Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies

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Borovyk, Mykola

Dr. Mykola Borovyk

Former Postdoc


Main Research Areas

  • History as factor of collective identity
  • Oral history and memory of World War II (incl. memory on the interethnic relations)
  • World War II in Ukraine (incl. Soviet regime and Ukrainian society, everyday life in Ukraine during the war)
  • Revolution 1917-1921 in Ukraine (inl. the peasant insurgent movement, Ukrainian anarchist movement)
  • Soviet everyday culture during the 1960s-1980s

Research Project

(Un)expected Enemies: Local Collaborators in the Jewish Survivors Memory About the Holocaust in Ukraine 

Project at the The Center for Holocaust Studies at the Institute for Contemporary History, May-August 2018

The project investigates the memory on the interethnic relations in Ukraine during the Second World War, in particular, the memory of Jewish Holocaust survivors about their persecutors among the local population. Representation of attitudes and behaviour of the local non-Jewish population in the Jewish collective memory of Holocaust is often influenced by some common patterns and stereotypes. Obviously, such stereotypes can be traced back to the real wartime experiences and attitudes. At the same time, such generalisations hardly reflect the variety of historical experience and are selective by nature. This project aims to understand how the Jewish communities in the USSR and abroad have formed the language for describing the phenomenon of local collaboration, which factors influenced its formation and what was the distinctiveness of a language formed in different social and political contexts.

The Memory of World War II as a Factor of Collective Identity in Ukraine

Postdoctoral Project at the Graduate School

In the historical memory surveys, which deal with Ukrainian topics, the memory of World War II occupies the central position. This important topic in the academic discourse has received a distinct political meaning recently. At the present time, the concept of “divided memory” dominates the scientific as well as the public discourse. It describes the situation in Ukraine as the opposition of two conflictive memory communities. The memory about World War II allegedly plays a key role in their establishment. While working with oral sources, I arrived at the conclusion that the stereotypical image of “divided memory” is oversimplified and our knowledge about the real content of the memory of that event is very limited. The discussions on the historical memory in Ukraine have traditionally focused on the activity of the elites, including historians, public intellectuals, media and politicians; whereas the non-elite groups’ memory has been generally neglected. In my project, I plan to explore the way which memory policy acts on the individual level, and how the memory of World War II and collective identities of inhabitants of Ukraine are related. The purpose of the project is to find out whether the World War II experience and its memory influenced the shaping of collective identities in Ukraine and, if it did, the way of this influence and for which groups the memory about the war or their war experience turned out to be the determinant for self-identification. In addition, the study hopes to find out more about the effectiveness of the Soviet and Post-Soviet mechanisms of indoctrination in the historical memory sphere and how the images of war, enacted by them, have been transforming on the individual level. The study also attempts to draw attention to the effectiveness of conscious or unconscious activity of the elite “memory creators” as well as on the lability of the perceptions of the past, which are based on personal experience.

Please also see an overview of his project in the Graduate School's Annual Report 2016.

Curriculum Vitae

2011-2015 head of research laboratory “Center for Oral History” at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. 2005–2015 Assistant/Associate Professor at the Department of Modern History of Ukraine of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. 1999–2005 Lecturer/Associate Professor at the National Academy of Statistics, Accounting and Auditing in Kyiv.

2014–2015 coordinator of working group of the Oral history project: "The revolutionary events in Ukraine 2013-2014: mechanisms of mass mobilization". 2011–2014 coordinator of working group of the Oral history project "Ukraine during the Second World War: everyday experience of survival". 2013 coordinator of working group of the Oral history project "Soviet everyday culture: formation of the Soviet way of life".

Positions, Assignments and Memberships



Україна в роки Другої світової війни: спроба нового концептуального погляду (Ukraine during the Second World War: an attempt of new conceptual perspective). Nizhyn, 2010. (in co-authorship)

Історія України. Новітня доба / Навчальний посібник (History of Ukraine. Contemporary age / Textbook). – К., 2012, (in co-authorship)

Journal articles and Book Chapters

Collaboration and Collaborators in Ukraine During the Second World War: Between Myth and Memory. In: Gelinada Grinchenko / Eleonora Narvselius (Hgg.): Traitors, Collaborators and Deserters in Contemporary European Politics of Memory. Formulas of Betrayal, Basingstoke 2018, S. 285-308.

Між перемогою і миром: воркшоп про мови війни і насильства [Between Victory and Peace: a Workshop about Languages of War and Violence]. In: Україна Модерна, 10.08.2017.

Biographical research in Ukraine: a new field in a new country // Biography and society. Research committee 38 of the ISA, Newsletter / December 2014 (in co-authorship)

Пам'ять про Другу світову війну в усних джерелах (на матеріалах усно історичного проекту «Україна в роки другої світової війни) (The memory of the war in oral sources (based on the project "Ukraine during the Second World War: the everyday experience of survival") / / Вісник Київського університету імені Тараса Шевченка . – Київ, № 111.

Влада як фактор колективної ідентичності в Україні в роки Другої світової війни (The power as a factor of collective identity in Ukraine during the Second World War) // Суспільні злами і поворотні моменти: макроподії крізь призму автобіографічної розповіді. – Львів , 2014.

«Прийшла озброєна людина»: повсякденне сприйняття радянських партизанів населенням України в роки Другої світової війни в усних джерелах ("An armed man have came…": Soviet partisans in everyday perception of inhabitants of Ukraine during the Second World War (based on oral history) // Боротьба за Україну в 1943-1944 роках: влада, збройні сили, суспільство. Збірник наукових праць. – Київ.: Інститут історії НАН України, 2014 р. – C. 553 – 561.

Колаборація і колаборанти в повсякденному сприйнятті мешканців України (на матеріалах усноісторичного проекту «Україна в роки Другої світової війни: повсякденний досвід виживання») (Collaboration and collaborators in everyday perception of inhabitants Ukraine ) // Сторінки воєнної історії України: Зб. наук. статей. – К., 2013. – Вип. 16.

Міт революції і нова схема української історії (The myth of the revolution and new scheme of Ukrainian history) // Критика (Krytyka). – Число 7-8. – 2013.

Усна історія в Україні: сучасність та перспективи (Oral History in Ukraine: Present and Prospects) // Український історичний журнал. – 2012. – Вип. 4 (№ 505) (in co-authorship)

Прогулянки з пам’ятниками (Walking with monuments) / / Критика (Krytyka). – Київ, 2012. - № 7.

Пам'ять про війну в усних джерелах (на матеріалах проекту «Україна в роки Другої світової війни: повсякденний досвід виживання») (The memory of the war in oral sources (based on the project "Ukraine during the Second World War: the everyday experience of survival") // Вісник Київського національного університету імені Тараса Шевченка. – 2012. – №111.

Секретар Ради революційних повстанців України (махновців) Петро Рибін: портрет анархіста (Secretary of Council of revolutionary rebels of Ukraine (Makhnovists) Peter Rybin: Portrait of anarchist) // З архівів ВУЧК-ГПУ-НКВД-КГБ. – №2 (33). – Харків, 2011.

Селянський повстанський рух в Україні: особливості військової організації (The peasant insurgency in Ukraine (1918 - 1922): peculiarities of military organization) // Історичний журнал. – К., 2009.- №2.