Karen Petrone shatters the notion that World War I was a forgotten war in the Soviet Union. Although never officially commemorated, the Great War was the subject of a lively discourse about religion, heroism, violence, and patriotism during the interwar period. Using memoirs, literature, films, military histories, and archival materials, Petrone reconstructs Soviet ideas regarding the motivations for fighting, the justification for killing, the nature of the enemy, and the qualities of a hero. She reveals how some of these ideas undermined Soviet notions of military honor and patriotism while others reinforced them. As the political culture changed and war with Germany loomed during the Stalinist 1930s, internationalist voices were silenced and a nationalist view of Russian military heroism and patriotism prevailed.
In these original essays on long-term patterns of everyday life in prerevolutionary, Soviet, and contemporary Russia, distinguished scholars survey the cultural practices, power relations, and behaviors that characterized daily existence for Russians through the post-Soviet present. Microanalyses and transnational perspectives shed new light on the formation and elaboration of gender, ethnicity, class, nationalism, and subjectivity. Changes in consumption and communication patterns, the restructuring of familial and social relations, systems of cultural meanings, and evolving practices in the home, at the workplace, and at sites of leisure are among the topics explored.