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The article touches on a concept that was in the very essence of imagining relations between Ukraine and Russia: “The Friendship of People.” The historical imagination had a tangible impact on Russian politics, and no political concept has ever been so damaging for Ukraine as this one. This concept undermined Ukraine’s subjectivity and led to the “rewriting” of Ukrainian history. Monuments dedicated to the “friendship” of these two peoples reveal the centrality of this notion in Soviet politics toward Ukraine. Notably, these monuments appeared only in Ukraine – there are none in Russia. The article analyses the erection of these monuments and how they have been dealt with since the start of the Russian war in Ukraine in 2014. It also shows how monumental art is used to foster specific interpretations of the past to define the present and future, and how this particular story of monuments and narratives has always been problematic in Ukraine. The article questions the homogeneity of Soviet political monumental heritage, presenting the complexity of monuments that depict national and Soviet narratives. These monuments and their interpretations should be discussed in the framework of a political campaign aimed at tying Ukraine to Russia. Therefore, the Ukrainian perspective on the notion of “friendship” and its memorialization is fundamental.
This conversation between Igor Janke and Jakub Kumoch is an important source for research into the beginning of the Russian–Ukrainian war and the role of Polish diplomacy in the winter and spring of 2022. After all, it is not often that direct participants in high-level international talks share their memories of key historical moments, along with many important details and observations, less than a year after the events themselves. This is what Jakub Kumoch does – and he does it in a colourful way. A Polish political scientist and diplomat who has served as Poland's ambassador to Switzerland, Turkey and other countries, Kumoch was State Secretary for International Affairs in the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland from 2021 to 2023. During this time, he was in close contact with many governments, including those of Ukraine, the United States, France and Germany. In the form of a long chat between two friends, he shared his memories of this period with Igor Janke, a well-known Polish journalist. This conversation is also extremely interesting because it vividly illustrates the thinking in Polish government circles about the challenges to regional and global security associated with Russia's war against Ukraine and the future of Polish–Ukrainian relations, including the historical dialogue.  
Alexandru Burian is a doctor of law, professor in the Department of International Law and External Economic Relations Law of Moldova State University, and pro-rector of the University of European Studies of Moldova. He is the author of more than 250 pieces of scholarly writing, including 6 monographs and 12 university textbooks in the fields of public international law, diplomatic and consular law, geopolitics, diplomatic protocol, and etiquette. In 1988–1990, he was a Senior Scientific Assistant in the International Department of the Central Committee (CC) of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), and Senior Researcher in the International Relations Department, Institute of Marxism–Leninism of the CPSU CC (Moscow). In 1990–1994, he was a Member of Parliament of the Republic of Moldova. In 1993–1994, he was the Chairman of the Commission for International Relations, and the head of the Moldovan parliamentary delegation to PACE. In 1994–1995, he was Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Moldova. Burian was the head of Moldovan government delegations in negotiations with Iran, Cuba, China, Romania, Russia, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Malta. In 1995–1997, he was the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Moldova to the Federal Republic of Germany, the Kingdom of Spain, and the Kingdom of Denmark. In 2002–2003, Burian was the Head of the Protocol Sector of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova. In 2005–2009, he was the Director of the Institute of History, State and Law at the Academy of Sciences of Moldova. 
International relations suffer from a plethora of pseudo-theoretical approaches. Some of these approaches claim the right not only to explain but also to shape the international reality. These will quite often become instrumental in the legitimization of a given state’s policies. Nuances, caveats, and an awareness of limitations give way to simplicity, unambiguity and self-confidence. The aim of this article is to critically deconstruct certain ways of thinking about inter-state relations and international policy that are usually attributed to advocates of geopolitics and naïve realism. What makes vague but attractive geopolitical jargon, belief in determinism, enchantment with maps and admiration for the ‘concert of powers’ so popular, and what consequences might the adoption of geopolitical assumptions have for contemporary political practice? The popular mono-causal approaches that are full of hasty but firm generalizations about the laws of history have the upper hand over pluralist ones that look for a multitude of usually inconclusive explanations. The reason for this might not simply be analytical laziness; the fact is that the aforementioned popular, simplistic, even trivial observations dressed in quasi-scientific costume serve as a convenient source of legitimacy for revisionist leaders who wish to be seen as defenders of the status quo. Keywords: geopolitics, determinism, concert of powers, maps, legitimization