Three disturbing developments in Russia

Opening of a new Stalin monument in Russia-occupied Crimea

Opening of a new Stalin monument in Russia-occupied Crimea 

2015/02/08 • Analysis & Opinion, Russia

At a time when each day brings fresh evidence that Russia is headed in a very dangerous direction and many news items that leave one shaking one’s head or feeling the need to say “I’m not making this up,” there are nonetheless some “smaller” stories that must not be ignored because of the long shadows they cast on the future.

Three in the last several days fall into this category and are thus mentioned here, not because they provide a comprehensive picture of what is happening but because they point to trends already well-established that are likely to gain ground and become more important in the near future.

First, the whitewashing of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and of his GULAG prison camp system continued and expanded. This week, Russian officials put up the first Stalin statue in more than 60 years, and to add insult to injury, they did so alongside statues of Churchill and Roosevelt showing the Western leaders deferring to him and in recently occupied Crimea.

The Russian media justified this by saying that this trinity created the post-war world that Vladimir Putin would like to go back to, but as one more thoughtful Moscow commentator put it, “erecting statue to Stalin in Crimea is like putting one of Hitler up in Israel.”

New Stalin monument in Russia-occupied Crimea

New Stalin monument in Russia-occupied Crimea

And related to this was the celebration rather than lamentation of the 75th anniversary of a GULAG camp, one in which millions of Russians and other Soviet citizens were incarcerated and died between the 1920s and the 1950s. Praising prison camps goes well beyond approving Stalin’s role as a wartime leader.

  • Dance performance at the official celebration of the 75th anniversary of one of the first GULAG concentration camps in Russia
    Dance performance at the official celebration of the 75th anniversary of one of the first GULAG concentration camps in Russia
  • Officials of Putin's government celebrating 75th anniversary of one of the first GULAG concentration camps in Russia
    Officials of Putin's government celebrating 75th anniversary of one of the first GULAG concentration camps in Russia
  • At different years this GULAG camp contained 10 to 30 thousand prisoners.
    At different years this GULAG camp contained 10 to 30 thousand prisoners.

Second, two Duma deputies, one from Just Russia and a second from United Russia, have turned in draft bills to allow residents to hand back ownership of their apartments to the state, a measure that the Rosbalt news agency described as part of “Operation ‘De-Privatization.”

The specific measures do not go very far, but they simultaneously show that Russian support for privatization which many view as the foundation of a shift away from the communist system is slipping and that the Russian authorities could thus move not only with impunity but even with support to reverse privatization as a way of expanding state control in key sectors.

And third – and this may be the most disturbing of the three – a Russian rights activist told Radio Liberty that Svetlana Davydova, the Russian mother of seven who telephoned the Ukrainian embassy to warn about Russian troop movements toward Ukraine, was turned in to the authorities by her neighbors.

Olga Romanova of “Sitting Rus” told Radio Liberty that “it turns out that [her] neighbors participated in this. That is, the information about her telephone calls, contacts, and views became public knowledge not because the FSB is listening to all of us but because we all have vigilant neighbors.”

Svetlana Davydova

Svetlana Davydova

Edited by: A. N.

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  • chris hawkins

    The gone home in Cargo 200 convoys.

  • Kruton

    #Bolshevik nutjob

    • Milton Devonair

      that creature isn’t a ‘nutjob’, it’s just a russian.
      And as a russian, it provides yet another example of russians being little more than ill trained apes and how humans need to protect themselves from the apes of russia.
      Apes need to be killed whenever they are encountered as they cannot be trusted around humans.

  • Milton Devonair

    what are you mumbling you little russian ape? Are you out sucking radiator fluid out of the broken down cars in russia because your mom’s out of vodka or something?

  • canuke
    • canuke

      On what basis do you have to accuse Pastor Surko of propaganda? He is real. He is a man of God. A simple search will lead you to many posts, such as this one from 2012, well before any of the unfortunate events in Ukraine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0_yoQvCgZg

    • Shootist

      No one left alive in the world has any idea what a NAZI is. A Command economy, administered by bureaucracies, beholden to a charismatic leader (Stalinism by any other name).

  • Brent

    If you’re referring to the first comment you posted, I’ve read it about 5 times and really don’t have a clue what you’re trying to say. Seriously, if you want to debate or tell us your view, please do it clearly because what you wrote is pretty much unreadable.

    • DejaVu

      These trolls (Makis) are working overtime because they understand that by Mid-2016 Russia will collapse and implode in either World War III or internal revolution.

      Remember that the 12month figure of currency reserves is only a contingency plan for $60 a barrel.

      • DejaVu

        Remind me how that matters or is that just more trolling?

      • Mykola Potytorsky

        you mean the ruSSia will look something like this? My wish too

        • DejaVu

          Yes like the 1990’s with war and internal conflicts and of course the economic situation.

      • Mykola Potytorsky

        what?

  • Olga Dora Garbar

    No puedo entender la mente de los politicos rusos, ellos están muy gorditos y no quiere perder la comodidad del Fascista Putina.- El pueblo que se jodan, gastan dinero en levantar una momia que en su vida fue el criminal mas grande del sigloxx y en, un país que no les corresponde que se lo robaron a los Tártaros-Ucranios.-.-

  • Mykola Potytorsky

    you are making NO SENSE, please clarify