The Persistent Pogoni at the Victory Parade of 1945: Stalin's Choice to Costume the Soviet Present in the Uniforms of the Imperial Past
Dunford, Paul Alexander
MetadataShow full item record
The military uniform in which the Imperial Army of Tsar Nicholas II marched westwards toward its disastrous confrontation with that of his cousin Kaiser Wilhelm II was the culmination of three hundred years of dress reform on the part of the Romanovs. Each of the dynasty's emperors and empresses imparted their own particular stylistic mark on the uniform; it in turn was symbolic of that ruler's reign and communicated a complex package of political, cultural, and social messages. The uniform of 1914 was symbolic of the uneasy reign of Nicholas II and it was therefore a natural target for the Bolshevik revolutionaries who physically tore them apart. Yet when Stalin sent the Red Army west to meet Hitler's Wehrmacht his soldiers were dressed in a uniform nearly identical to that which had been ravaged and reviled over two decades prior. By 1941 Stalin transformed the uniform of Imperial Russia into that of Soviet Russia, even though the political and cultural life of these two periods stood in stark contrast to each other in many ways. This highly successful transformation will be examined through application of an adaptation of the theories of stage semiotics.