Thursday, March 05, 2015

62 Years Since Stalin Died and His Regime is more Popular now than anytime since 1956

It has been 62 years since Stalin died. Despite knowing now more than ever about the crimes of his regime, Stalin is more popular than at anytime since Khrushchev denounced some of his crimes at the 20th Party Congress in 1956. The Perm-36 GULag camp has now been seized by the state.  No longer is it a museum dedicated to the victims of political repression under the Stalin regime. Instead it has been converted  into one celebrating the guards and other workers in the penal apparatus. The rehabilitation of Stalin's regime in the former USSR and other places has been going on for a while now. But, if you had told me in the 1980s at a time when Europe from Berlin to Baku was eagerly shaking off the yoke of Soviet rule that Stalinism would be undergoing a full rehabilitation from Madison to Moscow I would have thought you nuts. However, it turns out that the tepid attempts by Khrushchev at destalinization completely failed to take any root in Russia or Central Asia. 


Anonymous said...

There was such a huge wave of interest to the revelations of Stalin's crimes in 1986-1990. Every day would bring thick journals and newspapers with new revelations to our house. But then it all just died down and the subject became even kind of shameful to mention. Only really outdated weirdos would care and talk about such stuff.

And such abandonment of history always exacts a steep price.

J. Otto Pohl said...

Yes, I remember the early 1990s when a huge amount of material on Stalinist crimes was published and it looked like there might be something approaching normal archival access in the former USSR eventually. Now those days are over permanantly. All material that was classified in Kyrgyzstan during the Stalin era had already been again reclassified as top secret before 2012.