Monumental Sites of Memory in Kharkiv: Modern Practices of Media Representation
Vіsnik Harkіvs'kogo nacіonal'nogo unіversitetu іmenі V. N. Karazіna. Serіâ Іstorіâ
The article deals with the media coverage of memorial initiatives in Kharkiv during the era of Ukrainian independence. The study focuses on print and electronic media coverage of around 100 monuments and sculptural compositions constructed in the city between 1991 and 2019. When analyzing the body of publications, the author pays attention to the thematic spectrum and architectonics of messages about monumental sites of memory. The study finds that the intensity of the coverage of the
... ge of the installation and unveiling of monuments is not determined by the memorial value or merits of the commemorated historical figures. Other factors are more important – such as the participation of authorities in commemorative events. Furthermore, mass media rarely report the opinions of experts and city residents regarding sites of memory. It is often representatives of the authorities who are given the opportunity to voice the motives for commemoration and talk about the significance of memorial sites, rather than the immediate initiators, especially if the latter are not state institutions but public bodies. However, there have been positive changes in this area: independent and opposition media have begun to propose different practices for covering the opening of monuments, centering precisely on the agents of memory and their motives. They are also expanding the thematic range of messages, more fully covering the process of decision-making and related discussions. In the author's view, these developments should be thought of not only as a counterweight to pro-government practices of covering memorial initiatives, but also as an important tool for shaping a culture of memory and building a civil society. In addition, broad public dialogue on memorial initiatives in the city between representatives of various political and professional communities is becoming more essential in the current climate. After all, there is a growing need and demand for seeing monumental sites of memory not only as an ideological resource or a tool for symbolic marking of territory, but also as a means of creating a positive and competitive image of the city.