For Vladimir Putin, the sinister cult of victory is all that is left | Kirill Martynov

Today, on Russia’s Victory Day, reimagined by Vladimir Putin as a showcase for his regime, the Guardian and other European outlets are publishing articles by the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which has suspended publication in Russia because of censorship over the Ukraine war

Vladimir Putin was born seven years after the end of the second world war, and raised on the Brezhnev-era myth of the great victory. A man of no great education, he loved to quote Soviet films and old stories. The history books portrayed the “great patriotic war” as a magical fable in which the hero – the Russian people – vanquishes a monster, to the envy of the whole world. In this myth there was no room for many of the actual facts of war, such as the Molotov–Ribbentrop pact, the war with Finland, the occupation of the Baltics. The myth ignores the deportation of millions of Poles. It glosses over the Rzhev campaign of the winter of 1942-43, in which the Soviet army sustained terrible losses, preferring to dwell on the storied victories of Moscow and Stalingrad.

The myth, celebrated today on Russia’s Victory Day, has become the essential narrative underpinning Putin’s plan to rule Russia eternally.

Do you have an opinion on the issues raised in this article? If you would like to submit a letter of up to 300 words to be considered for publication, email it to us at [email protected]

Kirill Martynov is editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta Europe

Today on Russia’s Victory Day, the Guardian and other European news organisations are publishing articles by the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta

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