This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Restoring Stalin

"Of course, we have started to look at Stalin in a more favourable light."
"Why now? Maybe it's because the situation in the world isn't the best. We need strength. We need something to unite us."
Sergei Zaborovsky, tour operator, Military Historical Society
In storage, Gori, Georgia

"Stalin wasn't an angel -- far from it -- but he looked after the safety of his citizens."
Lydia Kozlova, director, Khoroshevo museum

"They're hearkening back on something great that can never be recreated. Even when I was a young child under [Soviet leader Leonid] Brezhnev, I remember hearing, 'If only Stalin was here'. If the director of the shop sold spoiled produce, 'If only Stalin was here'. If there was a line at the clinic, 'If only Stalin was here'. 
"But there was no such person who did this. They're thinking of a mythical Stalin."
Leonid Kavtza, history teacher, Gymnasium 1543, Moscow

In fact, the Communist ruling elite in the Soviet Union never much wanted for anything material. It was everyone else who struggled to be able to find heating for their homes, food for their pantry. Misery of want visited everyone. Collective farms produced dismal crops. Manufacturing enterprises turned out poor-grade products. From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs may have sounded noble, taking into account human need and character, but it was a hollow ruse.

When people were guaranteed the same miserable recompense that barely enabled them to scrape by, irrespective of what they were engaged, medicine, law, farming, manufacturing, street sweeping, teaching, the incentive that human beings need to motivate them to make an effort was lacking. And with that incentive lacking people simply made little effort to 'do their part' to ensure that the whole worked efficiently and well.

But nostalgia and sentimental recall are also strange human characteristics; we tend to look upon the past as golden years, while regarding the present as inferior to what went before. What went before was privation, was fear, was being ostracized, was massive social purging, was Siberian justice, was greed and ambition elevating the few and misery assailing the many.

Millions died in Stalin's USSR, of deprivation and starvation. The Russian people, on the one hand, suffered enormously but in retrospect their collective memory has faded in the fondness of what some believe was a better time. And so, Soviet leader Josef Stalin has been resurrected as a respected father of the nation. The current hugely popular father of the nation Vladimir Putin, has certainly had a hand in this refurbished vision of a benevolent dictator from Georgia.

Stalin has morphed from malevolent to benevolent, someone who did the best thing possible for Mother Russia. The suffering of the Russian masses in defense of their country under the Nazi juggernaut also no doubt served to preserve a spirit of shared hardship. The Communist Party is the beneficiary of sanctifying the memory of a mass murderer whose intrigues and orders played tyrant to the masses.

The negative view of Stalin has declined from 43 percent in 2001 to 20 percent at the present time. Museums dedicated to his time and statues of the noble man have become popular all around the country with the approach of the 70th anniversary of the Great Patriotic War. The politically-inspired executions, the gulags, the Holdomar that Ukraine bitterly recalls and ethnic minority deportations speak of a past that the current population has little memory of nor wish to recall.

Russian enterprises and individuals that oppose the refurbishment of Stalin's reputation are officially condemned as "foreign agents". According to Lev Gudkov, director of the independent Levada Centre, acknowledging that the Soviet system was criminal would lead to a "complete collapse of identity" on the part of many Russians, who would prefer by far to have pride in the past, however the reality is distorted to merit that pride.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

() Follow @rheytah Tweet