Friday, February 26, 2021

Putin Cult Unlikely Ever to Be Exposed as Stalin’s Was in 1956, Sinelnikov-Orishak Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 25 – Sixty-five years ago, Nikita Khrushchev delivered his secret speech in which he denounced Stalin’s cult of personality and opened the way for a partial reassessment of the Soviet dictator. This round anniversary has led to the assemblage of new details about the speech and its meaning (e.g.,

            Not surprisingly, it has also led to speculation as to whether more recent cults and especially the cult around Vladimir Putin will suffer the same fate, with some convinced that that is the fate of all such leader worship in Russia and others insisting equally strongly that the situation with regard to Putin is different not because of him but because of his party.

            One of those in the latter camp is Svobodnaya pressa commentator Mikhail Sinelnikov-Orishak who says the reason for his pessimism about any future exposure of Putin by his party is that his party is completely different than the CPSU was and has a far smaller time horizon (

            Members of the CPSU and especially the leadership viewed themselves as part of a social movement with a long history and an even more important future and thus they were able at various points to level criticism at part leaders, especially after their deaths, who had impeded the overall goal of the party.

            But members of the current ruling party, United Russia, are different. They have no long-term program, exist only to advance their own selfish goals, and thus cannot be expected to view the leader who created their party and their opportunities for power and self-enrichment in terms of some larger matrix.

            Consequently, Sinelnikov-Orishak says, he does not expect any historical reckoning by the country’s political elite like the one that Khrushchev initiated against Stalin in 1956. Putin may be forgotten in the race to curry favor with a successor, but he probably doesn’t need to worry about being subject to denunciation in the future from those around him now.

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