October 7th, 2005

(no subject)

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Russians are often baffled and angered by western accounts of the second world war—and justifiably so. During the conflict, the Soviet Union was an admired ally; but after the long years of cold-war confrontation, how many Britons or Americans now know that more Soviet citizens (27m) died as a result of the war than all the other allies lost together? Or that the fighting in the east accounted for over three-quarters of all German military casualties? Almost every Russian lost a relative. Out of respect for their dead, newlyweds pose for photographs in front of Moscow's main war museum. Everybody, it seems, has a war story. Vasily, a middle-aged doctor, remembers hearing how, to stay warm and dry, Red Army soldiers slept under and on top of each other at the battle of Stalingrad. "It's immoral to discuss it," Colonel-General Anatoly Mazurkevich replies sharply, when asked about differing versions of the allied victory.
--The uses and abuses of history; Victory Day, 60 years on, The Economist May 7, 2005