Oleksandra Gaidai

List of articles

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.