Published online by Cambridge University Press: 24 June 2021
This chapter examines victory in the war as an object of commemoration in late-Stalinist Moscow with an eye toward the paradoxical features of postwar commemorative culture. In particular, the analysis attempts to square a persistent, all-Soviet variant of the war narrative with the simultaneous public veneration of key events and personalities from the prerevolutionary Russian past. Rather than an ideological symbiosis, which seamlessly linked the war and the celebration of tsarist and other prerevolutionary accomplishments in a patriotic “double axis,” the chapter argues that postwar Soviet patriotism is better understood as an assemblage of disparate and contradictory, and at times highly fragmented, themes and images. Where the celebration of the Russian national past functioned to redirect and contain nationalistic impulses lest they disrupt the hierarchical integrity of the friendship of the peoples, representations of the war as a pan-Soviet event provided an alternative means of social mobilization amid the early Cold War, one that offset appeals to ethnic difference with a vision of a homogeneous Soviet people.