main focus of my paper will be on the aesthetical and political crossing of commemorative practices. I aim to see what these new tendencies can say about Ukrainian society today. Where does Ukraine move? Is it de-Sovietization that takes place as claimed by many politicians in Ukraine or is it a return to Soviet-style politics as claimed by some historians in the country and abroad? The empirical part encompasses the “spontaneous commemorations” on the grassroots level (in social media, public space, as well as commercialized and commodified memory-objects) and state-sponsored policies in regard to commemoration (official celebrations of the “Victory Day” in 2014 and 2015 as well as recent laws on “de-Sovietization”).

Yuliya Yurchuk obtained her MA in European Studies from Göttingen University, Germany, and University of Deusto, Spain. She got her PhD in history from Stockholm University. She defended her dissertation “Reordering of Reordering of Meaningful Worlds: Memory of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army in Post-Soviet Ukraine” in 2015. She is currently working at the Center for Baltic and East European Studies, Södertörn University, Sweden. Her main field of interest includes memory politics in East European countries, the remembering of the Second World War, nationalism, state- and nation-building in Ukraine. Her current projects focus on civil society in Ukraine, the role of religion and churches’ activities in the formation of public representations of history and the applicability of post-colonial theory in the analysis of cultural memory in Ukraine.

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