Is National Socialism possible in Russia nowadays

History is being rewritten

"1941-1945: We can repeat it!" This slogan has been circulating in Russia for several years as a sticker on cars or as a poster at the commemorations on May 9, Victory Day. So this year too. The message relates less to the past than to the present: Should a country attack us, we are ready - and of course we will win again.

The memory of World War II in Russia has changed a lot in recent years. “Nobody is forgotten. Nothing is forgotten «- this saying became a symbol in the Soviet Union for the indescribable suffering of the population, who paid an estimated 27 million victims for the victory against fascist Germany. But the statement also contains a warning to humanity not to forget the crimes of National Socialist terror. It calls for an active examination and coming to terms with the past. History does not just belong in a museum, it shapes everyday life and the political culture of a country.

Just like in Germany, there are fewer and fewer people in Russia who witnessed the Second World War. This presents a new challenge to the work of remembrance, because for many people of the war and post-war generation it is a matter of course that there must never be another war in Europe. This realization enabled a political rapprochement between the Federal Republic and Russia since Willy Brandt, which contributed significantly to reducing tensions.

Nowadays the two countries are increasingly in competition with one another. While in this country people are again working on Russian enemy images, the Russian state is pushing a nationalist historiography: New holidays such as the "People's Day" on November 4th are being created and President Vladimir Putin is lined up with the Russian "founding fathers" like Ivan the Great, Peter the Great or Lenin advanced.

In this context, the Second World War also takes on a new meaning. The National Socialists waged an ideological war of annihilation against the Soviet Union, but that plays a subordinate role today. Instead, the war is reinterpreted as the Great Russian War of Liberation. This is accompanied by the evocation of the Russian great power status and a general glorification of war and the army. "We can repeat it" is one such example and it is the post-Soviet generation that supports this view.

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