Why is Stalin becoming more popular in Russia?

In recent years, people’s attitudes toward Stalin in Russia have changed very much. According to surveys in 2001, 43% of Russians reacted negatively to Stalin, and in 2018 – only 12%. Acceptance of the view that Stalin is guilty of killing millions of innocent people dropped from 62% in 2016 to 44% in 2018. Today, more than half of Russians are sympathetic towards Stalin. Why is this happening? In the former post-Soviet space, a good attitude towards Stalin can also be seen in Georgia, because Stalin was ethnically Georgian. Stalin grew up speaking the Georgian language and did not begin learning Russian until the age of 8, and throughout his life retained a heavy Georgian accent when speaking Russian. Georgians are very proud that their countryman was the ruler of one of the largest empires in the history of mankind, as well as one of the most significant politicians of the 20th century. His armies controlled Central and Eastern Europe up to the River Elbe in Germany. Stalin was born in the Georgian town of Gori, then part of the Russian Empire. His parents were ethnically Georgian, his father was a shoemaker, alcoholic, and drunkenly beat his wife and son. Stalin was born with two fused toes on his left leg, and his left arm had been forever injured in childhood which left it shorter than his right and lacking in flexibility. In 1894, Stalin enrolled in the Spiritual Seminary in Tiflis, now it’s Tbilisi – the capital of Georgia. As he grew older, Stalin lost interest in his studies, his grades dropped. Stalin joined a forbidden Marxist club. Later, Stalin worked as a meteorologist at the Tiflis Observatory. He attracted a group of supporters through his classes in socialist theory. The tsarist secret police became interested in Stalin. Stalin was arrested several times and sent to exile, from where he ran away every time. Later, Stalin met Lenin and, at his invitation, became a member of the Bolshevik Central Committee. Stalin was an active member. He helped organize the uprisings, and raise funds using armed robbery. Then Stalin came third in the Bolshevik elections for the party’s Central Committee Lenin came first and Zinoviev came second After the Revolution in 1917, Stalin became part of an informal foursome leading the government, alongside Lenin, Trotsky, and Sverdlov. After Lenin’s death Stalin built up a retinue of his supporters in the Central Committee, and after the party struggle, Stalin became the party’s supreme leader. Stalin could play different roles to different audiences, and was adept at deception, often deceiving others as to his true motives and aims. Several historians have seen it appropriate to follow Lazar Kaganovich’s description of there being “several Stalins” as a means of understanding his multi-faceted personality. He was a good organizer. These abilities helped him to become a leader. In total, during the reign of Stalin, about 4 million people were repressed, of which nearly 800 thousand were executed. Millions of people starved to death during collectivization and industrialization. That is why almost every city in Russia has a memorial dedicated to victims of repression. Even in our small resort town of Russia, you can see a memorial dedicated to the victims of the Stalinist repressions. In Moscow, this memorial is much larger. But despite a large number of repressions, the popularity of this leader in Russia is growing. Why is this happening? Firstly, the Stalinist repressions were long ago, and there are almost no living witnesses. Secondly, many attribute the name of Stalin to victory in the Great Patriotic War. He carried out industrialization in a short time, as a result of which the USSR turned from an agrarian country into an industrial one. But the price of this industrialization was high. Millions of people in the Volga region of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine died from hunger and diseases. Stalin increased the area of ​​the Soviet empire. The Soviet Union was the second most powerful country in the world. At present, Russia does not have many reasons for pride. Therefore, today many people suffering from the actions of corrupt officials want a fair and harsh ruler to come. Besides, the authorities themselves are interested in the positive image of Stalin. Using this image, the authorities seem to say, look, a man was a criminal, and then he led the country and made it one of the greatest in the world. Authoritarianism is not always bad, and there is nothing wrong with repression. In recent school history books, much less attention is paid to repression and victims. Every year in Russia there are many books and films devoted to the Patriotic War and the role of Stalin in it. For many, Joseph Stalin is inextricably linked with Victory in the Great Patriotic War, and Victory Day has been celebrated in Russia in recent years on a grand scale. That positive opinion is boosted by ongoing military conflicts outside of Russia, current frustration over social policy and economic hardship. For average Russians, Stalin is a symbol of Russian pride and military and industrial glory and he is a symbol of iron discipline and the last word in the battle against greedy bureaucrats. All this led to the rapid growth of Stalin’s popularity, starting in 2015. This is surprising, but now most people evaluate the activities of Stalin positively, despite the numerous evidence of his crimes. Here is a typical example of why you could end up in jail. This note contains a request to punish one Komsomol member for stupid jokes that consisted in deciphering the abbreviation USSR. For example, the USSR – Soviet sugar costs a ruble. If translated into English – Soviet sugar costs a ruble. As a result, the student was accused of counter-revolutionary activity and sentenced to 10 years of forced labor camps. And there are many such examples. I agree that authoritarian systems can achieve significant success in technology development in a short historical period, … but if you take a longer historical period, such countries will ultimately lose. It’s like a runner who, when running a long distance, started earlier than everyone else, but came to the finish line last. Democratic countries are developing more steadily and stably, as a result, they are ahead of authoritarian systems. Democratic systems have a large number of direct and feedback connections they function as a natural ecosystem. Any element of this ecosystem can affect the functioning of the entire system. As a result, such systems respond more adequately to changes in the external environment. Any authoritarian system at a certain stage of its development loses its connection with reality because there are no direct and feedback links in the system, and then collapse follows. After the collapse of the USSR, we tried to build such a system. In the current system, devoid of direct and feedback connections, the situation of people is unenviable. More and more often sayings are heard that in Soviet times everything was different, better. This is often said even by those who did not live in the Soviet Union for a day. Many people nostalgic for the times of Stalin and the USSR look like this girl. Every year, more and more people are ready to turn back, and this is scary. Many people are waiting for a new Stalin, tough and “fair”, who will restore order in the country. As a result, instead of building a rule of law state, will be built a political system in which power will be concentrated in the hands of one person, Will we again build a closed system that will collapse again? Who knows…

  1. Simple because many of his policies where effective and saved the country during its darkest hour you can both hate him and respect him!

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