The Myth and Dogma of May 9th

10 May, 02:28 PM

The instrumentalization of historical myths and falsehoods serves as the basis of propaganda. 

Political manipulation and intellectual comfort and laziness contribute to the effectiveness of the widespread dissemination of disinformation.

As we approached the official commemoration of the end of the Second World War, May 8, we are confronted by the manipulation of this historical moment by the Russian Federation in their carefully crafted agitprop about the end of WW2.

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Unfortunately, the Allied powers’ tolerance of the glorification, and to some extent, the appropriation of the Soviet Union’s, and now Russia’s, role as the “victors” of the Second World War has contributed to the reinforcement of the most powerful, and dogmatic, ideological weapon in their propaganda arsenal, Victory Day - May 9th.

Perpetuating these myths is currently costing ordinary Ukrainians their lives, ordinary Russians their future, and the rest of the world its security.

The so-called special military operation in Ukraine is so inundated with incredulous Russian false narratives that they portend a regime in a complete state of denial of reality.

Daily comments from Moscow leaders get more and more distanced from any reasonable interpretation of events, either today or in the past.

They actively constructed the alternative reality, for themselves and their people, which makes one wonder if they could ever come up from the rabbit hole.

It is important to remember and to remind Mr. Putin and his followers, that the Western-allied nations were armies of liberation that brought democracy and long-term stability to Europe, while the Soviet army was an army of occupation that enslaved hundreds of millions behind the Iron Curtain. Should not Russia take “credit” for this too or only those historical events that buttress its chauvinistic sense of greatness?

Every nation needs to question its past.

Every great nation has the obligation to do this thoroughly and repeatedly. The Russian Federation, under Vladimir Putin, not only avoids doing such but is engaged in the opposite, i.e. glorifying its most shameful periods.

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which de facto empowered Hitler and carved up Europe with Stalin is now called a “security pact,” saying the opposite in Russia risks imprisonment.

In the imposing rhetoric about the war there is no mention of the lend-lease act from the US that gave the desperate Soviet Union close to $160 billion (in current dollar terms) in weapons at the time, nor the countless soldiers from all the Soviet republics sent to the front without equipment as cannon fodder, many of which were shot by their own troops, nor the allegations of mass violations of war crimes against civilians before, during and after their status as Allied Powers.

Conveniently forgotten is the systematic mass rape of German women by the Soviet troops at the end of the war too. Regrettably and predictably, so many of these ignored elements of war crimes have shamefully reappeared in the comportment of the Russian troops in Ukraine today.

Big parades of military hardware, at a great cost, seem to most people today very much belonging to a by-gone era. These parades project weakness not strength and insecurity not confidence in a world that has moved on.

Grandiose celebrations of triumph, when the results are the opposite in your country, is only a grandiose distraction and not a solemn, dignified commemoration of the sacrifices of earlier generations.

Especially if it is only to hide one’s sins, not to make a unified declaration that we will never let such devastation happen again.

Stalin's vindication after World War 2 is one of the elements which makes Putin so reckless now. If Stalin could stand tall among the winners, despite his incompetency, his heinous crimes and complete disregard for human life, why couldn’t Putin accomplish something similar in the end?

In allowing for the partition of Europe, the West sanctioned the triumph of one authoritarian system over another. 

This lack of courage and vision on the part of western leaders, at the time, was an act of betrayal of our values, our beliefs, and our sense of dignity and humanity. In 2022, in Ukraine, the world cannot afford for this to happen again.

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