Russian New Historical Discourse

By LTC Arto Hirvela, Finnish Army, US Central Command: Strategy Plans and Policy Directorate; Combined Strategic Analysis Group
19 Jan 2021


The Russian regime (Putin especially) has made victory over Nazism a cornerstone of their national ideology and legitimacy. President Putin deems the collapse of the Soviet Union as the major geopolitical disaster of the 20th century.1 Putin has taken a strong personal interest in rewriting or ´modernizing´ Russian history for the purpose of restoring the country’s pride as a great power. The primacy of this messaging is evident during Russia’s reform vote. President Putin provided the Russian public no vision for the future of the country under his continued leadership; his focus was firmly on the idealized past.

Key Points:

  • The Kremlin’s new historical narrative aims to legitimize their authoritarian practices by sacralizing the power of the state
  • Kremlin is once again capitalizing on sentiments ever present among the Russian populous to rally around the flag and repel ancient enemies’ encroachment
  • Putin utilizes narrative of Russia being the center of sacred European and religious traditions
  • Actions against new historical narrative in Europe have escalated his historical revisionism
  • Russian people’s perceptions of their own history are changing

Read the complete paper here.

The opinions and conclusions expressed herein are those of a number of international officers within the Combined Strategic Analysis Group (CSAG) and do not necessarily reflect the views of United States Central Command, not of the nations represented within the CSAG or any other governmental agency.