Putin icons on sale in Russia for 600 rubles, which is less than 10 US dollars. (Image: social media)
Vladimir Putin “defends Ivan the Terrible and Stalin ‘from excessive demonization’ because unconsciously he feels himself” to share with them a common approach, Igor Eidman says, and views criticism of them like criticism of himself as “the slander of hated foreigners.”
Stalin defended Ivan for the same reason, the Russian commentator says; but unlike Putin, Stalin viewed the tsar as “an insufficiently decisive murderer,” who should have killed more people. Putin for part isn’t disturbed by the actions of Stalin and their continuing impact on Russia.
“Ivan the Terrible was rehabilitated under Stalin, but under Putin a creeping rehabilitation of not only Ivan but of Stalin himself is going on,” Eidman continues, a reflection of the fact that other paranoids don’t appear to have a problem to those who are paranoid themselves. He then quotes Stalin on Ivan and Putin on both Ivan and Stalin to make his point.
Stalin said that “the wisdom of Ivan the Terrible consisted in the fact that he stood on a national point of view and did not allow foreigners into his country, thus defending it from the penetration of foreign influence. [He] was very harsh [but] it was necessary to show” that in his times.
“One of the mistakes of Ivan the Terrible consisted in that he did not cut down the five major feudal families. If he had destroyed these five boyar families, then there wouldn’t have been a time of troubles. But Ivan the Terrible executed some and then for a long time repented and brayed … He needed to be more decisive.”
Putin said of Ivan the Terrible that it is “unknown whether he killed his son or not” and that the legend that he did was the work of the papal nuncio “who came to him for negotiations and tried to transform Orthodox Rus into Catholic Rus.” The nuncio then portrayed Ivan as something extraordinary, but exactly the same thing was occurring elsewhere at that time.
And finally, Putin said of Stalin: “Stalin was a product of his times … It seems to me that excessive demonization of Stalin is one of the means, one of the lines of attack on the Soviet Union and Russia in order to show that today’s Russia bears some birthmarks of Stalin. So what? – We all bear some birthmarks of some kind or another.”
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