Putin’s Russia has weaponized World War II – Atlantic Council

Putin’s Russia has weaponized World War II

A T-14 Armata Russian tank pictured on Moscow’s Red Square during rehearsals for the 2019 Victory Day parade. During the Soviet era, Victory Day parades were only held on four occasions. Since 2000, Vladimir Putin has transformed the holiday into the central event on the Russian calendar as part of efforts to rebuild Russian national pride and rehabilitate the country’s Soviet past. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

In 2020, the international community is marking seventy-five years since the end of World War II and the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations. Unfortunately, both of these historic landmarks risk being overshadowed by the actions of one specific permanent member of the UN Security Council which insists on twisting historical facts for contemporary political purposes.

No single nation can claim a monopoly over the history of the Second World War. Nevertheless, Putin’s Russia seeks to impose the mythology of a heroic Soviet triumph on international audiences at the expense of more nuanced narratives. This trend towards the political distortion of WWII must be confronted and rejected if we are to avoid the prospect of facing similar tragedies in future.

There are numerous reasons why the Soviet-friendly version of WWII history promoted by Vladimir Putin is problematic. While modern Russian propaganda likes to portray the USSR as a staunch opponent of Nazism, the fact remains that the Soviet Union actually entered the war in September 1939 as an ally of Nazi Germany. Poland was the first