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Thursday, September 20, 2018 - 10:05

Submit your opinion piece on "decommunization" in Ukraine

April 2015

Krytyka invites scholars and experts to add their voice to the discussion of the so-called “anti-communist” laws (also known as “decommunization laws”) that were passed by the Ukrainian parliament on April 9, 2015. 

“Decommunization" in Ukraine has been certainly long overdue, and the popular demand for it is great, but the methods Ukrainian authorities choose to implement it raise many questions. 

As a journal dedicated to Ukrainian history and culture, politics and society, Krytyka is interested in expanding the current debate to include contributions that in this context also discuss:

- Law writing and its passing in Ukraine and public discussion of controversial law

- Processing of history and politics of memory in regards to both the communist past and national struggle for independence

- Increasing popular readiness to limit democratic freedoms and rights in the face of the Russian aggression against Ukraine

- Need in Ukraine for popular education on the atrocities committed by the communist regime and dismantling of both its institutional and memorial practices as a result

- Necessity for an objective, thorough, and sensitive discussion of the activities of OUN and UPA with respect to their contribution to Ukraine’s independence and the involvement of some of their members or units in crimes against civilians.

Such a debate could take place against the background of some recent publications that sparked lively - although less public - discussions in different circles of scholars and intellectuals, as well as in social media. Publications on Facebook or Twitter are brief and convenient, but Ukraine needs a thorough public discussion that could serve as guidance for proponents and opponents of the process and its implementation.

Notable publications in this regard are:

- John Paul Himka’s article in AbImperio: “Legislating Historical Truth

- David R. Marples’ blog in “Current Politics in Ukraine

- Myroslav Popovych’s publication in the “Initiative of December 1st” (in Ukrainian)

- Andriy Portnov's video-blog on the "history laws" (in Russian)

- Open Letter of Scholars and Experts on Ukraine to President Poroshenko and Chairman Hroysman re. Anti-Communist Law (see also Andreas Umland’s commentary on it on BBC Russia (in Russian))

- A review of the laws by Tadeusz Olszański of the Polish Center for Eastern Studies

- Serhy Roabenko’s article in “Levyi bereg” (in Ukrainian)

- Precedents of overturning such national law by the European Court of Human Rights, including the case of Vajnai vs. Hungary

- Alexander Motyl's article in Foreign Affairs: "Kiev's Purge: Behind the New Legislation to Decommunize Ukraine"

- Halya Coynash's article on the website of the Kharkiv Human Rights Group: "Politicizing History: Parliament adopts Dangerously Divisive Laws"

- Kateryna Dronova's article on the website of VoxUkraine: "The Fight Against the Spectre of Communism"

- An article by Per Anders Rudling and Christopher Gilley on the website of Krytyka Polityczna 

A number of relevant articles and responses also appeared in popular media in outlets such as The NationHromadske TV EnglishAtlantic CouncilThe Guardian, and a number of others.

In nearly 20 years of its existence, Krytyka has proven to be a balanced forum for all opinions on often very controversial issues of Ukrainian history and culture. With nuanced arguments and in-depth analysis, we offered our readers a thoughtful approach to all difficult and dividing topics, the best record of which is our archive of publications. 

We find that the current debate in Ukrainian and international media on all issues connected to “decommunization” is in dire need of both deepening and broadening. Taking advantage of a vacuum of expert opinion, populist rhetorics defines the conversation, deficient arguments go unchallenged, and reductive narratives are treated as ultimate truths.

We invite well-founded opinion pieces no longer than 1000 words (in English, Ukrainian, or other languages). Contributors should have a track record of scholarly work in their respective field, or substantial work experience that qualifies them as experts (please submit your CV with your contribution). Please direct your contributions to Krytyka's Chief Online Editor, Oleh Kotsyuba, at kotsyuba@krytyka.com

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