Monday, September 28, 2009

Survey Reports that the Majority of Central Asian Youth are Pro-Stalin

Vechernii Bishkek had an interesting article this Friday. It seems that a group called "Evraziiskii Monitor" did a survey of 20 to 35 year old respondents throughout the former Soviet Union and the Baltic States on their opinions of various historical figures. A full 61% of the youth in Kyrgyzstan had a favorable opinion of Stalin versus only 35% in Russia. Uzbekistan and Tajikistan fell in between Kyrgyzstan and Russia with 53% of young people having a positive view of Stalin. In contrast to the young peoples' enthusiastic support of Stalin only 27% of the youth in Kyrgyzstan had a favorable opinion of Andrei Sakharov. So much for inculcating a democratic political culture in Kyrgyzstan.


Vechernii Bishkek 25 September 2009, p. 15.


levi9909 said...

Hi there Otto. We are often told that Stalin's victims of death and the gulag number in the millions. Would the people speaking favourably of Stalin be, in a real sense, descended from Stalin's victims? I mean are they turkey's voting for yesteryear's christmases?

J. Otto Pohl said...

Maybe, but it appears that while the number of Stalin's victims was in the millions his supporters were in the tens of millions. The total number of people to achieve social upward mobility under Stalin was greater than the number shot, imprisoned or deported.

Stalin is also remembered primarily as being responsible for the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany. In contrast many of his victims are still libeled as traitors to that effort. Both the terror and deportations tended to target unpopular minorities such as ethnic Germans, Poles, Latvians, Estonians, Chechens, Crimean Tatars, Kalmyks, etc. These nationalities were stigmitized as enemies of the Soviet Union. This type of demonization is still in effect in Russia and other places. It is used to mobilize hatred against certain minorities among the grandchildren and great grandchildren of the tens of millions of Red Army veterans from World War II. This is quite clear from the Russian narrative regarding the claims that the Crimean Tatars "collaborated in mass" with the Nazi occupation and are thus a treasonous nationality deserving of deportation to the desert. In addition to being largely untrue, the whole narrative ignores the fact that the Crimean Tatars are the native population of Crimea.

Under Stalin perhaps some 15 million people were shot, deported, or incarcerated for their alleged class origins, alleged political affiliations or ethnicity. The Soviet population in 1926 was 147,000,00 so we are talking on the order of 10% directly repressed. Much of this repression including the deportation of some 6,000,000 people to special settlements involved whole families. So the number of relatives of the repressed plus repressed were a definite minority of the population.

His victims also did not leave as many descendents per survivor as did his collaborators and beneficiaries. A large number of the people shot by Stalin or who died in labor camps or special settlements did so before they had any children. The people who benefitted from their repression by taking their property and jobs had children and grandchildren. The great grandchildren of these intial collaboraters with Stalin are the current elite youth in many post-Soviet states.

Finally, I think there is a problem of general ignorance. The descendents of Stalin's collaborators and beneficiaries still wield power in many of these states and it is not in their interest to expose this historical record.

levi9909 said...

fascinating. thanks for all that.