Mark Edele
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Fighting Russia’s history wars
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Vladimir Putin shows a remarkable interest in history in general and the Second World War in particular. This chapter explores this historian-president’s attempts to codify the memory of this war in an open attempt to transmit a useful past to the younger generation. It argues that top-down models of historical memory are of little explanatory value in the Russian situation. The president rides a wave of historical revisionism that he shapes at the same time. Putin’s government successfully uses it to mobilize Russian society against critical minorities within, and perceived enemies without. The far-reaching consequences of this politicization of the history of the Second World War are sketched in the final section of the chapter.

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