The World War II and its falsification in the Russian youth representations

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The events of the World War II play a special role in the contemporary social discourse as the basis of collective memory and civil culture. The current attempts of some Western countries to misrepresent and rewrite the history of the World War II and to belittle the role of the Red Army in the rout of Nazism pursue serious geopolitical goals. Effective opposition to the falsification of history depends on the quality of youth’s knowledge about that period (active historical memory) and the younger generations’ emotional association with the war winner. The article presents the results of the sociological study conducted on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory. First, there was a survey at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (students aged 18-23) to identify the level of historical knowledge and assessments, sources (fiction and movies) of representations, ideas about reasons for the falsification of the World War II history and measures to oppose it. The questions were divided into three groups: historical (the level of basic knowledge), cultural-pedagogic, or emotional (questions about books and movies) and evaluative-predictive (reasons for the falsification of history and measures to oppose it). The study also aimed at comparing the results of the survey with all-Russian opinion polls and foreign surveys. Second, the author analyzed estimates of the reasons for the falsification of the war history and suggestions to oppose this negative trend, which were provided by leading experts from Russian and foreign universities and analytical centers. The comparison of the students’ and experienced researchers’ opinions revealed both similarities and differences in generational estimates, and allowed to identify some general ways to resist the intensified trend of the falsification of the war history.

About the authors

E. G. Ponomareva

Moscow State Institute of International Relations

Author for correspondence.

доктор политических наук, профессор кафедры сравнительной политологии

Prosp. Vernadskogo, 76, Moscow, Russia, 119454


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