Jade McGlynnJul 14, 2023
The Politics of the Past in Putin's Russia
Why aren't ordinary Russians more outraged by Putin's invasion of Ukraine? Inside the Kremlin's own historical propaganda narratives, Russia's invasion of Ukraine makes complete sense. From its World War II cult to anti-Western conspiracy theories, the Kremlin has long used myth and memory to legitimize repression at home and imperialism abroad, its patriotic history resonating with and persuading large swathes of the Russian population.
In Memory Makers: The Politics of the Past in Putin's Russia (Bloomsbury, 2023), Russia analyst Jade McGlynn takes us into the depths of Russian historical propaganda, revealing the chilling web of nationwide narratives and practices perforating everyday life, from after-school patriotic history clubs to tower block World War II murals. The use of history to manifest a particular Russian identity has had grotesque, even gruesome, consequences, but it belongs to a global political pattern - where one's view of history is the ultimate marker of political loyalty, patriotism and national belonging. Memory Makers demonstrates how the extreme Russian experience is a stark warning to other nations tempted to stare too long at the reflection of their own imagined and heroic past.