Emelianova T. P., Misharina A. V. Commemoration of Victory in the Great Patriotic War as Perceived by Various Social Groups
The article was written as part of the project titled “Collective Memory of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War in the Minds of Large Groups of Society (Approaching the 70th Anniversary of Victory)” (supported by the Russian Foundation for the Humanities, grant No. 14-36-01021).
Abstract ♦ The article presents the outcomes of the exploratory phase of our study, which focused on various ways to memorialize the victory, such as social events, movies, textbooks, Internet projects, etc.
The research was conducted by means of a structured interview followed by content analysis of the responses given by 50 representatives of three social groups — students, unemployed adults and retirees. They identified the main characteristics of the images of the war Victory and outlined the various sources behind these representations. We have discovered that the Victory Day parade on May 9th is the crucial social event in forming the image of Victory in all social groups. The interpretation of this event, however, is not always unambiguous — while pensioners see it in the positive light, as a manifestation of respect for veterans and a reminder of the end of the War, working adults note misallocation of financial resources that could have been spent on improving the veterans’ housing conditions. Students frequently see the May 9 parade as merely a formal event, marked with insincerity and hypocrisy on the part of the organizers and participants.
Respondents pay due tribute to films about the war and consider them an important tool of transmitting knowledge about the war, its costs and events to the future generations. Pensioners single out patriotism and readiness for self-sacrifice as the films’ major features. Working adults tend to view them as a reminder to us all about the importance of preventing war, and about the terrible tragedy war brought into the life of every family. Students seek reliable information about the wartime events and look for models of behavior of their peers under such extreme conditions.
The study has shown that the views of the image of victory and the methods of its commemoration obviously differ between the three social groups. Nevertheless, it is clear that memories of the events of the Great Patriotic War are integrative for the society and thus deserve a more detailed study.
Keywords: collective memory, mass consciousness, large social groups, World War II, Great Patriotic War, images of Victory, ways of memorialization.
Emelianova Tatiana Petrovna, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Department of Social and Ethnical Psychology, Moscow University for the Humanities. Postal address: 5 Yunosti St., Moscow, Russian Federation, 111395. Tel.: +7 (499) 374-56-11. E-mail:
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