Explaining the Popularity of Russian History At The Box Office

  • Rusia
  • 0
  • 11671 Views
  • 4 February 2019

If you blinked, you almost certainly missed it. But some of the most notable films coming out of Russia this past decade all centered on its past. More specifically, the first half of the twentieth century, and the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany during the Great Patriotic War 1941-45.

My Good Hans (2015), White Tiger (2012), Panfilov’s 28 Men (2015), Rubezh (2018), Matilda (2017), Bretskaya Krepost’ (2010) and most recently, T-34 (2019), have all caught the attention of outside observers. The quality of each varies widely. White Tiger borders on ludicrous whereas Matilda was challenging in Russia’s conservative circles. Panfilov’s 28 Men is based on a Soviet myth and Bretskaya Krepost’ on true events. Some received huge state backing and funding, whereas others caused terrible controversy and were nearly banned.

There is a clear logic to the appearance of said films, however. Their popularity is nothing to be that surprised about.

First, the 2010s witnessed several anniversaries. A number of centenaries were reached, including the beginning and end of the First World War, the 1917 revolutions and the Civil War. Though not anniversaries, it has also been 100 years since the murder of the Romanov’s and eighty years since the Great Terror. In 2015, it was seventy-five years since the victory in the Great Patriotic War. A six-part TV series Rasputin even aired in 2014 on a federal channel marking his passing. Overall, it was fertile ground for historical cinema.

The plots of some films will leave viewers puzzled. White Tiger is about a soldier who can control tanks with his mind. Hitler also has a meeting with Satan in the film. Matilda chose to focus on the Tsar’s affair with a Polish ballet dancer. Though based on a true story, it too delved into fantasy elements. Yet, like My Good Hans, it touched on a delicate subject in an attempt to deal with it. It tells a story of Russian and German soldiers co-operating during the Second World War.

The timeliness of the anniversaries meant that the Russian population had to finally come to terms with more difficult aspects of its past. Nicholas is a Saint in the Orthodox Church, but he was also a deeply flawed leader. The Molotov – Ribbentrop pact is a taboo in contemporary Russia, as it stains the Russian state’s diplomatic record. Nevertheless, it is also true that the Western powers left the USSR out of its own security agreements.

Another reason has to do with national pride, patriotism and loyalty to one’s ancestors. At least four of the above films are tales of heroism, sacrifice and immense bravery of the Soviet people. This is particularly true of the most recent two films. In Rubezh, a cynical young businessman ends up back in time meeting his great grandfather at Stalingrad. T-34 meanwhile, tells the story of a group of Soviet soldiers who escape a Nazi concentration camp inside a T-34 tank. It is loosely based on real events, was state funded and praised by the ministry of defence.

This leads onto the third point. All of these films have been released during a time of declining relations and heightened tensions with the West. Victory in the Great Patriotic War is at the core of Russia’s new patriotism in the twenty first century. The military in general is also synonymous with patriotism in Russia. In 2014, Putin directly blamed the West for robbing Russia of a victory in the First World War and influencing the revolutionaries.

Historical cinema can reacquaint Russians with a past that is becoming lost. Those who fought and lived through the Great Patriotic War get fewer each year. Those who remember the Russian Empire are no more. Much like any historical reconstruction, films are designed to provide us with a view into the past. Instead, they often reflect how we prefer to view it. No reconstruction can ignore memory and nostalgia.

What these films show in Russia today is a clear message. Despite the last 100 years, we persist. We went through this together and are now stronger. More importantly, nobody, especially the decadent West, will rob us of our victory. To the reader wondering whether the Russian population supports such a message, I will end on a figure. T-34 drew eight million Russians and was the second highest grossing film since the Soviet collapse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Russian Security Cannot be Anti-Russian

  • 0
  • 2076 Views
  • 15 March 2022

To reflect on the period where the world now finds itself, we propose the term “cold hot war”, as this period has significant differences from the classical notion of the “Cold war”. Within the framework of the old Cold War, military confrontation between the two superpowers was always indirect. “Proxy” conflicts only emerged between their respective allies, when there was an intersection of interests in various regions of the world, but these never happened direc

citește mai mult

Russian Leadership Changes: How it was, is and how it might be

  • 0
  • 2247 Views
  • 3 January 2022

Now that 2022 is finally here, it means Russia’s next presidential election is just two years away. The way has been paved for Vladimir Putin to run again if he chooses. The will he/won’t he? question is a favourite of pundits as is speculation of a potential or likely successor. Russia’s next leader will be immensely consequential, as will the time when he or she takes over.

It’s certainly possible that by the end of t

citește mai mult

Researchers from Six Countries Discussed the Challenges for International Psychological Security in the Context of the Use of Artificial Intelligence

  • 0
  • 24376 Views
  • 23 November 2020

On 12 November 2020, a panel discussion "Artificial Intelligence and International Psychological Security: Theoretical and Practical Implications" was held at St. Petersburg State University as part of the international conference "Strategic Communications in Business and Politics" (STRATCOM-2020).

The discussion was moderated by Konstantin Pantserev – DSc in Political Sciences, Professor of the St. Petersburg State University,

citește mai mult

Conferință despre Transnistria, 4 – 5 Martie 2022

  • 0
  • 2106 Views
  • 8 March 2022

Împlinirea a 30 de ani de la unul dintre cele mai dificile momente ale istoriei estului Europei a constituit temeiul unei conferințe științifice de prestigiu organizate în colaborare de către instituții de învățâmânt și cercetare din Chișinău, Târgoviște și București.

Conferința cu titlul „Războiul de pe Nistru din 1992: 30 de ani după...” a fost organizată de către Asociația Națională a Tinerilor Istorici din Moldova (ANTIM),

citește mai mult

Forcing the Correct Choice: Deterring Right-Wing Radicals and Preventing Threats to Nuclear Facilities in Ukraine

  • 0
  • 1861 Views
  • 7 March 2022

According to official statements by the Russian Federation, its army’s special military operation in Ukraine aims to both “demilitarize” and “denazify” the country. This operation is being carried out in a large state with a developed nuclear power industry, fairly powerful army (the largest in Europe outside of Russia and Turkey) and high firepower (22nd place in the world according to 2022 Military Strength Ranking (Global Firepower, 2022)). One of the primary o

citește mai mult

Azebaijan, cheia geostrategică a Asiei Centrale

  • 0
  • 22005 Views
  • 13 February 2018

După destrămarea URSS, Azerbaijanul a fost statul ex-sovietic care alături de    republicile Baltice a avut o dezvoltare constantă și durabilă. Desigur, aici pot fi adresate unele critici regimului de la Baku cu privire la democrație, care în opinia multor analiști este doar mimată la Baku. Însă faptul adevărat este că acest stat a reușit să își gestioneze eficient resursele de care dispune pentru a deveni o societate prosperă. I se atribuie Azerbaijanului etichet

citește mai mult

Malicious Use of AI and Challenges to Psychological Security: Future Risks

  • 0
  • 300 Views
  • 20 May 2024

In April 2024, the International Center for Social and Political Studies and Consulting International Center for Social and Political Studies and Consulting with the help of the International Research Group on Threats to International Psychological Security through Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence (Research MUAI) published the report citește mai mult

Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence and Challenges for BRICS Psychological Security on International Forum “Russia and Ibero-America in a Turbulent World: History and Prospects”

  • 0
  • 895 Views
  • 17 October 2023

On October 5, within the framework of the VI International Forum “Russia and Ibero-America in a Turbulent World: History and Modernity” at St. Petersburg State University, two sessions of the panel “Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence and Challenges for BRICS Psychological Security” were held under the chairmanship of Professor Evgeny N. Pashentsev.

citește mai mult

Presentation of “The Palgrave Handbook of Malicious Use of AI and Psychological Security” at international forum in St. Petersburg

  • 0
  • 896 Views
  • 17 October 2023

On October 4, 2023, as part of the international forum "Russia and Iberoamerica in a Turbulent World: History and Modernity", held at the School of International Relations of St. Petersburg State University, the presentation of the collective monograph "The Palgrave Handbook of Malicious Use of AI and Psychological Security" took place. The presentation was attended by the editor and co-author of the publication – DSc., professor Evgeny Pashentsev, leading researc

citește mai mult