Staunton, May 29 – Those who now idealize the Soviet system as a guarantor against social cataclysms have things exactly backwards, historian Andrey Kostryukov warns. In fact, “the idealization of everything Soviet” will have exactly the opposite effect and lead both to another 1917 revolution and another 1991 collapse of the Russian state.
That is because failing to take into account the mistakes that were made by the Russian Empire and by the Soviet state will prevent its Russian successor from correcting them and thus avoiding what happened to those two regimes, according to the historian at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Humanities University (pravmir.ru/pri-staline-byil-byi-poryadok/).
Unfortunately, Kostryukov says, the trend in official commentaries and popular beliefs now is moving in exactly the opposite direction to the one Russia needs on issues ranging from famine to collectivization to terror to supposed conspiracies against Stalin; and that should worry all who care about Russia.
In a 3,000-word article, the historian offers numerous examples of this misreading or, perhaps better, failure to learn from the past. But the examples he cites are far from the only evidence of the trend he sees. Three new articles contain if anything more damning instances of idealizing or at least whitewashing some of the most prominent events in the Soviet past.
First, during a Vechernyaya Moskva discussion on Stalin’s deportation of peoples, Yury Krupnov, a commentator close to the Kremlin, said that this action had positive consequences by weeding out the weak of these nations who died in the process and then setting the stage for an upsurge in fertility after their return (echo.msk.ru/blog/i_chub/1989555-echo/).
In reporting these remarks, Moscow commentator Igor Chubais says that Krupnov did not respond to whether what Stalin had done was a crime or whether he, Krupnov, would recommend that the Russian government today “deport the Russian people for the solution of its demographic problems.”
Second, a communist commentator argues that collectivization was “as necessary to us as air. Without it, there wouldn’t have been industrialization or the Great Victory” in 1945, a position that reflects the increasing willingness of Russians to turn the war into a universal moral solvent for any crimes Stalin committed (forum-msk.org/material/society/13261251.html).
And third, Aleksandr Zdanovocih, a retired FSB lieutenant general, argues that there really was a conspiracy led by Soviet commander Mikhail Tukhachevsky – it was not a product of Stalin’s supposed “paranoia” -- and that the Soviet organs were entirely justified in snuffing it out before it could be carried out against Stalin (kp.ru/daily/26684.5/3707515/).