A street scene in St. Petersburg, Russia, the city where Vladimir Lenin's group launched the Bolshevik coupe d'etat of 1917. Lenin and Stalin impersonators giving money to a beggar maimed in one of Putin's wars. (Image: Alexander Petrosyan)
Stalin is enjoying a rebirth in the Russian Federation, one that enjoys the support of the population, according to polls, but that has generated anger or even fear among the intelligentsia, the editors of Nezavisimaya gazeta say. And if the former gain the upper hand, there are likely to be victims among the latter.
In a lead article today, the Moscow paper’s editors say that putting up a memorial plaque at the Moscow State Legal Academy represents a particular challenge to the intelligentsia because Stalin so thoroughly violated his country’s laws and constitutions as he built his totalitarian state.
Efforts by the academy’s leadership to defend their decision by referring to a 1960 directive concerning “the preservation of historical heritage” are less than convincing and indeed even offensive to all those who care about the rule of law and the erection of a law-based state. Unfortunately, as new polls show, many in the population don’t appear to care much about that.
The memorial plaque at the legal academy, the editors continues, “is not the only event in the chronicle of creeping re-Stalinization. Only in the course of the last several days, activists in Barnaul and Novosibirsk have appealed to the authorities to set up memorials to the communist leader.”
And “even in Kyrgyzstan, integration with Russia has reached the point that there people are demanding that the central street of Bishkek be renamed in honor of the onetime fighter for the single ideology of the USSR,” Nezavisimaya gazeta points out.
“The posthumous return of Stalin is accompanied by the restoration in the country of the corresponding atmosphere,” the editors continue, with proposals for restoring political instruction in the schools, “preparing black lists of enemies of the Russia people,” and for opposing all efforts to do away with “the common communist heritage.”
According to the paper, “Stalin arose from the grave under the pretext of preserving memory about victory in the Great Fatherland War, but certain activists have openly thrown Stalin’s jacket onto the shoulders of the new Russia,” including Orthodox Christians who have come out in support of the godless Bolshevik.
Today, the editors say, “the supporters of such a historic path have the chance to create a hybrid out of Stalinist and statist Orthodoxy, albeit in the form of an imitation. The possible appearance of priests and political information in schools, theology in institutes of nuclear physics, and churches for chekists,” something unthinkable under Stalin, are becoming realities.
“If the people like such a future,” Nezavisimaya gazeta concludes, “then the means of struggle against internal enemies won’t have to be invented.” They can be taken directly from the Stalin playbook.
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