Friday, March 13, 2020

Putin Regime Descends Further into Stalin’s System of Lies, Kolesnikov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 7 – Russians marked the anniversary of Stalin’s death in a variety of ways: the communists covered his grave at the Kremlin wall with flowers; anti-Stalinists in Yekaterinburg remembered his victims; but Putin’s official news agency Novosti descended still further into the Stalin’s world of lies by repeating the dictator’s version of the Katyn massacre.

            This represents a dangerous development because it means that the Putin regime showed that it is prepared to use perhaps the worst kind of the Stalinist lies, the one in which no matter what the facts, Moscow is always right and must be believed and all its opponents are always wrong and should be ignored, Andrey Kolsenikov says (

            There is “an absolute consensus” among professional historians that Stalin was behind the killing of thousands of Polish officers at Katyn, the commentator continues. Putin even acknowledged this at one point by visiting the memorial there and dropping to his knees, the only time it can be said that he really rose from them.

            Now his propaganda outlet has retreated from that honesty and completed with Katyn the four stages of Soviet duplicity: first, denial, then arguing that it was something good when it wasn’t, then that whatever was done had a higher purpose, and finally, that “we can only be victims not murders and if we were murderers we were also victims.”

            Classical “whataboutism.”

            According to Kolesnikov, this development represents “the conscious and consistent shift of state historical policy onto Stalinist rails,” the use of anyone who will say what the Kremlin requires no matter how much he may be a freak as in this case and the expectation that Russians will believe what he says.

            The powers that be have good reason to believe that they will succeed at least in this case. “The ordinary Russian doesn’t know anything about Katyn. He doesn’t know anything about anything. But he is firmly convinced that others are ‘falsifying’ our history. When a government agency presents ‘a historian and political analyst,’ the ordinary Russian believes him.

            It may be that this broadcast was the first time many Russians had heard the word “Katyn” or like their Soviet-era counterparts confused it with the Belarusian village Khatyn. That means that the empty places in their minds will be filled with the version of events, “the heirs of Stalin” want them to have.

            But what is important to recognize, the commentator says, is that this presentation goes beyond the reinterpretation of the past to a direct lie about it, from the recent praise of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact as a necessary and even triumphant act to something worse, a lie that those who say it know is a lie and who are prepared to raise it to the status of “official policy.”

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