Neprikosnovennij Zapas (NZ)

Russia

Victory in the “Great Patriotic War” is the most potent symbol of identification in present-day Russia, and the sole prop for national self-belief. Victory legitimated Soviet totalitarianism; now, the more the memory of Stalinist repression fades, the more public opinion turns in the dictator’s favour. The commemoration of the war serves above all the centralist and repressive social order that has been imposed in the post-totalitarian culture and society under Vladimir Putin. Here, Lev Gudkov desribes the taboos in Russia surrounding the underside of victory.

Moscow and Berlin both look back to a century of dramatic developments, some of which are similar, some which are dramatically different. Both cities have been shaped by the excessive dynamics and violence of the 20 century, both have fallen out of the circle of truly great cities and are now ready to reclaim their place.

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“Does Russia belong to Europe?” is one of the notoriously unanswerable questions for politicians and intelligentsia alike. Viatcheslav Morozow argues that the last three years have seen a shift in the Russian psyche, whereby its definition as part of the civilised, cultivated world has become much less problematic and Russia’s worldview of a strict “us” versus “them” dichotomy is weakening.