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The Broken Years tells the forgotten story of Russia's disabled ex-servicemen through three wars and three revolutions: the Russo-Japanese War, the Russian Civil War and the First World War. Using extensive archival material from national, regional and town archives, Alexandre Sumpf explores the treatment of these veterans by the state, their battle for legal status and their right to both collective and individual health care. He shows how the question of disabled veterans became bound up in broader political and social debates in the early 20th century and fostered healthcare and social welfare policy. The experience of these 1.14 million war veterans reconfigured notions of heroism, sacrifice and patriotism while the period of 1915-1919 was marked by extensive political activism by disabled veterans. Dr Sumpf illustrates how the Bolsheviks condemned disabled veterans as the symbol of the “imperialist war” and brutally negated their rights as part of the broader devaluation of the war experience in early Soviet Russia.
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