University of Helsinki
The historical narratives of the war that prevail in Poland and the Baltic states, coupled with the emerging recognition in contemporary Ukraine of the activities of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), have challenged not only the Russian account of the conflict but also the memory of the entire Soviet period itself. With expertise in the interpretative history of relations between Russia, Finland, and the Baltic Sea countries after the fall of the Communist bloc, the Helsinki MAW team seeks to examine this use of history as a political weapon, focusing its attention on the use of history as an instrument of identity politics in Eastern Europe. The concept of the political use of history refers primarily to the intentional, interest-driven exploitation of history as a means of political mobilization and argumentation. It also refers to the attempts to attain political power by creating a hegemony of one interpretation of history over others. In contemporary societies, public histories and collective memories have crucial normative functions that cannot be matched by any other cultural or educational practices.