Until the advent of glasnost began to lift censorship in the Soviet Union in the mid-1980s, it was impossible for Russians in Russia to truthfully depict their own struggle against Nazi Germany. Even before World War II was over, the Soviet propaganda machine began to construct an official story: through enormous sacrifice, the Soviet people had gloriously freed themselves and the world from fascism, raising the hammer and sickle higher than ever on the ruins of Hitler's imperialist dreams. In Stalin, the Russians, and Their War, however, Marius Broekmeyer presents the testimony of Russian participants, eyewitnesses, and historians of World War II to reveal not a heroic struggle, but a war marred by catastrophes, errors, and lies. These testimonies openly discuss subjects omitted from official Soviet propaganda or glossed over in popular Western histories of the Allied victory in WWII - from purges within the Red Army and Soviet use of ""punitive brigades"" to the deployment of millions of poorly-equipped soldiers to the front lines.
Marius Broekmeyer is an independent scholar who was affiliated with the Eastern Europe Institute of Amsterdam University until 1989. He is the author of several books, including "The Sorrow of Russia: Everyday Life in the Countryside since 1945" (in Dutch).