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Ukraine’s disputes over the 80th anniversary of the Babi Yar massacre. OSW Commentary Number 413 22.10.2021.

Rogoza, Jadwiga (2021) Ukraine’s disputes over the 80th anniversary of the Babi Yar massacre. OSW Commentary Number 413 22.10.2021. [Policy Paper]

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    On 29 September 2021 and 6 October 2021 in Kyiv two competing ceremonies were held to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the massacre in Babi Yar, which is a site of extermination of Kyiv Jews and representatives of other ethnic and political groups. No comprehensive commemoration of these crimes was offered both in the Soviet era and in the recent 30 years of Ukraine’s independence. It was only in recent years that two projects for the commemoration of the Babi Yar massacre emerged, however, a sharp dispute is ongoing between their initiators. The first project, proposed by the Academy of Sciences and supported by “patriotic” groups, presents the Holocaust against the backdrop of the history of martyrdom of other nations, and views Ukraine as a victim of two totalitarian systems. The other project, which is a private initiative, focuses on commemorating the tragedy of Jews on Ukrainian soil. However, it has sparked controversy mainly due to the involvement of sponsors and contributors from Russia in it. Due to its advanced stage of implementation, its modern form and its focus on issues related to the Holocaust, this project received backing from both Ukrainian and Israeli authorities. The dispute over the Babi Yar massacre goes beyond historical issues. It has become a tool in the political fight between the camp of President Volodymyr Zelensky and that of his predecessor Petro Poroshenko, as well as a field of personal conflicts and a clash of different models of remembrance. The contentious issues include Ukrainian nationalists’ collaboration with Nazi Germany, discussed in the private project, and the involvement of Russian individuals in the initiative, which enables them to impact on Ukraine’s politics of memory. As a consequence, an important project, which has the potential to both shape domestic debates about the past and affect the perception of Ukraine abroad, is being devised without the participation of the state which – at least at this stage – has abandoned any active policy in this area.

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    Item Type: Policy Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: Countries > Ukraine
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) > OSW Commentary
    Depositing User: Daniel Pennell
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2022 15:28
    Number of Pages: 8
    Last Modified: 31 Jan 2022 15:28

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