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Why is May 9 so important for Russia?
May 9 is an important date throughout Russia, since the country's victory in World War II is celebrated, a day that becomes a memory for many families, but it is also a day that lends itself to promoting propaganda state.
This year, May 9 is especially relevant in Russia, as it is thought that its current president, Putin, may establish new orders for his army regarding the war in Ukraine. The world will be waiting to see what is planned on this symbolic date in Russia.
A little history
World War II was the largest war conflict in history to this day. It all started in the year 1939, in the month of September with the invasion of Poland and ended in the year 1945.
The Soviet Union was one of the most affected and staunchest countries against Nazi Germany at that time. In May of the year 1945, Germany was signing its surrender before this great battle.
This signing took place in Berlin, it is estimated that the paper was signed on May 8 of that year. The Germans ceased all their war actions at dawn on May 8, that is, beginning on May 9, which is why Russia celebrates this day as a great holiday.
Victory Day is the name of this celebration that takes place on May 8 in countries like the United States and most of Europe, but in Belarus, Serbia and Russia it is celebrated a day later.
Around tens of millions of lives were lost in this war, it is a day to commemorate loved ones killed in battle and give thanks for the end of this dispute.
a drastic change
Despite all the weighty historical reasons that make up the celebration of this day, Russia has long been turning this date into an ideological act to promote the objectives of the state.
In the year 1963, Leonid Brezhnev, the then leader of the USSR, started a victory cult taking advantage of the date, probably to strengthen the ideology of the dying country and patriotic sentiment.
This transcended parades in the squares, a holiday on May 9 and various events at the national level. At the beginning of the 21st century, Vladimir Putin tried to continue this legacy by expanding the celebrations more and more, however, each year, there were fewer survivors and eyewitnesses of the victory in World War II.
Also, a narrative of Russia's role in the defeat of Nazi Germany was included in the Constitution. Similarly, any opposing comment or any doubt that existed about the narrative, made of the role of Russia at that time of the War, was prohibited.
“The cult of victory was regenerated in Russia in the 2000s in even greater style than in Soviet times. This is why triumphalism continues to prevail both in the media and in the mass consciousness.”
These words were spoken by Oleg Budnitsky, director of the International Center for the History and Sociology of World War II at the Moscow Higher School of Economics for the BBC.
“This had positive consequences: for example, a greater focus on the study of war history. Millions of documents were made public and digitized. But on the other hand, we see an increase in the militarization of the masses,” Budnitsky added.
a sense of belonging
Russia has not stopped celebrating this day in a big way. In 2020, due to the pandemic, the celebration was moved from May to June, but even so, it was still a very striking and important day for the country.
On the other hand, historians point out that the narrative included by Russia of the events that occurred in World War II excludes many important data such as the tens of millions of losses in human value by Europe in order to reach victory.
More than 20,000 people, hundreds of planes and armored vehicles took part in the massive military parade and this time, two years from now, Russia is in a war against Ukraine, a major invasion with its equipment well deployed.