We have previously discussed the disturbing fondness of some Russians for the memory of Josef Stalin — one of history’s greatest tyrants. Villagers in Georgia have taken that hero worship a step further by storing a statue commemorating Josef Stalin in his (appropriately named) birth town of Gori and are planning a monument to the dictator. Activities celebrating the “happier times” under Stalin ignore the hundreds of thousands of Russians, particularly intelligentsia, killed under this orders and the millions lost due to this policies. Gori however appears happy to have its favorite son in the tyrant’s chair. The story this month truly filled me with disgust and it was particularly poignant that these Georgians would use the Christmas season to honor one of history’s mass murderers.
To his credit, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili had denounced statues of Stalin and worked for their removal. However, the party of billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili has risen in popularity and Ivanishvili has called for closer ties to Russia. Even the Russian Duma recently admitted Stalin’s responsibility for the infamous Katyn Massacre.
Reports quote locals as praising the prosperity under Stalin for the town, ignoring that such prosperity came as a result of bloody crackdown and repression. We have previously discussed the effort of some to rehabilitate the reputation of Stalin, including a ridiculous defamation action.
It is more than just historical ignorance that motivates these efforts. It is a willful blindness to the blood soaked legacy of this truly evil man.