Thursday, May 10, 2018

Putinites Shift Victory Day Message from ‘Never Again’ to ‘We Can Repeat Our Victory’

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 10 – As the last remaining World War II soldiers pass from the scene – and the youngest of them would be over 90 – Vladimir Putin has shifted their message to the world from “never again” to an aggressive “we can repeat our victory” from people who played no part in that victory or suffered in any way from the horror of conflict.

            But in the face of all this militant bravado, many Russians, including those who originally created the Immortal Regiment idea that the Kremlin has hijacked, are in small ways maintain their dignity and the dignity of those who fought and died so that their children and grandchildren wouldn’t have to. 

            And just as they are keeping alive the memory of their forefathers, so too all those who care about Russia and its future after Putin need to take note of and keep alive what they are doing. Otherwise, the Kremlin leader will win as he often has not on his merits but because far too few are prepared to actively oppose him and call his bluff.

            In a comment on the portal, Aleksey Murashov says that with each passing year, Victory Day is becoming more offensive and off-putting because it is becoming ever less its original self, a day of sadness and memory and of reflection that those who died on the other side died as they did. “Everyone wanted to live and not to fight for world greatness,” he says (

            “But the powers that be weren’t interested in both sides then or now. And therefore we see each May 9 become full of more hysteria and falsehood under the sauce of patriotism.  Who needs this?  Only those in power. And they exploit the image of Victory and not of Memory or Suffering. But what was Victory in that way? It was when someone was able to Defeat Death.”

            Only one country today continues to glory in Its Victory, its Great Victory,” Murashov says. “It isn’t interested in the victims of that war, and when it does consider the losses, it considers only ‘its own.’ This country just as before divides the entire world into its own and aliens – and with the passing of years, it does this ever more so.”

            And all this, he says, means that “today, the most insane of the patriots instead of saying ‘never again,’ which is what people said for many years after the war, are crying in ecstasy ‘we can do it again.’ What is this?” Murashov asks rhetorically. “This is insanity.”

            While one wouldn’t know it from the official Russia media or the speeches of Putin and his minions, many other Russians feel the same way. Igor Dmitriyev and Sergey Lapenkov, who in 2012 developed the idea of “The Immortal Regiment” before it was “privatized” by the state and used in ways they never intended (

            On the official site of their project, there are now more than 406,000 names. They are overwhelming male and soldiers; and so the two of them decided to launch a subpage devoted to the women who waited for them and fought other battles on the home front of World War II in the Soviet Union.

            Lapenkov says that “we want to remember the stories of these women” and thus to remind everyone that “’the Immortal Regiment’ is not about war, but about peace and about peace. Because each woman who awaited the return of a soldier from the war, wanted him alive, wanted that this war end so he would never have to leave home again with arms in his hands.”

            What people in power think is a matter of indifference to us, he continues. “We have not set ourselves political or doctrinal tasks. We have a very simple goal: we would like that as many people who suffered and lived in those times be kept in the memory of their descendants.” Obviously, he and his colleagues are among the sanest; those who talk about a repetition aren’t.

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