Since the beginning of the “partial” mobilization, publishers in Russia have seen surge in sales of literature about World War II and Nazi Germany, Kommersant reports citing data from social media users. The article was published with the headline “Third Reich has found its reader.”
Thus, sales of the book by Nicholas Stargardt “The German War. A Nation Under Arms, 1939-1945” increased five-fold in Chitai Gorod stores and by a factor of 17 at the LitRes online ebook store.
Since September 21, the World War II literature segment has seen a 20% increase in sales. At the same time, Stargardt's book accounts for the biggest growth; it describes how Germans perceived World War II and also includes studies of diaries and personal correspondence of citizens of the Third Reich. According to a representative of the Chitai Gorod book store chain, from September 21 to October 4, book sales increased 405% compared to September 7-20. Among the bestsellers are also “Classified Memoirs” by Pavel Sudoplatov, “Victory in the Secret War. 1941-1945” by Nikolai Nikulin, “Chronicle of the Secret War and Diplomacy. 1938-1941 years” by Pavel Sudoplatov.
The publishing house “Bombora” told the newspaper the sales of Julia Boyd's book “Travelers in the Third Reich. The Rise of Fascism Through the Eyes of Everyday People” had been on the rise since February. After September 21 the Russians became interested in this book again.
General Director of the Alpina publishing house Alexey Ilyin notes that the demand for books on the history of World War II has been observed since February 24. The book “In the Garden of Beasts” by Erik Larson about Hitler's Germany in the mid-1930s is one of Alpina's bestsellers. “The History of World War II” by Winston Churchill has also been selling well, he says.
The LitRes group of companies told Kommersant that although there is an increase in demand for certain books, in general, publishers note a general decline in sales.
Galina Yuzefovich, a literary critic, believes that people need an explanation for “what is happening to our country.” According to her, contemporary Russian media “can hardly offer an exhaustive, clear, conceptual explanation,” so people turn to literature instead.
“Literature that directly captures the events of recent times has not yet been written and will not be written for a long time. So intuitively, people are looking for historical eras whose experiences seem to correlate with theirs.”
After migration from Russia began, people also began reading books by first-wave emigrants, Yuzefovich says. She points out that Russians look for explanations in books about World War II, or Nazi Germany, or Stalinist Russia, seeking out information they would offer them “a convincing metaphor or allegory to make sense of today.”
Although the Russian authorities often talk about the “fight against Nazism,” trying to justify their invasion of Ukraine in this way, Nazi-like slogans have been heard from Russian politicians. For example, at Darya Dugina's funeral, Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the LDPR party, paraphrased a Nazi Germany slogan:
“Regardless of the parties, there can only be one approach. One country. One president. One victory.” “One People, One Reich, One Führer,” was the slogan printed on posters with Hitler's portrait and was intended to reflect the Nazis' goal of uniting the Germans. Under this slogan, a referendum was held in Austria for the unification with Germany.
Also, while accusing Ukrainian fighters and the Ukrainian president of using allegedly “Nazi symbols” on their uniforms, propagandists forget about cases when similar symbols were seen on the uniforms of military servicemen in Donbass. In April, a video was posted on the website of the head of the “DNR” showing the decoration of “people especially distinguished” in the “operation to liberate Donbass.” Among those decorated was a militiaman whose uniform bore a patch in the form of a slightly modified Nazi Totenkopf emblem. It was worn by soldiers of the 3rd SS Panzer Division “Dead's Head”. Also the Scandinavian symbol of Odin “Valknut” which is often used by neo-pagans and neo-Nazis, was attached to the sleeve of the militiaman. The soldier with Nazi patches from the Somali battalion that fought Ukrainian “nationalists” in Mariupol is named Roman Vorobiev, Mediazona later reported. He is the commander of an assault platoon with the rank of senior lieutenant. Pushilin decorated Vorobyev with the St. George Cross, II degree.