Regulated Memories: Memorial Laws, Memory Wars and Freedom of Speech

Collective memory matters politically. It is closely related to national identity and statehood; it can be used to legitimate a political power by creating a desired image of the past. This explains why states are preoccupied with legal regulation of collective memory prescribing by law what should be remembered and be forgotten.
The paper is devoted to memorial laws which are the legal tool of the states’ politics of memory. It seeks to answer questions: what are the limits and principles for legal governance of history in democratic society? how should the past be treated to avoid memory wars and tensions between communities and countries? Based on the concrete examples of memorial laws the paper shows their potential danger for human rights, democracy and interstate relations. The paper calls for a set of European principles of memory politics to stop current memory wars and prevent them in future.