Staunton, May 8 – “May 9, 1945, was the best day in the history of the USSR,” Leonid Gozman says. That’s why “Stalin prohibited celebrating it: he was afraid of those who won the victory.” But with the departure of those who did, the Russian government has elevated it to the most important holiday of the year by gutting it of its real meaning.
Unlike most of the holidays the Kremlin wants Russians to mark, May 9th is different, the opposition politician and commentator says. Those who fought in the war or had family members who did – and that means almost all Russians – know what the war meant and what they hoped for with the victory (echo.msk.ru/blog/leonid_gozman/2835020-echo/).
Gozman says that his relatives “hated parades and fanfare because they passed through that nightmare.” And had anyone said in 1945, “we can do this again!” it is fairly certain that someone would have shot him. That is not what the Soviet people expected from the victory. They not only hoped for peace but for a better life. Tragically, they didn’t get those.
The Putin regime for 20 years has been engaging in the crime of rewriting history, eliminating most of it because it doesn’t fit with what the Kremlin wants people to know. They’ve reduced Victory to a cartoon, one in which the Soviet Union did everything and there was no Normandy, Africa or lendlease.
The powers don’t want the Russian people to remember the realities of the war or the realities of their hopes after it. The first would undercut its own aggressive intentions; the second would threaten its hold on power. And so it has taken a genuine holiday and made it into a fake; and the real reasons May 9, 1945, was the best day in Soviet history are being forgotten.
Those who lived through them are passing from the scene; and those who didn’t are being fed a pack of lies that serves Putin and his cronies but not the Russian people, their country, or history itself. The real holiday is holy and must be remembered. Putin’s ersatz one is an abomination and an embarrassment.