A blatant example of propaganda efforts to discredit the heroic deed of the USSR’s population and army to defeat Nazi Germany during the World War 2 currently can be observed in Russian-language media and bologsphere.
Over the past few days, seedlings of this campaign have been observed in “liberal opposition” media, which are well-known for their general anti-Russian stance, and even in formally “pro-government” media outlets.
Opinion pieces and articles appearing in the framework of this campaign are designed to discredit events related to Victory Day (May 9), a holiday that commemorates the surrender of Nazis in 1945, as well as any demonstration of patriotism and national pride over the victory in the World War 2. Instead, this propaganda urges the Russian population to be ashamed over this victory, its symbols and the army.
The propaganda also slams the “Stalin regime”, which, according to it, is guilty of casualties suffered by the Red Army and the USSR citizens as a result of the invasion of Nazi Germany. All recently appeared articles have one common point urging that May 9 is not Victory Day, but rather “Tragedy” Day. This kind of content recently appeared in multiple Russian-language websites and blogs, including Lenta.ru (link, link), Izvestia (link), Obozrevatel (link), Moskovsky Komsomolets (link), Primechaniya (link) and others.
In general, this thesis is the upgraded and more sophisticated version of another propaganda trick, which used to circulate in the Russian media sphere: It was urging that people living on the territory of the USSR would be happier and richer in the event of Hitler’s victory on the Eastern Front.
Authors these propaganda articles do not bother themselves how the day of the heroic victory in the world war can be seen as the “tragedy”. However, they actively speculate that events to celebrate Victory Day and demonstrations of patriotism by Russian citizens offend “real veterans” and people who had lost their relatives and loved ones during the war. Another point is that Victory Day events are a example of the “dangerous militarism”, which would lead to another world war.
In particular, Anna Tikhonova prepared an article entitled “Why Stalin did not like Victory Day” for Moskovsky Komsomolets, the newspaper often described as “pro-government” by opposition figures and English-language media. Tikhonova urges that “horror and pain” as well as “hundreds of thousands” incapacitated persons and crying widows became the main result of the USSR’s victory over Nazi Germany. The articles continue claiming that the “heroic myth” must be denounced thus denouncing all heroic deeds of people in the struggle against the Nazis. In turn, it in fact suggests the modern Russian to do penance for the Soviet victory over the Nazis, reject symbols associated with the victory and abandon Victory Day as the national holiday and to rewrite its history. Other media outlets involved repeated the very same narrative in various variants.
Attempts to re-write the history of modern Russia goes in the framework of the wider information onslaught on nations and ethnic groups of Russia, which SouthFront mentioned in the analysis “Managing Russia’s dissolution: Truth or Desire?”.
Attempts to discredit of everything linked with the dominating state culture, language and history are an important part of this campaign, which is expected to be intensified amid the deepening global geopolitical standoff.