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Soviet imagery during the Russo-Ukrainian War

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The Victory Banner and a Z symbol on a Russian military vehicle in Kazan.
The Victory Banner and a Z symbol on a Russian military vehicle in Kazan.

Soviet imagery has been used by Russian forces during the Russo-Ukrainian War, especially following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia on 24 February 2022.

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Soviet Union

Soviet Union

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a transcontinental country that spanned much of Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. A flagship communist state, it was nominally a federal union of fifteen national republics; in practice, both its government and its economy were highly centralized until its final years. It was a one-party state governed by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, with the city of Moscow serving as its capital as well as that of its largest and most populous republic: the Russian SFSR. Other major cities included Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Tashkent, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It was the largest country in the world, covering over 22,402,200 square kilometres (8,649,500 sq mi) and spanning eleven time zones.

Russia

Russia

Russia, or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the largest country in the world, covering over 17,098,246 square kilometres (6,601,670 sq mi), and encompassing one-eighth of Earth's inhabitable landmass. Russia extends across eleven time zones and shares land boundaries with fourteen countries, more than any other country but China. It is the world's ninth-most populous country and Europe's most populous country, with a population of 146 million people. The country's capital and largest city is Moscow, the largest city entirely within Europe. Saint Petersburg is Russia's cultural centre and second-largest city. Other major urban areas include Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, and Kazan.

Russo-Ukrainian War

Russo-Ukrainian War

The Russo-Ukrainian War has been ongoing between Russia and Ukraine since February 2014. Following Ukraine's Revolution of Dignity, Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine and supported pro-Russian separatists in the war in Donbas against Ukrainian government forces; fighting for the first eight years of the conflict also included naval incidents, cyberwarfare, and heightened political tensions. In February 2022, the conflict saw a major escalation as Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine in a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War, which began in 2014. The invasion has likely resulted in tens of thousands of deaths on both sides and caused Europe's largest refugee crisis since World War II, with an estimated 8 million people being displaced within the country by late May as well as 7.8 million Ukrainians fleeing the country as of 8 November 2022. Within five weeks of the invasion, Russia experienced its greatest emigration since the 1917 October Revolution. The invasion has also caused global food shortages.

History

The flag of the Soviet Union has been on some Russian tanks.
The flag of the Soviet Union has been on some Russian tanks.
The Soviet-era Victory Banner has been flown in many occupied towns and cities in Ukraine.
The Soviet-era Victory Banner has been flown in many occupied towns and cities in Ukraine.

Following the invasion, some Russian tanks were shown flying the old flag of the Soviet Union alongside the pro-war Z military symbol. American political scientist Mark Beissinger told France 24 that the purpose of using these symbols was not necessarily to do with communism, but rather a desire to re-establish "Russian domination over Ukraine", noting that the use of Soviet symbols in most post-Soviet states (with the exception of Russia and Belarus) is often seen as a provocative act.[1]

The American historian Anne Applebaum told The Guardian that "Because modern Russia stands for nothing except corruption, nihilism, and Putin's personal power, they have brought back Soviet flags as well as Lenin statues to symbolise Russian victory".[2] In many occupied towns and cities, including government buildings, Ukrainian flags have been replaced with Victory Banners. These banners, which signified Russia's defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, have symbolic meaning, as Russian president Vladimir Putin has said that the purpose of the Russian invasion was to denazify Ukraine.[3][4] Many statues of Vladimir Lenin had been removed following the Euromaidan protests of 2014, or under later decommunisation laws passed in 2015 as a result of Euromaidan. However, in Russian-occupied towns, many of these statues have been re-erected.[2][5][6][7]

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Flag of the Soviet Union

Flag of the Soviet Union

The State Flag of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, commonly known as the Soviet flag, was the official state flag of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) from 1922 to 1991. The flag's design and symbolism are derived from several sources, but emerged during the Russian Revolution. The flag is also an international symbol of the communist movement as a whole.

Mark Beissinger

Mark Beissinger

Mark R. Beissinger is an American political scientist. He is the Henry W. Putnam Professor of Politics at Princeton University.

France 24

France 24

France 24 is a French state-owned international news television network based in Paris. Its channels broadcast in French, English, Arabic, and Spanish and are aimed at the overseas market.

Communism

Communism

Communism is a far-left sociopolitical, philosophical, and economic ideology and current within the socialist movement whose goal is the establishment of a communist society, a socioeconomic order centered around common ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange which allocates products to everyone in the society. Communist society also involves the absence of private property, social classes, money, and the state. Communists often seek a voluntary state of self-governance, but disagree on the means to this end. This reflects a distinction between a more libertarian approach of communization, revolutionary spontaneity, and workers' self-management, and a more vanguardist or communist party-driven approach through the development of a constitutional socialist state followed by the withering away of the state.

Post-Soviet states

Post-Soviet states

The post-Soviet states, also known as the former Soviet Union (FSU), the former Soviet Republics and in Russia as the near abroad, are the 15 sovereign states that were union republics of the Soviet Union, which emerged and re-emerged from the Soviet Union following its dissolution in 1991.

Anne Applebaum

Anne Applebaum

Anne Elizabeth Applebaum is an American journalist and historian. She has written extensively about the history of Communism and the development of civil society in Central and Eastern Europe.

The Guardian

The Guardian

The Guardian is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian; it changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers The Observer and The Guardian Weekly, The Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by the Scott Trust. The trust was created in 1936 to "secure the financial and editorial independence of The Guardian in perpetuity and to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of The Guardian free from commercial or political interference". The trust was converted into a limited company in 2008, with a constitution written so as to maintain for The Guardian the same protections as were built into the structure of the Scott Trust by its creators. Profits are reinvested in journalism rather than distributed to owners or shareholders. It is considered a newspaper of record in the UK.

Nazi Germany

Nazi Germany

Nazi Germany was the German state between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party controlled the country, transforming it into a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany quickly became a totalitarian state where nearly all aspects of life were controlled by the government. The Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", alluded to the Nazi claim that Nazi Germany was the successor to the earlier Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and German Empire (1871–1918). The Third Reich, which Hitler and the Nazis referred to as the Thousand-Year Reich, ended in May 1945 after just 12 years when the Allies defeated Germany, ending World War II in Europe.

Denazification

Denazification

Denazification was an Allied initiative to rid German and Austrian society, culture, press, economy, judiciary, and politics of the Nazi ideology following the Second World War. It was carried out by removing those who had been Nazi Party or SS members from positions of power and influence, by disbanding or rendering impotent the organizations associated with Nazism, and by trying prominent Nazis for war crimes in the Nuremberg trials of 1946. The program of denazification was launched after the end of the war and was solidified by the Potsdam Agreement in August 1945. The term denazification was first coined as a legal term in 1943 by the U.S. Pentagon, intended to be applied in a narrow sense with reference to the post-war German legal system. However, it later took on a broader meaning.

List of statues of Vladimir Lenin

List of statues of Vladimir Lenin

This article is a list of current and former known monuments of Vladimir Lenin. Many of the monuments in former Soviet republics and satellites were removed after the fall of the Soviet Union, while some of these countries retained the thousands of Lenin monuments that were erected during the Soviet period as part of Lenin's cult of personality.

Euromaidan

Euromaidan

Euromaidan, or the Maidan Uprising, was a wave of demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine, which began on 21 November 2013 with large protests in Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kyiv. The protests were sparked by the Ukrainian government's sudden decision not to sign the European Union–Ukraine Association Agreement, instead choosing closer ties to Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union. Ukraine's parliament had overwhelmingly approved of finalizing the Agreement with the EU, while Russia had put pressure on Ukraine to reject it. The scope of the protests widened, with calls for the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych and the Azarov Government. The protesters opposed what they saw as widespread government corruption, the influence of oligarchs, abuse of power, and violation of human rights in Ukraine. Transparency International named Yanukovych as the top example of corruption in the world. The violent dispersal of protesters on 30 November caused further anger. The Euromaidan led to the 2014 Revolution of Dignity.

Ukrainian decommunization laws

Ukrainian decommunization laws

Ukrainian decommunization laws refer to four Ukrainian laws of 2015. These laws relate to decommunization as well as commemoration of Ukrainian history. Such laws have been referred to as "memory laws".

Events

Artwork of the "Grandmother with a red flag", Anna Ivanovna, used in Russian propaganda.
Artwork of the "Grandmother with a red flag", Anna Ivanovna, used in Russian propaganda.
Artwork of the "Grandmother with a red flag", Anna Ivanovna, used in Russian propaganda.

In April 2022, a video of a Ukrainian woman named Anna Ivanovna[8] greeting Ukrainian soldiers at her home near Dvorichna, whom she thought to be Russian, with a Soviet flag went viral on pro-Russian social media, and featured on Russian state-controlled media. The woman said that she and her husband had "waited, prayed for them, for Putin and all the people".[9] The Ukrainian soldiers gave her food, but went on to mock her and trample on her Soviet flag, after which she said "my parents died for that flag in World War Two".[10] This was used by Russian propagandists to prove that the Russian invasion had popular support, in spite of the fact that most Ukrainians – even in Russian-speaking regions – opposed the invasion.[10] In Russia, murals, postcards, street art, billboards, chevrons and stickers depicting the woman have been created.[9][11] She has been nicknamed "Grandmother (Russian: бабушка, romanizedbabushka) Z",[9] and the "grandmother with a red flag" by Russians. Sergey Kiriyenko, a senior Russian politician, referred to her as "Grandma Anya".[4]

Anna told the Ukrayinska Pravda that she met the soldiers with a Soviet flag not out of sympathy, but because she felt the need to reconcile with them so that they would not "destroy" the village and Ukraine after her house was shelled, but now feels like a "traitor" due to the way her image has been used by Russia.[8] According to Ukrainian journalists, Anna and her son later fled to Kharkiv after their house was being shelled by the Russians.[4][12]

On August 26, the Soviet Victory banner was hoisted over the village Pisky, a fortified area just off Donetsk which capture is strategic for Russia further pushing Ukrainian forces away from Donbas.[13]

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Dvorichna

Dvorichna

Dvorichna is an urban-type settlement in Kupiansk Raion, Kharkiv Oblast (province) of eastern Ukraine. It hosts the administration of Dvorichna settlement hromada, one of the hromadas of Ukraine. Population: 3,387.

Mass media in Russia

Mass media in Russia

Television, magazines, and newspapers have all been operated by both state-owned and for-profit corporations which depend on advertising, subscription, and other sales-related revenues. Even though the Constitution of Russia guarantees freedom of speech the press has been plagued by both government censorship and self-censorship.

Propaganda in Russia

Propaganda in Russia

The propaganda of the Russian Federation promotes views, perceptions or agendas of the government of Russia. The media include state-run outlets and online technologies, and may involve using "Soviet-style 'active measures' as an element of modern Russian 'political warfare'". Notably, contemporary Russian propaganda promotes the cult of personality of Vladimir Putin and positive views on the Soviet history. Russia has established a number of organizations such as the Presidential Commission of the Russian Federation to Counter Attempts to Falsify History to the Detriment of Russia's Interests, the Russian web brigades and others that engage in political propaganda to promote the views of the Putin government.

Mural

Mural

A mural is any piece of graphic artwork that is painted or applied directly to a wall, ceiling or other permanent substrate. Mural techniques include fresco, mosaic, graffiti and marouflage.

Postcard

Postcard

A postcard or post card is a piece of thick paper and/or thin cardboard, typically rectangular, intended for writing and mailing without an envelope. Non-rectangular shapes may also be used but are rare. There are novelty exceptions, such as wooden postcards, copper postcards sold in the Copper Country of the U.S. state of Michigan, and coconut "postcards" from tropical islands.

Billboard

Billboard

A billboard is a large outdoor advertising structure, typically found in high-traffic areas such as alongside busy roads. Billboards present large advertisements to passing pedestrians and drivers. Typically brands use billboards to build their brands or to push for their new products.

Chevron (insignia)

Chevron (insignia)

A chevron is a V-shaped mark or symbol, often inverted. The word is usually used in reference to a kind of fret in architecture, or to a badge or insignia used in military or police uniforms to indicate rank or length of service, or in heraldry and the designs of flags.

Russian language

Russian language

Russian is an East Slavic language mainly spoken across Russia. It is the native language of the Russians, and belongs to the Indo-European language family. It is one of four living East Slavic languages, and is also a part of the larger Balto-Slavic languages. Besides Russia itself, Russian is an official language in Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, and is used widely as a lingua franca throughout Ukraine, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and to some extent in the Baltic states. It was the de facto language of the former Soviet Union, and continues to be used in public life with varying proficiency in all of the post-Soviet states.

Romanization of Russian

Romanization of Russian

The romanization of the Russian language, aside from its primary use for including Russian names and words in text written in a Latin alphabet, is also essential for computer users to input Russian text who either do not have a keyboard or word processor set up for inputting Cyrillic, or else are not capable of typing rapidly using a native Russian keyboard layout (JCUKEN). In the latter case, they would type using a system of transliteration fitted for their keyboard layout, such as for English QWERTY keyboards, and then use an automated tool to convert the text into Cyrillic.

Kharkiv

Kharkiv

Kharkiv, also known as Kharkov, is the second-largest city and municipality in Ukraine. Located in the northeast of the country, it is the largest city of the historic Slobozhanshchyna region. Kharkiv is the administrative centre of Kharkiv Oblast and of the surrounding Kharkiv Raion. The latest population is 1,433,886.

Pisky, Pokrovsk Raion

Pisky, Pokrovsk Raion

Pisky is a village in Pokrovsk Raion (district) in Donetsk Oblast of eastern Ukraine, at about 10 km NW from the center of Donetsk and at about 2 km from the western border of Donetsk airfield. The village is a former wealthy suburb of Donetsk. It had a population of 2,160 in the 2001 census, but most residents left during the 2014–2022 War in Donbas.

Donetsk

Donetsk

Donetsk, formerly known as Aleksandrovka, Yuzivka, Stalin and Stalino, is an industrial city in eastern Ukraine located on the Kalmius River in Donetsk Oblast. The population was estimated at 901,645 in the city core, with over 2 million in the metropolitan area (2011). According to the 2001 census, Donetsk was the fifth-largest city in Ukraine.

Source: "Soviet imagery during the Russo-Ukrainian War", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, December 3rd), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_imagery_during_the_Russo-Ukrainian_War.

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References
  1. ^ Young, Pareisa (11 March 2022). "Ukraine: Russian troops flying Soviet flag, symbol of 're-establishing Russian domination'". The Observers - France 24. Archived from the original on 27 April 2022. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
  2. ^ a b Harding, Luke (23 April 2022). "Back in the USSR: Lenin statues and Soviet flags reappear in Russian-controlled cities". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 4 May 2022. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
  3. ^ Tharoor, Ishaan (2 May 2022). "Soviet flags keep rising over Russian-occupied Ukraine". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 4 May 2022. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
  4. ^ a b c "'It's a reference to the USSR — to its return' Why is the Kremlin incorporating Soviet symbols into its war propaganda?". Meduza. 5 May 2022. Archived from the original on 5 May 2022. Retrieved 5 May 2022.
  5. ^ Fink, Andrew (20 April 2022). "Lenin Returns to Ukraine". The Dispatch. Archived from the original on 23 April 2022. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
  6. ^ Bowman, Verity (27 April 2022). "Kyiv pulls down Soviet-era monument symbolising Russian-Ukrainian friendship". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 27 April 2022. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
  7. ^ Trofimov, Yaroslav (1 May 2022). "Russia's Occupation of Southern Ukraine Hardens, With Rubles, Russian Schools and Lenin Statues". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 3 May 2022. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
  8. ^ a b Karlovsky, Denis. ""Бабця з прапором СРСР" кляне російську армію, бо та зруйнувала її дім" ["Grandmother with the flag of the USSR" swears at the Russian army, because it destroyed her house]. Ukrayinska Pravda (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original on 2022-05-05. Retrieved 2022-05-05.
  9. ^ a b c Sorokina, Yanina (4 May 2022). "Explainer: How a Ukrainian Pensioner Became a Pro-War Symbol in Russia". The Moscow Times. Archived from the original on 4 May 2022. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
  10. ^ a b Bettiza, Sofia; Khomenko, Svyatoslav (15 June 2022). "Babushka Z: The woman who became a Russian propaganda icon". BBC News. Retrieved 5 July 2022.
  11. ^ Mohan, Geeta (4 May 2022). "Old woman with red flag is now the face of Russian loyalty in this war". India Today. Archived from the original on 4 May 2022. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
  12. ^ "«Россия пошла на нас злом таким, паршиво». Украинские журналисты нашли бабушку с красным флагом, которую использует российская пропаганда" ["Russia went at us with such evil, lousy." Ukrainian journalists found the grandmother with a red flag used by Russian propaganda]. The Insider (in Russian). 5 May 2022. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Retrieved 5 May 2022.
  13. ^ Stepanenko, Kateryna; Hird, Karolina; Kagan, Frederick W.; Barros, George (25 August 2022). "Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, August 25". Institute for the Study of War. Retrieved 26 August 2022.

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