The return of the Soviet grandeur touches the strings of nostalgija in the elderly and provides historical revisionism for young people. The whitewashing of Stalin's crimes has reached new levels, and more and more Russians now think that Uncle Joe was not so bad.
- Friday, 10 April 2015
The Kremlin hasn’t lost the habit of rewriting history. After the Second World War, which in Russia is called the Great Patriotic War, after the fall of the USSR - the greatest catastrophe of the twentieth century, according to Putin – it’s now the time for Stalin. The bloodthirsty dictator who because of his paranoia caused the death of tens of millions of people; the man who did not hesitate to let his son die in the hands of the Nazis; the one who brought the Gulag system to the efficiency of the Great Terror, is increasingly being portrayed as the most patriotic among Russian patriots. In spite of the memory of millions of victims.
Today, the bolshoi terror must be forgotten. The Perm-36 camp is the only one of the entire network of the Gulag to be preserved today, and is also the only existing museum of Stalinist repression. It is located a hundred kilometers from Perm, in the Urals. But a few days ago the museum has changed version. The historian who directed him with passion for decades, Viktor Shmyrov, was removed, his association liquidated and the museum outsourced to a state organization. The first effect was the disappearance of Stalin’s name from brochures and information displays. "We don't want to take sides," says the new director, Yelena Mamayeva. "We're trying to talk more about the architectural complex, and not to get involved in assessing specific people who served sentences there, and assessing Stalin and so on. Because right now this is not quite politically correct." In essence, the Gulag is interesting because of its wooden barracks and not as a proof of soviet repression.
In the same days, in Perm, big billboards appeared celebrating the 135th birthday of Stalin
It may be a coincidence, but polls show a rising approval rate for Uncle Joe, along with that for Putin. According to a recent survey by the independent survey service Levada-Center, more than half of Russians think that Stalin played a positive role in the life of the country, while 24% goes to define a role "undoubtedly positive". Respondents do not deny the crimes and Purges, but for about 45% of the Russians those "sacrifices" were justified by the Soviet Union's rapid economic progress during his rule." The percentage has doubled in the past two years.
“Stalin is being rehabilitated”, said the head of the Levada Center, Alexei Levinson, “because the current Russian authorities and President Vladimir Putin in particular seek the legitimization and justification of their actions by resorting to the past. It gives them a certain endorsement.”
It must be said that the whitewashing of Stalinism didn’t start today. Already under President Medvedev, the pages in primary schools textbooks were rewritten avoiding the harshest tones, while it’s already several years that TV depicts Stalin as the greatest Soviet hero. But it is clear that under the ideological war the Kremlin is fighting today against ghosts of fascism in Europe, the memory of the hero of the Great Patriotic War can not be ruined by a few tens of millions deaths. Now, let’s just wait until Volgograd gets back to the great Stalingrad it used to be.