24 Nov 2016

The Guardian about the 28 Panfilov Men movie

The Guardian published an article devoted to the new Russian movie about 28 Panfilov's Men, a feat by Soviet soldiers in 1941 under Moscow. The article was translated and commented on INOSMI.

Article in English, https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/nov/23/russian-war-film-set-to-open-against-controversy-over-accuracy-of-events Translated article and Russian comments at http://inosmi.ru/social/20161124/238274235.html



Shaun Walker in Moscow

A still from Panfilov’s 28, which tells the story of a defence of Moscow under attack from the Nazis.


Wednesday 23 November 2016 08.00 GMT

Last modified on Wednesday 23 November 2016 22.00 GMT

Every Soviet schoolchild was taught about the heroic feats of the last 28 members of Ivan Panfilov’s division, which in late 1941 fought to the death to stop a Nazi tank assault on Moscow in one of the best known episodes of the Soviet war effort.

“Russia is vast, but there is nowhere to retreat – Moscow is behind us,” one of the Red Army soldiers, armed at the end with just Molotov cocktails and grenades, said as the attack was halted.

But as a film about the events, Panfilov’s 28, opens in Russia this week, controversy rumbles on over the fact that many of the details of that last stand – both in the film and versions pre-dating it – appear to have been invented.

Arguments over the upcoming film and the mythology around the episode in general began last spring, when Sergei Mironenko, the director of Russia’s state archive, gave an interview stating that while there had indeed been a bloody battle outside Moscow, it was not as many had understood it.

His words provoked such outrage that over the summer the archive posted online a 1948 internal Soviet military report into the events, which came to the conclusion that a journalist from the Red Army’s newspaper had made up the particulars of the story, inventing quotes and ignoring the fact that some of the soldiers had survived and one was believed to have surrendered to the Germans.

The legend was cooked up to fit in with the Soviet demand that soldiers should fight to the death rather than surrender.

'The whole world is watching us with bated breath, because right here we are defending it', says a soldier in the trailer for the film.

Vladimir Medinsky, the culture minister, reacted furiously to the intervention, saying it was not the job of archivists to make historical evaluations, and if Mironenko wanted to change professions, he should do so. Shortly after, Mironenko was fired.

The nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky said in recent weeks that he had called at a government meeting for Mironenko to be fired. He claimed his uncle had fought in Panfilov’s division and said those griping about the exact numbers were missing the point. “It’s unacceptable for someone from the archives to start telling the whole country that there were no Panfilov heroes,” he said.

Medinsky later went further in his defence of the film and his disgust for those who questioned the story.

“It’s my deep conviction that even if this story was invented from the start to the finish, even if Panfilov never existed, even if there was nothing at all, it’s a sacred legend which it’s simply impossible to besmirch. And people who try to do that are total scumbags.”

Medinsky said he would like to send such people, who “poked their dirty, greasy fingers into the history of 1941” back to the war period in a time machine and leave them in a trench to face Nazi tanks armed with just a hand grenade.

Panfilov’s division included many central Asians, and last month Putin and Kazakhstan’s president Nursultan Nazarbayev watched the film together.

Under Putin, victory in the second world war has become the main building block of modern Russian identity, and criticism of the Red Army or mentions of the darker sides of the war effort are unwelcome.

The war’s huge place in the national psyche is understandable, given the Soviet Union lost more than 20 million citizens during the war years. But some are uncomfortable that the mythology has overtaken the facts.

Alexander Morozov, a history teacher and the chair of the editorial board of a magazine on the teaching of history in schools, called the film a “big mistake”, and said mythologising the war would only confuse children.

He told Ekho Moskvy radio: “We should try to tell the truth, of course. Yes, there was a battle, yes there was heroism. This is what they should have made a film about... But as it is, they’ll watch this film, go online and find a whole load of different information about this battle, and it will undermine their trust in these kind of things.”

Comments





Graz


Did the Panfilov Division stop the German tanks?

Yes, it did!

Was there heroism?

Yes, there was.

Is it really important that in the episode described in the film there were 28 persons or a company [military company is about 100 people], even the location is not very important, it does not really matter if the events occurred right on that spot, or 2-3-5 km farther or closer from that point?

I think it does not matter at all.

What is important is the fact that it happened.

It is not about Saving Private Ryan, Pearl Harbor or similar [imaginary events], this is the real event.

elena.bakkis


but some are questioning the story’s validity


for some reason, this phrase made me laugh, and the author himself became ridiculous. I agree with Medinsky [minister of culture]: do not poke your dirty little hands into our history; the Anglo-Saxons have made a lot of efforts to distort it anyway.

and criticism of the Red Army or mentions of the darker sides of the war effort are unwelcome.


There was more than enough criticism in the 90s, where criticism turned into senility and betrayal of our grandfathers, something like "Leningrad could be handed over" [to the Nazis]; "the country must have surrendered", "Soviet Union started the second world war", etc. Fie on you and all your Anglo-Saxon race. And I do not understand what bright sides, apart from the fact of survival, can be there in a war? And the "Echo of Moscow" [Government-opposing liberal Radio in Moscow] is as usual following is beaten track.

Sanych


Medinsky said he would like to send such people, who “poked their dirty, greasy fingers into the history of 1941” back to the war period in a time machine and leave them in a trench to face Nazi tanks armed with just a hand grenade.


Probably the only instance that I agree with Medinsky

Stone


"But as it is, they'll watch this film, go online and find a whole load of different information about this battle, and it will undermine their trust in these kind of things." he said in an interview on the radio "Echo of Moscow"


I do not understand Venediktov [editor in chief of the Echo of Moscow Radio Station]. Is he taking pleasure from digging in deep shit? Moreover, in alliance with people who cannot be called other than shit.

levenkool :)


Stone, well, it is just his job or may be even destiny :)

Jel05


The melkobrits [derog. slang for Great Britons] as usual are poking their noses into everything ...

They would rather write about V-2 and London, honestly

jktu Cnfybckfdjdbx


No one argues about the labors of Hercules, but when you watch another blockbuster you realize that the Greeks should place lawsuits against Hollywood directors like Medinsky does. The entire Hollywood shall be imprisoned for their creative work that does not reflect the real picture of the universe.

Kulibin


Jktu Cnfybckfdjdbx, honestly, I would particularly be hurt if I were Greeks. You still remember the Three Musketeers. There was a musket with a telescopic sight.

intuzazist


Jktu Cnfybckfdjdbx, Re:Hercules, it is still unknown if there was such a boy ...

Sn


It is a MOVIE... Art. And they object to it as a documentary...

Conservative reactionary


"It's my deep conviction that even if this story was invented from the start to the finish, even if Panfilov never existed, even if there was nothing at all, it’s a sacred legend which it’s simply impossible to besmirch. And people who try to do that are total scumbags."


That's why I like Medinsky, he has a clear position. As there was a verse of Mayakovski [Russian poet]: "You may not be a poet, but you must be a citizen."

Let the Liberal Democrats emit the stench.

As for the article, the Brits are true to themselves. Looks like all is correct, but the angle and conclusions "unobtrusively" suggested to the reader are strongly anti-Russian. There cannot be a fair judgment by the former British Empire, or an honest approach to the history of Russia, its main rival.

GreyCat


Arguments over the upcoming film and the mythology around the episode in general began last spring, when Sergei Mironenko, the director of Russia’s state archive, gave an interview stating that while there had indeed been a bloody battle outside Moscow, it was not as many had understood it.

His words provoked such outrage...


Interestingly, what is the West's outrage about? That the Germans were not near Moscow? Or there was no fighting? Or the fact that Germans could not capture Moscow? After all, they [the West] counted on it.

GreyCat


"But as it is, they'll watch this film, go online and find a whole load of different information about this battle, and it will undermine their trust in these kind of things." he said in an interview on the radio "Echo of Moscow"


If you read on the Internet about the history of Russians written by liberal-democratic sources, [you will suddenly realize that] Russia has not won a single battle. They [battles] were all lost by its enemies. However, it is unclear to whom [those battles were lost]. Extreme frost, or mudslides [reference to a frequent argument that Napoleon and Hitler were only defeated because of severe Russian winters].

sargasstrim


Yesterday, RBC [Russian Business Consulting] published an article about the movie. Looks like the Liberasts [derog. liberals, sounds in Russian like liberosexuals] seem to have received new manuals [reference to the idea that Russian liberals receive instructions from Washington regarding their expected reaction to any important event]. The whole article consists of selected and circumcised interviews from which it follows that:

1) The film was made using money of gamers plus the rest was added by the state (i.e. the project is not a people's creativity but just business and propaganda)

2) The film presents "false information" because some awarded posthumously later proved to be alive.

I do not understand why they are so much in pain? Although in general this very "irreplaceable Archive Director Mironenko" acknowledges the feat, and the fact that the Panfilov Division practically ceased to exist.

Boris Borisov


Any historical truth is embellished, exaggerated, starting from ancient chronicles, but this does not prevent the historians to consider the information as historical facts. This also applies to the facts of all exploits during the war, including the Panfilov Men. It is a fact that commissar Klotchkov really existed and was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union. Look at the history of the feats of Krasnodon Men [The Young Guard, Anti-Nazi resistance of Krasnodon], Zoe and Alexander Kosmodemyanskiy, Gastello and many others. All those events certainly were real, but they became regarded as feats after the publication of materials by journalists and writers in accordance with the requirements of that time. Now times have changed and many people, including the former General Secretary of the Komsomol [Soviet Youth Organization] Mironenko, are itching to change everything Soviet into a modern twist.

stroka07


There was no heroism while defending the capital!!!!

German troops took it without difficulty!

Oops, it was Paris, but nevertheless...

Kifer


There is one idea and it is not new.

For example, the 28 Panfilov Men is reportedly a legend. And some of our "partners" [reference to the term (in quotes) always used by Putin when he speaks of the West] are trying to defame this, saying that it did not exist at all...

But there still are a lot of legends, fairy tales, if you will, about Ivan the Fool, about Kashchei Immortal, about living and dead water, about Ilya Muromets and others.

Should they also be justified with documents?

And if not, then it's a lie?..

I will say this - every nation has a legend.

They are all somehow true, because it is the people's stories.

The 28 Panfilov men is also a legend.

True or not, how many of them were there, on which front - it does not matter.

This is our history.

And put your hands (dirty, smelly, fussy hands) away from our history!



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