BOR, Russia – Few dozen people surround the new monument of Josef Stalin in a provincial town in central Russia.
As local TV news cameras flock to admirers of the late Soviet dictator and organizers, the organizers laid concrete foundations to mark what would become the Stalin Center, the museum and the educational center it led. Offers a positive perspective of the Kula creators and Russian architect of mass repression of the middle of the 20th century.
“Stalin is the best master. He won the war and built the country out of ruins, ”Alexey Sorov, 44, a local businessman who supports the new center opened on May 8, told NBC News.
The public rejuvenation of Stalin̵7;s image reflects the social and political tensions on the island of Russia in recent months. For some, the memories of Stalin convey an era of national grandeur, and President Vladimir Putin promotes Stalin’s image to deflect criticism of being. His own leader as he grapples with declining approval ratings, a sluggish economy and allegations of corruption.
However, for others, Stalin represented an era of fear and suppression that seemed too familiar in today’s Russia. Putin’s government has fiercely cracked down on pro-democracy protesters as thousands of people take to the streets to support the detained opposition leader Alexei Nawalni.
Zorov was 18 when he joined the Communist Party, which still has strong support from local residents. The Stalin Center will warn government officials that “they are fighting the highest level of corruption,” he said.
Under Stalin’s rule, about 1.7 million Soviet citizens were driven from their homes and taken to forced labor camps, about 690,000 people were executed. In recent years, statues have been made across the country to celebrate the man as a national hero who defeated the Nazis and took control of the modern era.
A poll conducted by the Levada Center, an independent survey organization based in Moscow, showed that about 70 percent of Russians agreed with Stalin and his policies.
This shocked some Russians.
“I spent my life destroying Stalin’s dictatorship that killed hundreds of thousands of people, the backbone of the Russian elite,” said Valle Riemorschev, a former dissident of Stalin. The Soviet Union, now a human rights activist for Russia’s human rights organization Moscow Helsinki, said.
In support of Stalin’s image as a Russian hero, Borschev, however, said Putin, a veteran member of the KGB, a former secret police and intelligence service of Russia, and serving as director of the FSB’s succession agency, was “ not working. ” Worked to restore the image of the KGB and reduce criticism of his own repression of political dissidents.
“Putin was a practitioner. He knew Stalin was the executioner. But now he needs him to save his political career, ”Borschev said.
Such efforts extend beyond Stalin. In Moscow, government prosecutors recently announced that the dismantling of the monument to Soviet intelligence chief Felix Darzinsky was illegal. The statue was in front of the FSB headquarters on Lubyanka Square, but was pulled down in 1991.It may now be resurrected where it used to stand.
For Putin’s opponents, the memorial in an era of brutal repression and mass surveillance symbolizes the dangers and sanctioned violence they face today.
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In recent weeks, police have raided the offices and homes of Navalny supporters.
Four editors of the Moscow student newspaper DOXA are serving up to three years in prison for “inciting” minors to anti-government protests that took place in more than 100 Russian cities last winter.
Some organizers of the professional rally Nawalny have fled the country, while others still in Russia are facing prosecution.
Moscow prosecutors also sought to dissolve Navalny’s non-governmental group under anti-radical law. And Navalni, who was in prison, made a three-week hunger strike that brought him near death, his doctor said.
In Bor, 26-year-old lawyer Oleg Rodin is head of the local branch of Yabloko, the only liberal party registered in Russia. He said current political dissidents are going through a difficult time in the face of repression and restoration.Stalin has stressed the need for Putin’s opponents to run for office. Self, Rodin said he was planning to run for the Duma in September.
“The return of Stalinism was terrifying,” he said, but most of the Stalinists were older, he said, and were the younger generation who represented “the future of Russia”.
However, while Putin may advocate for the restoration of Stalin’s image to increase his own leadership support, some current Stalin supporters have also openly criticized Putin.
In Bohr, as flags depicting Stalin’s bearded face fluttering in the wind, speakers at the Stalin Center’s remembrance mock the current Kremlin for being weak and surrender to Russia’s enemies by showing Recognize Putin’s tough foreign policy not enough to confront Western powers and criticize him for The economic hardships of the country today
Putin is a “acrobatic performer” who tries to please conservative voters while expressing sympathy for his predecessor, Albert Karakanyan, a local anarchist activist. Boris Yeltsin oversaw Russia’s transition from communism after the collapse of the Soviet Union, he added.
“Our growing economic growth is a shame! Our population has shrunk by 670,000 in the last year. Five thousand businesses have shut down in our region, ”said Vladislav Yegorov, the first secretary-general of the local branch of the Communist Party. Russia’s oil-dependent economy went into recession during the COVID-19 outbreak last year and millions of Russians fell below the poverty line.
Yegorov also cited how Russia was little on the international stage. “They fired us from Prague,” he said, referring to the Czech Republic’s latest decision to deport dozens of Russian diplomats. Intelligence reports that the Kremlin was behind the deadly explosion at the Czech ammunition in 2014, “Stalin will not allow this.”
“Stalin, wake up!” Shouted an old man in the crowd, as if speaking to a statue.
Zorov, the center’s supporter, was equally important. “Putin failed,” he told NBC News. All they can do is rob people. ”
In today’s Russian political climate, such criticisms of Putin often lead to arrests. But at the inauguration of the Stalin Center, the only man in custody was local liberal opposition activist Andre Sorokin, who demonstrated protests at the event holding placards pointing out the atrocities of Stroud. Looks
“Only a moral fanatic can worship a monster like this,” Banner reads.
Sorochkin was later released after a brief interrogation, marking the 10th time he has been in custody in the past few years, he said.
To him, the connection between the present period and the earlier era of political repression is unmistakable.
“Police have put all protesters in prison for reposting them on social media,” and Russian authorities now banned Nawalni’s movement as extremist, he said.
Even without a statue that glorified Stalin But he felt as though the famous leader had returned. Under Putin, he said it was as if he were witnessing the “reincarnation of a bloodthirsty dictator”.