Point of View

The great decommunisation. Ukraine’s wartime historical policy

The great decommunisation

The war with Russia which began in 2014 has triggered serious changes in the way history is thought about by the Ukrainian public, especially in opinion-forming circles. The liberal reflection critical about the nationalist tradition initiated somewhat earlier has been rejected since wartime requires heroic narratives above all. Ukraine also had to counteract the propaganda offensive from Russia which wanted to equate the Ukrainian patriotic movement with radical nationalism seen at the time of World War II, which it branded as ‘fascist’.

As a result of the war, the Ukrainian public, even its Russian-speaking section, turned their backs on Russia and its traditions. Ukraine has seen a radical decommunisation of the public space since the Revolution of Dignity; almost all monuments bearing Soviet content (except for war monuments) have been removed and almost all the names of cities, towns and villages and a significant part of the names of streets and institutions referring to the Communist regime have been changed. This process is still not over but has not been resisted by the public or regional elites.