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Published in Stream:
Russia Update: May 11, 2015
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
The Irony Of Russia's Victory Day Celebration That Putin Hopes You'll Miss
7 years
Three Journalists Briefly Detained at Demonstration in Support of Ukrainian Pilot Savchenko; 4 Activists Remain Jailed
Update: Comparing Different Versions of Putin's Stories of His Father Before and During WWII

As you may know, Russia celebrated a major holiday on Saturday, May 9, marking the 70th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazis during World War II. What many may not realize is that while most in the West celebrate the defeat of the Nazis on May 8, Stalin wanted the Nazi powers to surrender to Russia specifically, an event which transpired in the last hours of May 8. Since this surrender took place when it was already May 9 in Moscow, Stalin got to have a Soviet Holiday that he did not have to share with his capitalist allies.

Victory Day faded in the post-Soviet 1990s when massive state-organized military parades were frowned upon, but Putin has brought them back, and in style.

The Interpreter has written several features about how old Soviet symbols, and the May 9th holiday itself, have been twisted to suit the propaganda objectives of Russian Presient Vladimir Putin:

Now War Is Boring has written about how Putin has bent the historical holiday to serve his own aggressive needs. In his latest analysis, Paul Huard interviewe The Interpreter's managing editor, James Miller:

James Miller, executive editor of The Interpreter, an online magazine that presents English-language translations of Russian and Eastern European news sources, told War Is Boring that Putin emphasizes the eye-popping scope and splendor of Victory Day to stir up patriotism and intimidate Russia’s neighbors.

“Putin has also introduced a new ideological theme to the Victory Day events — that the West is ideologically corrupt, Nazis are rising again in Ukraine, and the Russian military is the last line of defense against resurgent fascism,” Miller said.

“Putin is hoping that the people who attend the event will miss the irony, since Putin is the one cracking down on minorities, outlawing free speech, and filling the media with state-controlled militaristic propaganda.”

Read the entire analysis here: This Year’s Victory Day Message — Russian Power Is Back. Deal With It -- The World War II 70th anniversary is more about the Kremlin’s chutzpah.

-- James Miller