The fall of Communist governments across Central and East Europe in 1989 and the subsequent break up of the Soviet Union raised fundamental questions of national identity in the post-Communist region. Decades of Communist rule left diverse legacies and post-Communist societies have dealt with this inheritance in different ways.

The Post-Communist Monuments Project examines the challenges arising from these transformations through an exploration of political struggles over monuments and memorials. The physical transformation of such places of memory expresses both the evolution in national identity in these countries, as well as the struggles among political elites for the symbolic capital embodied in and represented by these sites.

We are interested in three primary research questions: First, how have post-Communist political elites attempted to use the symbolic capital of monuments and memorials to legitimize their regimes? Second, how and how much do post-Communist publics participate in the process of re-making public space? Finally, how and why do the patterns of memorialization and participation vary across the post-Communist world?

This website makes accessible information from our project - most importantly, materials from our database-in-progress on transformations of the monumental landscape in post-Communist states. The database catalogs the alteration, removal, or destruction of existing monuments; threats to alter, remove, or destroy monuments; construction of new monuments; and proposals to construct, alter, remove, or destroy monuments. Countries covered include those in Central and East Europe that had Communist-led governments before 1989 and their successor states, as well as the USSR and its successor states. To construct the database, we use primary-source media articles from a wide variety of international and regional news sources. The end product will be a reasonably comprehensive database, focusing on capital cities, of proposed and actual changes to the monumental landscape that have political salience and public resonance.

Project Leaders:

Juliet Johnson, Department of Political Science, McGill University

Benjamin Forest, Department of Geography, McGill University

Thank you to the excellent research assistants at McGill University and Dartmouth College who worked with us to construct the database: Malcolm Aros-Egan, Ece Atikcan, Megan Dietrich, Lili Knorr, Mariya Maistrovskaya, Vincent Post, Chris Ryan, and Jeff Tanenhaus. Thanks also to Maryna Polataiko for her outstanding entries for our News section and to George Pipkov for his expert work to make the database accessible via this website. We also appreciate the many friends and colleagues who supplied photographs of changing monuments for this site.

The Post-Communist Monuments Project has been supported by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Previous related research received funding from the Rockefeller Center for the Social Sciences at Dartmouth College, and the Association of American Geographers.

We assert international copyright under a Creative Commons license. You are free to use and reproduce any material contained on the site for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the Post-Communist Monuments Project. If you wish to modify material or use it for commercial purposes, please contact us to discuss terms and to obtain written permission.