Stalin’s Advice to Putin

A Step at a Time translates from Gasan Guseinov’s mock letter of advice from Josef Stalin to Vladimir Putin on (via a tip from Jeremy Putley, whose op-ed leads this issue):

One might have thought that a sensational political assassination would free your hands for a mass purge of the bureaucratic organs. But what do we hear from your representatives? That the responsibility for it all is borne by a certain Boris Abramovich Berezovsky, who resides in London. The question arises that if he is such an influential comrade, why is he working not for you but against you? And why are the comrades, who should have complied with your instructions for comrade Berezovsky long ago, not even able to catch his hirelings from your own, Comrade Putin, reserve of cadres?

Comrade Putin, today you do not have a dialectical answer to my questions. Nor do you have a metaphysical one. The other day Comrade Churchill invited Comrade Molotov and myself to visit him – simply for a smoke and a chat. An out-and-out imperialist, but he supports the interests of post-Soviet Russia, and even said that in the lands of bourgeois democracy the politicians, unable to cope with their work, are resigning, declaring general elections and waiting for the voters to decide.

You and I understand that the people now entrusted to you do not yet have the legal means to prevent them seeing any more of the mournful members of your cabinet on their screens. We like you, but we, I am afraid, are dead. And the populace expects from you, if not humanity – we have given up such expectations for three generations into the future – then at least the expression of a careful compassion – either for the victims of the murder which your employees are unable to solve, or for the heroic Chekists who deserve a sheriff’s star, so to speak, for precisely fulfilling the leadership’s cherished dream. There is no third way, comrades: if it is humanity you want, then learn to leave, as Churchill did, or if it is only power you want, then cut off the decomposing cadres, as we did the comrades by using the bared sword of the working class.

A few words about television. Do not forget, please, to tell the masters of the television camera that your joint press conferences with Comrade Timoshenko are not to be broadcast live any more. Semyon Mikhailovich [Budyonny] here says she is a good-looking woman whose words have logic and whose mind has skill. “But our Pan sportsman,” says Comrade Budyonny, “ just sweats and looks nervous all the time.” The whole Politburo advises you, even urges you, to go to Tskhaltubo [a spa resort in west-central Georgia] for medical treatment. Demyan Bedny was recently sent there. He returned like a man alive. Transfer the discharge of your obligations for a while to Comrade Sechin, who is glowing with health and the subdued charm of the steppes, take the other political mountain skier – Comrade Medvedev – with you, and go to Tskhaltubo.

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