Photo: Sergey Ponomarev / AP Photo
It looks like Stalin is making a comeback of sorts.At least, the former dictator’s cult of personality is.
Russia is heading for parliamentary elections next month, and the leaders of Russia’s Communist party are using Stalin’s image on election poster to drum up votes.
Recently, billboards in Russia’s Far East displayed the old Soviet hammer-and-sickle emblem, the slogan “time to change the power,” and a portrait of Stalin, the Soviet leader who ruled with terror from 1922 to his death in 1953.
Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov said last week that “Under Stalin, we lived 30 years without corruption. This is our history. You should know and respect the history, young man.”
Zyuganov has led Russia’s Communist Party since the early 1990s and came close to winning the 1996 presidency with 32 per cent of votes against Boris Yeltsin’s 35 per cent.
One of the greatest tyrants in history, Stalin killed an estimated 20 million people. His programs of forced industrialisation, collectivization of farms, purges and mass executions has set the standard for evil totalitarianism.
This doesn’t bother Russia’s Communists, who have placed statues of Stalin around Russia. Today Russia is a highly corrupt country with massive wealth inequality, which has left many Russians nostalgic for the old Soviet days.
There are other signs of Stalin’s image returning to the public square. According to the Wall Street Journal, “a number of television documentaries, films and books praise the dictator and a new history school book minimizes his crimes and declared him the greatest leader of the 20th century.”
Officially, the Russian government remains mum on the issue of Stalin’s crimes. In fact, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has praised Stalin as an efficient leader who turned the Soviet Union into a superpower.
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