Voices from Russia

Monday, 8 January 2018

V I Stalin… Was He What the Khrushchyovites Claimed That He Was?

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Editor:

There’s been a great deal of comment on the RuNet about V I Stalin, I V Stalin’s son. Often, where one falls on this issue depends on one’s social position. Those who fancy themselves “intellectuals” or intelligentsia declare him evil, just as they do his father. Those who suck up to Westerners (those who act like Anglo “conservatives”, labelled “liberals” in Russian discourse) take a similar stand. However, most working-class and lower-middle Russians stand up for Vasili Iosifovich. The internet gives them a voice… a voice that the state doesn’t censor. As one of my friends at the Centre put it:

Unlike the Americans, we don’t censor the internet… for good reason. You see, we can find out where public opinion is heading, and take proper action. There’s no need to arrest people or bully them as they do in America.

Ordinary Russians RESPECT “The Vozhd*”. ALL OF THEM. Note that I didn’t say that they “love” him. No one loves I V Stalin. NO ONE. As one friend put it in an email (he’s an engine-driver on the yeliktrichka trains, a communist, and an Orthodox believer):

  • Vozhd: “The Leader”, the most-common name for Stalin amongst working-class and lower-middle Russians (and their counterparts in the post-Soviet Near Abroad)… if an ordinary Russian uses “The Vozhd”, they mean I V Stalin, and no one else.

He was a hard man in a hard time. He made life better for little people, like us, and he made the bosses toe the line. No… he wasn’t a good man… but he was a great man, like Pyotr Veliki. Sometimes, harsh times call for harsh measures. Didn’t FDR trample on the bosses in your country, too?

Don’t get me wrong… I’m not sweeping I V Stalin’s actions under the rug. However, I AM saying:

Take all of his actions together… the good and the bad… weigh them in the balance. Take collectivisation and the repressions on the one hand and the victory in the VOV, the country’s industrialisation, and the mass literacy and health programmes on the other. I think that you’d come to the realisation that great men in history may not be “good” men. Think on that… think on it hard.

As for V I Stalin, I agree with most ordinary Russians. He was an honourable man who refused to malign his father and the dishonourable attacked him for that. There’s no other possible conclusion. Therefore, like most ordinary Russians, I think that V I Stalin’s refusal to cast mud at his father covers many sins… unlike his sister, who maligned her father and family at the behest of the Amerikantsy pigs.

Bright and eternal memory to Vasili Iosifovich… he refused to dishonour his father… and paid the price for doing so.

What follows is a representative selection of some of the writings of ordinary Russians on V I Stalin.

BMD

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Vasili Iosifovich Stalin (1921-62) , Lieutenant-General of Aviation, veteran of the Great Patriotic War. He went from being a pilot-instructor in an aviation regiment to being commander of the 3 Guards Aviation and 286 Fighter Aviation Divisions. Postwar, he headed the aviation units of the Moscow Military District (1948-52)! HE KEPT IN MIND THE HONOURABLE WORD OF A SOLDIER OF OUR FATHERLAND…  like his late father, unlike Khrushchyov’s renegade gang of bastards and traitors.

16 March 2016

Yevgeny Spitsyn

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They chose the Motherland as their highest ideal

Eternal memory and glory to heroes!

No one is forgotten; nothing is forgotten!

VASILI IOSIFOVICH STALIN

Soviet military leader, Lieutenant-General of Aviation, son of I V Stalin

21 March 1921-19 March 1962

Vasili Iosifovich Stalin, son of Iosif Stalin, son of Joseph Stalin and Nadezhda Alliuyeva, born on 21 March 1921 in the Kremlin. He went to a regular Moscow school, taking an ordinary tram without a security detail. Like many other children of the Soviet nomenklatura, Vasili Iosifovich became a pilot. Aged 20, he went to the front as a captain. During the war, he flew 27 combat missions; he shot down one enemy plane; he received three Orders of the Red Banner, the Order of Suvorov (II Class), and the Order of Aleksandr Nevsky. In 1942, he became a Colonel, in 1946, he was as Major-General, and in 1947, he was a Lieutenant-General. V I Stalin was one of the youngest generals of the Soviet Army. At the end of the Great Patriotic War, he commanded a Fighter Aviation Division.

18 March 2016

СССР. Прекрасная страна, в которой мы жили

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ON THE MEMOIRS OF V I STALIN

Soon after his father’s death, Vasili Iosifovich Stalin, who had already been sacked, asked the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China for political asylum. The son of the Vozhd had good reason to make such a request. He felt the clouds gathering above his head. He understood that the people he’d openly accused of killing his father wouldn’t leave him alone. V I Stalin’s fears weren’t groundless. On 28 April 1953, Stalin’s successors arrested him on charges of anti-Soviet propaganda and abuse of office. After an “investigation” that lasted for more than two years, they sentenced him to eight years in prison. He could’ve copped out, with a full removal of the charges and with restoration of his former status if only he’d repudiate his father and publicly condemn him. However, Vasili Iosifovich refused to do it. As a son, he couldn’t betray his father’s memory. As a communist, he couldn’t betray a leader who did great deeds or abuse his ideals.

29 February 2016

Nikolai Shirshov

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On 21 March, a legendary man was born! Vasili Iosifovich was a good fighter pilot who piloted all kinds of aircraft that were in VVS service! He didn’t sell out or betray his great father… Comrade Stalin! He never dishonoured his father’s name or that of the Stalin family! Eternal Memory to Vasili Iosifovich Stalin!

21 March 2017

Aleksandr Kharchikov

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Vasili Iosifovich Stalin (1921-62) was a Soviet military pilot, Lieutenant-General of Aviation (1949), Commander of the Moscow Military District aviation units in 1948, and the youngest son of I V Stalin. Under Khrushchyov, V I Stalin served eight years in prison, and his accusers threw all manner of accusations against him. They called him an alcoholic, a womaniser, immoral, a mediocrity, a scoundrel, a low-life, a bastard, and a spoiled son. Of course, Vasili Iosifovich wasn’t an angel; he was a drinker and married three times, so that gave his enemies many opportunities to fix on him many pejorative labels.

During the war, V I Stalin flew without a parachute, for he knew that in the event of failure, it’d be better to die than to be captured and to give the Germans a bargaining card like having another son of Stalin in captivity. He flew 26 combat missions and shot down two enemy aircraft. He wasn’t in combat long, because I V Stalin himself banned his flights when he found out that the Germans were actively hunting for his son. I V Stalin himself made him to resign as commander of the Moscow Military District aviation units, when Vasili Iosifovich showed up at a government reception drunk. Stalin’s son pulled other gaffes… his father sent him to study at the Frunze Academy, but Vasili Iosifovich defiantly didn’t attend classes and showed no interest in studying. The following year, I V Stalin died (or was killed). Vasili Iosifovich believed that his close entourage murdered his father, so he tried to pass this information to the Chinese, but state security arrested him.

Unlike his sister Svetlana, Vasili Iosifovich refused to cast aspersions at his father. Outside of official life, V I Stalin was a great promoter of sport. He formed all sorts of sport teams in the air force. V I Stalin’s son A V Burdonsky became a People’s Artist of the Russian Federation in 1996 for his activities as a theatre director.

21 March 2017

Rafik Timirgaliev

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Many of Those Condemned in the Trials of the 1930s WERE Guilty

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Some of the “best people”, that is, our intelligentsia, turned on the FSB’s director because he pointed up that some of the people convicted in the trials of the 1930s were actually guilty, as they wish to do nothing more than condemn what they call the “crimes” of the Bolshevik authorities. What he said was:

Although many say that this period saw a massive fabrication of charges, the archival material shows objective evidence in a large proportion of criminal cases, including famous “show” trials. That the group around Trotsky wanted to overthrow or even eliminate I V Stalin and his colleagues in the VKP (b) leadership wasn’t fiction, as were the ties of these conspirators with foreign intelligence services. In addition, many of the defendants in those trials were members of the nomenklatura and officers of the security organs long involved in corruption, arbitrariness, and official injustice.

https://www.rg.ru/2017/12/19/aleksandr-bortnikov-fsb-rossii-svobodna-ot-politicheskogo-vliianiia.html

Are you telling me that all the repressed Old Bolsheviks were innocent? On the other hand, is it just because a part of the intelligentsia sees these people as their historical predecessors, and is afraid of a similar verdict by the court of history and in the verdict of the people? In fact, the only true innocents were those few people who didn’t betray the tsar and their faith, who suffered for their allegiance to them. Many of the New Martyrs were amongst them. However, the collective sins of many Russian classes are obvious to me… as is the justice of the punishment that struck them. By the way, only Protestant rationalists, contrary to Scripture and Tradition, believe that sins can only be personal.

Was the peasantry, who seized land from the manors, perfectly innocent? Who was innocent amongst the clergy, who only protested when it affected their corporate interests… or, the aristocracy, many of whom donned red cockades… or, the Duma Deputies, industrialists, and party leaders who plotted against the tsar in wartime… or, the Red commanders who shot down their own people? The Lord God isn’t mocked. True is His justice. He metes out according to our just desserts. This isn’t just about the past.

24 December 2017

Vsevolod Chaplin

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Friday, 27 October 2017

Revisiting the 1917 October Revolution

Although it didn’t live up to all of its ideals, the world was a better place for the USSR. After all, the USA didn’t live up to all of its ideals, either…

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To some the October Revolution of 1917 in Russia still stands, a hundred years on, as the single most important emancipatory event in human history. For such people, it commands greater importance than the Reformation or the American and French Revolutions preceding it, in that it went further than religious or political emancipation to engender social emancipation; and with it, an end to the exploitation of man by man that describes the human condition fashioned under capitalism. Meanwhile, to its detractors, October ushered in a dark night of communist tyranny that, per Marx, profaned all that was holy and all that was solid melted into air. This rendering considered October, along with fascism, to have been part of a counter-Enlightenment impulse, one that arrived as the harbinger of a new dark age. However, the attempt to place communism and fascism in the same category is facile in the extreme; it fails the test of history. The real and historically accurate relationship between both of those world-historical ideologies is that fascism was responsible for starting the Holocaust, but communism (in the shape of the Soviet Red Army) ended it.

That Russia in 1917 was the least favourable country of any in Europe for socialist and communist transformation is indisputable. Marx averred in his works that the starting point of communism is when a society’s productive forces have developed and matured to the point where existing forms of property relations act as a brake on their continuing development. By then, the social and cultural development of the proletariat incubated a growing awareness of their position within the existing system of production, thereby effecting its metamorphosis from a class “in itself” to a class “for itself” and, with it, its role as the agent of social revolution and transformation. Marx wrote:

No social order ever perishes before all the productive forces for which there is room in it have developed; and new, higher relations of production never appear before the material conditions of their existence have matured in the womb of the old society itself.

The error in Marx’s analysis was that rather than emerge in the advanced capitalist economies of Western Europe, communism emerged on the periphery of the capitalist centres (Russia, China, and Cuba et al) under conditions, not of development or abundance, but under-development and scarcity. From a vantage of exile in Switzerland, Lenin saw with uncommon clarity how the First World War presented revolutionaries across Europe with a clear choice. They could either succumb to national chauvinism, fall into line behind their respective ruling classes, and support their respective countries’ war efforts, or they could use the opportunity to agitate among the workers of said countries for the war to be turned into a civil war in the cause of worldwide revolution. It was a choice separating the revolutionary wheat from its chaff, leading to the collapse of the Second International, as (with few exceptions) former giants of the international Marxist and revolutionary socialist movement succumbed to patriotism and war fever. Lenin observed:

The war came; the crisis was there. Instead of revolutionary tactics, most of the Social-Democratic [Marxist] parties launched reactionary tactics, went over to the side of their respective governments and bourgeoisie. This betrayal of socialism signifies the collapse of the Second (1889-1914) International; we must realise what caused this collapse, what brought social-chauvinism into being and gave it strength.

The ensuing chaos, carnage, and destruction wrought by four years of unparalleled conflict brought the so-called civilised world to the brink of collapse. The European continent’s ruling classes unleashed an orgy of bloodshed in the cause not of democracy or liberty, as the Entente powers fatuously claimed, but over the division of colonies in Africa and elsewhere in the undeveloped world. From the left, or at least a significant section of the international left, the analysis of October and its aftermath is coterminous with the deification of its two primary actors… Lenin and Trotsky… and the demonisation of Stalin, commonly depicted as a peripheral player who hijacked the revolution upon Lenin’s death, whereupon he embarked on a counter-revolutionary process to destroy its gains and aims. Isaac Deutscher wrote in the second volume of his magisterial three-part biography of Trotsky, The Prophet Unarmed:

The Bolsheviks were aware that only at the gravest peril to themselves and the revolution could they allow their adversaries to express themselves freely and to appeal to the Soviet electorate. An organised opposition could turn the chaos and discontent to its advantage even more easily because the Bolsheviks were unable to mobilise the energies of the working class. They refused to expose themselves and the revolution to this peril.

The harsh reality is that the cultural level of the country’s nascent and small proletariat, whose most advanced cadre perished in the Civil War, was too low for it to take the kind commanding role in the organisation and governance of the country Lenin had hoped and anticipated. He had to admit:

Our state apparatus is so deplorable, not to say wretched, that we must first think very carefully how to combat its defects, bearing in mind that these defects are rooted in the past, which, although it’s been overthrown, hasn’t yet been overcome, hasn’t yet reached the stage of a culture, that has receded into the distant past.

Stalin’s victory in the struggle for power within the leadership in the wake of Lenin’s death in 1924 was, if we believe conventional wisdom, due to his Machiavellian subversion and usurpation not only of the party’s collective organs of government but the very ideals and objectives of the revolution itself. However, this describes a reductive interpretation of the seismic events, both within and outside Russia, that were in train at this point. Despite Trotsky’s determination to hold onto the belief in the catalysing properties of October with regard to European and world revolution (which he shared with Lenin), by 1924 it was clear that the prospect of any such revolutionary outbreak in the advanced European economies was over, and that socialism in Russia would have to be built, per Bukharin, “on that material which exists”. Trotsky and Lenin’s faith in the European proletariat proved wrong, while Stalin’s scepticism in this regard proved justified. Returning to Isaac Deutscher:

After four years of Lenin’s and Trotsky’s leadership, the Politburo couldn’t view the prospects of world revolution without scepticism… Stalin wasn’t content with broad historical perspectives that seemed to provide no answer to burning, historical questions… extreme scepticism about world revolution and confidence in the reality of a long truce between Russia and the capitalist world were the twin premises of his [Stalin’s] “socialism in one country”.

The five-year plans introduced by Stalin, beginning in 1928, took place under conditions of absolute necessity in response to the gathering storms of war in the West. Stalin declared in 1931:

We’re fifty or a hundred years behind the advanced countries. We must make good this lag in ten years. Either we do it or they crush us.

When it comes to those who cite the human cost of October and its aftermath as evidence of its unadulterated evil, no serious student of the history of Western colonialism and imperialism could possibly argue its equivalence when weighed on the scales of human suffering. Here, Alain Badiou reminded us:

The huge colonial genocides and massacres, the millions of deaths in the civil and world wars through which our West forged its might, should be enough to discredit, even in the eyes of “philosophers” who extol their morality, the parliamentary regimes of Europe and America.

Ultimately, no revolution or revolutionary process ever achieves the ideals and vision embraced by its adherents at the outset. Revolutions advance and retreat under the weight of internal and external realities and contradictions until they arrive at a state of equilibrium that conforms to the limitations imposed by the particular cultural and economic constraints of the space and time in which they are made. Although Martin Luther advocated the crushing of the Peasants Revolt led by Thomas Munzer, can anyone gainsay Luther’s place as one of history’s great emancipators? Likewise, whilst the French Revolution ended not with liberty, equality, fraternity, but Napoleon, who can argue that at Waterloo the Corsican general’s Grande Armée fought for the cause of human progress against the dead weight of autocracy and aristocracy represented by Wellington? In a similar vein, Stalin’s socialism in one country and resulting five-year plans allowed the USSR to overcome the monster of fascism in the 1940s. This is why, in the last analysis, the fundamental metric of the 1917 October Revolution is the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942. Moreover, for that, whether it cares to acknowledge it or not, the world will forever be in its debt.

26 October 2017

John Wight

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201710261058554269-october-revolution-1917/

Saturday, 27 December 2014

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

01 Joseph Stalin Soviet Poster

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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

ITAR-TASS

http://itar-tass.com/en/opinions/769240

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