News from Dec 12, 2017
“Introduction: War and Memory in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus”, by Julie Fedor, Simon Lewis and Tatiana Zhurzhenko, in War and Memory in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, ed. by Julie Fedo, Markku Kangaspuro, Jussi Lassila, Tatiana Zhurzhenko (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017),pp. 1-40
This introductory essay begins with a discussion of World War II memory in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, in light of the recent and ongoing war in Ukraine. It outlines the main contours of the interplay between “memory wars” and real war, and the important “post-Crimean” qualitative shift in local memory cultures in this connection. Next, the essay sketches out the specifics of the war memory landscapes of the region, and then of each of the three individual countries, before moving on to introduce the key organizing themes and findings of the book.
“The ‘Partisan Republic’: Colonial Myths and Memory Wars in Belarus” by Simon Lewis, in War and Memory in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, ed. by Julie Fedo, Markku Kangaspuro, Jussi Lassila, Tatiana Zhurzhenko (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017),pp. 371-396
This chapter combines trauma theory and postcolonial theory in the study of memory in post-war and post-Soviet Belarus. It argues that the Soviet myth of Belarus as the “Partisan Republic” displaced trauma, attempting to delimit the contours of memory but only deferring the painful process of coming to terms with the past. In addition, it examines the creation of a monolithic image of Soviet Belarusianness based on the memory of the war, i.e. the construct of the “Partisan Republic,” as a form of colonial discourse a means of imposing hegemonic identity norms on a dominated population. Both the Soviet-era resistance to this myth and the unmaking of the edifice in the post-Soviet era are analyzed in terms of postcolonial theory through discussion of the works of several Soviet and post-Soviet authors, musicians, and artists.