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Jul 27, 2023Liked by Damir Marusic

"This weekend, exhausted, I decided to watch a movie..." Having seen the film and knowing how exhausting it is to watch... this made me chuckle.

To piggyback on your comment about the Russians use of the term Nazi to characterize the Ukrainians, it's another example in the universal phenomenon of using slurs to dehumanize the enemy. This particular one conjuring up an idea of "Remember what they did to us/took from us" being particularly useful in a decaying former empire waging an irredentist war, I would imagine.

The Ukrainians, in another example of how they refuse to be outmatched in this conflict, refer to the Russians as orcs, an evil unhuman horde bent on destroying everything they hold dear.

Perhaps this is why they feel justified in posting videos of guys getting blown up by landmines to the tune of nyan cat.

Great article.

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Jul 25, 2023Liked by Damir Marusic

Brilliant post on a movie that continues to haunt me. I rewatched it this February on the anniversary of the invasion and was similarly struck by how smoothly it can be assimilated into the logic of the Z war. It's one of the most harrowing depictions of war ever put on film, but it's a distinctly Russian view of WWII and certainly no universalist plea for peace. The only Ukrainian character, as I recall, is a Nazi collaborator whom the partisans round up in a reprisal for the village massacre, and the movie in many ways supports others Great Patriotic War narratives that Putin has deployed to murderous effect in Ukraine today.

How many of the people who made "Come and See" would support Russia's current war? The overwhelming majority, I suspect.

As to Damir's point on historical memory, this too tracks with my experience. I was in Russia in 2014 and likewise nodded along to many extended monologues about Russia's unique role defeating the Nazis. But there was always a darker edge to those conversations. I'll never forget drinking with a self-described Russian football "hooligan" who sentimentally toasted my American friends to our WWII alliance, spoke movingly of the nearby cemetery where Russia's war dead were interred — and then pivoted to a chest-pumping declaration of support for Russia's policy in Ukraine. "We want peace," he slurred to us, "but I would personally kill you if ordered to by the Motherland!"

I've often wondered, in the nine years since, if he ever had the chance to live (or die) by that commitment.

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Thanks for sharing. My dad was in Germany during WWII. He never spoke of it.

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