Maxim Trudolyubov, opinion page editor of Vedomosti, writing in the Moscow Times:
At least 70 years after millions of people fell victim to political repression, Russia has yet to come to terms with the crimes of its Soviet past. In fact, it even seems as if nobody really wants to discuss the subject and that it has been imposed on us by some overly clever person or ill-intentioned foreigner.
But it is increasingly rare that foreigners are interested in this topic. And with so many conflicting emotions involved, many Russians continue to feel that the issue divides rather than unites society. This is not because there are so many hard-core supporters of former Soviet leader Josef Stalin, but because a significant portion of the population believes that condemning the crimes of the Soviet regime somehow reflects negatively on themselves, their parents or the older generation, and places a dark cloud over more positive memories from that period. Another factor is the traditional mistrust that some members of society feel toward the educated class, “liberals,” “reformers” and human rights activists who are typically associated with this subject.
What Putin Learned From Stalin
by Paul R. Gregory
Professor Paul R. Gregory
Show trials, mysterious deaths in prisons, thought crimes, intimidation of political opponents, and control of the media are reminiscent of Stalin’s Russia, but they are mainstays of Russia under Putin.
Unlike Stalin, Putin uses these instruments of power and intimidation behind a façade of democracy. Unlike Stalin, they are used selectively against a few citizens. Those who “mind their business” are left alone. While Stalin held power, even those who played by his rules were at risk. Modern dictators have learned that mass repressions are not necessary; selective intimidation works just as well.
Putin has created the very system that Stalin feared most: A KGB state unconstrained by any other source of power. Stalin was constantly on guard with respect to his secret police. If they and their leaders became too powerful, he had a simple solution: Kill them. Putin’s KGB state – which controls much of Russian industry, finance, and trade – has no Stalin or Politburo to rein them in.
If only there were more Russians like Andrei Zubov, a professor of philosophy at the Moscow State Institute of International Affairs, writing in the Moscow Times (good luck trying to find this kind of thing in the Russia press):
In the small town where my dacha is located, the main street is called Soviet Army, and an iron statue of Lenin stands right in the middle of it. Although the children love to play around the statue, it is a terrible place for games. The children’s parents, however, have another opinion. “Let the kids play around Grandfather Lenin,” they say. “Who is he bothering? After all, he is a funny man.”
There is nothing funny about the hundreds — perhaps thousands — of Lenin statues and memorial plaques with his profile still adorning Russia’s cities, towns and villages. As soon as my eye catches a Lenin image, I turn away in disgust. I flinch every time I am on the metro and hear the words over the loud speaker: “Next stop: The Lenin Library.” As a historian, I know all too well what crimes Lenin committed, how much blood was shed as a result of his direct orders, how many millions were killed or suffered from hunger and disease when Lenin and his comrades unleashed the Civil War and Red Terror.
A bus that began operating in Russia this month to celebrate the wonderful Russian hero known as Stalin, greatest mass killer of Russians in world history. A quote from Stalin below his image reads: "“I would like to drink a toast to the health of the whole Soviet people, and, first and foremost, the Russian people!" Presumably, his goblet would be filled with their blood.
We can only ask ourselves: What kind of barbarous, self-loathing nation is this, anyway? This man was the greatest mass-murderer of Russians in world history! How dare they?! It’s like Israel putting Hitler on a bus!
Check out that reverse view image of Stalin in the window in the background. Yikes! What a country!
FOX News reports (click through for video):
If there was an award for despicable legacies Joseph Stalin would rank right up there with Hitler and Mao for the men with the most blood on their hands. By conservative estimates the man who led the Soviet Union for 30 years until his death in 1953, was responsible for killing some 20 million people, most of them his own citizens.
His penalty? In May of this year when Russia celebrates it’s victory over Germany in World War 2 (victory with the help of all it’s allies including America) it will put Stalins face on billboards all over Moscow.
Vladimir Makarov, with the Moscow City Government advertising committee confirms to Fox News Stalin’s face will be on at least 10 huge billboards. The exact design is not finalized but he says “we do not say Staliin was not a criminal, we’re only saying this man was the Commander in Chief when the Soviet Union and it’s Allies defeated the Germans and we can’t erase him from history.”
Of course not erasing him from history and putting his face on billboards is quite another matter to Russians we talked to in the street. One woman said “so many people suffered fromk this man, generations of people who are still alive, families, good smart people simply vanished because of Stalin”.
The Putin regime has become so unhinged in recent days that, as Robert Amsterdam points out, even a cog in the RIA Novosti machine, writing on of all places Kremlin-funded Russia Profile, is deeply worried about the regime’s pro-Stalin stance:
If the human rights activists were more laid back, they would be able to rebuff any of their opponents’ claims not with demonstrations, but with a dull lecture for the semi-literate about the difference between a poster, a history textbook and academic research.
So, dear conservatives. There are some differences in genre. Scientific labor presupposes a kind of indifference on behalf of the scientist toward the final outcome of his study. Accepting the Solzhenitsyn Award, the great linguist Andrey Zaliznyak acknowledged the praise that he was given and stated the following: I did not try to confirm the authenticity of “The Lay of Igor’s Warfare” [an epic poem of old Russian literature], I just studied the issue. It just so happened that the authenticity was confirmed in the end. But if the poem turned out to be phony, it would have been a scientific finding all the same.