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May 16 2020
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A boy in a miniature Red Army uniform celebrates Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany 75 years ago.

We are the nation that defeated Fascism—that’s how we define ourselves now. Vladimir Putin, a Soviet-style strongman, has appropriated the Allies’ defeat of the Nazis and re-purposed it as a Kremlin victory: every day there are more statues, monuments, celebrations, and photos of toddlers costumed in miniature Red Army uniforms—the descendants of our heroes who saved the world in 1945.

In 2020, the enemy is again at the gates, but this time it’s not a foreign army, and this time the gates closed too late. Russia found itself in a world war against a virus—and it decided to fight the adversary the only way we know how: by sending millions of ill-prepared troops to face certain death.

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