A startling Reuters article today was titled “Gorbachev warns Russians against rise of Stalinism.”
As reported, the former Soviet president made his remarks at a conference held 70 years after the beginning of Stalin’s Great Terror:
“We should remember those who suffered, because this is a lesson for all of us.”
“We must squeeze Stalinism out of ourselves, not in single drops but by the glass or bucket,” Gorbachev added. “There are those saying Stalin’s rule was the Golden Age, while (Nikita) Khrushchev’s thaw was sheer utopia and (Leonid) Brezhnev’s neo-Stalinism was the continuation of the Golden Age.”
The Great Terror refers to a period under Josef Stalin’s rule from about 1937 to 1938, where historians estimate that many hundreds of thousands to millions of people in the USSR were killed by the government in purges against “enemies of the people,” and millions more sent to slave camps. Many mass graves with thousands of victims have only recently been uncovered.
The article noted some alarming signs of revisionist history about Stalin already taking place — in a children’s history book that portrays him as being the most successful leader of the USSR; in the cinema, where a documentary on Stalin portrays him seeking God in his final days.
The Reuters article also reported the results of a poll among young people about Stalin’s rule, where —
Fifty-four percent of Russian youth believe that Stalin did more good than bad and half said he was a wise leader, according to a poll conducted in July by the Yuri Levada Centre.
Those who would have lived through the Stalinist period in the USSR are in their seventies and eighties or older. Where is the outrage? It’s shocking if they let his bloody legacy be buried.