The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)

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RUSSIAN ACADEMIC OUTRAGED BY EVENTS MARKING
ANNIVERSARY OF STALIN'S DEATH
  

"the 50th anniversary of Stalin's death sounds the alarm that Russian society has failed to grasp the essence of what was going on in Russia in the Stalin era."

 

MOSCOW. March 5, 2003 (Interfax) - Acamedician Alexander Yakovlev, who chairs the Presidential Commission for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Political Reprisals, is outraged by the scope of events to mark 50 years since Josef Stalin's death.

"The Russian mass media have been dancing around this figure for nearly five days. It's amazing! What this petty occasion deserves is just a line reading that the tyrant died 50 years ago," Yakovlev told Interfax on Wednesday.

"The worst thing is that Stalin is being pictured as a martyr who was probably poisoned, or probably strangled, now it turns out he was a good guy who smiled at kids and gave them sweets," he said.

"It's a shame! This man signed a decree which said that children can be executed from the age of 12. He eliminated all of his relatives and all of his comrades-in-arms who were unfortunate enough to learn what they should not have. This man destroyed the peasantry, the nobility and Russian culture as a whole. Are we as Russians so oblivious?" Yakovlev said.

He said that about 32 million people fell victim to political reprisals in the country, including 13 million during the civil war. Including unborn children, the peoples of the former Soviet Union have lost over 100 million lives since 1917," he said.

Recalling Stalin's reprisals, Yakovlev said that after the Great Patriotic War [WWII], 1.8 million prisoners of fascist concentration camps, upon their return to Russia, were thrown into GULAG camps on charges of high treason. Many of them died.

"Disregarding all of this, we are commemorating Stalin with his restored portraits, which have nothing to do with his actual appearance. If the same hullabaloo had been staged in Germany over Hitler, a countless number of court actions would have followed," Yakovlev said.

Yan Rachinsky, a representative of the Memorial international human rights center, said that "the 50th anniversary of Stalin's death sounds the alarm that Russian society has failed to grasp the essence of what was going on in Russia in the Stalin era."

Many archives are still closed to researchers, while accounts by historians who assess the Stalin era objectively are rarely published.

In contrast, the go-ahead has been given to materials praising the "leader of all times and nations," and the ideology of the 1930s and 1950s is actually been reproduced. "Assertions that Stalin's rule was useful to Russia and the Russian people are perceived calmly and sometimes with applause," Rachinsky said.

"Moreover, even some of those who went through GULAG still believe that "the leader" did not know anything about massive reprisals, although it has been established that he personally signed the lists of citizens to be executed," he said.

He added that a shortage of objective information about the Stalin era does not allow society to understand its tragic essence to this day.


EDITOR: Are there any alarms Ukrainian society has failed to grasp the essence of what was going on in the Soviet Union and in Ukraine in the Stalin era?
 
 

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