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Russians Buy Books on Nazi Germany, WWII Following Mobilization Call

Kirill Zykov / Moskva News Agency

Russians are increasingly buying books about Nazi Germany and World War II following President Vladimir Putin’s “partial” mobilization of civilian reservists for the war in Ukraine.

Sales of books about World War II surged by 20% despite an overall decline in book sales across Russia, the Kommersant business daily reported Tuesday, citing leading bookstores and publishing houses. 

"Literature that directly captures the events of the actual moment has not yet been written and will not be written for a long time, so people intuitively look for historical eras with seemingly correlating experiences,” literature critic Galina Yuzefovich told Kommersant. “People are trying to look where they can find a convincing metaphor or allegory that will allow them to understand something about today.”

Sales of Nicholas Stargardt’s “The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939-1945,” which explores how German citizens perceived the events of the war, were up fivefold in the Chitai Gorod (“Read City”) bookstore chain following Putin’s Sept. 21 mobilization announcement. 

The LitRes online bookstore reported a seventeenfold increase in sales of Stargardt’s book. 

The Alpina publishing house said it saw a 40% increase in sales of Viktor Frankl's “Yes to Life: In Spite of Everything,” which describes the psychology of being in a concentration camp. Sales of digital copies of Frankl’s book on LitRes were 3.7 times higher in September as well. 

Putin’s announcement of a “partial” nationwide mobilization sparked protests in several regions of the country and a massive wave of emigration. The chaotic roll-out of the mobilization campaign forced the president to admit “mistakes” in the process.

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