The Memory Policy of the Second World War in the Post-Yugoslav Republics: Symbolic and Commemorative Aspects

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The paper analyses the politics of memory of the World War II (WWII) in socialist Yugoslavia and compares the corresponding commemorative practices in the post-Yugoslav republics. The focus is on the design of holidays and memorial dates that reflect the symbolic and valuable attitudes of society, as well as the trajectory of nation-building. The formation of the state metanarrative in post-war Yugoslavia was closely related to the monopolisation of the leadership roles of the national liberation war by the communists, who united the six South Slavic nations in their struggle against the Nazi invaders. The state holidays and memorial days were derived from the history of resistance to foreign occupiers and internal enemies in order to legitimise and strengthen the triumph of the new socialist order. Alternative Yugoslavian non-communist movements, especially the Ustash and Chetniks who were potentially capable of competing in the symbolic field, were declared class enemies, reactionary elements, and quislings. As the processes of disintegration increased in socialist Yugoslavia, there were several attempts to revise its ideological attitudes and symbolic heritage of WWII. Nevertheless, as the study shows these attempts became, rather, a marginal phenomenon, and most post-Yugoslav states retained the commemorative, albeit de-ideologised, practices of the previous period.

About the authors

Ilya A. Pomiguev

HSE University; Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences of the RAS; Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3068-5664

PhD in Political Sciences, Associate Professor at the School of Politics and Governance, Faculty of Social Sciences, HSE University; Research Fellow at the Institute of information for Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences and Mass Communication, Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation

Moscow, Russian Federation

Eldar R. Salakhetdinov

The Institute for African Studies of the RAS; University of South Africa (Unisa)

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3124-8928

PhD in History, Research Fellow at the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow, Russia); Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of South Africa (Unisa) (Pretoria, South Africa)

Moscow, Russian Federation; Pretoria, The Republic of South Africa


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Copyright (c) 2021 Pomiguev I.A., Salakhetdinov E.R.

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