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Keywords:

  • Berlin;
  • national identity;
  • Soviet memorials;
  • urban landscape;
  • veterans' cemeteries

ABSTRACT. The Soviet War Memorial in Treptow, Berlin, was an important emblem of political power and ideology during and after the cold war. Designed as the Soviet Union's premiere extraterritorial battlefield shrine, the site combines a veterans' cemetery with a large-scale memorial complex celebrating the Soviet victory in World War II. The monument was intended for use in Soviet military commemorative activity and became a key sacred space in the Cult of the Soviet War Dead, but its location in Berlin meant that it served other political purposes. By avoiding definitive statements on key issues the memorial attained a semantic flexibility that enabled it to remain a focal point of commemorative activity for decades. The memorial continues to play a part in contemporary Berlin, though the political overtones are now overshadowed by its role as a shrine to the war dead.