This article examines the memory battles that took place across new media outlets after Fedor Bondarchuk’s 2005 Afghan War blockbuster Ninth Company hit Russian screens. Bondarchuk’s film attempted to memorialize the Afghan War as a national-spiritual ‘victory’, one that overall reaffirmed the war as Russia’s Vietnam. Ninth Company triggered responses across cyberspace as Russian veterans, audiences, critics and others argued about Bondarchuk’s vision, discussions that led to the creation of a video game response entitled ‘The Truth about the Ninth Company’. Developed by Dmitrii ‘Goblin’ Puchkov, the game attempted to counter Bondarchuk’s film by having players take part in simulations of the battle covered on the big screen, this time to posit that Soviet soldiers did their duty and that the war was not a Soviet Vietnam. Puchkov’s position on the Afghan War led the producers of Bondarchuk’s film to issue their own video game response. These battles over the meaning of the Afghan War, as the article argues, should be understood within two frameworks: first, the emergence of new forms of media in the new Russia that allowed these ‘cinegames’ to flourish; and second, the evolution of remembrance practices in the new Russia that have attempted to find meaning in the Soviet past.
Language of contribution: English