Highlights of national history? Constitutional memory and the preambles of post-communist constitutions

Heino Nyyssönen, Jussi Metsälä

Tutkimustuotos: ArtikkeliScientificvertaisarvioitu

1 Sitaatiot (Scopus)


This article presents a comparative perspective of the preambles in the post-communist constitutions of former Soviet Bloc countries. We follow the view that constitutional memory, i.e. history through legislation in a constitution, is a form of public and institutional memory, which is the object of a variety of intensely manipulative pursuits. The central questions focus on how particular countries use history in their preambles, and how these states represent themselves. Empirically, the article addresses and compares the 29 current preambles of the successor states of the former Soviet Bloc. We argue that excessive and exclusionary use of history in constitutions becomes a significant tool in identification and identity building, which can even compromise critical academic historiography. In the light of the preambles, the longer the national history, the better. Moreover, we claim that until recent years, signs of US post-1989 hegemony can even be read in several post-communist preambles. In general, the public histories of nation states are not composed of just a single imagination, but of a multitude of competing opinions. Therefore, a comprehensive historical perspective is needed to build a broad and balanced narrative of the past, an issue not well suited for the introductory parts of constitutions.

JulkaisuEuropean Politics and Society
DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaJulkaistu - 26 toukok. 2020
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä


  • Jufo-taso 1

!!ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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