Staunton, November 19 – Many say that the Putin regime has been promoting Stalin either because the Soviet dictator is the only national leader associated with a victory or because Vladimir Putin wants to take Russia back to a social and political system like the one the communist leader imposed on the country.
Those are undoubtedly powerful reasons. But Dmitry Tsorionov, an Orthodox activist who uses the pseudonym Dmitry Enteo or simply Enteo, argues that there is another and perhaps even more important reason that the Kremlin today has been working to boost the reputation of Stalin.
And that is this: According to Enteo, the positive image for Stalin that the Putin regimehas been promoting is “the result of the system of state education and propaganda which began approximately in 2010 and put as its task the legitimation of a policy of occupying neighboring countries.”
Stalin occupied Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, western Belarus, western Ukraine, and Bessarabia; he annexed Tuva; and he hoped to extend the border of the Soviet Union into northern Iran and eastern Turkey. Because Putin also wants to extend the borders of the Russian Federation, promoting a positive attitude toward his predecessor is useful in this regard.
Enteo’s observation is cited by Daniil Belovodyev in a commentary for Daily Storm addressing the issue of why it is that younger Russians have an increasingly positive attitude toward Stalin although very, very few of them or their elders would want to live under a system just like his (dailystorm.ru/chtivo/stalin-luchshiy-drug-detey).
The Daily Storm commentator suggests that government propaganda, however strong, may not be the primary explanation for Stalin’s new popularity among the young. He argues that some of it reflects the fact that since the West is the source of many anti-Stalin “memes,” Russians like him on the basis of the principle that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
Other Russians, he suggests, like the Soviet dictator at least as a symbol because they are angry about the current injustice and corruption in the Russian system and believe that Stalin would never have allowed that to develop or expressed the arrogant views of some contemporary Russian leaders who’ve said that no one asked Russians to be born.
But Belovodyev says that the real reasons may be less specifically rational than something deeper, a desire to have a great goal and an elevated leader, someone who plans and talks about great achievements, good or bad, rather than what strikes many young Russians and not only the young as the banal elevation of their country on international economic ratings.
Putin doesn’t offer more than that. Indeed, Belovodyev concludes, perhaps the only Russian leader now who does is Aleksey Navalny who talks about “a beautiful Russia of the future.” But even that may be less elevated than young Russians would like, and Navalny is certainly not the elevated figure Stalin was.