The Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to numerous death casualties among both the military and civilians, as well as the destruction of infrastructure and residential areas, including cultural infrastructure and symbolically important objects. In media discourses and eyewitnesses’ accounts, the death of humans and animals is discussed along with the destruction of things. Dehumanization and defamiliarization, the distinction between “our” dead bodies and those of the enemy that is typical of wartime propaganda, coexists with attempts to build alternative narratives of human rights, civility, humanity, and “Europe.” However, discourse on survivors prevails over the representation of death in Ukraine’s public sphere. In my talk I will analyze news media coverage and oral interviews with evacuated civilians collected between March and May 2022 by the Center for Urban History in Lviv.
Iryna Sklokina holds a PhD in history and is a research fellow at the Center for Urban History in Lviv, Ukraine. Her research interests include heritage and memory studies, the Soviet politics of WWII memory, and industrial history and heritage. Mostly recently she has co-authored and co-edited The Political Cult of the Dead in Ukraine. Traditions and Dimensions from the First World War to Today (with Guido Hausmann, 2021) and a special issue of the journal Region: Regional Studies of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia titled Donbas Imaginaries: Heritage, Culture, Communities (with Victoria Donovan, 2021).