Abstract

This article is a post-reflection on the discussion of Volodymyr Viatrovich's book Second Poland-Ukrainian War (AI 1/2012). The author broadens the discussion by including an overview of Ukrainian politics of memory of World War II during three last presidencies (Leonid Kuchma, Viktor Yushchenko and Viktor Yanukovych). Andriy Portnov examines Ukrainian images of World War II against the political contexts of their production and circulation. From this perspective, he scrutinizes "problematic fields" such as the Ukrainian nationalist underground, divided memories of war veterans, and the place of the Holocaust and the deportation of Crimean Tatars in the Ukrainian national historical narrative. Portnov suggests that Ukrainian memory pluralism was politically beneficial as a space of dialogue. Now, however, it progressively evolves into isolated and quite aggressive divided narratives that survive because neither one can destroy the contender. Each of these narratives evades the question of personal responsibility, while the politics of Yanukovych's administration promotes opposition between "national" and "denationalized" histories, which does not afford space for critical historiography. In the second part of the article, Portnov engages the views of scholars who participated in the discussion on Viatrovich's book as illustrative of his observations in the first part of the article. He predicts that the nearest future will bring a new polarization and radicalization of the Polish-Ukrainian discussion about history and memory of World War II, as the seventieth "anniversary" of the Volynia massacre approaches in 2013.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2164-9731
Print ISSN
2166-4072
Pages
pp. 309-338
Launched on MUSE
2012-12-04
Open Access
No
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