The Fall of Marshall Konev
Silencing Beyond Post-Socialist Monument Removal(s)
Keywords:de-commemoration, spectre of socialism, re-conceptualising post-socialism, public monuments
This article traces the developments that led to the 2020 removal of a memorial to Marshal Ivan Stepanovich Konev from a square in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. In the article, inspired by an archaeological
sensitivity to context, we explore the ways in which the monument has become de-contextualised and re-contextualised by means of various material interventions and performances. This investigation allows us to detail the transformations of the monument within a changing context, and show how selective de-contextualization and re-contextualization allow for the amplification and silencing of different voices. In so doing, we interrogate what role(s) socialism, or rather its image – the spectre of socialism – plays in these dynamics of de- and re-contextualization. Through the case of the monument, we assert that, while the spectre of socialism and its invocation are locally specific, they also go beyond the local context because the socialist spectre is present and contingent both locally and globally. Consequently, we suggest that by a careful linking of local and global mechanisms of how the notion of socialism is employed in order to legitimize and delegitimize competing views, it is possible to open up a novel and productive re-conceptualisation of “post-socialism” in relation to the (geo)politics of memory, remembering, forgetting and silencing, which goes beyond the confines of post-socialism as a descriptive marker and an already worn out concept.
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