Press release – 28 January 2013

New issue of EU-Russia Paper out now

Lina Klymenko writes about “Making Sense of World War II: How Russian and Ukrainian Textbooks Foster National Identities.”

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the memory of World War II has been used in state-led nation-building processes of post-Soviet countries to foster a sense of national belonging. This paper provides an insight into the official discourse of World War II in Russia and Ukraine by concentrating on a comparative analysis of World War II representations in Russian and Ukrainian school history textbooks. The study is based on a discourse analysis approach, focusing both on key textbook themes, such as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the German attack on the Soviet Union, the Nazi occupation regime, the Soviet army offensive and resistance movements, and on their linguistic realization. The study reveals that in the Ukrainian textbook national identity is created through a portrayal of Ukrainians who suffered under the German occupation and the Stalinist regime and who also heroically contributed to the victory over Nazism in Europe. In the Russian textbook, in contrast, the national identity is built through a depiction of the heroism and self-sacrifice of all Soviet people on the territory of the former Soviet Union.

For more, please see here