05/08/2021, 10.56
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Moscow celebrates V Day. The patriarch evokes St. George

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Tomorrow Russia remembers the conquest of Berlin, which ended the Second World War. Kirill: The saints "mystically opposed the invader". A law has been presented to the Duma which prohibits denying the "decisive role" of the USSR in the victory over Nazi Germany, with penalities of fines up to 5 million rubles and 5 years of forced labor. Historian Oleg Budnitskij: "In this way scientific controversies will be equated with criminal offenses". A pagan cult of victory.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Tomorrow May 9, Russia remembers the conquest of Berlin, which ended the Second World War. On the eve of the celebrations, the patriarch of Moscow Kirill (Gundjaev) wished to observe that the war with the Nazis "was marked by two prophetic dates: June 22, when the Germans invaded Russia in 1941, was the Sunday of the feast of 'All the saints who illuminated the Russian land', who mystically opposed the invader. And while many celebrate the end of the war on May 8, Victory Day for us is May 9, the memory of St. George martyr, protector of the Russian armies ... Even our Marshal Žukov, who entered Berlin at the head of the Soviet army, his name was Georg”.

The patriarch concluded his speech by observing that "behind us lies a great history, great wonders and amazing coincidences, and only a blind man could not see in all this a real system in which the spiritual principle, undoubtedly, has manifested itself in our history ".

To avoid this "blindness", or perhaps a political one, on May 6 a group of deputies from United Russia together with Senator Alexei Puskov presented a bill to the Duma that prohibits denying the "decisive role" of the USSR in the victory over Nazi Germany.

An pre-existing law already enshrines the perennial recognition of the Victory of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War of the years 1941-1945. Now a new article will be inserted in it, which prohibits "publicly comparing the aims, decisions and actions of the leadership of the USSR and its armed forces, with the aims, decisions and actions of Nazi Germany and the countries of Axis".

It is also "forbidden to deny the decisive role of the Soviet people in the defeat of Nazi Germany, and the humanitarian mission of the Soviet Union in the liberation of the countries of Europe". Such comparisons and denials would be continually re-proposed by various publications at home and abroad, and the initiators of the proposal explain that "our principled position is to contrast a legislative armor [zaslon - military term] to the obvious offenses against the our grandparents and great-grandparents, to petty speculations about our Victory, and not to allow us to accumulate political capital at the expense of our ancestors, keeping in this a space for historical research, for scientific discussions, including discussions on certain actions and behaviors of individual people".

The ban will extend to offenses against war veterans (a measure already imposed on Alexei Navalnyj) and to the denial of the outcomes of the Nuremberg trial, and will be applied to public interventions, works dedicated to the subject, the media and every internet platform. Those who do not respect it will face heavy penalties, a fine of up to 5 million rubles and even a sentence of up to 5 years to forced labor.

The interventions of the deputies in favor of increasingly rigorous measures to defend "Soviet glory" have been repeated for a couple of years now, with the explicit support of President Vladimir Putin, who has always recommended working "with accuracy" on these arguments. Moreover, Putin has repeatedly reaffirmed in his speeches that it is not permissible to deform historical memory on the war years and on the role of the USSR, the true ideological bastion of his own political action. He tends to show the continuity of today's Russia with the Soviet one, and with all other versions of the past. In an inflamed speech Putin condemned, as "colossal idiocy", the association of Stalin with Hitler in the course of the world war.

As an example of an "offensive historical judgment", deputy Elena Yampolskaya, one of the initiators of the law, cited a sentence from a recent book, without citing the author, according to which "Poles have suffered several misfortunes: violence and killings, first at the hands of the Nazis, and then at those of Soviet soldiers”.

The phrase belongs to the irreverent book by American blogger Mark Manson, entitled The subtle art of doing whatever you want, published in 2016 read worldwide, including Russia, as a "self-satisfaction manual. ". It does not seem in reality a historical work worthy of criticism and revision, and the deputies did not bring academic examples, either for or against, on the "sacred" period they intend to defend.

One of the most eminent Russian historians, Oleg Budnitskij, commented on the proposed measures saying that “in this way scientific controversies will be equated with criminal offenses; beyond the obvious condemnation of the Nazi crimes, historians disagree on many topics regarding the war period and its protagonists ".

Another historian, Tamara Eidelman, reiterated: "I have always said that the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was a criminal shame of Soviet diplomacy, and I will continue to repeat as much". Other authoritative commentators see in the fixation of Putin and his deputies the expression of a "pagan cult of Victory", a fundamental concept of Putin's ideology.

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