Accepted paper:

The (un)problematic communist past: the creation of the post-1991 urban memory of Chernivtsi, Western Ukraine


Karolina Koziura (The New School for Social Research, New York)

Paper short abstract:

By analyzing the bounds between space, identity and memory in contemporary cityscape of Chernivtsi, Western Ukraine I show how since 1991 the process of forgetting the communist past is reflected in urban space.

Paper long abstract:

The decade of the 1990s brought changes not only in the geopolitical map of Europe but also began the long path of transition into democracy and the market economy of the populace living in the former Soviet bloc. Moreover, it was a time of rediscovering "lost" memories and "white holes" in the history of Central and East European societies in reference to the pre-Soviet period (Gruber 2002). The terrains for most of the changes were cities, not only salient witnesses of transformation but also dynamic spaces in which memory was contested and reused. One of the most important questions, which were raised at that time, was that on the future of Soviet signs in the post-Soviet urban landscapes (Wanner 1998). The aim of my presentation is to show bounds between space, identity and memory in the case of the city of Chernivtsi, Western Ukraine. The center of my analysis is the (un)problematic communist past. As I show, in multiplicity of contemporary projects on urban memory of Chernivtsi the communist past of the city is largely omitted. Not only it disappeared from local history books but also it is not included in any revitalization projects. I base my presentation on the methodology of socio-cultural urban transformation implied by Ukrainian scholars in their study of urban memory of Ukrainian cities. Thus, I show how once the communist ideology was reflected in the urban space of Chernivtsi and then was largely forgotten after 1991.

panel P005
Forms of memory transitions: processes and possible outcomes