When Lenin Becomes Lennon: Decommunisation and the Politics of Memory in Ukraine
RUCARR Seminar with Dr. Maksym Kovalov, instructor of International Studies at the College of Charleston. Maksym’s research focuses on democratization, populism, politics of memory, and political institutions in post-communist states. His current research projects are on populism in Poland and on the impact of political outsiders on democracy in comparative perspective.
When: Tuesday 20th of September, 15:15-17:00
Where: Hybrid, Seminar room on 9th floor, Niagara
Or Zoom: https://mau-se.zoom.us/j/66119415789
(no passcode required) (the presenter will attend online)
In 2015 Ukraine’s parliament (Rada) passed a series of decommunization laws which set deadlines for clearing Soviet-era symbols from public spaces. Regional and municipal authorities were responsible for renaming the streets but Ukraine’s regions have shown highly uneven degrees of compliance with decommunization laws. How do we explain the differences in the scope of decommunization across Ukrainian regions? Why did some regions comply with the decommunization laws and rename all Soviet-era streets while others resisted and openly sabotaged the renaming process? I argue that political factors, or ‘politics of the present’, rather than structural factors, or ‘politics of the past’, explain the opposition to decommunisation since 2015. More specifically, two mutually necessary factors—the interaction among subnational veto players and the efforts of toponymic commissions—explain the opposition to the renaming of streets. Regions with a high number of subnational veto players and low engagement by toponymic commissions have shown a higher degree of resistance to the renaming of streets.