Any action - if it is written about it, generates a corresponding reaction in society. Positive news is positive. Negative - negative. This is an axiom of advocacy with the population. And, by the way, it is for this - the prevalence of positive over the negative - journalists “do not like” PR people. After all, negative information is more accessible to journalists. She can say, she goes into their hands, and you need to look for the positive. And they pay both for the one and for the other in the same way, and since nobody wants to strain themselves ... journalists choose the first. But PR people, by definition, must avoid negativity, and they also give positive to journalists. It's a shame, of course, to journalists, but you can’t do anything.
As is known from the theory of James Grunig, there are four models of PR practices, and the first of them is propaganda and agitation. And it would be strange if such an event as the “Battle of the Ice” were not involved in the technologies of managing society. So information about him should be considered not only with historical point of view, but also from the point of view of PR-technologies, that is, how it was presented to this society. But this event was presented in such a way that as a result, the battle on Lake Peipsi in the eyes of most of our contemporaries became almost the “main battle of the Middle Ages,” largely due to skillful PR advancement. But it only became such in the 125th century. For our ancestors, who lived in the XIII century, it was, of course, a significant, but not an exceptional event. Let's at least count it ... according to the words. Thus, the Novgorod Chronicle devotes 1240 words to him, and the battle on the Neva (232) 1268 words, while the message of the Battle of Rakovors (780) has already been transmitted in XNUMX words, i.e. practically six times more is said about him than about the battle on Lake Peipsi. In addition to a larger volume, the Novgorod chronicler reports about his attitude to the Battle of Rakovors, saying that “the battle is terribly quick, as neither father nor father could see”. That is, the scale of this battle is compared with those that were earlier.
Well, the popularity of the “Battle of the Ice” is due to the skillful Soviet propaganda during the Great Patriotic War, during which the image of Alexander Nevsky, as the winner of the Teutonic Knights, was merged together with the victory over Nazi Germany. So any attempt on him is perceived by people who are far from history as an attempt on victory in the Great Patriotic War, and causes serious psychological discomfort. Moreover, the image of Prince Alexander was not very popular in the 20-30 years of the Soviet era and only with time began to be actively promoted.
However, first of all, the film was made. At first he had another story and another end, but after reading the script, Comrade Stalin wrote on it: “Such a good prince cannot die,” and ... the prince did not allow the prince to die!
Nikolai Cherkasov as Prince Alexander Nevsky is one of his best roles (1938).
The film was released, began to be shown, but ... immediately after 23 August 1939, it was removed from the rental. Then we wanted to be friends with the Germans so much that they decided not to offend them with Soviet art!
But from the very first days of the war the film was returned to the screens, and along with the viewing they began to practice even short messages and comments to it, and after the show to conduct its discussion. If we look at the advertising posters, we immediately notice how they have changed since the beginning of the war. On the posters of 1938, we see Prince Alexander leading the troops into battle. The enemy is not shown! Epic image, but no more!
Poster of the film "Alexander Nevsky" 1938
On the posters of 41, the theme of the enemy is already presented quite concretely, and not abstractly, as before the war. Immediately, many publications appeared in newspapers, in magazines, on theater stages, performances went on, artists began to paint paintings, and printing houses printed postcards and brochures on this event. In 1941-45, at least 22 books about Prince Alexander and the Battle of the Ice were published as small-format brochures for soldiers. Numerous lecturers of the OC and the RK VKP (b) were actively involved in lecturing on military-patriotic topics. And of course, the Ice Battle was given the popularity of his 700 anniversary, which fell on the 1942 year, and ... the corresponding article on the front page of the newspaper Pravda!
The image of Prince Alexander Nevsky appeared on posters - and as an independent figure of the defender of the Russian land, and together with other great Russian generals of our history. Then no one wrote that Kutuzov was a freemason and made coffee to Catherine's favorite, that Suvorov fought against some Tartary, and everyone knew that they fought against the enemies of Russia, Russia, and in the end - the Soviet Union, and ... one look at such posters injected people with a certain amount of adrenaline into the blood. In this case, the enemies of Alexander Nevsky were exclusively the knights-Teutons. All other opponents of the prince, in particular, the Swedes, who kept neutrality, did not stand out on posters. “This is for specialists!” It is interesting that the armor of the knights on them almost never corresponded to the real armament of the knights of the middle of the XIII century, but referred to the XVI th, as a more “solid” and “impressive” type of armor. And it is not surprising that people remembered it, especially since it also simply flattered their vanity - “what kind of deluge!”
"Our land is glorified by the heroes of the heroes." Victor Govorkov. The pre-war poster of 1941. As you can see, the images of an ancient Russian warrior, similar to Ilya Muromets from the famous painting “Three Bogatyrs” and the modern Soviet tanker, are beaten very well. However, in general, they are static and do not encourage action!
The image of Alexander Nevsky was played up even in comic magazines, for example, such as "Front-line humor". In 1942, the following jokes in the form of mail telegrams were printed in it:
Berlin to Hitler.
I wish you, nemchin damned, the death of the ambulance.
I grieve that ... I can not personally put my hand to the German scruff.
Remember, you bastard, how much I picked up the shaft of your ancestors on Lake Peipsi. On the occasion of the anniversary I can repeat.
Funny is not it? And it really worked, and lifted the mood of people! Here only Busley's shaft with time began to be perceived as a historical fact! But on the other hand, all together, this consolidated the image of Alexander as a visible and impressive anti-German symbol, ideally suited for anti-fascist propaganda.
It should be noted that before the war, the attitude towards the military victories of the tsarist era was very ambiguous. So, in the book of V.E. Markevich "Manual gunshot weapon”, Published in 1937 year, the following Suvorov“ wonder heroes ”were written literally as follows (p. 157):“ Extremely hardy and unusually trained soldiers, who traveled thousands of kilometers on foot and worked in battles mostly with bayonets. They seldom served retirement and retirement, dying in battles, from illness, or from corporal punishment with sticks, which they were allowed to beat to death. The service was almost eternal: 25 years. These unfortunate people were recruited almost exclusively from the poor peasantry. Prosperous conscripts under the laws of that time could pay off from the service with money. General Suvorov gave such names as: slave-soldier - “miracle hero”, 15-kg knapsack - “wind”, disciplinary sticks - “sticks”, etc. ”However, Molotov’s speech (22 June 1941 of the year in which the war was he was named Patriotic), and Stalin (July 3 1941 of the year, in which his famous “brothers and sisters” sounded), at once sent the sound of Soviet propaganda into a different tone. Especially since they also touched upon the themes of the World War 1812 of the year and the struggle of young Soviet Russia against the German interventionists in the 1918 year. Therefore, Suvorov's soldiers stopped calling “slave-soldiers”.
Even more important for the canonization of Alexander Nevsky was the speech of Stalin 7 on November 1941 of the year. Then, on the 24 anniversary of the October Revolution, he said: “Let the courageous image of our great ancestors - Alexander Nevsky, Dmitry Pozharsky, Alexander Suvorov, Mikhail Kutuzov — inspire you in this war!” And besides the military leaders, Stalin also spoke about other great figures Russian culture: Pushkin, Tolstoy, Chekhov and Tchaikovsky.
“They beat, we beat and we will beat”. Vladimir Serov. The poster 1941 d. The following details draw upon themselves: the sword of the Russian warrior expanding towards the end (giving an image of epic significance to the image), the cow horns on the helmet of the German knight (showing his malignantness - “devilish horned” and at the same time doom to the death) German soldier. Yes, the Wehrmacht soldiers did not wear such emblems, but the enemy and its ideological identity were so clearly defined.
And immediately in the newspapers and magazines appeared articles whose authors turned to the history of the Fatherland, to the victory of Kutuzov over Napoleon, and historical battles: the Battle of the Ice, the Grunwald battle, the battles of the Seven Years War, as well as victories over the Germans in Ukraine, near Narva and Pskov in 1918 year, the fight against foreign invaders in 1918-20's. Now materials devoted to the propaganda of the fighting traditions of our ancestors in the Pravda newspaper began to occupy an average of 60%, in the Red Star - 57%, in Trud - 54%, that is, more than half of all publications aimed at promoting the ideas of patriotism among the peoples of the USSR.
Newspaper articles were supplemented with a massive publication of brochures of the corresponding series (for example, "Writers - Patriots of the Motherland", "Great Fighters for the Russian Land", etc.). "Children's Literature" and that published books for children on the history of weapons, for example, in 1942, a popular book was published about tanks O. Drozhzhina "Land Cruisers".
However, the speech of Stalin 7 November 1941 of the year acquired special significance for poster art. Posters in the USSR were a popular art form before that. Now they began to appear in the newspapers and on the walls of houses, in a word, everywhere, where they could meet their eyes. Moreover, the image of Alexander Nevsky took on the Soviet patriotic poster of the Great Patriotic War, if not dominant, then, in any case, a very prominent place, although images of Minin and Pozharsky, Dmitry Donskoy, and, of course, the commanders of Suvorov and Kutuzov were used.
Here it is, the very article in the newspaper Pravda, devoted to the 700 anniversary of the Battle of Lake Peipsi, and determined, so to speak, the trend of Soviet historical science in this matter. But it is interesting that even in it there is no talk about drowning knights in the lake. Even Stalinist propagandists understood that what was not in the annals should not be written in Pravda.
But on the whole, the process of “building bridges” between pre-revolutionary Russia and the Soviet Union has been going on since the beginning of the 30s, when the USSR decided to recognize itself as the historical heir of the Russian Empire. Many revolutionary phrases and slogans, including the world revolution itself in the medium term, were then also refused and decided to "build socialism in a single country." But the authorities needed a legitimizing basis for themselves. And this basis was supposed to be “Soviet patriotism”, and for its construction the ideologists took imperial patriotism as a model, which was easily explained. It was not only impossible, but also unprofitable, to “throw Pushkin away from the steamer of modernity,” as was suggested at the outset, and to start building his proletarian culture from scratch. Therefore, since 1931, history has again been taught in schools as a separate discipline. In 1934, the faculties of history were reestablished at Moscow and Leningrad universities, and then opened in other institutions of higher education. But the history of the Soviet government was required not for the sake of history itself, it needed a patriotic history filled with names, facts and events that would work for a new ideology and enhance the people's love for their country and for its political leadership. The mistakes of the past were also taken into account, when in the pre-revolutionary times the masses were basically not covered by such work, with all its tragic consequences for the state.
But an excerpt from the same article, which did not fit entirely into the top photo. Here we are talking about knights in forged armor, and this also became a trend, as if there were no books by Beheim and Le Duke and even banal school textbooks with copies from historical miniatures ... Why is it so clear if we remember what it was during this time. Stalin in print declared that the Germans were superior to us in tanks, and only because of this their infantry marched forward, and so we would have broken them long ago. Therefore, the gravity of the weaponry and the superiority of the enemy in it were transferred to the past! And from here comes the conclusion: they were beaten, chained from head to toe then, we will beat them even now, in spite of all their tanks! So it should have been written in 1942, and so it was written! But today is another time, another level of knowledge and knotted knights is another move. Lat because then just was not. Even before the battle of Visby (where the massive appearance of plate armor was recorded) was still more than a hundred years old!
The name of the legendary prince in the war years called the tanks, both our Soviet and Lend-Lease tanks.
Tank "Churchill" №61 "Alexander Nevsky." Photos of the war years.
Tank "Churchill" №61 "Alexander Nevsky." Modern design.
Airplanes wore his name. For example, here is this "Erkobra".
Therefore, the old imperial doctrine in the field of history was subjected to a corresponding revision. For example, Alexander Nevsky from one of the Orthodox saints, but also the patron of the royal family, which he was considered in Russia in the XIX century, turned into a military and, of course, political ... leader who is closely connected with the people, learns from him (scene in the movie with the story of the fox!), and at the same time stands over his subjects. The similarity of such a figure with the image of Stalin is quite obvious. And the society of Russia of the XIII century began to draw also very, very recognizable for those years. Naturally, there were numerous traitors and secret and obvious "enemies of the people", and the threat from the German enemies hung over the country all the time. Therefore, the only way out of such a situation was, firstly, a tough centralized power, and secondly, a fierce struggle against all internal enemies and collective subordination to the great leader. And all this was based on the mentality of paternalism peculiar to Russian society, so everything was connected in a very logical way. As a result, in the minds of a significant part of society, Alexander Nevsky is associated precisely with the “Ice Battle”. But those who have read a little more see him as an authoritarian ruler who, in the interests of the people, was forced to go for tough, and often even cruel measures. But "the father of the people", of course, everything is possible, because he is the "father" and leader!
The newspaper "Moscow Bolshevik" from 05.04.1942. Pay attention to the stark contrast of the text of the article placed in it with the editorial material in the newspaper "Pravda". A person writes a clear fiction, not based on anything, just takes the numbers from the ceiling, but ... no one pulls him. Cause? “Truth” “cannot be mistaken”, but to all other newspapers it is possible, and ... in this way, gradually, one information in the public mind was replaced by another, albeit “fabulous”, but more “useful” for the government and for the people. Especially interesting is written about the double-armor armor ...
As a conclusion, it should be said that, as a PR instrument, the image of Alexander Nevsky worked during the war years for all 100%, that is, the work of its creators corresponded to the tasks of time, the poorly educated people of that time, and was done conscientiously. But then ... then it was necessary to reduce the "image of the hero" (which the theory of mass communications also says!) On the basis of reference to scientific data, and at the level of state policy. What for? And then, in order not to jeopardize the entire national history as a whole and not to produce later those who would eventually speculate on all these and other similar exaggerations, rejecting our entire history as reliable. If this were done, the hyperbolized image of Alexander Nevsky would remain in people's memory, as one of the symbols of World War II, and a monument to the art of the Soviet era, and no one would break copies of it, for example, here at HE. “So it was!” So what?
But then, according to his time, it was necessary to look for new heroes and raise them on a shield with the means of communicative technologies. That is, it was necessary to make a whole series of new, colorful and colorful films about ... Dmitry Donskoy, political instructor Klochkov, captain Marinesko, about the hero-pilots who bombed Berlin already in 41, and not worse, but better than the American movie "Memphis Beauty". We have more 400 (!) Heroes who have accomplished a feat similar to the exploit of Alexander Matrosov, and many made it much earlier than he. Of the ancient heroes about Svyatoslav alone, it would have been possible to make more than one epic film, so there would be no special problems with “nature”. Or, let's say, this is Pushkin: “Your shield is on the gates of Constantinople!” By the way, a good name for the film, and why don't we make it ?! After all, we also shot a wonderful series about Yermak or the same “Admiral” ... So even here it would be quite possible to “disperse” this topic for more than one series. The main problems here are money, professionalism and such a relic of the past, as the primacy of propaganda over historical science. But there's nothing to be done. It is what it is. But sooner or later, it will be necessary to realize that it is necessary to move away from the old attitude to history, as a servant of politics, to modern communication technologies, and to understand that there are other technologies for managing mass consciousness and that they are no worse than the order of everyone’s annoying propaganda and agitation. Well, it’s quite possible to say about Prince Alexander himself that, having stood against the Swedes and the Germans, he eventually turned into a symbol and a victim of propaganda, the power of which, by the way, under certain conditions, no one denies!
PS: Those who wish to deepen their knowledge on this topic and obtain additional information can recommend the following work:
Goryaeva T. "If tomorrow is war ..." The image of the enemy in the Soviet propaganda 1941-1945 // Russia and Germany in the twentieth century. Tom. 1. Seduction by power. Russians and Germans in the First and Second World Wars. M., 2010. C. 343 - 372.
Senyavsky A.S. Soviet ideology in the years of the Second World War: stability, elements of transformation, influence on historical memory // History and culture of the victor country: on the 65 anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War. Samara, 2010. - C.10-19.
Schenk FB Alexander Nevsky in Russian cultural memory: Saint, ruler, national hero (1263 - 2000). M., 2007.