Day of victory over fascism against the background of its reanimation. Op-Ed by Victor Pelin

It turns out that those who over the years have speculated about the fight against fascism have, in fact, become apologists for this inhuman doctrine...

Propaganda agitation instead of commemoration

As May 9 is approaching, preparations are traditionally being made to celebrate the victory over fascism and commemorate its victims. Normally, as a tribute to those who risked their lives and contributed to victory, the celebration should have taken place as the participants in the war themselves used to do. At least,  a great writer urged us to do so – Viktor Astafyev, who fought from the age of only 17 and after the war became famous for his military prose, in which he described both atrocities and the noblest qualities of the people drawn into war: “Now I see the rattling of medals, a lot of talking, dancing, shouting, but normally, all of us, both those who fought and those who did not, should go out into the streets and pray on Victory Day for all those killed... This was the first war in human history when civilian casualties were many times higher in number than military casualties.”

In fact, the current way of celebrating May 9, including by the pro-Russian political forces in the Republic of Moldova, is the expression of a major propaganda interest. Initially, it was about the interest of the Soviet nomenclature during the Brezhnev era, and then the interest of the Putin regime came into play. The pursued goal is the same – to use the military glory of previous generations in the interests of the subsequent regimes established by the Epigones. This is what the history of the celebration of May 9 in the USSR and after its dissolution tells us about. Immediately after the war, Victory Day was celebrated in hot footsteps until 1947. Later, until 1965, May 9 was a common day in terms of the nomenclature of official holidays. It was only on the occasion of Leonid Brezhnev’s accession as General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU that the former “Minor Land” political leader decided to formalize Victory Day, presumably to gain glory to himself. It happened under memorable circumstances, immediately after the removal from government in 1964 of Nikita Khrushchev – the denouncer of Stalin’s cult of personality, and three years after the uprising of starving workers in Novocherkassk, which showed the whole world that the Soviet government was unable to provide its own citizens with the bare necessities. Respectively, instead of consumer products, the Soviet citizens had the opportunity to boast of the victory of the previous generation in the war. 

After the collapse of the USSR, May 9 was initially celebrated, naturally, on the occasion of jubilee dates. But since 2005, the propaganda of the Putin regime has turned Victory Day into an occasion for the display of Russia’s military might, threatening the world for revanchist purposes with the slogan “We can repeat it!

Two ways to commemorate Victory Day

In the last 20 years, we have learned that the pro-Russian political forces in the Republic of Moldova blindly copy Moscow’s propaganda clichés. In this regard, it was expected that this year too, ahead of May 9, we will witness preparations and demonstrations dedicated to the victory and glorification of the Red Army, whose successor for more than two years has been aggressing Ukraine, waging a war of invasion against the neighboring state. Respectively, the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) announced the organization of the “Victory March” on May 9, 2024, intending to symbolically use the war of aggression against Ukraine.

In this connection, it is important to clarify a few things. The society of the Republic of Moldova is divided and, therefore, the celebration and commemoration of May 9 takes place in two ways. The largest segment of citizens commemorates Victory Day in a sober manner thinking of those fallen and those exterminated by the Nazis, as is natural and as the famous writer, Viktor Astafyev, urged us to do. The second, much smaller category, celebrates Victory Day with uproar, glorifying the Red Army, whose successor is currently trying to invade Ukraine. Here it is appropriate to consider a providential remark of the mentioned writer: “He who lies about the past war brings the future war near.” This is exactly what happened with the Great Patriotic War (GPW), the truth about which it is intentionally altered.

We have learned that Russian propaganda prefers to talk mainly about the GPW, delimiting it from World War II. No wonder, because the GPW is a consequence of World War II, which was started by mutual agreement on September 1, 1939, by Nazi Germany and the USSR. Immediately after the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and the Secret Protocol on August 23, 1939,  the partition of Eastern Europe by the signatory partners followed. Subsequently, the warrior partners, as they had conflicting interests, could not agree on the division of the world globally. Respectively, on June 22, 1941, the Nazi partner assaulted the Communist one. Thus, the GPW began and it ended on May 9, 1945, with the victory over Nazism of the grand alliance – Great Britain, the U.S. and the USSR.

The abovementioned delimitations are very important to understand the different ways of celebrating Victory Day in the Republic of Moldova. There is a curiosity here. Last year, PSRM leader Igor Dodon started celebrating not only Victory Day, on May 9, but also the day of occupation of Poland by the forces of Nazi and Bolshevik partners. Respectively, on September 20, 2023, Dodon officially launched the car raceVictory in our hearts”, dedicated to the fourth partition of Poland, when the line of demarcation along the Pissa, Narew, Vistula Rivers, the railway along the San River was set” between Nazi Germany and the USSR. On this occasion, Igor Dodon said: “I’m sure that the memory for the Great Patriotic War and Victory will always live in the hearts of the Moldovan citizens. We remember! We are proud! This is despite the fact that the GPW began about two years after the occupation of Poland, during which the Nazis and the USSR cooperated fruitfully on all dimensions, being allies, in fact.

Currently, on the eve of Victory Day, we cannot know for sure whether it is worth taking seriously the activism of pro-Russian political parties in the Republic of Moldova. After celebrating the occupation of Poland by the Nazis and Soviet Bolsheviks, Igor Dodon announced that the car race would be continued, its purpose being “to popularize the heroic deed of Soviet soldiers-liberators, to combat the falsification of history and to protect the historical truth. The motorists will travel on the territory of the Republic of Moldova, including Transnistria, and will reach Romania and Bulgaria.” For now, we don’t know anything about the routes in Romania and Bulgaria of the race, but we don’t know anything about the routes in Transnistria either. But ahead of this autumn’s election, unfulfilled promises must be accounted for. In fact, the maneuvers related to the speculation about Victory Day by the Socialist leader, Igor Dodon, but also by the Communist leader, Vladimir Voronin, were long ago exposed by patriotic journalists in the Republic of Moldova.

Who are the real fascists?

Against the background of the propaganda bustle related to Victory Day, a monstrous scandal broke out in the Russian Federation. Several thousand young people with leftist views, including Komsomists, revolted against the initiative of the rector of the Russian State University of the Humanities (RSUH) to open a Higher Political School, named after Ivan Ilyin. The school is to be led by the pantheon philosopher of the Putin regime, Aleksandr Dugin. The problem is that both Ivan Ilyin and Aleksandr Dugin have reputations as established fascists. The former was notable for his essay On Russian Fascism, published in 1928, and the latter for his work Fascism - Border and Red, published in 1997.

The situation is extremely spicy as Ivan Ilyin has become the most popular philosopher of the Putinist elite. Vladimir Putin himself quotes Ilyin at every opportunity and even without occasion. Following Putin, so do other senior dignitaries, including Patriarch Kirill, who, under the influence of his beloved philosopher, has recently been urging society to wage a holy war against Ukraine. There is another extremely spicy element in the history related to the glorification  of the exponents of Russian fascism. The fact is that the RSUH is nothing but the former reformed Higher Party School, which during the Soviet period, between 1932 and 1991, was the main forge of nomenklaturist cadres that was graduated from including by hundreds of Moldovan nomenklaturists. The spicy element is also that Ivan Ilyin believed that the fascist movement was a healthy reaction in response to the Bolshevik movement. It turns out that, dialectically, the former Higher Party School evolved from promoting communism to promoting fascism. It seems logical, if the former precedes and substantiates the latter.

Young students with leftist views, aware of the metamorphosis mentioned – the slide towards fascism - insist that the name of the new institution should not bear the name of an established fascist. On the other hand, the leadership of the RSUH cannot allow such a thing, as Ivan Ilyin is Vladimir Putin’s favorite philosopher. Dropping Ilyin’s name would leave a dark shadow over Putin. Under such circumstances, the Putinist elites have decided to pretend not to notice the revolt of the young people, who only have to grin and bear it by mocking the behavior of officials. From all this story, we can understand that students in Russia have discovered a political niche that no one has yet tried to explore – the obvious discrepancy between the anti-fascist rhetoric of the Putinist elites and the actions inspired by Russian fascism. The problem is that Russian academics are wondering – how can Russia be credible in its aggressive adventure against Ukraine, accusing its neighbor of fascism, if Russia itself is openly fascised by its own elite? Good question, including for the leaders of pro-Russian parties in the Republic of Moldova, which openly promote the Russian imperialism.


The events related to the preparations for the celebration of Victory Day, against the background of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, bring out a number of interesting things. It turns out that those who over the years have speculated about the fight against fascism have, in fact, become apologists for this inhumane doctrine. It happened exactly according to the formula of the Comintern propagandist, Willi Münzenberg, who stated that in the propaganda struggle it is useful to attribute all your crimes to your enemies. The formula was successfully taken up by fascist propagandists, who have been successfully using it to this day.

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