„Like a Swede at Poltava“ - An Ukrainian-German History Project
The 300th anniversary of the Battle of Poltava was celebrated in summer of 2009. On this occasion a team of 14 students and two group leaders from Poltava and Freiburg did an analysis of processes of changes in Ukraine's cultural identity.
The title of the project „Like a Swede at Poltava“ is a current saying in Russia and Ukraine. It is used as a simile for „completely defeated“. The saying refers to this event. The outcome of the battle was a watershed not only in the Great Northern War of the early 18th century but in European history. Russian troops had beaten the army of the Swedish king Charles XII and Russia under the role of tsar Peter the Great rose to supreme power in Eastern Europe.
So what impact does this event have on current developments in Ukraine?
We have tried to answer this question by comparing Ukrainian, Soviet and Western European documents, by analysing the museum and monuments dedicated to the battle, by conducting Oral History interviews, by examining the media coverage in the run-up to the anniversary and by comparing the remembrance culture on this battle with the remembrance cultures on other battles in Europa.
The research results as well as personal reflections of the participants are now published. You may download the brochure.
The project has been mainly sponsored by Geschichtswerkstatt Europa, a pogramme of the Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility and Future".
Further supporting institutions:
lectureship programme of Robert Bosch Stiftung
the German-Russian language youth portal to4ka-treff, a project of the Foundation for German-Russian youth exchange (Foundation DRJA) and the Goethe-Institutes of the Eastern European / Central Asian region.