Attempt to resurrect Stalin cult in Tver region

posted 22 Mar 2015, 12:42 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 22 Mar 2015, 12:44 ]
16 March 2015

Source: (info)
On 13th March, the Tver regional branch and the board of the Russian Memorial Society released a joint report on the attempts to establish a so-called Stalin museum in Tver region.

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News had reached Memorial’s Tver branch that the district council in Rzhev district had approved a proposal to create a museum to Iosif Stalin in a house situated in Khoroshevo village. The project was put forward by the Russian Society of Military History, and the museum’s opening would coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Russian victory in World War II.

Why this house? It was in the Rzhev region on the 4-5 August 1943, five months after the region was liberated from German occupation, that the Supreme Commander Stalin made his one appearance on the frontline (not even the battlefield) during the war. The house where the commander stayed, owned by Kondratevaya, a collective farm worker, still stands in Khoroshevo today. In 1945 the Kalinin regional committee of the Communist Party, by order of the committee's first secretary I P Boitsov, decreed that the house was to be preserved 'as a monument of military historical importance.'

Modern-day followers of Stalin want to go one step further. They want Stalin to be painted as a 'symbol of Soviet success and victory.' They talk about erecting in Khoroshevo a small memorial to the creator of one of the most brutal political regimes the world has ever known. The 'framework for the execution of the project for the house-museum in the name of I V Stalin (Khoroshevo, Rzhev district, Tver region)' puts forward fourteen themes that will make up the proposed exhibition, only four of which are somehow linked with the arrival of the Supreme Commander in the very building that houses the museum. The other ten sections defend and hero-worship Stalin, presenting him as not only the ‘creator’ of victory in the Great Patriotic war and a symbol of success and victory,’ but also as a political actor, whose decisions 'over decades defined the fate of the post-war world.'

The great victory will take centre stage in the museum, which will ignore the heavy price Russians paid for this victory; a price all too familiar to the inhabitants of Rzhev. The ground here is soaked in the bloodshed of war, where up to two million soldiers and officers lost their lives on the battlefield.

A significant portion of these victims are the direct consequence of the Supreme Commander’s skills (as marked in point 8 of the ‘Framework,’) ‘as leader and organizer in selecting the team to do the job.'

It would seem they could not fit in even a quick reminder of Stalin’s role as perpetrator of mass repression, crimes against humanity, man-made famines, the punitive deportation of entire ethnic groups- his ‘bright side’ takes up too much room!

The ‘Framework’ reflects a clear distortion of history: point 13 of the document proposes to uncover the role Stalin played in the rebirth of Russian Orthodoxy - the same Orthodoxy whose leaders he destroyed and institutions humiliated.

Educating visitors about their country’s history is of no concern to the authors of this exhibition and its sponsors. Their aim is the very opposite: to paint over our history, to present one of the most tragic periods as a never-ending newsreel of successes and victories, to inspire nostalgia for a totalitarian past.

Of course, it is impossible to create a fully-fledged ‘Stalin-museum’ in a village house. But this is another attempt to break down the still shaky defences erected following the fall of the communist regime, which aim to protect against a return to lawlessness and tyranny. It is the attempt to create a small museum as a precedent, a platform, which can be transformed into a place of pilgrimage and centre around which the followers of the ideology of the ‘iron fist’ can rally, unite their forces and try to turn the march of history back to its totalitarian past. However unlikely they are to succeed, such attempts could cause considerable harm to public opinion.

The inhabitants of Tver region will be as the first victims of the intended return to totalitarianism. It is difficult to find a family in the region among whose ancestors there are not individuals who did not suffer from illegal repressions, whether they were exiled, sent to the camps, or simply killed.

After all it was precisely this machine of mass repression, created thanks to 'Stalin's skills as leader and organiser in selecting the team to do the job,' that became his greatest and most remarkable historical 'achievement.'

This Stalin museum, as proposed by its creators, does not have a place either in Tver region or anywhere in the world. Evil should not be praised as something that is deserving of respect and imitation.

Tver regional branch of the Russian Memorial Society

The board of the Russian Memorial Society

Jointly adopted on 13th March 2015

Translated by Holly Jones