Voices from Russia

Saturday, 27 December 2014

What’s Behind Communist Plans for Re-Creating Monuments to Stalin?

01 Joseph Stalin Soviet Poster


Whilst Moscow authorities began preparations on instructions from President V V Putin for creating a special monument to victims of political repression, the KPRF pressed for re-establishing monuments to the man who more than anyone else was responsible for setting the machine of reprisals in motion… I V Stalin. Earlier this month, the newspaper Novye Izvestiya reported that the KPRF created on its own or supported the creation of groups of activists for erecting monuments to Stalin at least in eight territories of Russia. In Kirov, the KPRF even launched a fund-raising campaign. Once they collect the money, the regional KPRF office will ask the local authorities for a plot of land. The Communists and their followers advanced similar initiatives for commemorating Stalin in Oryol Oblast, Tula, Tyumen, Vladivostok, Saratov, and other cities,.

Repression in the USSR peaked in 1937-38. Some historians call this period the Great Terror. Over less than two years, the Soviets shot 680,000 “enemies of the people” and another 300,000 died in labour camps. The personality of the Soviet leader of the first half of last century, whose policies claimed millions of Soviet people’s lives, these days, 62 years after his death, still causes turbulent and controversial emotions in society, which remains largely split over the issue. Stalin’s admirers… mostly Communists and leftist and nationalist groups… tend to see him as a historical personality who steered the USSR towards a triumphant victory in World War II. They praise his managerial talent and give him credit for building a major industrialised power. His opponents and critics recall mostly the mass terror against his own people.

Of late, as economic problems in the country keep mounting, speculations about “iron hand rule” and about “another Stalin” have been ever more frequent in the media space. An article on the website of the KPRF Moscow City Committee, timed for the 135th anniversary of Stalin’s birth 21 December noted, “These days, interest in the personality of Stalin in Russia is growing, mostly with the loss of the country’s previous foothold on the world scene and profound economic and social problems inside the country”. KPRF leader G A Zyuganov said at a wreath-laying ceremony at the tomb of the “the leader of peoples”, “Stalin … was a genius. Today, his policy knocks on our door and I hope that the country hears it”. A Levada Centre poll, held on the eve of the 60th anniversary of Stalin’s death, revealed the following changes in public sentiment… those who were generally positive about Stalin’s role in history was up from 27 percent in 1994 to 49 percent in 2013, whilst that of those who offered “generally negative” comments shrank from 47 percent to 32 percent. As for the 19 percent who failed to reply, most were young people having very little idea of their own country’s history.

Sergei Markov, the director of the Political Studies Institute, told TASS, “Many people say that they like Stalin mostly because, for them, he’s largely a synonym for a strong country, of a ruthless struggle against corruption, an architect of a powerful industry with reliance exclusively on internal resources, and, lastly, a symbol of victory in the war with Hitler’s Germany”. In contrast to many of his colleagues Markov, a political scientist whose grandfather, he said, died in a Stalinist labour camp, sees nothing terrible about this trend, observing, “It doesn’t mean that people really want a comeback of Stalin and his policy of repression. In this way, rather, they send a message on what sort of qualities they would like to see in politicians today. It’s a hint to the authorities to adjust their policies accordingly”.

25 December 2014

Lyudmila Aleksandrova




Sunday, 23 February 2014

Fascism Sweeps the Ukraine

00 Lenin. 23.02.14


In commenting on the destruction of the Lenin monument in Dnepropetrovsk during the night of 21-22 February 2014, Oblast First Secretary Sergei Khrapov said, “Repeatedly, we communists stated that so-called ‘peaceful protests’ could only end in deepening social schism and promoting fascism. Today, we witness human sacrifice and burnt buildings in Kiev, and vandalised monuments in the regions. Fascism sweeps the Ukraine, and the belief that such actions can be beneficial isn’t just dangerous naïveté, it’s short-sighted, almost a crime against one’s fellow citizens”. Khrapov also noted that the KPU sent relevant appeals about the vandalism to the Dnepropetrovsk Lenin monument to their People’s Deputy and to the appropriate law enforcement organs.

23 February 2014

Sergei Khrapov

First Secretary of the Dnepropetrovsk Oblast Committee of the KPU


KPRF official website



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Monday, 20 May 2013

20 May 2013. Sergei Yolkin’s World. A Monument “Not Made by Hands”

00 Sergei Yolkin. A Monument 'Not Made by Hands'. 2013

A Monument “Not Made by Hands”

Sergei Yolkin



The Russian title includes the word нерукотворному (nerukotvornomu: literally, “not made by hands”), which would bring to mind for any educated Russian (of whatever religious background) the word нерукотворные (nerukotvornye), which is the title of a famous Russian Orthodox icon type. The word “Chebarkul” on the base is the name of the locality where the meteorite fell. By the way, Governor Yurevich is the head of Makfa, a food processing company known mainly for pasta (Russian pasta? I shit you not… their website has some dynamite recipes).


Online voting to determine the five best ideas for a memorial to commemorate the fall of a meteorite in the Urals began on the official website of Chelyabinsk Oblast Governor Mikhail YurevichSergei Yolkin takes a sardonic look at it all.

20 May 2013

Sergei Yolkin



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