[Ρωσική Εισβολή Πλήρους Κλίμακας Στην Ουκρανία ~ Russian Full-Scale Invasion In Ukraine] Ουκρανία: Οι Μάσκες Του Κρεμλίνου Πέφτουν – Τα Κομμουνιστικά Σοβιετικά Σύμβολα Επιστρέφουν Στον Ρωσικό Στρατό ~ Ukraine: Kremlin’s Masks Are Falling – Communist Soviet Symbols Return To The Russian Army…! (Photos)
Recent photos show Russia’s Soviet past becoming mainstreamed as a rallying point for invading troops in Ukraine as the Kremlin’s objectives become increasingly criminal and aggressive.
Fighters from the Pyatnashka International Brigade photographed near Avdiyivka on October 27, 2023.
The above image is the latest of several recent images showing overt leftist emblems used on the battlefield in Ukraine. The relief at top right shows Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin. The trio were frequently grouped together as godheads of the Soviet political system.
A Russian soldier, photographed in Ukraine’s Donetsk region in July 2023, wears the Soviet victory banner, a flag that was raised over Germany’s Reichstag by Red Army troops in May 1945.
In the opening weeks of the invasion, a handful of Soviet flags flown from Russian tanks were documented in amateur footage. But a recent surge in professional photos of Soviet symbols released through Kremlin-funded media indicates a possible widespread embrace of the aesthetic among Russia’s military.
A Russian soldier wears a Soviet flag patch as he fires a howitzer in Ukraine’s Luhansk region on October 4, 2023.
Ian Garner, a historian and expert of Russian war propaganda, says the adoption of Soviet imagery is largely the initiative of individual soldiers and units but it’s being implicitly encouraged through recent Kremlin-funded “propaganda events like concerts, television shows, and so forth.”
A Russian military investigator holds a piece of shrapnel in a suburb of Donetsk on October 24, 2023.
The military investigator above wears a patch featuring Josef Stalin and the words, “When I was in power this s*** didn’t happen.”
A volunteer Russian fighter near Kremmina, in Ukraine’s Luhansk region in March 2023, wears a cap that splices together Russian and Soviet symbols.
Garner believes Soviet symbols have been embraced partly as a rallying point for an invasion whose goals have become increasingly unclear.
A Russian soldier wears a stylized Soviet flag emblazoned with the letters “USSR,” near Avdiyivka in June, 2023.
“Even though individual soldiers may not identify with the state’s claimed goals for war or be able to describe the geopolitical aims or national security strategies that the [Putin] regime lays out,” Garner said.
“They bond around these sorts of aesthetics, the aesthetics of the past that reach towards the creation of a supposedly utopian future in which Russia will be a great power once again.”
A banner depicts women holding the Soviet flag behind the words, “for a strong Russia!” on an apartment block in Moscow in July, 2023.
The above banner references an incident in the opening days of the Russian invasion in 2022 in which an elderly Ukrainian women emerged from her village house welcoming what she thought were Russian soldiers. The fighters were in fact Ukrainians, who gave the woman food before trampling the flag.
The woman has been widely used by pro-war Russian media outlets as a symbol of what the Kremlin claims is support for the invasion within Ukraine.
Mobilized Russian conscripts and mercenaries hold the Soviet victory banner as they prepare to depart Orenburg, Russia, in October 2022.
Garner does not believe the Soviet imagery indicates a goal of literally resurrecting the Marxist political system that destroyed countless Russian lives through the 20th century. “I would say that very few people in Russia really want to restore the Soviet Union,” he said.
Cars fly tsarist, Soviet, and Russian flags in Syevyerodonetsk, in Ukraine’s Luhansk region in May 2023.
Recent polls have indicated more Russians identify with the long-dead Soviet Union than with independent Russia. But Garner points to the incongruous appearance of both Tsarist-era and communist symbols seen together on the battlefield in Ukraine as indication that Soviet imagery is nothing more than a symbol of a former era.
Communist authorities in the Russian-occupied Donetsk region install a bust of Vladimir Lenin in July 2023.
“None of it makes sense unless you understand that it is a politically incoherent expression of a desire to go back to a better time,” the historian says. “But of course, we’re talking about a better time that never really actually existed.”