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Book Launch - Memory Makers: The Politics of the Past in Putin's Russia by Dr Jade McGlynn - 12 June 2023

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About the book:

The politics of the past is ever-present in today’s Russia. From its World War II cult to anti-Western conspiracy theories, the Kremlin has long used myth and memory to legitimize repression at home and imperialism abroad, its patriotic history resonating with and persuading large swathes of the Russian population.

Memory Makers plumbs the depths of Russian historical propaganda, revealing the chilling web of nationwide narratives and practices perforating everyday life, from after-school patriotic history clubs to tower block World War II murals. The use of history to manifest a particular Russian identity has had grotesque, even gruesome, consequences, but it belongs to a global political pattern – where one’s view of history is the ultimate marker of political loyalty, patriotism and national belonging. Memory Makers demonstrates how the extreme Russian experience is a stark warning to other nations tempted to stare too long at the reflection of their own imagined and heroic past.

Please join us for a discussion on this book between author Dr Jade McGlynn and Dr Will James, a post-doc researcher in the Centre for Grand Strategy. Following the discussion and Q&A session we will host a reception which you are welcome to join. 

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About the speakers:

Jade McGlynn is a Research Fellow at the Department of War Studies, KCL and a non-resident senior researcher at CSIS. She is the author of Russia’s War (Polity) and Memory Makers (Bloomsbury). Her research focusses on Russia’s war on Ukraine since 2014, as well as Russian state-society relations, propaganda and memory politics. Prior to joining KCL, Jade held academic research positions and lectureships at Middlebury College (USA) and the University of Oxford.


William James joined the Centre for Grand Strategy as an Ax:son Johnson Research Fellow in August 2022. He is also a Senior Associate of the Oxford Changing Character of War Centre. William holds a DPhil in International Relations from the University of Oxford. Between 2018 and 2020, William was based in the United States as a research fellow at MIT’s Security Studies Program and at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center. In 2020-21, he was a non-resident Hans J. Morgenthau fellow at the University of Notre Dame. William’s work has been published in journals such as the European Journal of International Security and International Politics, as well as outlets such as The National Interest and War on the Rocks. One of his goals is to produce academically rigorous research which is accessible and useful for policymakers. He regularly provides support and historically informed analyses to civil servants and the armed forces. William has also contributed evidence to two parliamentary inquiries on British foreign policy. In December 2020, William won the Royal United Services Institute's Trench Gascoigne essay competition for original writing on defence and security. The essay was subsequently published in the RUSI Journal.



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12 June 2023