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From a Memory War to a War over Memory: The Past and Society in Ukraine and Russia during Soviet Times, and Beyond

September 26, 2023 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

in the series
The Russia-Ukraine War and Memory Politics

Coach House, Green College, UBC

Serhy Yekelchyk, Germanic and Slavic Studies, University of Victoria

Ukraine had been part of the Russian-dominated Soviet Union, but after gaining independence in 1991, the Ukrainian state and society developed in a direction markedly different from that of Russia’s. What in the Soviet politics of memory underpinned this split and how did it solidify after 1991? This talk will discuss the intricate entanglement between society, democracy, and memory in Ukraine and Russia, explaining from this unusual vantage point why Putin’s regime underestimated Ukrainian resistance.

Born and educated in Ukraine, Serhy Yekelchyk received a Ph.D. from the University of Alberta. He is the author of eight books on modern Ukrainian history and Russo-Ukrainian relations including the award-winning Stalin’s Citizens: Everyday Politics in the Wake of Total War (Oxford University Press, 2014). A professor of History and Slavic Studies at the University of Victoria, Yekelchyk is current president of the Canadian Association for Ukrainian Studies.