Friday, December 23, 2022

Russian Society Ready for Rehabilitation of Stalin But Kremlin Isn’t, Moscow Analysts Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 20 – Moscow media is playing up an appeal by Stalin’s grandson to rehabilitate his ancestor, a development that is unintentionally highlighting a split between Russian society which is quite ready for such a development and the Kremlin leadership which very much isn’t, Moscow analysts say.

            The Russian people have been more supportive of Stalin than the regime approves for some time, Svobodnaya pressa reports. That was highlighted a decade ago when they voted to declare Stalin the symbol of Russia only to have the Putin regime decide to name Aleksandr Nevsky instead (

            Nikolay Volkov, a leading member of the KPRF, says that there is no need to rehabilitate Stalin as such given that he was never tried in a court of law. Therefore, “he isn’t a criminal,” and doesn’t need such a step. “History has justified him and his support in the population is at the highest level.”

            To be sure, the KPRF leader says, under Khrushchev and especially under Gorbachev, Stalin was “demonized” because the leaders wanted to move in a different direction and in the latter to reject Soviet power and destroy the USSR. But now it is obvious that such a course has led the country into a dead end.

            Ever more Russians recognize that the attacks on Stalin were not justified and that “the Stalinist path of development based on a reliance on its own strength was the only correct one. We have to return to that path.” And the appearance of ever more statues of Stalin around the country shows that this view is gaining strength.

            Andre Milyuk, a Moscow political scientist says that calls for the rehabilitation of Stalin however hyped they may be “have no importance” in and of themselves but that they are a sign of something else that is: The current regime’s failure to come up with an ideology of its own is leading Russians to search for one in the past.

            “Politics in Russia at the present moment has been destroyed and therefore history has become the replacement for politics,” he continues. But any “rehabilitation” of Stalin will be only partial because the regime doesn’t want the return of everything he was about and neither does the population.

            Aleksandr Segal, a political consultant, agrees. He suggests that “in apolitical or even more an ideological sense, the figure of Stalin undoubtedly needs to be reassessed and cleansed from accusations.” But the regime’s ideologists won’t do so. Indeed, they are “categorically opposed,” however much the population thinks otherwise.

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