Religion and Politics in Ukraine: The Influence of Churches and Religious Traditions in Formation of Collective Memory . Historia 2017.
Projektledare: Yulia Yurchuk

Religious and political spheres in Ukraine are tightly connected. One of the fields where such deep connection can be observed is memory politics. This aspect of the role of religion and of concrete churches in dealing with the past, though, is understudied both in memory research and in the studies of religion. Previous research on memory and religion was dedicated to specific questions in realm of theology or history. What is lacking is interdisciplinary research which would shed light on complex role of religion and churches specifically in dealing with the past. In his review of my book on memory politics in Ukraine, Per Arne Bodin underlined that a specific study should be undertaken to develop the thesis on the role of the religion and religious institutions in memory politics (Bodin 2015). The aim of my study is to deepen the knowledge on the role of religion in Ukraine in the process of formation of collective memory on the example of remembrance of the Second World War. The project concentrates on three main aspects which shed light on the role of the church and the religion in the process of re-evaluating the past. The first aspect is the role of religion per se on the formation of collective memory. Secondly, I aim to look at the role of each of the main churches in Ukraine in the process of re-evaluation of the past– Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate (UOC MP), Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC KP), Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC), and Greek Catholic Church (GCC). Thirdly, I will look on political engagement of theses churches and the clergy and how this political engagement is related to the activities dedicated to re-evaluation of the past as well as how they are received by the “audiences” to whom these politics is addressed.

Taking into consideration the recent situation in Ukraine, whereas the country is involved in the conflict with Russia, such study is even more topical as at the times of crisis the role of religion is re-actualized and the churches’ political potential is mobilized. It should be added that during the turbulent times of Orange Revolution in 2004 and of Euromaidan in 2013/2014 churches became highly politicized and this politicization was often performed on the terrain of memory politics.

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