Staunton, Aug. 1 – Since 1918, World War I has been the orphan conflict as far as Moscow is concerned. It was never commemorated in Soviet times; and remained unmarked by post-Soviet Russia. But Putin’s desire to create a single stream of Russian history means that now, on the Day of Memory of Russian Warriors, World War I is being commemorated there.
A solemn ceremony took place at the obelisk to those who fell in the world war of 1914-1918. It was led by Sergey Naryshkin, the head of the Russian Historical Society and the SVR. Those attending also took part in a religious service and heard a lecture by Denis von Meck, a genealogist, about how to find information on ancestors who may have served in that war.
The session did not attract widespread attention at least so far – for an exception to the general silence, see m-kn.ru/2022/08/01/в-память-о-павших/ -- but the fact that this meeting took place at all is likely to open a new area of historical discussion in the Russian population, a discussion that like so many others may lead in directions the Putin regime won’t like.
That is because World War I not only led to a Russian defeat that in turn led to the rise of Bolshevism and the establishment of the Soviet Union but also to the emergence of the anti-Bolshevik White Movement, almost all of whose leaders were senior officers in that conflict and who fought Bolsheviks with the same devotion they fought the Central Powers.