Rule of Law and Constitutionalisation of Memory Politics in Hungary and Russia
Forthcoming in Martin Belov (ed.), Rule of Law in Flux (Routledge, 2023).
28 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2022
Date Written: August 1, 2022
The mushrooming of memory laws in Central and Eastern Europe throughout the 2010s went hand-in-hand with democratic backsliding in the region. Hungary, in particular, has recently been at the epicentre of the EU's critique for violation of rule of law standards. Beyond the EU, Russia has been identified not only as a rapidly degrading democracy but also as the main provocateur for mnemonic propaganda, whilst stirring up major “memory wars" in the region, in particular, as a fake justification for the war of aggression against Ukraine. Such laws transcend criminal legislation and have acquired a constitutional significance, which this chapter analyses under the heading of mnemonic constitutionalism. Taking the country studies of Hungary and Russia, the chapter concludes that the ruling elites therein perceive mnemonic constitutionalism not only as an ideological basis for an entire governance of historical memory but also as an ontological foundation to justify "illiberal democracies".
Keywords: memory laws, mnemonic constitutionalism, comparative constitutionalism, memory politics, Hungary, Russia, memory wars, memory politics, illiberal democracy, rule of law
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