Memorial legislation of the Russian Federation as occupation policy tool: historical and legal analysis. Part I. Theory and practice of the kremlin’s historical policy

Main Article Content

K. Ivangorodsky


Abstract. The aim is to analyze the memorial legislation of the Russian Federation as one of the instruments of its occupation policy on Ukrainian lands. The novelty of the problem also necessitates the need to research tangential segments of the topic – the theoretical evolution of the concept of “memorial legislation”, its legal essence, typology, conflict-genicity, conditioned by the Kremlin’s historical policy.

Scientific novelty. The concept of “memorial laws” appeared in France in the second half of the 20th century and actually means laws to promulgate and establish the official version of history. These are laws that criminalize certain statements about the past and contain legal norms regarding historical memory and memorial practices. The development of memorial legislation requires the classification of relevant acts. The phenomenon of laws of memory is one of the most controversial issues in complex discussions about the relationship between history, memory and law. In fact, memorial laws establish norms and rules for the representation of the past in the interests of the present.

In the so-called “post-Soviet” space, memorial legislation enshrines certain interpretations of past events, is aimed mainly at obtaining a political result and as a tool for legitimizing the authorities. This process is especially noticeable in Putin's Russia. Over the past decade, the Russian Federation has adopted the largest number of laws and draft laws on memory. All these normative legal acts establish responsibility exclusively for the events of the Second World War. The most famous of them is the 2014 law (Article 354.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), which provides for criminal liability for “rehabilitation of Nazism”. It was this national-populist law that caused the “memory wars” between the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Poland and finally shaped the current historical policy of the Kremlin.

Conclusions. Memorial legislation is one of the important instruments of the occupation policy of the Russian Federation on Ukrainian lands. The growing number of authoritarian regimes in Central and Eastern Europe (Russia, Hungary, Turkey) made memorial legislation an element of national-populist politics. The difficulty of analyzing the laws on memory in the Russian Federation is also due to the fact that its political regime does not even have a minimal level of democracy. Therefore, in this aggressor country, the memorial legislation serves exclusively the task of legitimizing the authoritarian regime and its stabilization. At the same time, the laws on memory in the Russian Federation are not aimed at protecting historical memory, but at demonstrating the significance of Russia, with the aim of expanding its influence on the international arena. In general, the Kremlins memorial legislation only imitates European models aimed at prohibiting the denial of the crimes of Nazism. Instead, its real essence is to protect not the memory of the victims of the Soviet regime, but this regime itself, denying its crimes. In this way, Putins regime tries to deny its own crimes, including the current genocide of Ukrainians.


Article Details

Author Biography

K. Ivangorodsky

Ivangorodsky Kostiantyn - Doctor of Sciences (History), Professor of Department of History of Ukraine, Bohdan Khmelnytsky National University of Cherkasy, Cherkasy, Ukraine



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