Combative Pasts: Politics and Remembering in the Post-Communist Space

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Combative Pasts: Politics and Remembering in the Post-Communist Space

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Title: Combative Pasts: Politics and Remembering in the Post-Communist Space
Author: Soroka, George
Citation: Soroka, George. 2014. Combative Pasts: Politics and Remembering in the Post-Communist Space. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Abstract: More than two decades after the Polish Roundtable Agreement inaugurated the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, political conversations in the post-communist space remain remarkably attuned to symbolic and ethical questions. Disputed historical legacies have represented significant points of contestation within and among the former Warsaw Pact and Soviet successor states ever since regime transitions began in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but instead of attenuating with the passage of time as many predicted, the politics of history have become more prominent over the course of the last decade, acquiring an increasingly transnational dimension in the process. Consequently, in post-communist Europe transnational moral discourse over contentious historical episodes has emerged as a significant feature of interstate relations, serving both as a means for states to define their identities and interests relative to neighbors and as a potential source of conflict between them. Proposing a contextual heuristic (Russia and the European Union [EU] as ideational "anchoring hegemons") within which to understand the regional influences that foster this phenomenon, I develop a set of theoretical mechanisms to account for the transnational salience of the past in contemporary post-communist politics. Argumentation proceeds through three case studies: Poland and the 1940 Katyń massacre; Ukraine and the 1932-1933 famine (Holodomor); and the divergent political recall of WWII and the communist period evinced across Russia, the European Union, and the Baltic/East-Central European states.
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:11744459
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