The real clash of civilizations: Last Lenin comes down in Kyiv as Stalin cult rises in Moscow

The political cartoon by Oleksiy Kustovsky shows Ukraine as a woman in traditional dress using the tryzub (Ukraine's ancient coat of arms) to defeat Putin, Lavrov, Stalin and Lenin riding Kirill, the head of the Moscow Ortodox Patriarchate. (Image: radiosvoboda.org)

The political cartoon by Oleksiy Kustovsky shows Ukraine as a woman in traditional dress using the tryzub (Ukraine's ancient coat of arms) to defeat Putin, Lavrov, Stalin and Lenin riding Kirill, the head of the Moscow Ortodox Patriarchate. (Image: radiosvoboda.org) 

Analysis & Opinion, Russia, Ukraine

Most of those influenced by Samuel Huntington’s ideas about “the clash of civilizations” have focused on the confrontation between the Christian West and the world of Islam. A smaller number have focused on the conflict between the Orthodox world of eastern Europe and the Catholic-Protestant west of Europe.

But perhaps the most important clash of civilizations is in evidence on the territory of the former Soviet space between those who seek to root out the legacy of Soviet communist oppression and those who celebrate it or even go further and seek to re-impose it on their own countries and others as well.

That clash has been very much in evidence in Ukraine and Russia this month. On Friday, the Ukrainian authorities took down the last statue of Lenin in Kyiv even as the Russian ones, as part of their Victory Day commemorations, have continued to celebrate Stalin and his brutal dictatorship as models for emulation.

In a commentary for Radio Liberty’s Ukrainian Service, Vitaly Portnikov argues that this civilizational divide is “more defining than Ukrainian hopes for European integration and the Russian chimera of a Eurasian Union” (read it in Ukrainian at radiosvoboda.org; or in Russian at charter97.org).

He points out that “the final disappearance of the Bolshevik leader from the pedestal coincided with the decision of the European Council on the final offering to Ukraine of a visa-free regime with the EU.” For him, the Ukrainian commentator says, “this is not simply a coincidence” but a sign of a broader civilizational shift.

But while in Ukraine, “the very memory of Lenin is disappearing,” Portnikov continues, “in Russia memories of Stalin are being revived. Precisely about Stalin and not about Lenin” because for the Putin regime, “after the unmasking of the Stalin cult of personality, Lenin was the symbol of ‘a good communist.’”

From all available evidence, he says, “the present-day rulers of Russia cannot agree with this image of the humanist leader because the real Lenin was never a humanist. They need Stalin because Stalin was an all-powerful ruler and someone that led the entire world to fear Russia. Putin wants that both his own people and outsiders fear him.”

Despite the historical record of Stalin’s crimes, Putin’s promotion of a cult of the late Soviet dictator has become ever more hyperbolic with each passing year, Portnikov says, and “every Victory Day is becoming a step toward the return of Stalin to the pedestal and to the rebirth of total Chekist power and the fear of the world toward Russia’s unpredictability.”

“The civilizational divorce of Ukraine and Russia,” Portnikov argues, “to a large extent is driven not by the fact that one country is striving to become part of present-day Europe while the other is returning to medieval Asiatic values and practices. Instead, it is driven by the fact that Ukrainians have turned away from Lenin while Russians are returning to Stalin.”


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Edited by: A. N.

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  • Dirk Smith
    • Alex George

      Right on the money.

      Each month that goes by, more of the links between Ukraine and Russia are severed. Whether its in trade, economy, culture, diplomacy, statues, culture, communications etc. They are all being broken away and there is less chance of the two countries ever having a close relationship again.

  • zorbatheturk

    What about the Putin cult?

    The Putin must be repurposed. Either turn him into organic fertiliser or throw him into a cage full of gay chimpanzees at a zoo.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      The chimps would have to be 8 years old maximum, though. If they’re older the dwarf won’t be interested.

      • zorbatheturk

        The chimps may not be so fussy with respect to the dwarf. Fresh meat, and all that.

  • Rob Hansen

    Russians look back on the USSR with nostalgia ……..

    What other conclusion can one take then Evil evil evil people the world, will be better off without ….
    I mean what does the world say about the German neo- National Socialists when they look back a Hitlers Germany with nostalgia they call them evil right……

    And I for one totally agree 100% ..

    The neo -soviets / Stalinist that support neo- Stalinist Putin (80% of ethnic Russian in Russia do support Putin) all look back and even proudly like to identify them self’s with the soviet history look back at this as that 75 years of soviet existence in time as a great proud time of Russian history….

    Putin threatening to invade Poland, Romania, and Baltics
    http://euromaidanpress.com/2014/09/18/putin-threatened-to-invade-poland-romania-and-baltics-says-poroshenko/
    http://sputniknews.com/russia/20140326/188776004/Putins-Approval-Rating-Rises-to-80–Poll.html

    What a bunch of evil evil evil evil Stalinist they are …..And on another note i think you will need to look long and hard to day to find a German look back to the time of Hitler with proud memories of German history….

    Brutal Soviet dictator Josef Stalin was voted Russia’s third most popular historical figure in a nationwide TV poll
    A poll held by a TV station to find the greatest Russian despite being responsible for the deaths of millions of Soviets in labour camps and purges.

    The TV Show called “Name of Russia“ finale was presented on state-run Rossiya television after three months of polling that saw 50 million votes cast by phone and internet. Stalin came out 3 place YES STALIN !!! he hovered in as the top 3rd place out of 50 nominees, in a sign that a recent government-led trend to reshape his reputation is yielding results.

    Stalin voted third-best Russian in Russian history

    Many in Russia do still revere Stalin KGB Putins Russia has started a campaign to rehabilitate Stalin’s image and it seems to be coming from the highest levels of government..
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7802485.stm

    What is not functioning in the Russians twisted evil little brains ?????

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      Dwarfstanians are STILL smoking “Belomor” cigarettes, named after the Belomorkanal, one of Stalin’s prestige projects built using slave labour and which killed off thousands. There’s no protest against the name.
      Can you even begin to imagine the uproar if a company in Germany or Austria started selling cigarettes named “Sachsenhausen”, “Stutthof”, “Gusen” or “Mauthausen”?

      • zorbatheturk

        Pol Pot also liked building useless canals. It must be a dictator thing.

    • zorbatheturk

      No RuSSian alive has any experience except totalitarianism. It is bred into them. They think Stalin is a hero.

  • Rob Hansen

    If this is what Russians call brotherly slavic love then who really need enemies?

    LET ME QUOTE James Monroe 5th US President in his First Inaugural Address, 1817 he said A Government is a reflection of the people

    “It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace,that they are incapable of exercising their sovereignty.

    Ensuring the Voices of Government Reflect the People..

    They Represent and the endorsement that the Russian people give the evil of Putin’s regime is without parallel any other place on earth 89% support him in his evil and have voted for him time after time after time….SO they no longer have an excuse they are responsible for the actions that the evil regime they support dose in their name and they must take responsibility for it…

    The government is just a reflection of its people.

    Russians makes a despot like Stalin a folk hero and putin’s Russia with the blessing of the Russian people rewrites history books and glorifies the USSR and Stalin to schoolchildren and do this after they have already made Stalin the 3rd greatest Russian in Russian history…

    THAT IS WHAT THE RUSSIAN PEOPLE LIKE THEY LIKE STALIN AND PUTIN AND THAT IS WHAT THEY RESPECT AND LOVE AND THEIR VOTING SHOWS THIS FACT …..EVIL TO THE CORE !!

  • Rob Hansen

    Slavic brotherhood for Ukrainians with the Finno Ugric / Mongolian Russians or with RUSSIA’S LITTLE MINIONS called Belarusians is a naive fantasy that belongs in a fairytale book !!!

    Slavic brotherhood is nothing but a myth that was invented by Moscow to be use to dominate Ukraine, Belarus and Poland ect ect.. But only Ukrainians and Belarusians was naive enough to believe in this lie …

    (Russians are NOT even Slavic like Polish or Ukrainians… New DNA test done by Moscow medical university shows that Russians are in-fact Finno Ugric / Mongolians they are descendents of Finnish tribes that assimilated with the Mongolian Horde )

    Ukrainians everywhere needs to wake up !!!

    Russians have never been and never will be anyone’s brother !!!! Russians are sneaky and play on anything including false talking about brotherhood so they can subdue others and use them as slaves..

    Dose a brother murder 10 mill of its brothers ? (Holodomor genocide in 1932 1933 Ukraine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPfqfbLEYVU)

    Dose a brother send mill. of its brothers to gulags ? (Russian controlled Siberian concentration camps 1929 – 1980s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxLKBuV28T8 )

    Dose a brother subdue his brothers house and make it into a hegemony vessel state ..? (and has been done many times in history by Moscow )

    Dose a brother say that is brothers history, culture and land never have existed in history ? (Putin to Bush ..You Have to Understand, George. Ukraine Is Not Even a Country http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-charles-g-cogan/you-have-to-understand-ge_b_4976198.html)

    Dose a brother annex a brothers lands and call his brothers neonazs and lie about him to other neighbors? (Annexation of Crimea by the Russia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annexation_of_Crimea_by_the_Russian_Federation )

    I can go on and on and on but you get the point!!!

    Anywhere you have ruSSians living you have corruption, problems and civil unrest..All nations that have some size of ethnic Russians living there you ALWAYS end up with problems and civil unrest ..And the funny thing is that the population of Russians LIVING in that country, does not need to be that big to get problems either..

    Look at some facts

    Ukraine only 17,3% are ethnic Russian

    Latvia only 26% are ethnic Russian

    Lithuania only 2,5% are ethnic Russian

    Estonia only 25,2 % are ethnic Russian

    Moldova only 5.8% are ethnic Russian

    Georgia only 1,5 %are ethnic Russian

    The % is not big in most of the nation’s above but when it comes to how much this Russian scum demand of influence and how much they are screaming if you did not know the facts you will think they are almost the majority of the populations.

    Take Lithuania in that country the 2,5% represents only 50,460 people that are ethnic Russians and Russians are not the biggest ethnic group in-fact after Lithuanians it is jews that take 2nd place as the biggest ethnic group in Lithuania with 7,6% of the population that represents 153,743 that is 3 times bigger than Russians…

    SO THE QUESTION must be this why is there a problem with ethnic Russians all the time and why do they think they can demand special status for themselves and special status for Russian language who do they think they are ???

    http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Lithuania

    The only thing one can take out of this and the only conclusion is once you get this scum inside your country, you will start getting massive problems . as they think they own the place,, The master race mentality from the sovieticus attitude is the problem with this sovieticus Russian scum ..

  • zorbatheturk

    When the Zombie Apocalypse arrives, it will look like present day RuSSia.