The Challenge of Populist Memory Politics for Europe (MEMOCRACY)

This project investigates the memory laws of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and Germany, assessing their compatibility with the democratic standards of the European Union and the Council of Europe. Our aim is to contribute to the debate on democratic memory governance in the transnational European space.

Photo: Private archive of Maria Mälksoo
Photo: Private archive of Maria Mälksoo.

This interdisciplinary project explores CEE memory laws and wars from the perspective of militant democracy and mnemonic constitutionalism. The research consortium will conduct in-depth case studies of the memory laws and policies of Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, and Russia.





Maria Mälksoo's paper 'Writing Deterrence Differently' in Workshop ZB: 'Writing International Politics: From style and methods to power and poetics', 9th European Workshops in International Studies (EWIS 2022), University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece, 6-9 July 2022.

Maria Mälksoo’s paper “Memory Laws as Deterrence Devices in State Ontological Security-Seeking” in the MEMOCRACY panel “Dismantling Memory Fences: Conceptual Bases, Purposes and Functioning of Memory Laws” at the CEEISA 2022 Convention in Bratislava, Slovakia, 22-24 June 2022.

Maria Mälksoo convenes two roundtables at the CEEISA 2022 Convention in Bratislava, Slovakia, 22-24 June 2022:

  • “The Dream is Over? Roundtable on the 1989 class of democracy”
  • “Roundtable on the Future of European Memory”

Maria Mälksoo speaking at the MEMOCRACY roundtable “Ruling on the Basis of Memory in Central and Eastern Europe”, 9th Annual Conference of the Historical Dialogues, Justice & Memory Network “Beyond Nuremberg: The Global Search for Accountability” in Amsterdam, Netherlands, 9 June 2022.

Maria Mälksoo, invited lecture “Who’s Afraid of Memory Laws? Theorising Deterrence in Memory Politics”, in the Institute of International Relations Prague, Advances in International Studies series of academic talksPrague, Czech Republic, 26 May 2022.

Maria Mälksoo, invited presentation “Theorising Mnemopolitical Deterrence” at the international symposium Critical Theories of History and MemoryUniversity of Maastricht, Netherlands, 19-20 May 2022.

Maria Mälksoo speaking at the CEU Department of International Relations Roundtable Discussion “Memory politics and Russia’s war in Ukraine”20 April 2022. 

Maria Mälksoo at the Panel Debate “When the Past is Abused to Ruin the Future – Putin’s Historic Distortion of History”, MEMOCRACY Project’s 1st Public Event at the University of Cologne, Germany, 8 April 2022.

Maria Mälksoo’s paper “The Logic of Ritual Action in International Security and Memory Politics” at the International Studies Association (ISA) 2022 Annual Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, USA2 April 2022.

Maria Mälksoo at the roundtable “Quo Vadis Historical IR? On the Place and Future of Historical Inquiry in International Relations”, at the International Studies Association (ISA) 2022 Annual Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, 31 March 2022.

Maria Mälksoo’s talk “Who Wants to be a Buffer Zone? Russia’s War against Ukraine and the East European Agency” at the University of Alberta, Kule Institute for Advanced Study Webinar “Russia’s War Against Ukraine and the World”, 17 March 2022.

Maria Mälksoo’s invited paper “Memory Laws as Deterrence Devices in State Ontological Security-Seeking” at the Workshop on the Politics of Memory, University of Oxford, Lady Margaret Hall, 10 March 2022.

Maria Mälksoo interviewed for the Baltic Ways Podcast, Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies, 16 February 2022.


Maria Mälksoo at the Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN) webinar Memory Wars: Contesting History Thirty Years after the Soviet Collapse, September 30, 2021.








University of Cologne, 8 April 2022.

Warsaw, Polish Academy of Sciences, 8-9 December 2022.















1. Mälksoo, Maria (2022) The Postcolonial Moment in Russia’s War Against Ukraine, Journal of Genocide Research (part of Forum: Russia’s War on Ukraine).

2. Mälksoo, Maria (ed.) (forthcoming) Handbook on the Politics of Memory. Edward Elgar.

3. Mälksoo, Maria (2021) Militant memocracy in International Relations: Mnemonical status anxiety and memory laws in Eastern Europe, Review of International Studies 47(4): 489-507.

4. Mälksoo, Maria (2021) Who’s afraid of memory laws? Introducing ‘militant memocracy’ in International Relations, British International Studies Association, 13 April 2021.

5. Belavusau, Uladzislau, Aleksandra Gliszczyńska-Grabias and Maria Mälksoo (2021) Memory Laws and Memory Wars in Poland, Russia and Ukraine, in Jahrbuch des Öffentlichen Rechts. Lepsius, O., Nußberger, A., Schönberger, C., Waldhoff, C. & Walter, C. (eds.). Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, vol. 69, pp. 95-116.









1. Mälksoo, Maria (2018) A Baltic Struggle for a “European Memory”: The Militant Mnemopolitics of The Soviet Story, Journal of Genocide Research 20(4): 530-544. Reprinted in The Holocaust/Genocide Template in Eastern Europe (ed. by Ljiljana Radonić), London: Routledge, pp. 48-62.

2. Mälksoo, Maria (2019) The normative threat of subtle subversion: The return of ‘Eastern Europe’ as an ontological insecurity trope, Cambridge Review of International Affairs 32(3): 365-383.

3. Mälksoo, Maria (2018) The Transitional Justice and Foreign Policy Nexus: The Inefficient Causation of State Ontological Security-Seeking, International Studies Review 21(3): 373-397.

4. Mälksoo, Maria (2018) Decommunization in Times of War: Ukraine’s Militant Democracy Problem, Verfassungsblog, 9 January 2018.

5. Mälksoo, Maria (2018) Liminality and the politics of the transitional, Handbook of Political Anthropology (eds. Harald Wydra and Bjørn Thomassen). Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 145-159.

6. Mälksoo, Maria (2017) Kononov v. Latvia as an Ontological Security Struggle over Remembering the Second World War, Law and Memory: Towards Legal Governance of History (eds. Uladzislau Belavusau and Aleksandra Gliszczyńska-Grabias). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 91-108.

7. Mälksoo, Maria (2015) In Search of a Modern Mnemonic Narrative of Communism: Russia's Mnemopolitical Mimesis during the Medvedev Presidency, Journal of Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society 1 (2): 317-339.

8. Mälksoo, Maria (2015) Mäluseadused ja julgeolek, Vikerkaar 10-11: 120-128.

9. Mälksoo, Maria (2015) ‘Memory must be defended’: Beyond the politics of mnemonical security, Security Dialogue 46(3): 221-237.

10. Mälksoo, Maria (2014), Criminalizing communism: Transnational mnemopolitics in Europe, International Political Sociology 8(1): 82-99.

11. Mälksoo, Maria (2013) Nesting Orientalisms at War: World War II and the 'Memory War' in Eastern Europe, in Orientalism and War (eds. Tarak Barkawi and Keith Stanski). New York: Columbia University Press & London: Hurst, pp. 177-195.

12. Etkind, Alexander, Rory Finnin, Uilleam Blacker, Julie Fedor, Simon Lewis, Maria Mälksoo, Matilda Mroz (2012) Remembering Katyn. Cambridge: Polity Press.

13. Mälksoo, Maria (2010) The Politics of Becoming European: A Study of Polish and Baltic post-Cold War Security Imaginaries. London and New York: Routledge.

14. Mälksoo, Maria (2009) The memory politics of becoming European: the east European subalterns and the collective memory of Europe, European Journal of International Relations 15(4): 653-680.

15. Mälksoo, Maria (2007) The First Lady of the Baltic ‘Memory Offensive’, Diplomaatia 47: 2-3.



coming soon.






Name Title Phone E-mail
Mälksoo, Maria Senior Researcher +4535331157 E-mail
Sagatiené, Dovilé Postdoc +4535330344 E-mail

External researchers

Prof. Dr. Angelika Nußberger, M. A.
Universität Köln
Rechtswissenschaftliche Fakultät
Institut für osteuropäisches Recht u. Rechtsvergl.

Dr. Aleksandra Gliszczynska-Grabias
Polish Academy of Sciences
Institute of Law Studies
Poznan Human Rights Center

Dr. Uladzislau Belavusau
University of Amsterdam (UvA)
Center for International and European Law
T.M.C. Asser Instituut
The Hague

Funded by:

Volkswagen Stiftung Logo

The Challenge of Populist Memory Politics for Europe (MEMOCRACY) has received a three year funding from Volkswagen Stiftung

Project: The Challenge of Populist Memory Politics for Europe: Towards Effective Responses to Militant Legislation on the Past (MEMOCRACY)
Period: 2021-2024


Senior Researcher Maria Mälksoo
Centre for Military Studies
Department of Political Science
University of Copenhagen
Phone: +45 35 33 11 57