Putin using Victory Day cult as Brezhnev did – to distract attention from failures and the future

Putin speaking in occupied Sevastopol on the anniversary of the WW2 Victory Day to celebrate the annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine conducted by his military and special services two months earlier. May 9, 2014 (Image: kremlin.ru)

Putin speaking in occupied Sevastopol on the anniversary of the WW2 Victory Day to celebrate the annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine conducted by his military and special services two months earlier. May 9, 2014 (Image: kremlin.ru) 

2015/04/24 • Analysis & Opinion, Russia

’The Great Victory’ is in essence the last emblem of the empire.

Vladimir Putin is using Victory Day for the same reasons Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, who made it a public holiday in the first place in 1965 did, to distract the attention of the population from the current failures of the regime as well as from plans and discussions about the future, according to Vadim Shtepa.

Nikita S. Khrushchev in East Berlin, 1963 (Photo: Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-B0628-0015-035)

Nikita S. Khrushchev in East Berlin, 1963 (Photo: Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-B0628-0015-035)

For the first 20 years after the end of World War II, Victory Day was not a public holiday or a major focus of the regime’s attention. That only happened in 1965 when Brezhnev decided that something was necessary to distract the attention of the Soviet people from the fact that his predecessor Nikita Khrushchev’s promise to build communism by 1980 wasn’t going to happen.

As Shtepa puts it, Brezhnev’s message was simple: “There is no need to dream about some future victory of communism” because “we have ALREADY won” as the victors of World War II.

 Leonid Brezhnev in East Berlin, 1967 (Photo: Bundesarchiv Bild 183-F0417-0001-011)

Leonid Brezhnev in East Berlin, 1967 (Photo: Bundesarchiv Bild 183-F0417-0001-011)

What Brezhnev did with the May 9 holiday was to redirect the thinking of the Soviet population: “If in the 1950s and 1960s, [they] were inspired by projects of the future (space, technical achievements, the flourishing of science fiction and the like), now they were redirected to the past and began to measure all current reality in terms of the results of World War II.”

To that end, the Soviet leader made the day itself more important and its celebration more pompous with each passing year, Shtepa says, adding that “it is indicative that during ‘stagnation’ (1965-1985), there were immeasurably more monuments erected, more books written, more films recorded, more songs sung about the war than in all preceding decades.”

With the end of stagnation and the beginning of perestroika, Russians and other Soviet citizens began to focus on the future, and not surprisingly “the cult of ‘the Great Victory’ somewhat weakened.” But with the rise of Putin and the various shortcomings of his rule, “it became pleasant to recall that we all the same were a victor nation and not something else.”

And today, Shtepa continues, “when anything about any reforms or modernization has been forgotten again, ‘the Great Victory’ in general has become the source of meaning for the Russian state.” The return of this cult indeed carries with it several critically important consequences.

  1. Now, “no one even recalls that Russia is one of the post-Soviet countries. It is now acceptable to consider it a direct extension of the USSR which as a result of some historical confusion was reduced in size.” According to the Russian regionalist, ”’The Great Victory’ is in essence the last emblem of the empire.”
  2. There are differences between the way Brezhnev defined Victory Day and the way Putin does: In Brezhnev’s time, the regime talked about „’the struggle for peace’” rather than as now talking about war, a difference that explains why many of the world’s leaders who came in the past will not be there this year.
  3. And in addition, Shtepa points out, in Brezhnev’s times, the Soviet leaders talked about triumphs rather than about losses. Putin in contrast has made it almost a point of pride that the USSR suffered more killed and wounded than any other participant, a very different thing altogether.
  4. Moreover and even more than Brezhnev, Putin insists on a mythologized version of the war that justifies „the neo-imperial line of the Kremlin” and on using it as the occasion for a crackdown on society rather than as an occasion for remembering the sacrifice of those who fought in it.

But this comparison of Brezhnev’s and Putin’s use of Victory Day contains a basis for optimism: „the conservative stage by the logic of history is inevitably replaced by the reformist.” That is something no Victory Day slogans, however much they prompt Russians to forget the present and future by focusing on the past, can succeed in doing forever.

  • The Victory Day in Russia: "Russians Are Coming," "Leningrad-Berlin"
    The Victory Day in Russia: "Russians Are Coming," "Leningrad-Berlin"
  • The Victory Day in Russia
    The Victory Day in Russia
  • The Victory Day in Russia
    The Victory Day in Russia
  • A Russian Victory Day postcard with Stalin
    A Russian Victory Day postcard with Stalin
  • The Victory Day in Russia: "Hitler - an Idiot"
    The Victory Day in Russia: "Hitler - an Idiot"
  • The Victory Day in Russia
    The Victory Day in Russia
  • A Russian Victory Day postcard with Stalin
    A Russian Victory Day postcard with Stalin
  • A Victory Day billboard in Russia with a fake Chirchill quote praising Stalin
    A Victory Day billboard in Russia with a fake Chirchill quote praising Stalin
  • A Victory Day poster with Stalin in Moscow, Russia
    A Victory Day poster with Stalin in Moscow, Russia
  • A Victory Day bus adorned with Stalin, Russia
    A Victory Day bus adorned with Stalin, Russia
  • The Victory Day in Russia (Image: AFP/Scanpix)
    The Victory Day in Russia (Image: AFP/Scanpix)

Edited by: A. N.

Tags: , , ,

  • disqus_aJpixObjG7

    UKRAINE NOT RUSSIA DEFEATED GERMANY

    “russia” DID NOT defeat
    Germany. “russia’s” backside was SAVED BY UKRAINE… no more Russian
    lies needed in this world. here are

    FACTS:

    UKRAINE, NOT “russia” defeated Germany as Churchill wrote.

    67% of ALL German forces including air sea land & elite and SS forces deployed WORLDWIDE were fighting in …UKRAINE, not in some…

    “russia”.

    UKRAINE LOST 14 MILLION POPULATION IN WW2.

    As of late 1942 the German war effort had UKRAINE not “russia” as its priority.

    NO NATION ON EARTH GAVE AS MUCH TO DEFEAT THE AXIS POWERS AS DID UKRAINE.

    For every American killed in WW2 FIFTY SIX UKRAINIANS not “russians” died.

    It was UKRAINIANS WHO LIBERATED AUSCHWITZ AND ALL THE NAZI DEATH CAMPS IN POLAND …

    There are 2240 “RIGHTEOUS” UKRAINIANS HONORED IN JERUSALEM WHO RISKED AND GAVE THEIR LIVES TO SAVE JEWS… there are only a mere 220 “russians.”

    NO NATION ON EARTH GAVE AS MUCH TO SAVE THE JEWISH PEOPLE FROM THE HOLOCAUST AS DID …UKRAINE,

    (NOT…”russia”)

    UKRAINE’S POPULATION FELL BY 14 MILLION IN WW2

    ALL THE OTHER SOVIET REPUBLICS PUT TOGETHER PLUS “russia” lost a
    total of at most 9 million people in WW”

    UKRAINE, was the VICTOR against Germany NOT…some…”russia” as Churchill wrote and
    as the facts declare. ENOUGH OF THIS “russia” bs. …

    UKRAINE is NOT “rUSSIA.”

    THESE FACTS WILL PREVAIL as “russia” shrinks to a mere

    insignificant muscovite state and the TRUTH finally comes to light.

    • disqus_aJpixObjG7

      SMEAR PROPAGAND AGAINST UKRAINE SS GALIZIEN OR HALYCHYNA
      DIVISION as posted online

      http://euromaidanpress.com/2015/01/10/time-is-on-ukraines-side-in-donbas-portnikov/

      For 300 years any thought of Ukrainian independence has been
      smeared by “russia” as treason.

      For the last 70 years this smear primarily takes the form of
      equating Ukraine with nazism. One popular ongoing propaganda smear tactic is to
      refer to the Galizien or Haychyna division:

      To debunk this:

      Not just Ukraine, but every single nation that fell under the

      German boot had Waffen SS divisions.

      Most far, far more than Ukraine, but Ukraine is always singled
      out as

      guilty while information on the other nations is censored.

      For example FRANCE (1941 population 40 million) had

      20,000 Waffen SS collaborators- JUST AS MANY AS UKRAINE.

      UKRAINE (1941 population 40 million) had 22,000

      Waffen SS.

      NORWAY (1941 Pop. 3 million) had 15,000 Waffen SS collaborators
      or

      proportionately to population 1900%

      or NINETEEN TIMES MORE THAN UKRAINE

      HOLLAND (1941 pop. 10 million) had 55000 Waffen SS collaborators
      almost three

      times as many as Ukraine and proportionately by population 1200% or TWELVE

      TIMES MORE THAN UKRAINE

      BELGIUM (1941 pop. 8 million) had 44000 Waffen SS nazi

      collaborators TWICE AS MANY AS UKRAINE and proportionately by population 1000%

      OR TEN TIMES MORE THAN UKRAINE.

      RUSSIA had 60,000 Waffen SS nazi collaborators and

      its other soviet Republics 70,000 TOTAL 130,000 Waffen SS collaborators 600% or
      SIX TIMES

      MORE THAN UKRAINE

      SERBIA (pop.1941 5 million) had 10,000 WAFFEN SS, 400% or

      proportionately to population or FOUR TIMES MORE THAN UKRAINE

      The list goes on and on…

      NB. NONE OF THESE NATIONS WERE SIMULTANEOUSLY FIGHTING TWO
      GENOCIDAL

      REGIMES AS WAS, UNIQUELY, UKRAINE.

      WHAT IS UTTERLY UNIQUE IN THE CASE OF UKRAINE, IS THAT

      UKRAINIANS JOINED THE GERMAN ARMY IN ORDER TO… FIGHT AGAINST THE GENOCIDAL

      DRAGON RUSSIA… NOT TO SUPPORT THE GENOCIDAL REGIME OF THE NAZIS AS DID ALL THE

      OTHER SS VOLUNTEERS, who were nazi COLLABORATORS. the Ukrainians were not
      collaborators but fighting against their genocidal enemy, “russia.”

      Further, ethnic non-Germans could NOT join the Wehrmacht. They
      were all integrated exclusively into

      the Waffen SS, which became Germany’s “Foreign Legion” so to speak. It is wrong

      therefore to ascribe fanatical “SS” sentiments to these Ukrainian troops as was

      the case with all the other abovementioned nations whose fanatical zeal often

      surpassed that of the Germans.

      The Haychyna or SS Galizien Division, after acute and intense

      investigation over decades by both Jewish and non-Jewish commissions and

      investigative bodies has been fully exonerated of any war or hate crimes

      against Jews or others. Not one single case has been established.

      The Haychyna Division
      participated in only one significant

      military operation. It was thrown as cannon fodder- a buffer- by the Germans

      against the massed spearhead of Soviet forces at the battle of Brody 1944,
      where it

      was annihilated. http://www.ucrdc.org/HI-BATTLE

      The SS Galizien Division continues to be a dead horse flogged by

      Russian and other propagandists in their constant efforts to smear Ukraine and

      its right to independence, which has been anathema to “Russia” and others, for

      three centuries.

      The same has been done regarding any and all Ukrainians striving

      for Ukrainian independence such as Bandera, Konovalets etc.

      Ukraine is constantly spotlighted and smeared by its enemies as

      a Nazi collaborator. No one however mentions the glaring fact that to save

      itself, the West is itself guilty of collaboration on a massive scale. The

      allies collaborated with a regime numerically-genocidally even worse than
      Germany, with

      their murderous sworn enemy, “Russia.”

      See also

      Wikipedia: Waffen SS
      Foreign Volunteers and conscripts.

    • Murf

      Had Hitler embraced the Ukrainians and given them independent status with in the Reich as they did with Croatia. Then we would be looking at a different Eastern front.
      The Allies would probley still have won but the Cold War would played out over a divided Poland instead of Germany.
      Just some Alternate History speculation.

  • disqus_aJpixObjG7

    1st UKRAINIAN front

    2nd UKRAINIAN front,

    3rd UKRAINIAN front

    4th UKRAINIAN front, and

    5th UKRAINIAN front

    comprising 7.4 million UKRAINIAN TROOPS

    that’s SEVEN POINT FOUR MILLION UKRAINIAN not “russian” TROOPS

    DEFEATED GERMANY and were helped by Belarus, Kazkhstan Kirghisztan etc etc etc and … “russia”

    The Russians followed FAR BEHIND the UKRAINIAN troops as they drove the
    Germans westward and as they came, the Russians perpetrated mass murder
    deportation and persecution of Ukrainians

    CHURCHILL HIMSELF WROTE Gemany was defeated in UKRAINE not
    some…”russia”

    NO MORE Russian LIES! NO MORE
    “russia” BS.

    the world has long had enough of a nation, russia,
    that speaks only LIES and lives by LIES

  • disqus_aJpixObjG7

    As in all “russian” wars, there is a long enduring myth
    that it is time to debunk. It is an egregious insult to the Ukrainian people.

    All of Russia’s wars for 300 years up to 1991 have been fought
    using primarily UKRAINIANS not “russians.”

    In Finland it was once again Ukrainian boys and men sent to die-
    eg the 44th battalion.

    It will take time but this truth will finally prevail…
    UKRAINIANS fought “russia’s” wars. This was also true in Afghanistan
    in the 1980’s where mostly Ukrainians not “russians” were sent to
    fight.

    Ukrainians conquered Siberia for moscow, etc UKRAINIANS
    conquered Crimea AND GAVE CRIMEA TO RUSSIA in 1738 NOT VICE VERSA…

    Ukraine bore the brunt of defeating Germany (67% of ALL German forces
    worldwide were fighting in UKRAINE in WW2…) Germany lost the war in UKRAINE,
    as Churchill wrote, not in “russia”

    UKRAINE LOST 14 MILLION population 1941-45 all the other soviet
    republics put together including russia lost at most a total of 9 million…
    all we have always heard is russia…russia…. russia lost 22 million….

    The lying little punk neo-Mussolini putin says that “russia
    would have won the war even without UKRAINE.” However in truth, UKRAINE
    won the war against Germany as Churchill wrote, (and saved “russia’s”
    lying, genocidal backside).

    Everytime you hold in
    your hands a book about WW2 or read an article online about WW2 cross out the
    filthy word “russia” and write in UKRAINE. Over time the truth will
    prevail.

  • disqus_aJpixObjG7

    Ukraine’s contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany and
    its allies can never be overrated. THEY WERE THE OVERIDING DECISIVE FACTOR IN THE DEFEAT OF GERMANY.
    As Churchill wrote, Germany lost
    the war in UKRAINE, (not “Russia”). 67% of
    All German forces (all German forces worldwide, not just
    on the Eastern front) including elite and SS troops as of 1942 were fighting
    in… UKRAINE, not Russia or elsewhere.

    UKRAINIANS took the most active part of any nation in
    fighting Germany and its Allies. Citizens took an active part in fighting
    against the Nazi aggression. Over 1941-1945, when the Soviet Union fought
    against the Third Reich, Ukrainians constituted about 23% of the Armed Forces
    of the USSR, or 7 million. This is more than the Army of Great Britain, which
    mobilized about 6 million of its citizens. The Ukrainians that fought as part
    of the Soviet armed forces and partisan groups had been awarded many
    prestigious awards and were represented among the commanders of the armed
    forces of the USSR. The direct human losses of Ukraine in WWII ranged from 8 to
    10 million people, according to Ukraine’s National Institute of Science. That
    is more than the summary wartime casualties of Great Britain, the United
    States, France, Poland and Canada combined. (about 7.4 million).
    A further 4 million were indirect human losses such as those who perished
    through the effects of German mass murder war and slave labor in Germany as Ost Arbeiter and those who were mass murdered in the forced repatriation into Russian hands (see “Operation Keelhaul). There were 3,500,000 UKRAINIAN Ostarbeiter in Germany as
    of may 1945. of these, all but 220,000 were repatriated to the Soviet Union
    into Russian hands. (Three million two hundred seventy thousand Ukrainians were
    repatriated (3,270,000) They were either
    immediately shot at the border or were sentenced to 10 to 25 years of slave
    labor in Russia’s siberian Gulag. Many of these victims perished. From 1945 to
    1947 the Russians once again exported foodstuffs out of Ukraine to feed Russians. (so they would be well fed after
    the war). This resulted in the third artificial famine intentionally caused by
    Russia in Ukraine.
    In total
    through direct and indirect causes of WW2, UKRAINE’S POPULATION FELL BY
    14 MILLION PEOPLE. NO NATION ANYWHERE ON THIS PLANET GAVE AS MUCH TO DEFEAT THE
    AXIS AS DID UKRAINE.

  • disqus_aJpixObjG7

    please everyone be sure to learn about OPERATION KEELHAUL http://en.wikipedia.org IN which UKRAINIAN POWS were sent back to the russians where they were mass murdered /wiki/Operation_Keelhaul and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgWoetZnJUE etc

  • disqus_aJpixObjG7

    To anyone with some knowledge of the history of world war 2, WHOSE WORLDWIDE EPICENTER WAS UKRAINE,

    not “russia”-as Churchill wrote-

    In 1941-45, in UKRAINE, not “russia” the number of
    dead was ….wait for it… 10,000 DAILY…10 thousand DAILY… TEN THOUSAND
    DAILY…

    This includes both military and civilian deaths, just as now during the ongoing
    genocidal russian invasion of Ukraine.

    So to put it in perspective 11500 dead would be just 27 hours
    … JUST TWENTY-SEVEN HOURS WORTH OF DEATHS during WW2 in UKRAINE during
    1941-1945.

    (divide 14 million by the number of days in 4 years = 9589
    daily.)

    In the entire USSR the dead amounted to 23 million. 14 million
    were Ukrainians. That means that all the other Soviet republics put together
    PLUS “russia” suffered a loss of 9 million…

    Can you grasp these numbers?

    The immeasurable TSUNAMI that swept across UKRAINE from east to
    west , then back again SWEPT AWAY 14 MILLION … that’s FOURTEEN MILLION OF
    UKRAINE’S POPULATION that is not surreal but real…FACT.

    What is going on now
    in East Ukraine is just a homeopathic dose of what occurred as UKRAINE DEFEATED
    GERMANY in 1941-45

    • Michel Cloarec

      The russians or sovjets always did that way ! Use other to fight their battles under their flags . See the false liberation film over Auswischt ! Only a propaganda film for the mothers in mother russia !
      See the useful idiots in novo-utopia , same shit !

      • Michaelinlondon1234

        The only thing I want to read is Russia nuking Washington.

    • Michaelinlondon1234

      The US spent 40 million dollars yesterday on bombing Syria, You are just a bunch of mass murdering cuxts

  • disqus_aJpixObjG7

    the truth can be trampled down by fascist russia BUT the truth always rises again.

    And the TRUTH is that Ukraine defeated Germany and saved russia’s ass from Hitler. From May 1945 to 1947 the russians again exported all foodstuffs out of UKRAINE to russia “so that russians could eat well after the war..” This caused a third famine in Ukraine as Ukrainians once again died of starvation while the russian genocidal chauvinists got fat on the blood of Ukraine

    • Michel Cloarec

      It is true !

    • IFFConsulting

      Not in Russia, russians are always happy to believe all the BS of the world.

  • Michel Cloarec

    You only say that because you don´t understand what he says ! It needs a real brain !

  • Michel Cloarec

    michaelinlondon123456789 should be in jail, sentenced for apology of crimes

  • disqus_aJpixObjG7

    ви скати