Staunton, September 17 – Konstantin Pavlov, a retired Soviet general who has actively defended Stalin and the Soviet system, says that Vladimir Putin is like Stalin in five important ways and that the parallels between the two help to explain the success of both the one and the other.
In a public lecture now available online (mnenie.me/mnenie-generala-petrova-o-staline.html, the general identifies the following similarities between the two Moscow leaders:
· Like Stalin, Putin is smarter and “stronger” than his entourage and while he listens to them, he makes his own decisions, thus setting himself apart from those leaders like George Bush who listened to their staffs too much. That has allowed Putin to outplay such people just as it gave Stalin the same possibility.
· Like Stalin but in sharp contrast to Gorbachev, Yeltsin and Yakovlev, Putin came from a poor family. This is important because “that worldview which is formed in childhood leaves an impression throughout the rest of one’s life.”
· Like Stalin, Putin was promoted because everyone thought he was simply a hard worker and no one thought he was a threat. The elites in both cases were surprised that each of them “escaped their control.”
· Like Stalin who used Marxist terminology but acted in ways independent of it, Putin now is linked with much ritualistic language, some drawn from the church. That is what Russian society expects their leader to do. But like Stalin, Putin can and does act in defense of Russia’s interests even when it contradicts this vocabulary.
· And like Stalin, Putin understands that “cadres decide everything.” Stalin had to destroy Trotskyism over the course of a decade in order to put his own administrative team in place. “Putin now does not have his own command; around him are only ‘Trotskyites.’ Therefore, he must create such a command” – and he is now doing just that.