Friday, November 25, 2022

Stalin Plays Role in Putin’s Russia that Lenin Did in Soviet Union, Grashchenkov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 24 – Stalin plays the role in Putin’s Russia that Lenin did in the USSR, Ilya Grashchenkov says, a myth in which each group invests its meaning but that ties the country together because the projects of both are unfinished and the past is far more intriguing than the future which consists of problems no one has a clear answer for.

            The director of the Moscow Center for the Development of Regional Policy says that when the Kremlin talks about Stalin and his popularity in the population as a strong and effective manager, this is more about projecting and using a myth than any discussion of a real historical figure (

            In reality, Gerashchenkov says, each group in Russian society has “its own Stalin.” The communists have one who didn’t repress anyone, who fought corruption and built infrastructure. The statists one who loved history and led the Soviet Union to victory. And the technocrats one who was an effective manager who “was able to achieve political success.”

            “The fact that we are distracted from the present and the future by historical figures and events suggests that fights about the future are much less productive than eternal battles over the right to deal with the past.” That is why the archives haven’t been opened: “For us, the past is much more relevant than the present, a time in which little interesting is happening.”

            In this environment, the analyst says, “Stalin as a kind of identity has long become a collective myth,” one that recalls the way in which Lenin became on in Soviet times. Neo-Stalinism today is about shaping reality “around the lacunae of the unfinished Soviet historical process,” something that the powers and the people can change as needed.

            And that is why, Grashchenkov says, the Russian people are “still riveted to the events  of the past, events which lack a clear historical assessment and therefore are still viewed as part of the present. In the end, even World War II is now discussed in ways that show for many it is not yet over and is going on at full swing.”

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