The City of Victors: Epideictic Rhetoric at the Museum of Moscow and the Cult of the Great Patriotic War in Putin’s Russia
This article examines contemporary museum practices in post-Communist Russia
by focusing on a special exhibit, The City of Victors (Gorod Pobeditelei ), dedicated
by the Museum of Moscow to the 70th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany.
The exhibit draws on ‘popular memories’—intimate artefacts and documents
donated to the museum by ordinary Muscovites—to tell the story of patriotism and
perseverance in wartime Moscow. However, this curatorial and exhibition
strategy supports the revival of the Soviet-era myth of the Great Patriotic War and
contributes to the recovery of Stalin as a model national leader. The exhibition’s
rhetoric of participation is thus leveraged to authenticate a triumphalist narrative
of the war in the service of an authoritarian regime.