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The World War II Memorials in Moscow: Building up Political Capital and Communicating the Memory

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Abstract. The Second World War has been mapped politically on the Moscow urban environment since 1943. The article deals with urban triumphal and commemorative forms of Moscow in 1940s–2010s in the context of changes in the political and social background. It analyses the differences of commemorating the war under different political leaders: Josef Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev, Leonid Brezhnev and in the post-Soviet years. The totalitarian approach meant to elevate the role of Stalin in and after the war, expressed in creating a triumphant style with multiple reproductions of his image  as the absolute leader. Khrushchev political “thaw” and Brezhnev’s rule were marked by the erection of common and individual epic monuments, formation of rituals around them, where the images of war were used as an important political capital. Nowadays,  the increased role of war memorials is triggered by the complexity in international affairs.  The style of contemporary war memorials manifests the trends of postmodernism, which are expressed in a paradox combination of existing mentality, new technologies, historical citations, humor, and humaneness.

Keywords: war memorial, Moscow, Soviet urbanism, monumental propaganda, postmodernism.

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