Saturday, August 13, 2011

Russian Publishing Trends

In Bishkek I noticed a large number of books imported from Russia praising Stalin and Beria. Every book store in the city had at least one whole shelf dedicated to this growing genre of popular literature. The development of a separate subordinate cult of personality around Beria seems to have grown considerably in the former USSR recently. Although Beria has not yet been officially rehabilitated by the Russian government there is a growing body of popular literature in Russia urging just such a course. The movement to annul Khrushchev's partial denunciation of Stalin of course has been around for a while and seems to grow stronger every day in the former USSR. The most disturbing aspect of this trend for me, however, is the appearance of Russian translations of American and other Western Stalinists and their frequent citation as supporting evidence in the popular literature written by Russian Stalinists. Almost all of the Stalinists in the above category hold tenured academic positions in the US. A particular favorite of the Russian Stalinists appears to be Grover Furr. Interestingly enough the literature does not generally deny the atrocities of Stalin and Beria, but instead seeks to justify them by portraying their victims as "traitors" to the USSR who deserved their fate. Nobody will ever be able to convince me that Volga German and Crimean Tatar children deserved to die the horrible and agonizing deaths they suffered during the 1940s. But, looking around the Internet it appears I am in a distinct minority.

1 comment:

LFC said...

I'm more than a bit surprised to learn that there are tenured U.S. academics justifying Stalin's killings on the grounds that his victims were 'traitors'. But the U.S. university system is so big that I guess it's possible to find someone tenured somewhere advocating almost any kind of rubbish.