Anna Greszta – Military Disneyland or The Temple of the Antichrist?

Date: 23/05/2023

Time: 17:00 - 18:00

Location: H401

Anna Greszta is a cultural anthropologist and a PhD researcher at Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis
(ASCA), University of Amsterdam. She currently works in ERC-funded ‘Conspiratorial Memory’ project, focusing on cultural representations of the Russian war in Ukraine. Inspired by and immersed in the cultural analysis and anthropological traditions, the project examines the intersections of memory and conspiracy cultures in the landscape of objects representing the war.

Her previous research experience varies from examining Polish-Jewish relations and the memory of the Holocaust (BA in Ethnography, University of Warsaw, 2013-2016) to visual ethnography of discourses and practices of beauty in Ukraine (MSc in Anthropology, University of Copenhagen, 2017-2020). Anna is an activist and a co-founder of Amsterdam-based Collect4Ukraine volunteer group.



About her lecture:

The Russo-Ukrainian war (2014-present) is as much a military conflict as it is an information war, and its most explosive manifestations pivot on imaginations of memory and conspiracy. Propagandistic Russian media outlets painted the Euromaidan protests as a “USA-led uprising” and an illegitimate installation of a “fascist” or “neo-Nazi regime.” In line with this rhetoric, prevalent stories and images in Russian media and culture have mobilized World War II narratives to present the current war as a “special military operation to de-nazify Ukraine,” a heroic Russian battle against the dangers of Ukrainian “fascism,” activating thus the myth of the Great Patriotic War.

Interested in the intersection of memory, conspiracy and (de)coloniality in cultural objects embedded in (e.g., visual, literary) representations of the Russo-Ukrainian war, in this lecture we will zoom in on one such object – the Main Cathedral of the Russian Armed Forces.

In 2020, the temple was opened on the outskirts of Moscow. Dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War, it is located in the Patriot Park, a place labeled by some media and visitors: “a military Disneyland,” an entertainment-commemorative space dedicated to Russian army and its history. Both in the theme park and its symbolic center – the Cathedral, Russia’s Tsarist and Soviet past are intertwined with Orthodox iconography and references to present events. Some of the mosaics depicting Soviet (and Russian) armies are embellished with the list of commemorated conflicts, among them: “forcing peace on Georgia” or “the return of Crimea.” Other included pictures of Stalin, Vladimir Putin and other high-ranking officials (as of now, removed from display). To some – militaristic entertainment park, to others gloomy “church of war” or, in fact, a “diabolic anti-church,” the Cathedral becomes a good case to (dis)entangle memory, conspiracy and coloniality in cultural representations of the Russo-Ukrainian war.


Please note that this event is free, however, its capacity is limited – only via RSVP. If you wish to participate, please send an email to Micol Manunta mentioning your name and the number of people who wish to join.


Here’s a glimpse of the event!


Anna Greszta’s lecture took place in the frame of the activities organised for the SPEME partners visiting Amsterdam throughout the whole month of May. Click here to see the full programme.