Red-washing the war
Evgenia and I recorded a late night episode on the May 9th Victory Day celebration and parade that took place last week in Russia. Unfortunately, not much to celebrate this year.
A few notes.
Evgenia wrote a great essay on the degraded political culture of Putin’s Russia that talks about Putin’s parasitic weaponization of WWII memory. Last week, I wrote about how Victory Day is being used to shore up support for the war in Ukraine.
We mention Victor Suvorov’s revisionist history that blames WWII on Stalin — a ridiculous theory that’s very popular with Russian liberals and Soviet immigrants, but also very popular in America and Europe. There’s a great book-length rebuttal by Gabriel Gorodetsky. Suvorov’s revisionist history is thematically connected to the idea of a “Double Genocide” that’s been pushed for years and which is the law of the land in many Eastern European countries now: the idea the Soviets were as bad as the Nazis, if not worse. Double Genocide is basically a new kind of Holocaust denial and popular historians like Timothy Snyder basically push the idea on their unsuspecting readers.
We mention Aleksei Balabanov’s Brat film series. Here’s a link — it has both films cut up into a few episodes and has passible English subtitles.
And here’s a link to a video of the full parade.
Credit to Andreu Movtxan for making me think of “red-washing” as a label for what’s happening here.
Want to hear more? Check out previous episodes of The Russians.
PS: Here’s a nice slideshow of the parade for you. Gotta say the woman to Putin’s right — a survivor of the Great Patriotic War — does not look very happy to be there.