Staunton, Nov. 13 – Vladimir Putin wants to build Russia not on the basis of a model of the future but on one drawn from its past. But his misfortune, Vladimir Pastukhov says, is that that past was not ideal for him “in all respects.” And that is forcing him to “cleanse” the reality lest what really happened come back to destroy him and his system.
Putin and his team celebrate Stalin, the London-based Russian analyst says; but they don’t want to return the country to the state it was in under the Soviet dictator. What they need, Pastukhov continues, is not the reality but “only the legend” about the past (echo.msk.ru/blog/pastuhov_v/2935208-echo/).
The Stalinism the current rulers of Russia dream about “does not have any relationship to the real Stalinist which was practiced in the USSR in the last century.” Instead, “the Kremlin would like to borrow the violent shell of Stalinism while throwing into the trash all its specific content.”
“No one today, needs primitive, wild and out of control Stalinism which has a tough ideological content that structured mass violence promoted by the state into a clear and trouble-free system,” Pastukhov continues. The Stalinism the Putinists want has no such content but allows for the almost infinitely flexible application of violence.
In the first instance, Putin’s Stalinism “must not interfere with the earning of money and the transfer of such earnings by inheritance.” For the Soviet system, power and private ownership were incompatible; but for Putin’s, the analyst says, enrichment and transfer of wealth is something not to be challenged as a principle even if particular cases are called into question.
“Today’s Russian fake Stalinism is more similar to the Sicilian Cosa Nostra with its dead fish than to the machine of the Great Terror with its conveyor.” And Putin enthusiasts know that “the coming to power of real Stalinists … would be a mortal threat for the current regime” because its raison d’etre and even its survival would be called into question.
To make use of Stalinism in this way requires Putin to create a myth about the Soviet dictator, and that in turn requires that he destroy all efforts to tell the truth about Russia’s past. Indeed, “today, any memory about real history independent” of official interpretation becomes “anti-Russian propaganda which undermines the new Kremlin mythology.”