The Voids of Mariupol's Memory




Mariupol, cultural memory, collective memory, memory landscape, architecture, identity


Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 has left some Ukrainian cities in ruins. The towns occupied by Russian troops have become peculiar testing grounds for de-Ukrainianisation and battlegrounds of memory, where occupiers attempt to establish dominant narratives. The authors of this article aimed to examine these processes through the urban memory landscape of Mariupol. This landscape is considered a part of cultural memory, preserved and actualised through material carriers, including the city’s architectural appearance. Urban space and its transformations are seen as successive layers of memory, illustrating a particular memory hierarchy in Mariupol’s landscape across different periods. Attention is also drawn to the decision-making nature of the city authorities regarding urban development over the last hundred years. These decisions have not only shaped the urban landscape and determined a specific way of its interaction with citizens but also influenced the authorities’ vision of the city’s image and its impact on the formation of collective memory. The transformations in Mariupol throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries illustrate how it has become a battleground of memories, a place of forced forgetting. The text highlights how the forgetting and silencing of history have become mechanisms for manipulating collective memory. These processes are reflected in the urban space and the identity of its citizens. An overview of the changing landscape of memory between 2016 and 2022 is also provided. Regarding the formation of collective memory, the text demonstrates the changes in the landscape during the city's occupation in 2022, particularly the processes of imperative change in the urban memory landscape and the attempts of the occupation authorities to create visual images and narratives that form a new memory landscape.






Preservation of Cultural Heritage

How to Cite

The Voids of Mariupol’s Memory. (2024). Text and Image: Essential Problems in Art History, 2(16).