Future dictated by the past : Russia’s Article 354.1 against the "Rehabilitation of Nazism"

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2023-04-14

Authors

Warner, Theodore

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In the last three decades, Russia has withdrawn from the short-lived experiment with democracy that began with the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the wake of waning stability at home and growing tensions with the "near abroad" and liberal democracies of the West, the Putin regime continues to drive Russian society into cultural conservatism and authoritarianism. History and its commemoration have served as key tools for Putin and his United Russia party, as evidenced by the recent push to legislate memory of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War (WWII). This report aims to consolidate the literature on memory politics in Russia and focuses on the impact of one law in particular: Article 354.1 of the Russian Criminal Code, the "Rehabilitation of Nazism," first introduced in 2009, passed in 2014, and expanded in 2021. This report analyzes the law through two lenses, (1) the law as an imitation of European memory laws, and (2) the law as a reflection of the Kremlin’s effort to construct a positive Russian national identity

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