"This is a very worrying signal" - Arseny Roginsky on the creeping Stalinism in today's Russia

posted 3 Apr 2015, 00:41 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 6 Apr 2015, 03:05 ]
31 March 2015

Source: HRO.org (info
Since 2012, the number of Russian citizens who believe that the deaths of the millions of victims of the Stalinist dictatorship in the USSR were warranted has risen significantly. "This is a very worrying signal," says historian Arseny Roginsky, chair of the board of the International Memorial Society.

Evidence for this tendency comes from data from a survey carried out by Levada Centre published by Interfax news agency. Three years ago, 25% of Russian citizens surveyed believed that the loss of human life during the Stalinist era was justified. Now the proportion has already risen to 45%.

41% of Russians believe it was not justified, compared with 60% in 2012.

According to Karina Pipiya, a sociologist and Levada Centre expert, attitudes to Stalin vary considerably depending on respondents' level of education.

Among Russians who only have primary education, 43% respect Stalin.

"Among people with higher education, around half as many people [ie. around 24%] respect Stalin", she noted.

Residents of rural areas who were questioned generally support the idea of putting up a monument to Stalin, while 50% of the Muscovites surveyed are opposed to a monument to the dictator.

In all, 37% of Russians approve of the erection of a monument to Stalin, 25% disapprove and 29% are indifferent about the idea.

25% of Russians questioned said they believed that Stalin was a state criminal, while 57% said he was not. In 2010, 37% of Russians said they believed Stalin was a criminal, reports Snob magazine.

According to Novaya Gazeta, the idea of the Communists to erect several monuments to Joseph Stalin to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of WW2 became public in mid-March 2015.

If the authorities do not step in, monuments, busts and plaques in memory of the tyrant may appear in the cities of Krasnoyarsk, Orel, Dagestanskie Ogni and Ussuriysk, as well as in other regions.

"This is a very worrying signal," Arseny Roginsky, chair of the board of the International Memorial Society, told Interfax. "It even says less about attitudes towards Stalin than about the relationship between the state and the individual. Stalin is often seen as a symbol of a strong and powerful state, and for people the fact that Stalin and all his policies were inhuman remains of secondary importance. In the relationship between the individual and the state, the individual should be more important, not the state. For as long as we fail to understand that individuals are more important, along with their rights, their interests and their feeling of freedom, things won't work out in Russia."

Translated by Suzanne Eade Roberts