Victory Banner Over the Reichstag, The

Film, Document and Ritual in Russia's Contested Memory of World War II

Centering on the concept of ‘authoritarian repetition,’ this remarkable study of the ritualization of historical memory constitutes a significant contribution to the growing field of memory studies.

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In one of the most iconic images from World War II, a Russian soldier raises a red flag atop the ruins of the German Reichstag on April 30, 1945. Known as the Victory Banner, this piece of fabric has come to symbolize Russian triumph, glory, and patriotism. Facsimiles are used in public celebrations all over the country, and an exact replica is the centerpiece in the annual Victory Parade in Moscow’s Red Square. The Victory Banner Over the Reichstag examines how and why this symbol was created, the changing media of its expression, and the contested evolution of its message. From association with Stalinism and communism to its acquisition of Russian nationalist meaning, Jeremy Hicks demonstrates how this symbol was used to construct a collective Russian memory of the war. He traces how the Soviets, and then Vladimir Putin, have used this image and the banner itself to build a remarkably powerful mythology of Russian greatness.

296 Pages, 6 x 9 in.

December, 2020

isbn : 9780822946502

about the author

Jeremy Hicks

Jeremy Hicks is professor of Russian culture and film at Queen Mary University of London. He is the author of First Films of the Holocaust, Dziga Vertov: Defining Documentary Film, and Mikhail Zoshchenko and the Poetics of Skaz.

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Jeremy Hicks