Moscow Correspondence (2): Taste and Hear the Patriotism

As the 70th anniversary Victory Day celebrations near (counted down on the video display board on Kutuzovsky Bridge), themes of victory, the Great Patriotic War and the St George’s ribbon proliferate. Here is just a small sample, from concerts to ice creams.

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  1. I don’t want to depreciate the importance of the great victory or its importance to Russians, but am I the only one who keeps wondering where all the war invalids are. For decades we have seen proud war veterans parading their medals, but at least to me they all seem to have come back from the war not having suffered a scratch. Was this a bizarre either or war: either you die or come back intact as a valiant victor figure from a book of fairy tales? What a chilling thought.

    In my moral order the invalids would have a special place of honour.

    • Mark Galeotti

       /  April 19, 2015

      Alas too often there has been a policy of not wanting to give too much prominence to the disabled veterans of the GPW — as there was after Afghanistan, and Chechnya, and no doubt Ukraine too

  2. The reason for posting my comment was actually a new definition of a very familiar Russian word I learned recently: “самовар”. Okay, everybody knows this most Russian of things. But the limbless disabled warriors coming back from the GPW were derogatorily called “samovars”, too. “Samovars” with no legs tried to move about as best they could, using some sort of low carts — I suppose the five-year plan for making wheelchairs wasn’t very ambitious. I was told these men just disappeared, at least from public view. I guess the mortality rate was considerable post bellum, too.


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