Putin’s Foundation Myth: Russian Memory and the Second World War – Joseph Barker

Joseph Barker is History editor at Sonder. Having graduated from the University of Manchester with a First Class Degree in History, he is currently studying a Double-Degree MSc/MA Masters in Media and Communication, with the first year at the London School of Economics and the second at the University of Southern California.

“The foundational myth of victory in the Great Patriotic War is essential to the Russian understanding of self.”[1]Todd Nelson

 Introduction

Historically, Russia exemplifies how the “politics of memory”[2] can be utilized as a political tool: following the end of the Second World War, the Russian State has determined how its past is culturally represented in order to serve its current political agenda. Initially, the Communist Party implemented a “master narrative”, dictating that victory over Nazi Germany resulted from the heroism of the Russian people and their party. Consequently, this produced a “full blown cult of the Great Patriotic War”, which was fundamental to the party retaining political support until 1991. [3]  In postmillennial Russia, Putin has similarly used the politics of memory to serve his political agenda. Although the collapse of the authoritarian Soviet regime resulted in extensive criticism of the Communist party, victory in the Second World War remained “the sole element of collective memory that evoked an emotional response”.[4] Subsequently, Putin has attempted to re-instate national memory of the Second World War as a foundational myth for political purposes: by increasing Russia’s “national assertiveness”,[5] Putin also serves to legitimize his increasingly authoritarian regime. Therefore, I will analyse three factors in this essay: how Putin’s government have constructed the foundation myth both in Russia and internationally; the cultural responses to the foundation myth and, finally, the future of the foundation myth. Throughout, I shall apply Eric Hobsbawm’s theoretical understanding of nations as a dual phenomena, “constructed essentially from above but which cannot be understood unless analyzed from below”,[6] in order to comprehensively evaluate the elevation of, and response to, the foundation myth in Putin’s Russia. This essay broadly supports Vera Tolz’s foundation myth hypothesis, that the war provides “the foundation myth of Putin’s Russia”:[7] and therefore constitutes an indispensable discourse for our understanding of Russian identity.

 From Above: How Putin’s Government &The Russian Foundation Myth

The enduring popularity of victory in the Great Patriotic War in modern Russia has created a political paradox for the Putin administration: Putin’s Russia must “stand in for the Soviet Union, yet at the same time assert its difference from it”.[8] Although, as Wood outlines, Putin’s government portrays the War as a “mythic event more than a historically specific one”,[9] the atrocities committed by Stalin have continuously presented a “major stumbling block”[10] to the foundation myth narrative. Consequently, Putin’s government has manipulated the politics of memory to advance two intertwined understandings of the War to negotiate this criticism. Putin’s cultural promotion of the heroic Russian victory in the Second World War has been designed to align him  “personally with the fate of the country”,[11] whilst his simultaneous rehabilitation of Stalinist authority and rejection of Stalinist oppression politically solidifies his popularity “from above”.[12]

vistory

Russian Victory Day Parade, 9th May 2015

The annual celebration of the ‘Day of Victory’ exemplifies the use of cultural forms to create a national foundation myth in Putin’s Russia.  Following his inauguration two days previously, Putin set a precedent for his association with Russian victory in the Second World War in 2000 as “May 9th was more elaborately celebrated than it had been in years”.[13] Media coverage of the parade focused upon war veterans marching alongside current soldiers wearing Second World War uniforms and an extensive display of modern Russia’s military hardware. Moreover, Putin’s description of the war as “a genuine achievement of great power status [derzhavnost]”,[14] was implicitly linked with a revitalization of Russian patriotism. The “control over the media”[15] rapidly established by the Putin regime enabled a more explicit link between past and present glory to be culturally promoted in the 60th anniversary celebrations of the ‘Day of Victory’ in 2005. A variety of media techniques were used to simultaneously promote the foundation myth narrative, which consequently assigned Putin “heroic status”:[16] war films and documentaries dominated television before the event; real-time broadcasts were used to legitimize Channel 1 coverage, which focused entirely on V-day; and a journalistic hierarchy using older, then younger presenters created an “unbroken chain” from the glorious “Soviet past to the post-Soviet present”.[17] Putin’s use of the media in the V-day celebrations reflects his wider strategy of continually utilizing the politics of memory to gain political support. During a routine visit to Nevsky Piatachok in January 2004, for example, Putin described the heroism of his father during World War 2, resulting in newspapers “copying whole paragraphs from Putin’s autobiography First Person on the sufferings of his father and mother”.[18] This exemplifies how state media repeatedly associates Putin with the unifying foundation myth of the Second World War, thereby gaining political support for his regime from above.

w583h583_619664-first-person-an-astonishingly-frank-self-portrait-by-russia-s-president

First Person:  published on Victory Day, May 9th, 2000.

Furthermore, Putin’s government has used cultural discourses to forward the foundation myth internationally. Media coverage of the V-day celebrations in 2005 and 2006 once again highlight this strategy, as television projections watched by delegates from 53 countries linked the Second World War foundation myth narrative to the contemporary “War on Terror”. By “threading the terror theme through celebrations”,[19] Channel 1 implicitly justified the increasingly authoritarian nature of Putin’s government to combat the terror threat in the international sphere.

Moreover, the approach of Putin’s government to its remembrance of the Katyn massacre reveals how the understanding of Russia’s heroism in the Second World War has been consistently expounded internationally. The mass murder of over 20,000 Polish prisoners by NKVD officers at Katyn in 1940 was “the centerpiece of a relentless Soviet campaign of falsification and disinformation”,[20] as Russian authorities continued to deny responsibility for the incident until 1990. Whilst the official position in Putin’s Russia has consistently condemned the incident, Putin has continually sought to justify Katyn within the foundation myth framework. Although Russian state television aired Wajda’s film ’Katyn’, which humanizes the victims for the first time, five days prior to the meeting of Putin and Polish Prime Minister Tusk at the Katyn memorial in 2010, the Russian state media simultaneously launched a “preliminary bombardment” of documentaries and newspaper articles which depicted why Poland “had to share responsibility for the outbreak of war”.[21] Similarly, although during Putin’s visit he knelt at the monument to Polish officers and promised to “take further steps towards normalizing relations regarding the most painful issues of their common history”,[22] he paradoxically rationalized the massacres as “Stalin’s revenge for the deaths of Soviet prisoners-of-war”.[23] This explanation of Katyn validates Mijnssen’s wider evaluation of how the foundation myth has been constructed internationally: Putin’s Russia remains “silent about Katyn, the annexation of the Baltic States, crimes committed by the Soviet state and… the repressive Stalinist system after the war”.[24] The Putin government, then, has successfully used national media to forward their political memory agenda “from above”,[25] by culturally promoting the heroic victory of Russia in the Second World War on both national and international stages.

From Below: National and International Responses to the Foundation Myth

Stephen Norris’s study of the “explosion” of Russian Second War films between 2002 and 2006 reveals how this well-established cultural medium continues to act as “a crucial mediator for how history is remembered”.[26] Lebedev’s state-sponsored film ‘Star’ (2002) echoed Putin’s foundation myth exactly:, the film provoked numerous press reports and internet posts reflecting Gladilchikov’s criticisms that the film intentionally replicated the American “romantic adventure” genre to instill “romantic patriotism” towards the Second World War. [27] Surprisingly, the response to Atanesian’s ‘Bastards’ (2006), which revised Putin’s wartime narrative by humanizing German soldiers, did not reflect this cultural rejection of Putin’s foundation myth from below. Instead, critics charged Atanesian with “falsifying” historical records and “undermining the patriotic spirit” which films such as Star revived and cultivated.[28] These contrasting paradigms of criticism indicate that, although the cultural response to the foundation myth’s depiction in film is far from hegemonic, Putin’s interpretation of the Second World War increasingly influences the politics of memory among ordinary Russian people.

 

zvezda_poster 

Poster for The Star (2002)

Cultural responses through Russian Internet memorial sites reveal how ordinary people have responded to the foundation myth. Despite claiming to “democratize the memory of the war”,[29] the hugely successful state-sponsored commemorative website ‘Ia Pomniu’ (I remember) focuses largely on the experience of Russian war veterans. Seth Bernstein’s analysis of readers’ comments in response to these videos reveals how this has encouraged viewers to focus upon “the memory of combat”, whilst ignoring memories of political repression.[30] Moreover, the community of users for independent war memorial site ‘Pomnite Nas!’ (Remember Us!), similarly replicates the foundation myth narrative which demonstrates, as Bernstein argues, that Putin’s interpretation of the Second World War has received a hugely positive response because it fosters “narratives that already exist”.[31] In other words, despite the global “cosmopolitanization of memory”, which has accompanied the post-millennial digitalization of the media and provided additional arenas for ordinary Russians to culturally “challenge the narratives and interpretations promoted by national elites,”[32] the reality is that Putin’s construction of a foundation myth from above has been pervasive, profoundly orienting cultural memories of the war in contemporary Russia.

The international cultural response from below to Putin’s foundation myth has proved far from positive. In general terms, Russia’s “apodictic” view of the Second World War has drawn stiff criticism in Western countries. More significantly, the narrative promoted by Putin’s Russia has proved “ultimately incompatible” with Eastern European historical memory.[33] The “East Slavic”[34] historical narrative promoted on Ukrainian television, for example, initially appears to culturally replicate the foundation myth expounded by Putin’s Russia. However, the “international scandal”, which resulted from the ‘Svoboda’ political group’s violent attempts to prevent the raising of the Soviet Victory banner in Lviv in 2011,[35] illustrates that cultural associations with the Russian foundation myth remain a politically contested issue in Ukraine. Similarly, although the official state historiography of Belarus forwards a “myth of origins” based upon partisan resistance during the Second World War, Belarussian’s, and not Russians, are depicted as central to the victory over fascism.[36] This contradictory response to Putin’s foundation myth from below was further emphasized by articles written on ‘LiveJournal’, Belarus’ most popular scholarly website. As Lastouski’s study proves, scholars used the website to act as “demotivators”,[37] contesting the Russian foundation myth-concept in the online Belarusian cultural sphere. Following Hobsbawm’s framework, we can see a clear demonstration of how the interpretation of the Second World War forwarded in Putin’s Russia has received a varied response “from below”.[38] The historical narrative of a heroic Soviet victory has achieved a largely positive response from the Russian cultural sphere, which indicates considerable political support for Putin’s politics of memory. Internationally, however, Eastern European populations have responded by contesting this interpretation in their respective cultural spheres, highlighting the political and geographical limits of the Russian foundation myth.

The Future of the Foundation Myth

From his first term as president, Putin prioritised the use of “history education” as an “important tool for legitimising his personal authority… and state-led modernisation”.[39] Consequently, multiple cultural policies controlling access to historical archives, which ensure state control over historiographical interpretations of the Second World War and the foundation myth, have been implemented in Putin’s Russia. Firstly, access to the ‘Central Archive of the Ministry of Defence’, Russia’s main archive for studying the Second World War, has become “increasingly restrictive under Putin”. Whilst the archive is predictably “inaccessible” to foreign researchers, the arrest of Russian historian Mikhail Suprun in 2009 for investigating the fate of German prisoners of war in the Soviet Union during the Second World War – which became known as the ‘Arkhangelsk Affair’ – reveals that the Putin administration is willing to risk widespread cultural criticism and international condemnation in order to maintain the dominance of the foundation myth historical narrative. [40] The presidential commission ‘To Counter Attempts to Falsify History to the Detriment of Russia’s Interests’, authorized by Medvedev in 2009, further tightened control of historical research. This decree has enabled the Russian government to assign non-governmental organizations historical tasks and allocate carefully selected archive materials, resulting in historical research becoming, as Lasilla points out, a “political-technological contract”.[41] Despite a wave of criticism in the cultural sphere, from both “professional historians and the public at large”, the Russian government continues to arrest anyone who does not conform to their control of historical narratives as a “traitor”.[42] These cultural policies, implemented to control historical archives and research from above, effectively future-proof the official memory of the Second World War against potential academic revelation.

The influence of government policies on historical education further reflects the top-down strategy of using the foundation myth as a cultural and political tool to validate Putin’s regime in the future. The increasing scholarship investigating the role of school textbooks best illustrates this approach because, as De Castell explains, “textbooks are a ‘purpose-built’ technology” designed to transmit cultural knowledge.[43] Filippov’s teacher’s manual, ‘Noveyshaya istoriya Rossii 1945-2006’, is the most blatant example reflecting the foundation myth narrative: indeed, it was “so starkly pro-Stalin that it received substantial criticism in [both] the Russian and Western Press”.[44] Although this manual reveals the intentions of the state, analysis of school textbooks provide greater insight into the indoctrination of the foundation myth among Russian students. Miller’s analysis of textbooks written by Filippov and Danilov in 2006 reveals how these texts justify the atrocities committed under Stalin: crimes against foreigners during the Second World War, for example, resulted from the historical policies of neighboring countries, inferring they do not contradict the foundation myth historical narrative.[45] Miller further observes that the widespread advertising campaign that accompanied the printing of 250,000 textbooks, an incredibly high number for the first year of publication, suggests there is a high probability these texts were commissioned by the presidential administration.[46] Moreover, the state has increased class time dedicate to studying the Great Patriotic War, whilst reducing hours allocated for studying repression under Stalin.[47] Furthermore, Nelson convincingly argues Russian textbooks have presented a “positive portrayal of the strong state under Stalin” to infer Putin’s increasingly authoritarian regime is necessary to achieve “similar heroic feats”.[48] Therefore, historical education, through the cultural medium of school textbooks, is being used in Putin’s Russia to ensure the only historical narrative young Russians are exposed to is the foundation myth. This policy is designed to solidify the Russian youth’s belief in the elevated status of Russia and Stalin during the Second World War, in order to provide future cultural and political justification for Putin’s regime from below.

 

Finally, the influence of Putin’s government on Russian youth indicates that the administration’s top-down cultural promotion of the foundation myth will be reciprocated from below in the future. In addition to controlling historical archives and education, the Russian government has undertaken wider programs throughout the Putin era, aiming to instill patriotism in the country’s youth. In school, for example, Russian children now participate in sports events, clubs and military training games centered on the elevated view of Russian heroism in the Second World War.[49] These programs, in combination with governmental control of historical archives and education, have successfully embedded the foundation myth within Russian youth culture, which is further evidenced by the increased number of historically-motivated nationalist youth groups in Putin’s Russia. The most prominent of these is the ‘Democratic Antifascist Youth Organization’ Nashi, founded in 2005, which vowed to form the basis of a new patriotic elite to support Putin’s leadership. Nashi’s use of historical symbolism mirrors the cultural strategies of media exposure employed by Putin’s government during annual V-day celebrations: in May 2005, for example, 60,000 youth members met with war veterans at a “carefully staged” and publicly broadcast ceremony which emphasized the “continuity of generations” in modern Russia.[50] As Mijnssen argues, “patriotic youth organizations such as Nashi” serve to “amplify the messages of the government” through popular cultural means.[51] In summary, Putin’s government continues to use its top-down control of historical archives and education to promote the historical narrative of Russian heroism in the Second War. The extensive cultural impact of these policies is evidenced by the increasing number of nationalist youth groups supporting the government from below, which suggests the foundation myth narrative will be crucial to Putin’s regime maintaining political support in the future.

nashi

Pictures from a Nashi pro-government rally (2007)

Conclusion:

My analysis of how the Putin government has elevated Russian memory of the Second World War from above, the subsequent national and international cultural responses from below, and the success of policies implemented by the Putin regime to ensure this historical narrative remains entrenched within Russian culture in the future validates Tolz’s thesis that the War provides “the foundation myth of Putin’s Russia”.[52] Putin’s government has successfully used their influence over a range of cultural forms, including historical events, the Internet, television, film and historical education to manipulate the politics of memory from above. The national success of these policies is illustrated by the positive cultural responses from below, as the overall population, and particularly younger Russians, have both accepted and replicated the foundation myth in the cultural sphere during the Putin era. By contrast, the international cultural response to the foundation myth from both above and below, particularly among Russia’s European neighbours, has proved far more problematic and complex, highlighting how the influence of Putin’s foundation myth remains largely restricted to Russia’s national cultural sphere.

Bibliography:

Bernstein, Seth, ‘Remembering war, remaining Soviet: Digital commemoration of World War II in Putin’s Russia’, Memory Studies, 1 (2015), pp. 1-15

Etkind, Alexander, Remembering Katyn, (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2012)

Dayan, Daniel and Katz, Elihu, Media Events: Live Broadcasting of History (London: Harvard University Press, 1994)

De Castell, Suzanne, ‘Teaching the Textbook: Teacher/Text Authority and the Problem of Interpretation”, Linguistics and Education, 2 (1990), pp. 75-90.

Kulyk, Volodmyr, ‘War of memories in the Ukrainian Media: diversity of identities, political confrontation, and production technologies’ in Memory, Conflict and New Media: Web wars in post-socialist states, ed. Ellen Rutten, Julie Fedor and Vera Zvereva (New York: Routledge, 2013), pp. 63-82

Lastouski, Aliaksei, ‘Rust on the monument: challenging the myth of Victory in Belarus’, in Memory, Conflict and New Media: Web wars in post-socialist states, ed. Ellen Rutten, Julie Fedor and Vera Zvereva (New York: Routledge, 2013), pp. 158-173

Lasilla, Jussi, ‘Witnessing war, globalizing victory: representations of the Second World War on the website Russia Today’ in Memory, Conflict and New Media: Web wars in post-socialist states, ed. Ellen Rutten, Julie Fedor and Vera Zvereva (New York: Routledge, 2013), pp. 215-228

Mijnessen, Ivo, ‘The Victory Myth and Russia’s Identity’, Russian Analytical Digest, 72 (2010), pp. 6-10

Miller, Alexei, ‘Introduction: Historical Politics: Eastern European Convolutions in the 21st Century’, in The Convolutions of Historical Politics, ed. by Alexei Miller and Maria Lipman (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2012), pp. 1-21

Miller, Alexei, ‘The Turns of Russian Historical Politics, from Perestroika to 2011’, in The Convolutions of Historical Politics, ed. by Alexei Miller and Maria Lipman (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2012), pp. 253-279

Nelson, Todd H, ‘History as Ideology: the portrayal of Stalinism and the Great Patriotic War in contemporary Russian high school textbooks’, Post-Soviet Affairs, 1 (2014), pp. 37-65

Nikiporets-Takigawa, Galina, ‘Memory events and memory wars: Victory Day in L’viv 2011 through the prism of quantitive analysis’ in Memory, Conflict and New Media: Web wars in post-socialist states, ed. Ellen Rutten, Julie Fedor and Vera Zvereva (New York: Routledge, 2013), pp. 48-63

Norris, Stephen M, ‘Guiding stars: the come-like rise of the war film in Putin’s Russia: recent World War II films and historical memories’, Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema, 1 (2007), pp. 163-189

Hobsbawm, Eric J, Nations and Nationalism since 1780 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990)

Hutchings, Stephen, and Rulyova, Natalia, ‘Commemorating the past/performing the present: television coverage of the Second World War victory celebrations and the (de)construction of Russian nationhood’, in The Post-Soviet Russian Media: Conflicting Signals, ed. by Birgit Beumers, Stephen Hutchings and Natalia Rulyova (London: Routledge, 2009), pp. 137-157

 Oushakine, Serguei, The Patriotism of Despair: Nation, War and Loss in Russia (London: Cornell University Press, 2009)

Sherlock, Thomas, ‘History and Myth in the Soviet Empire and the Russian Republic” in Teaching the Violent Past: History Education and Reconciliation, ed. by E. Cole (London: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2007), pp. 205-248

Tolz, Vera, ‘Modern Russian Memory of the Great War, 1914-1920’, in The Empire and Nationalism at War, ed. by Eric Lohr, Vera Tolz and Alexander Semyonov (Manchester: Slavica Press, 2014), pp. 257-285

Tumarkin, Nina, ‘The Great Patriotic War as myth and memory’, European Review, 4 (2003), pp. 595-611

 Wood, Elizabeth, ‘Performing Memory: Vladimir Pting and the Celebration of WWII in Russia’, The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review, 38 (2011), pp. 172-200

Citations

[1] Todd H Nelson, ‘History as Ideology: the portrayal of Stalinism and the Great Patriotic War in contemporary Russian high school textbooks’, Post-Soviet Affairs, 1 (2014), pp. 37-65, p. 61.

[2] Vera Tolz, ‘Modern Russian Memory of the Great War, 1914-1920’, in The Empire and Nationalism at War, ed. by Eric Lohr, Vera Tolz and Alexander Semyonov (Manchester: Slavica Press, 2014), pp. 257-285, p. 14.

[3] Nina Tumarkin, ‘The Great Patriotic War as myth and memory’, European Review, 4 (2003), pp. 595-611, p. 601.

[4] Alexei Miller, ‘The Turns of Russian Historical Politics, from Perestroika to 2011’, in The Convolutions of Historical Politics, ed. by Alexei Miller and Maria Lipman (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2012), pp. 253-279, p. 254.

[5] Serguei Oushakine, The Patriotism of Despair: Nation, War and Loss in Russia (London: Cornell University Press, 2009), p7.

[6] Eric J Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), p. 10.

[7] Tolz, ‘Modern Russian Memory’, p. 1.

[8] Stephen Hutchings, and Natalia Rulyova, ‘Commemorating the past/performing the present: television coverage of the Second World War victory celebrations and the (de)construction of Russian nationhood’, in The Post-Soviet Russian Media: Conflicting Signals, ed. by Birgit Beumers, Stephen Hutchings and Natalia Rulyova (London: Routledge, 2009), pp. 137-157, p. 148.

[9] Elizabeth Wood, ‘Performing Memory: Vladimir Pting and the Celebration of WWII in Russia’, The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review, 38 (2011), pp. 172-200, p. 177.

[10] Jussi Lasilla, ‘Witnessing war, globalizing victory: representations of the Second World War on the website Russia Today’ in Memory, Conflict and New Media: Web wars in post-socialist states, ed. Ellen Rutten, Julie Fedor and Vera Zvereva (New York: Routledge, 2013), pp. 215-228, p. 221.

[11] Wood, ‘Performing Memory’, p. 173.

[12] Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism, p. 10.

[13] Wood, ‘Performing Memory’, p. 183.

[14] Wood, ‘Performing Memory’, p. 183.

[15] Hutchings, and Rulyova, ‘Commemorating the past’, p. 137.

[16] Daniel Dayan and Elihu Katz, Media Events: Live Broadcasting of History (London: Harvard University Press, 1994), p. 214.

[17] Hutchings, and Rulyova, ‘Commemorating the past’, p. 139-142.

[18] Wood, ‘Performing Memory’, p. 186.

[19] Hutchings, and Rulyova, ‘Commemorating the past’, p. 144.

[20] Alexander Etkind, Remembering Katyn, (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2012), p. 5.

[21] Miller, ‘The Turns of Russian Historical Politics’, p. 265.

[22] Miller, ‘The Turns of Russian Historical Politics’, p. 266.

[23] Etkind, Remembering Katyn, p. 113.

[24] Ivo Mijnessen, ‘The Victory Myth and Russia’s Identity’, Russian Analytical Digest, 72 (2010), pp. 6-10, p. 8.

[25] Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism, p. 10.

[26] Stephen M Norris, ‘Guiding stars: the come-like rise of the war film in Putin’s Russia: recent World War II films and historical memories’, Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema, 1 (2007), pp. 163-189, p. 163.

[27] Norris, ‘Guiding stars’, p. 177.

[28] Norris, ‘Guiding stars’, p. 181.

[29] Seth Bernstein, ‘Remembering war, remaining Soviet: Digital commemoration of World War II in Putin’s Russia’, Memory Studies, 1 (2015), pp. 1-15, p. 6.

[30] Bernstein, ‘Remembering war’, p. 8.

[31] Bernstein, ‘Remembering war’, p. 12.

[32] Tolz, ‘Modern Russian Memory’, p. 16.

[33] Tolz, ‘Modern Russian Memory’, p. 16.

[34] Volodmyr Kulyk, ‘War of memories in the Ukrainian Media: diversity of identities, political confrontation, and production technologies’ in Memory, Conflict and New Media: Web wars in post-socialist states, ed. Ellen Rutten, Julie Fedor and Vera Zvereva (New York: Routledge, 2013), pp. 63-82, p. 71.

[35] Nikiporets-Takigawa, Galina, ‘Memory events and memory wars: Victory Day in L’viv 2011 through the prism of quantitive analysis’ in Memory, Conflict and New Media: Web wars in post-socialist states, ed. Ellen Rutten, Julie Fedor and Vera Zvereva (New York: Routledge, 2013), pp. 48-63, p. 52

[36] Aliaksei Lastouski, ‘Rust on the monument: challenging the myth of Victory in Belarus’, in Memory, Conflict and New Media: Web wars in post-socialist states, ed. Ellen Rutten, Julie Fedor and Vera Zvereva (New York: Routledge, 2013), pp. 158-173, p. 162.

[37] Lastouski, ‘Rust on the monument’, p. 167.

[38] Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism, p. 10.

[39] Thomas Sherlock, ‘History and Myth in the Soviet Empire and the Russian Republic” in Teaching the Violent Past: History Education and Reconciliation, ed. by E. Cole (London: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2007), pp. 205-248, p. 217.

[40] Bernstein, ‘Remembering war’, p. 5.

[41] Lasilla, ‘Witnessing war’, p. 263.

[42] Lasilla, ‘Witnessing war’, p. 262.

[43] Suzanne De Castell, ‘Teaching the Textbook: Teacher/Text Authority and the Problem of Interpretation”, Linguistics and Education, 2 (1990), pp. 75-90, p. 80.

[44] Nelson, ‘History as Ideology’, p. 44.

[45] Miller, ‘The Turns of Russian Historical Politics’, p. 260.

[46] Miller, ‘The Turns of Russian Historical Politics’, p. 258.

[47] Nelson, ‘History as Ideology’, p. 45.

[48] Nelson, ‘History as Ideology’, p. 56.

[49] Norris, ‘Guiding stars’, p. 183.

[50] Mijnessen, ‘The Victory Myth’, p. 7.

[51] Mijnessen, ‘The Victory Myth’, p. 9.

[52] Tolz, ‘Modern Russian Memory’, p. 14.

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