JRL NEWSWATCH AUDIO: “Russia’s role in WWII isn’t ‘part of our collective memory'” – PRI/ Natalia Antonova

American Solider Meets Russian Soliders in Berlin in 1945, adapted from image at army.mil

“… the Soviet Union was … a complex actor, in spite of being an ally. The fact that it was at the time ruled by a mass murderer, Joseph Stalin, doesn’t help. … Americans … don’t know what to think about the USSR’s role in the worst conflict in human history … Russia’s revanchism on the world stage today doesn’t help, either. … my Ukrainian and Russian relatives fought in World War II. Both sides of the family suffered … mak[ing] Russia’s modern war against Ukraine all the more grotesque for me. Battle of Stalingrad file photo When people ask me for simple answers about the Soviet role in the old war, I usually tell them something like this: ‘The Soviets fought hard and won in spite of Stalin, not because of him.’ … No matter how much the Kremlin co-opts the legacy of World War II for its own political purposes, the underlying trauma is still there. … displays of military hardware … [are] also another way of displaying scars.”

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