Identity Politics and Memory Wars after 1989: Ukraine, Russia and Belarus

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  • Theatre 2, Roland Levinsky Building, University of Plymouth, PL4 8AA

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A Historical Association and University of Plymouth History Department talk
Conflicting memories of the past have often emerged at the centre of tensions between states. The Russian aggression in Ukraine, however, has taken the idea of ‘memory war’ from a symbolic field where the struggles over the meaning of the past have been waged, to a literal battlefield where the national project centred on a specific memory narrative has been attacked. 
The use of the historically loaded argument of ‘denazification’ as a goal to be achieved by military means reveals the crucial role played by the historical imaginary of World War II. That is, both Russia’s assertion of its ‘righteous’ status – being on the right side of history in the war against the Nazis – and in the justification of the current war presented to the domestic public. 
Dr Nelly Bekus will discuss how and why the memory of the past can become an instrument of neo-imperialism. It will demonstrate that Russia's desire to control memory and identity politics of the neighbouring nations is based on a gross misuse of historical narrative and reveals the risks associated with projecting the virtues of the past onto the politics of the present. 
Date: Tuesday 14 March 2023
Time: 19:00 – 20:20
Venue: Theatre 2, Roland Levinsky Building
Ticket information: standard £6 / concessions £4 / free to UoP students via SPiA / free for members of the Historical Association 
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