Wars of Historical Memory: Social Objectives

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V. Tkachenko
V. Yakuba


The article is a study of the wars of historical memory. The process of increasing use of the historical past in the public life of the present is considered. History has become a political tool through which one or another socio-political system is legitimized or delegitimized. In a number of countries, laws have been passed to punish those who write “wrong”. Real “wars of historical memory” have broken out in international relations. The ethnicization of history and the establishment of narratives about one’s own nation as exclusively a “victim of history” are gaining momentum, which requires special treatment and appropriate compensation. In particular, the initiators of the proclamation of “wars of historical memory” in different countries are not the same. Remembrance wars are often declared at the highest level, involving officials, including heads of state, who “rebuff” and “put in place the wrongdoers”, reminding the nation of the nation’s incurable wounds and the terrible crimes of its neighbors.

Objectively, the question of the social motives of the “wars of historical memory” is brewing. The authors share the view that the main reason is the escalation of the confrontation between Russia and the collective West. Historical politics, which has taken the form of “wars of historical memory”, is a symptom rather than a cause of this confrontation. It has been analyzed that the politicization of historical memory often leads to negative consequences, and there is no easy way out of this situation. And it is difficult to find that decisive link, undertaking which it would be possible to pull out the whole chain of pressing problems. At the same time, it must be acknowledged that the controversy over the role of the Soviet Union in World War II has not been annihilated, but has intensified amid escalating tensions between East and West. Summarizing the evolution of “wars of historical memory” to a sharp aggravation, Marlene Laruel noted: “I interpret the wars for historical memory between Poland, the Baltic states and Ukraine, on the one hand, and Russia, on the other, as narrative «related to the exclusion of Russia from Europe or inclusion in it”.


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How to Cite
Tkachenko, V. and Yakuba, V. (2020) “Wars of Historical Memory: Social Objectives”, Problems of World History, (12), pp. 7-25. doi: 10.46869/2707-6776-2020-12-1.

Author Biographies

V. Tkachenko

Tkachenko Vasyl – Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor, Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of Ukraine, Honored Worker of Science and Technology of Ukraine, Chief Research Fellow of the State Institution “Institute of World History of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine”.

V. Yakuba

Yakuba Veronika – Postgraduate Student of the State Institution “Institute of World History of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine”.


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