In late August a stone was unveiled at the Kurskaya Circle Line Metro Station in Moscow. It carries the words: "Stalin brought us up 's to be true to the people. He inspired us to labour and to heroism!" The words are from Sergei Mikhalkov's version of the national anthem, and were removed after Stalin was denounced back in 1956. They have been reinstated, and if anybody should think that this is merely aimed at adding historical authenticity, I would politely recommend considering how they would react if similar words appear in the Berlin metro glorifying Hitler. For many of us, whose relatives were murdered by Stalin's regime, glorification of the dictator is deeply offensive. It also reflects a profoundly disturbing development in the country.
The persistent attempts by Russia's leaders to accuse neighboring countries of "rehabilitating Nazism," to shout about an alleged denial of the Soviet role in defeating Hitler, as well as the creation of a History Commission to fight "falsification of history," are not only a defensive response to anniversaries of Stalin's initial pact with Hitler. The tendency to whitewash Stalin, present him as an "effective manager" and avoid or try to somehow minimize the millions of victims of the Terror, Holodomor, collectivization, deportations and the labor camps has been gathering momentum for a few years. It reached school textbooks in 2007, and it is important to note that the quite extraordinary mangling of history by at least one representative of the History Commission, Natalya Narochnitskaya, is echoed in the version of history fed children in Fillipov's guide to teachers of history.
It is not clear whether Moscow's Mayor Yury Luzkhov was involved in this latest shameful demonstration of moral atrophy and profound disrespect for the victims of Stalinism and their families. He can, however, and must be made to understand that the ode to a murderous butcher must be removed.
Kharkiv Human Rights Group