DEFENCE OF THE REALM: THE "NEW" RUSSIAN PATRIOTISM ON SCREEN
The Journal of Power Institutions in Post-Soviet Societies, Issue №3 2005 David Gillespie
... An interesting, if hardly surprising, feature of post-Soviet film treatments of the Great Patriotic War is how little it differs from that of the Soviet period. Indeed, if anything, there is a keener sense of national pride, and the increased brutality allowed on screen in the 1990s and since 2000 stands as a bolder and more forthright testimony to the nature of the evil faced, and the self-abnegation and physical fortitude of the Russian soldier. Amid the mayhem and carnage, it is Russian soldiers who bleed and suffer, although it is now accepted that their wounds are very often caused by their own side.
Mikhail Ptashouk's August of ‘44 (2000) is a traditional Soviet war film in this respect. It follows a team of Soviet counterintelligence agents as they track down Nazi spies masquerading as Red Army soldiers. Although undoubtedly exciting, with a gripping and explosive final gunfight, the film maintains the old ideological certainties: Nazis are bad, but even worse are those Soviet citizens who betray their country and work for them. The one concession to modern, post-glasnost sensibilities is the criticism of the baneful influence of Stalin's secret police, the NKVD, on military operations, and their insistence on results at any cost, no matter how many lives are lost.