Refighting World War II: How the Kremlin co-opts War Memory

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Refighting World War II: How the Kremlin co-opts War Memory

6th May 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

89% of Russians feel pride in the Soviet victory over Nazism in World War Two. With the number of Soviet dead estimated at 27 million, the significant role it continues to play in Russian popular and political culture is to a certain extent understandable. But the Kremlin has co-opted this tragic and heroic legacy for its own political ends, using the trauma of the war to justify invasions in Ukraine and discredit rivals, from Alexei Navalny to foreign states. Assuming a messianic stance, the Russian government has depicted itself as conducting a global mission to defend the historical truth of World War Two. However, this ‘truth’ is highly subjective, sometimes outright myth, as the facts of the war are subverted to the needs of politics and patriotism.


This event will discuss the Russian state’s efforts to control and curate memory for its own political ends but also place this within a broader European context. The efforts of various Russian ministries to turn the war into a daily point of reference for young and old alike is just an intense version of what is happening in many countries, where memory wars – domestic and international – are increasingly prominent. We will discuss how Russia contributes to these antagonistic processes but also how its history can be a form of soft power, as Russia looks to export its politicised version of World War Two.


The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to host this event that will take the form of a discussion between Professor Mark Galeotti, Professor Nikolai Koposov and Dr Jade McGlynn.

Mark Galeotti is the Director of the consultancy firm Mayak Intelligence. He is also an Honorary Professor at UCL School of Slavonic & East European Studies and a Senior Associate Fellow at RUSI, as well as a senior non-resident fellow at the Institute of International Relations Prague and an Associate Fellow of the Middle East Institute’s Frontier Europe programme. Previously, he has held roles as the Head of the Centre for European Security at the Institute of International Relations Prague, Professor of Global Affairs at New York University, head of the History department at Keele University in the UK and has acted as an adviser at the British Foreign Office. His books include A Short History of Russia (HarperCollins, 2020/Ebury, 2021), We Need to Talk About Putin (Ebury, 2019) and The Vory: Russia’s super mafia (Yale University Press, 2018).


Nikolay Koposov is a Visiting Professor at Emory University. Previously, he worked at Georgia Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, Helsinki University, Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris, among other universities. From 1998-2009, he was Founding Dean of Smolny College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, a joint venture of Saint-Petersburg State University and Bard College (New York). He has authored six books including De l’imagination historique (Éditions de l’EHESS, 2009), Pamyat’ strogogo rezhima: Istoriya i politika v Rossii [Strict-Security Memory: History and Politics in Russia] (Moscow: Novoye Literaturnoye Obozrenie, 2011), and Memory Laws, Memory Wars: The Politics of the Past in Europe and Russia (Cambridge University Press, 2017).


Dr Jade McGlynn is the Director of Research at the Henry Jackson Society, where she also heads the Russia and Eurasia Studies Centre. Prior to joining HJS, Jade was a Lecturer in Russian at the University of Oxford. She specialises in the politics of memory in contemporary Russia, the topic of her DPhil, and has authored academic articles, book chapters and think tank reports on this topic. She is the co-editor of two forthcoming volumes Rethinking Period Boundaries (De Gruyter, 2021) and Researching Memory and Identity in Russia and Eastern Europe (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022). She is also working on her first solo-authored book, entitled Making History Great Again: The Politics of Memory and Belonging in Contemporary Russia.


6th May 2021
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm


United Kingdom


Henry Jackson Society
+44 (0) 20 7340 4520


Mark Galeotti, Nikolay Koposov, Dr Jade McGlynn


Israel, the Jewish Diaspora and the Weaponization of Language

6 February @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Words have consequences. For decades, interest groups, political actors and ideologues opposed to the State of Israel have pursued, projected, and altogether crafted their bias by employing subversive strategies reliant on … Continued

The Russian Invasion of Ukraine as a Historical Inevitability and Its Possible Ramifications

7 February @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

At different times, Russia has justified the invasion of Ukraine as a response to Ukrainian nationalism, Ukrainian genocide of Russians and NATO enlargement. With all reasons voiced by the Kremlin debunked over … Continued

Understanding the Political Quagmire in Israel

8 February @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Israel is in the grips of a new political reality as the new government—described as the most right-wing in Israel’s history—takes the helm of a complicated set of priorities and … Continued



Lost your password?

Not a member? Please click here