Historian Volodymyr Viatrovych Presents New Research During Norh American Lecture Series on the Role of Civil Society in Preserving Ukrainians’ National Memory
Ukrainian historian Dr. Volodymyr Viatrovych recently delivered a series of lectures in North America on the post-totalitarian transformation of Ukraine, the role of civic and academic institutions in the restoration of Ukraine’s national memory, and the creation of the Digital Archive of the Liberation Movement.
In April 2013 Dr. Viatrovych held a series of lectures in Toronto and various American cities, where he spoke at universities and leading political institutions and civic centers of North America. He also presented his latest books to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
On 2 April 2013 Dr. Viatrovych delivered a lecture at the University of Toronto on the topic “Following the Evidence: New Archives and the Ukrainian Liberation Movement,” in which he analyzed the specific features of memoirs and documents as historical sources.
During his visit to the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute in Cambridge, Mass., on 25 April 2013 Dr. Viatrovych presented his analysis of the post-totalitarian transformation of Ukraine. In his lecture entitled “(Not) Overcoming Totalitarianism: The Ukrainian Lesson” he noted: “In Ukraine we see evidence of the ineffectual efforts to overcome its totalitarian past not only in the changes introduced into history textbooks or in the results of sociological surveys. Political events in the country clearly demonstrate that the rehabilitation of Soviet history signifies not only a change of assessment, but also entails attempts to implement Soviet practices.”
He laid particular stress on the fact that the “return to the methods of the criminal Soviet regime, which have not been condemned on the juridical and political levels, is being presented to society as justified and necessary, especially during today’s crisis period. Memories of the consequences to which this could lead are gradually disappearing, the generation that experienced Stalinism at first hand is dying out. Without a purposeful state policy, this memory does not accumulate in peoples’ consciousness.”
During his North American lecture tour the historian unveiled the Digital Archive of the Liberation Movement (http://avr.org.ua), a joint project of the Center for Research on the Liberation Movement and Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, in collaboration with the Lonsky Street Prison National Memorial Museum and the Center on Nation Building at NaUKMA.
In his lecture at the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., on 16 April, the historian highlighted the importance of unfettered access to archives in the post-Soviet transformation of Ukraine. “Even the partial revelation of the truth about the totalitarian past helps ensure that nothing like this will ever be repeated.” He is convinced that “the involvement of the non-governmental sector will safeguard the crucial continuity of democratic transformations in the sphere of the restoration of historical memory, even in the currently unfavourable political situation.”
Volodymyr Viatrovych, who heads Center on Ukraine’s Nation Building at NaUKMA, has written six books on various aspects of Ukrainian history. On 17 April he presented his two most recent books to the Library of Congress, where the director of the library, James Billington, attended the launch of the monograph The Second Polish-Ukrainian War, 1942–1947 and a two-volume collection of documents entitled Polish-Ukrainian Relations in 1942–1947 in OUN and UPA Documents.
On 15 April 2013 Dr. Viatrovych delivered a lecture at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, D.C. and spoke at various public meetings organized by the Ukrainian communities of Toronto, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Whippany, New York, Yonkers, Philadelphia, and Hartford.
One of the topics discussed during the 6 April scholarly conference in Toronto on “The Question of Research on Ukrainian Historical Truth,” which included presentations by Professor Peter J. Potichnyj, Dr. Roman Serbyn, and Dr. Lubomyr Luciuk, was the role of academic freedom in the process of restoring the national memory of Ukrainians. Dr. Viatrovych discussed the role played by civic and scholarly institutions in the current political situation in Ukraine, focusing on the example of the work being done by the Center for Research on the Liberation Movement, the Lonsky Street Prison National Memorial Museum, and the Center on Ukraine’s Nation Building at NaUKMA.
Dr. Volodymyr Viatrovych is the director of the Center for the Study of Ukraine’s Nation Building at NaUKMA, member of the Scholarly Council of the Center for Research on the Liberation Movement and the Supervisory Council of the Lonsky Street Prison National Memorial Museum. In 2008–2010 he was the Director of the Archives of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), where he was instrumental in declassifying the former KGB archives. In 2010—2011 he was a Research Fellow at the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute. He is the author of six books and numerous articles on the history of the Ukrainian liberation movement.
In meetings with Volodymyr Viatrovych in Washington, DC: Dr. James Billington, Librarian of Library of Congress; William Pomerantz, Acting Director of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies of the Woodrow Wilson Center; E. Wayne Merry, Senior Fellow for Europe and Eurasia at American Foreign Policy Council; Grant Harris, Head of European Reading Room at Library of Congress; Laura Deal, Catalog Specialist at Woodrow Wilson Center; Ambassador William Green Miller, Former US Ambassador to Ukraine and Senior Policy Scholar at Kennan Institute; Baxter Hunt, Director, Office of Ukraine, Moldova & Belarus Affairs, U.S. State Department; Orest Deychakiwsky, Senior Policy Advisor, U.S. Helsinki Commission; Ambassador John O’Keefe, Executive Director of Open World; Lewis Madanick, Program Manager at Open World; Gene Fishel, Senior Analyst at the Office of Russian and Eurasian Analysis in the U.S. Department of State; Michael Sawkiw, Director of UNIS; Walter Zaryckyj, Executive Director of Center for U.S. Ukrainian Relations, Marta Farion, President of Kyiv Mohyla Foundation; Borys Potapenko, Executive Director, League of Ukrainian Canadians and others.
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