Webinar: Parades in the Year of Covid: Russia’s Commemorations of World War Two in 2020
The event will be held on Zoom https://uu-se.zoom.us/j/66595052408
In Russia, the memory of World War Two has grown increasingly central to the way the Putin system presents itself to its population. No other country in the world has put as much weight on the 75th anniversary as Russia. 2020 was to be the mother of all WWII commemorations; special plans were in place for the May 9th Parade in 2020, including the visit of a major Western leader, Emanuel Macron. Putin was to lead the immortal regiment, a huge formation of ordinary Russians carrying portraits of heroic relatives fallen in WWII. All of this was part of a larger plan to rebuild the basis of a pro-Putin majority which involved changing the constitution to keep Putin in office up to 2036. The COVID pandemic, however, mixed the Kremlin’s cards.
In what way did the pandemic affect the implementation of the Kremlin’s celebratory plans? What part did the Russian Orthodox Church play in the 2020 official V-Day celebrations? How did the COVID-related lockdown change the popular celebrations of the May 9? How did the turbulence of 2020 affect regime legitimacy and stability? The IRES seminar will consider such questions.
Matthew Blackburn (Uppsala University) will discuss Putin’s performances in the most visible stage-managed PR events of 2020, as well as focusing on regional manifestations of the commemorations. Ekaterina V. Klimenko (Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw) will examine the cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Kremlin in the bolstering of the politically expedient memory of the 1945 victory. Alexandra Arkhipova (Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences) will analyse the particular shapes and forms that the traditional V-Day celebrations took under the 2020 lockdowns. Maria Matskevich (Sociological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Saint Petersburg) will consider how public perceptions of the 9th May celebrations changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mischa Gabowitsch (Einstein Forum, Potsdam) will act as discussant, responding to and critiquing the points made in the presentations.