Putin’s retelling of the Great Patriotic War myth and the construction of Russian national identity


  • Alexia Preen University of Otago




Political elites often use the nation’s past to construct the nation’s present identity. In his speeches about the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin frequently uses the Russian national myth of the Great Patriotic War to construct Russia’s present duties, values, and identity. Charges of neo-Nazism and fascism against Ukraine are made to construct the Russian national identity as one that fights proactively against Nazism. However, by using a myth set in the Soviet period, the status of Ukraine as either part of the Russian Self or constituting the foreign Other is highly ambiguous. Although cynical and deeply offensive, Putin’s use of Nazi imagery therefore has a purpose deeper than causing shock and offence.