by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Can you imagine a “respectable” party in Germany putting up “Hitler centers” around the country?
And yet, as the Daily Telegraph’s James Kilner explains, that’s tantamount to what’s underway in Russia:
“Stalin centres” are popping up across Russia as Vladimir Putin tries to rehabilitate the reputation of the Soviet dictator.
The centres are being built in Russia’s biggest cities to reposition Joseph Stalin as “a great man of history” and boost support for Putin’s war in Ukraine.
In mid-December, at the opening of Russia’s second Stalin Centre in the city of Barnaul in Altai, Sergei Matasov, the regional Communist Party leader, credited Stalin with modernising the world during his 1924-53 rule over the Soviet Union.
“Stalin’s economy, Stalin’s politics, Stalin’s culture gave the whole world an impetus forward. Such a sharp, qualitative leap,” he said.
The Communist Party, an opposition party that works within parameters set by the Kremlin, opened its first Stalin Centre in 2023, near Nizhny Novgorod. Like the Barnaul project, it aims to inspire visitors with its collection of Stalin photos, speeches, busts and other trinkets.
The Kremlin is welcoming the renewed praise of Stalin. …
… According to an analysis carried out by the Tochka website, of the 110 monuments to Stalin currently in Russia, 37 were erected after Putin became president on New Year’s Eve 1999.
It is interesting to note how many monuments to Stalin were already standing before Putin took office. It is another reminder that the current direction of the Russian state, repressive at home and a threat to its neighbors, comes from more than the whim of one man. …
… Not only are monuments honoring Stalin being erected, others, commemorating his victims, are coming down. …
… Activists have accused local authorities of ripping off plaques to victims and destroying 22 monuments.