Historical memory and securitisation of the Russian intervention in Syria

Makhortykh, Mykola (2020). Historical memory and securitisation of the Russian intervention in Syria. International politics, 57(6), pp. 1063-1081. Springer Nature 10.1057/s41311-020-00232-w

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Memories of the past conflicts are a major part of Russian foreign policy discourse. Scholarly literature highlighted the widespread use of Second World War references in Russian discourse during the Ukraine crisis. However, the use of historical memory in the context of Russia’s intervention in Syria remains underinvestigated. Applying securitisation theory, the paper analyses a set of political statements made by Russian pro-government and opposition politicians between 2015 and 2018. The analysis identifies several ways in which they integrate memory and security discourse. These include pro-Kremlin actors’ justifications of the intervention through references to the War on Terror and Chechen Wars; the anti-systemic opposition’s de-securitisation of the Syrian conflict by exposing manipulative uses of history; and the systemic opposition’s counter-securitisation of the intervention itself as an existential threat to Russia through references to the Soviet–Afghan war. The paper concludes by discussing the relationship between historical memory and security discourse.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Communication and Media Studies (ICMB)

UniBE Contributor:

Makhortykh, Mykola


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science
900 History




Springer Nature




Mykola Makhortykh

Date Deposited:

29 Jun 2020 09:22

Last Modified:

22 Nov 2020 02:42

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

international relations, securitisation, insecurity, historical memory, Russia, Syria





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