PERSONIFICATION AS A STRATEGY OF HISTORICAL POLICY IN UKRAINE
This article analyzes personification as a historical policy strategy, which consists in the memorialization of certain historical and cultural figures. The relevance of this analysis is determined by the dominance of this strategy in modern historical policy as well as its popularity among various policy actors in Ukraine at different levels of executive power. At the same time, the choice of this strategy is usually not substantiated in official documents, which entails that conclusions can be drawn mostly based on policy results, retrospectively. The author outlines the genesis of personification traditions in Ukraine, formed within the frameworks of citizen, activist and patriarchal types of political culture. Ukraine’s inclusion into imperial entities such as the Russian Empire and the USSR led to a significant impact of imperial memory policy on the traditions and formats of commemoration in Ukraine. The study focuses on the phenomenon of “vozhdism” (leaderism) and the formation of the Soviet official pantheon. The author attempts to define the concept of pantheon as an imaginary set of iconic figures of history and culture, recognized as worthy of homage in the civic rituals of common commemoration. There is a correlation between the functions of the national pantheon and the choices of figures made as well as the appropriate vocabulary required. This correlation is illustrated through perceptions of heroes, which often become an instrument of ideological mobilization. Modern historiography offers an alternative understanding of heroes, with an emphasis on cultural, ethical and academic leadership. This understanding is increasingly influencing the formation of historical policy, particularly in Ukraine. It is also promising to interpret heroes as integrators, especially given the challenge of consolidation facing historical policy in Ukraine. The findings suggest that personification is neither a universal nor a self-evident tool for achieving this goal. There are other promising strategies focusing on events (“eventfulness”) and processes (“procedurality”).
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