Head of the Organising Committee
Sanna Turoma
sanna.turoma [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Coordinator
Kaarina Aitamurto
kaarina.aitamurto [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Secretary
Maarit Elo-Valente
maarit.elo-valente [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Intern
Miikka Piiroinen
miikka.piiroinen [at] helsinki.fi

Conference e-mail:
fcree-aleksconf [at] helsinki.fi

The Aleksanteri Institute

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O. Box 42)
00014 University of Helsinki
phone +358-(0)50-3565 802

aleksanteri [at] helsinki.fi


Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Marco Siddi (Finnish Institute of International Affairs)

70 Years After: The Evolving Russian and EU Memory Politics of Victory Day in the Second World War

Official commemorations of the seventieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe have reiterated the existence of different national and regional memory narratives of Victory Day and its significance. Elaborating on Stefan Troebst's scholarly work, it is argued that four main official European narratives about the end of the Second World War exist, each of which is dominant in a particular European country or region: Russia, post-communist East-Central Europe, Germany, and the Western European countries that fought against Nazi Germany. On 8-9 May 2015, each narrative found expression in a distinct European commemorative location – or "lieux de mémoire", borrowing Pierre Nora's conceptualization: Moscow, Gdansk, Berlin and London/Paris. It is noted that each of these memory regimes carefully selects historical events in order to construct a narrative that is functional to current political agendas; events that do not sustain the master narrative are downplayed or excluded. The paper argues that, while the four official memory regimes have existed for several decades, some (most notably the Russian narrative) have recently been reformulated with a more nationalistic rhetoric and used as a conceptual framework to explain and interpret the crisis in Ukraine. This further contributed to the politicization of the memory of the Second World War, leading to dissonance between the Russian and the German/Western European narratives, and to a radical discursive clash between the Russian and the East Central European memory regimes. The research will be conducted primarily through critical discourse analysis of the official speeches held at commemorative events of the end of the Second World War. It will also focus on political leaders' selection and construction of the lieux de mémoire where such events were held.