On the Ukrainian-Polish forum of historians and related insights on policy making and international relations in Central and Eastern Europe

Author: Kyrylo Mieliekiestsev
Institution: Vasyl’ Stus Donetsk National University
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4931-9576
Year of publication: 2022
Source: Show
Pages: 121-127
DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/PPUSN.2022.01.11
PDF: pomi/04/pomi411.pdf

This paper focuses on preserving, translating and analyzing pieces of information on the 2015–2018 Ukrainian- Polish Forum of Historians, allowing for knowledge of this event to be spread beyond Ukraine and Poland. Through this article the author wishes to show that to the governments of Central and Eastern Europe, such as Ukraine and the Republic of Poland, history became a consideration in state policy, due to massive shifts of views on how to approach history between the era of totalitarian Soviet domination and the development of current democratic governments. Although it is something that would be considered outside of state purview in the West, possibly even called “undemocratic”, the government’s interest in how history is told to the population must be viewed in the context of both information warfare, and in how the countries of Central and Eastern Europe approach international relations. Because of this, the Ukrainian-Polish Forum of Historians, organized by Polish and Ukrainian Institutes of National Remembrance (differential in their approaches to what can be considered “shared history”) is of interest as an example of how joint discussions of history, attempts to find a common position, or a compromise, were considered relevant and needed for policy makers in Poland and Ukraine. Analyzing the prerequisites of the events, the topics discussed at the Forum (largely concerning mid-20th century history of Poland and Ukraine), and its results we conclude that, although the differences on how Ukrainian and Polish governments viewed their countries’ history eventually led to the Forum stopping, the initiative led to new actions from independent actors trying to support the idea of shared forgiveness and modern Polish-Ukrainian unity despite different views on various historical events. That shows that politics of memory affect Ukrainian and Polish policymaking, allowing an alternative perspective on the theory of international relations, one that considers not simply realist expectations, but emotional attachments to a country’s past and wishes to see that past respected, or at least not actively opposed, by other nations.

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UINP IPN history politics history policy politics of history Republic of Poland politics of memory Ukraine

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