Staunton, Nov. 14 – For all the sympathy Memorial should elicit from all people of good will as a result of its current tribulations, Irina Pavlova says, no one should ever forget that it like most Russian liberals has “condemned only repressions” and not the political system that makes such repressions inevitable.
The US-based Russian historian argues that this shortcoming represents a fundamental failing of the liberal opposition because it reduces them to a part of the system that is visiting repression on them and the Russian people rather than forces who understand what is really taking place (ivpavlova.blogspot.com/2021/11/blog-post_13.html).
Pavlova says that she has long been convinced that “from the moment of the declaration of glasnost, there has not been any progress toward an understanding that the problem is not just in the personality of Stalin but in the conspiratorial mechanism of power created by him” and that the main task must be criticizing the system rather than its originator.
And that failure to understand that the problem is the system and not the personality of its creator or continuer leads to other misunderstandings, she says. This includes but is far from limited to a the assumption that the wealth of Russian oligarchs is equivalent to the existence of private property and the system today is fundamentally different from its model.
“The Stalinism which exists in present-day Russia is much more refined” than it was in the 1930s or “even the 1950s through the 1980s,” and that is because “Lavrov is not Molotov, the Rotenbergs are not Kaganovich and Patrushev is not Beria.” But its fundamentals are just the same, something many Russian liberals do not understand.