Cover Osteuropa 5/2017

In Osteuropa 5/2017

Russia’s “Immortal Regiment”
The state, society and the mobilisation of the dead

Julie Fedor

Deutsche Fassung


On 9 May 2015, millions of people in Russia marched through the streets carrying enlarged photos of former Red Army soldiers. The “Immortal Regiment” march, which has now become an annual event, is more than just a new form of remembrance of the Great Patriotic War. It is a succinct reminder of several key issues facing Russian society today. The idea for the march came from within society, with the loosely coordinated initiatives aiming to offer relatives an opportunity to express their grief for those they had lost. However, the state recognised the potential of such an event and exploited it to its own benefit. Private remembrance is now used to oil the wheels of the regime. Trauma is converted into triumph, and grief into aggression. This social movement, the authenticity of which has now become a mere simulation, serves to legitimise the Putin regime and its policy of violence in the post-Soviet space.

(Osteuropa 5/2017, pp. 61–85)