DECOM JOB: NOTES ON THE DECOMMUNIZATION OF CITY SPACES
Keywords:decommunization, deconstruction, memory in urban spaces, historic monument/heritage, symbolic landscape
Following Maidan-2014 and subsequent political changes, the processes of de-communization in Ukraine have considerably accelerated and received the new impetus. The Parliament adopted a number of laws and legal acts concerning toponyms, monuments, and memorials, communist symbols, etc. that
were to be removed from public spaces. The new legislation applied equally to open public spaces of the cities and villages (streets, squares, piazzas, public parks) and to the spaces of public use (municipal and government buildings, museums, underground stations, universities, schools, etc.). Leaving certain
lacunas (e.g. using communist symbols in mass consumerist culture) and not specifying the ways and means the laws were to be implemented, the parliamentary acts gave way to numerous conflicts and misunderstandings, when the incessant confrontations with a painful past shape political attitudes.
Furthermore, these processes call for re-conceptualizing the ways the past is set into the work of memory and represented in the city spaces. In the same breath, it resulted in mostly spontaneous, even hectic application of the provisions, and remains the contentious issue for the public, experts and
local authorities alike.
On the one hand, we see démontage, removal or dismantling/demolition of the objects that the experts tend to see as a part of the cultural or historical heritage, but which so far are not listed or assigned as such. While on the other hand, it works towards complete ignorance from the part of local authorities if not setting the conflicts between local communities. The paper
will look at certain cases and practices of ‘de-communization’ in Ukrainian cities and analyze its pro-s and contra-s.
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