Struggle for the Present

The Czech-Russian Monument War

11 March 2020

Russia’s disapproval of what happened in Czecho-Slovakia in and after November 1989, is precisely the sentiment that can be identified in the manner of how the Russian pro-government media reports on historical disputes.

Recently, differing interpretations of history have become an increasing problem in relations between Russia and several European countries. Indeed, it seems that the greater the time gap since a given event, the more markedly the differences in its interpretation affect relationships between Russia and the concerned countries.

The interpretation of historical events involving Russia (or the former Soviet Union) and former Soviet bloc countries is now an official narrative in Russia.

Not upholding this narrative is criticised by the state both inside and outside the country. Russia is trying not to allow different historical narratives to be promoted abroad because it fears that this might be seen as a defeat. Therefore, the Russian state is fighting for a ‘correct’ interpretation of history so that Russian citizens do not feel that their homeland is losing its struggle for the past.

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Grigorij Mesežnikov

Grigorij Mesežnikov is a political scientist and the President of the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) in Slovakia. He has published expert studies on party systems’ development and political aspects of transformation in post-communist societies, illiberal and authoritarian tendencies, populism, nationalism and hybrid threats in various monographs, collections and scholarly journals in Slovakia and other countries.

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