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Russian crimes will weaken Soviet 1945 ‘liberation’ narrative: historian

Russian crimes committed during the invasion of Ukraine are likely to contribute to weakening the still-present narrative of the Soviet “liberation” of Central and Eastern Europe, British historian Roger Moorhouse told the Polish Press Agency (PAP).

“I think the fact that the narrative of the Soviet ‘liberation’ of Central and Eastern Europe is still so persistent in the West is a legacy of both the strength of Soviet propaganda and the weakness of alternative voices in the post-war period,” he said.

As the historian pointed out, “fortunately, this aspect is changing in the West in recent years, thanks both to the work of historians and migration from the region to the UK, but too often the history of WWII in Europe is presented as a simple binary between the Allies and the Axis states, without acknowledging the fundamentally criminal nature of the Soviet regime.”

“One might venture to argue that the current devastation wrought by Russian troops in Ukraine will accelerate the change in narrative and contribute to a widespread realisation that the Kremlin’s methods of war – whether in 1945 or 2022 – are characterised by cruelty, looting and widespread criminality,” Mr Moorhouse said. “This is, of course, yet another aspect in which Vladimir Putin’s current actions are proving so astonishingly counter-productive.”

Roger Moorhouse is a British historian and writer specialising in WWII history. He is the author or co-author of more than a dozen books on the subject. In 2020 he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland for his contribution to the dissemination of knowledge about Polish history in the UK.


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