chapter  9
The War and Kozin tsev’s Films Hamlet and King Lear
Pages 18

In the Soviet Union today [the time of writing is 1986], the Great Patriotic War defines the self-image of the people and of the nation as a whole. The shining legacy of the Revolution has grown dull with cynicism and apathy, and has yielded to the power of the myth of the Second World War. The Soviet concepts of country and of patriotism are inextricably bound to their experiences of that war, its attendant atrocities, and the toll it took in their land. Emerging from such trauma, the Soviet Union has, in its own eyes, assumed the mantle of leadership in the quest for a peaceful nuclearfree world. The war has left indelible scars on the Soviet psyche. The trials of the nation during the war form a constituent element of the spiritual prism through which the Soviets view the world. It is an inseparable part of the Soviet world-view, no matter what the undertaking. After the war, the world will never seem the same to the Soviets again, nor they to the world.