Like other mafia states, modern Russia rests on an incoherent ideology. It has built an image of itself around a dubious foundational myth, an image that cynically exploits and sacralizes the word “victory,” for which it has created a host of prescribed rituals.

Russia employs a chain of arguments that paint it as a society entitled to a certain role in history as a matter of “justice.” Many of these falsifications and half-truths are disseminated throughout the West: Russia singlehandedly defeated Nazism; Russia was duplicitously tricked; and Russia is a “great” country, so it can do “anything.”

Anyone in Russia who rejects these fables or calls them what they are – lies – is immediately met with screams of “our grandfathers saved the world!”


The myth of World War II was planted by Stalin, nurtured by Brezhnev, and is now blossoming under Putin’s rule. The current Russian president has been scrupulously following his predecessors’ examples of using these lies to advance their autocracy, domestic repression, and international aggression.

What are the major points of the Kremlin’s myth? Here are 10 key lies:

1.     “The Great Patriotic Warbegan on June 22, 1941. Moscow has long taught that World War II began when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union. They conveniently forget to mention that it actually began nearly two years earlier, on Sept. 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland, and that the Soviet Union was then allied with Germany and concluded a secret pact to divide Poland between them – a division by which Moscow also swallowed the independent Baltic states.

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2.     The USSR hated Nazism. Anti-Nazi and anti-fascist pre-war propaganda ceased in 1939 with the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact mentioned above, whereby Moscow and Berlin would divide Eastern Europe. Having fallen into league with the Nazis, the Soviet propaganda machine turned its attention to attacking the British, who had “launched the war against Germany.” Not until after the Nazis invaded the USSR, in June 1941, did anti-Nazi slogans return to Soviet society.


3.     The USSR was brilliant in “buying time” with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The fact is that Stalin was delighted to use the Pact to wage aggression against Poland, Finland, Romania, and the Baltic States. The USSR was unprepared in 1941 precisely because Stalin did not believe Germany would betray him and invade.

4.     The USSR was tranquil before the German invasion. No, it was not. Stalin had already swept into Poland and Finland before the German invasion in 1941.

5.     The USSR was selfless in its sacrifice during the War. In reality, the USSR was self-serving. Stalin was keen to annex and occupy territories formerly belonging to the Russian Empire and beyond, both in 1939-40 and in 1945-46. How many? From north to south: Petsamo, the Karelian Isthmus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the north of East Prussia, eastern Poland, Transcarpathia, northern Bukovina, and Bessarabia.


6.     The Soviets alone defeated Hitler. Even Stalin did not believe this lie, as he had to admit that without the tanks, planes, trucks, steam locomotives, gunpowder, explosives, steel, aluminum, fuel, clothes, shoes, stew and powdered eggs, received thanks to America’s Lend-Lease, any victory would have been out of the question – not to mention the key role of Allied military action in opening a new front in the West.

7.     The Allies did not want a second front in France. To the contrary: Churchill and Roosevelt understood who Stalin was and what he might do in Europe, which he was conquering, so they tried to get to Berlin faster than the Russians.

8.     The Soviet soldiers were unanimously heroic. In reality the Soviets had “penalty companies” meant to prevent soldiers from retreating. “Not a step back” was the order of the day, and if soldiers disobeyed, then the consequence would be summary execution. Then there were the Russians of General Andrey Vlasov’s army, which collaborated with the Germans. They would not have existed if everything were as rosy as the Russian myth claims.

9.     The USSR strictly obeyed all treaties. The USSR flippantly did as it pleased. In 1944 it started a war with Bulgaria even though there was no conflict, just as in 1945 it violated its non-aggression treaty with Japan.


10.  Europe was liberated by the Red Army. Eastern Europe was largely occupied and robbed, its peoples enslaved by Moscow for 45 years, often with methods as brutal as the Nazis’.

Without question, World War II was the bloodiest tragedy in human history and the people of the Soviet Union suffered greatly. However, it is travesty that the horrific slaughter, which Stalin had in many respects initiated, has over the years been whipped into a national religion.

The views expressed in this opinion article are the author’s and not necessarily those of Kyiv Post.

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Comments (5)
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I traveled through the Soviet Union in the early 70s. I'll never forget crossing from a modern, open West Germany into the backwardness of East Germany and beyond that, the USSR in general with horses and carts. The difference was chalk and cheese, night and day. Russia, like China, was unfortunate to have been ruled by Communists who destroyed its potential and in turn, the potential of every country they ever touched. Some of us still remember these things.

Joseph King
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@Velonika, Nothing much has changed. Road outside the Moskva ring road are full of holes and unsealed in most cases. Horses now pull carts made from a broken down Lada that is chopped up to suit the purpose. This is a country that didn't have a toilet paper manufacturing factory until 1969 which was when the USA landed on the moon.

Even now where ruZZia used to export so much gas to other countries, so many russian federation towns and villages didn't have gas in their homes for heating, don't have running water inside their homes or inside toilets with even a basic sewerage system like a septic tank. A hole in the ground is a high tech ruZZian toilet. Guess this is why #russiaToiletTerrorists stole so many of those items during their barbaric invasion and full scale war against Ukraine.

#StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦
#WeAreUkraine 💪
*Все це Україна!* 👍
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Only strong militaries and the will to use them will defeat genocidal dictators like Hitler,Stalin and Putin .
Agent Merkyl oversaw the hollowing out of Germanies military capability and will and plotted to make Germany 100% dependant on Russian fossil fuels despite the initial Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014 and so called sanctions!!
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This shows that the Russian (or at least Muskovite) views on the world have not changed in a century, if not longer. It is going to take a huge amount of effort to change this, far more than was needed in Germany - and that was a lot!
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Hitler, Putin and Stalin are the same cat’s kittens.

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@Imokru2, Yes.
Jan Map
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An important article that should be widely read. Fully matches the history.
The crimes of the government of the USSR under Stalin will long outlive him, unlike the lives of the millions of its victims.
It was the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that gave Hitler the green light to launch the Second World War, knowing he had only to defeat the unsupported Polish military. The Polish army retreated east, only to be back-stabbed as the army of the USSR invaded.
Stalin/Beria's schemes to suppress the Polish nation long-term included the mass executions of captured Polish army officers and intellectuals at Katyn Wood and other sites.
This is the wartime leader that Putin seeks to emulate.
He must not succeed.