Russia Was Ready to Celebrate a Glorious Past. The Present Intervened.Breaking News
tags: Russia, historical memory, nationalism, World War 2
MOSCOW — As the coronavirus began its silent but relentless march on Moscow in February, the names of the millions of Russian soldiers killed in the far deadlier horrors of World War II were already appearing, one by one, on state television, scrolling down the screen in a harrowing torrent.
The Kremlin offered soothing words about the pandemic, saying that Russia would not suffer too badly. So, the names kept coming, day after day, mourning Russia’s wartime martyrs at a staggering rate of more than 6,000 a minute.
But at the end of March, when the coronavirus crisis could no longer be glossed over, the names suddenly vanished from TV. And Russia awoke from its glorious, morbid memories of the Red Army’s defeat of Nazi Germany 75 years ago to confront an insidious enemy that kept getting closer and more menacing.
The pandemic arrived with full force in Moscow just as the Russian capital was preparing to celebrate Victory Day on May 9, a joyous annual holiday filled with national pride that transcends all of Russia’s many divisions. The timing has left the city in a strangely expectant yet suspended state.
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