Skip to comments.Stalin's purge 1937 remembered in Russia
Posted on 07/25/2007 12:08:59 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
Now in their 70s and 80s, children of the victims of Josef Stalin's political repressions remembered one of the darkest pages of Russia's history at a ceremony Wednesday in central Moscow.
Several hundred people laid flowers and lit candles to honor the victims of the Great Purge of 1937, when millions were labeled "enemies of the state" and executed without trial or sent to labor camps.
The 70th anniversary comes as the Kremlin, focused on restoring Russians' pride in their Soviet-era history, has been trying to soften public perception of Stalin's rule and hushing up the full horror of his crimes.
"Those who call for that are those who have never experienced themselves the hunger, cold and humiliation that we had to go through," said Irina Kalina, 79, who was among those gathered on a square outside what was once KGB headquarters and is now the headquarters of its successor agency, the FSB.
She held several red carnations and a framed photograph of her father, Ignaty Kalina, who was serving as foreign minister of the Belarus Soviet republic when he was arrested in 1938 and accused of being a spy. He died in jail several months later. Kalina was sent to a labor camp in Kazakhstan for five years.
President Vladimir Putin said last month that although the 1937 purge was one of the most notorious episodes of the Stalin era, no one should try to make Russia feel guilty about it because "in other countries even worse things happened."
Putin, who was speaking to a gathering of history teachers, suggested the United States' use of atomic weapons against Japan at the end of World War II was worse.
The government in recent years has tried to control how history is taught, publishing Kremlin-approved textbooks and getting rid of those that deviate from the new official line. In 2003, authorities banned a history text that was critical of Stalin's tyrannical rule and included an assignment to ask students to discuss whether Putin could be considered an autocrat.
"Our authorities in many respects are going back to the norms of Soviet times," said historian Nikita Sokolov. "For them history ... is a tool for bringing up a patriotic citizen, someone who is ready to love this government at any price."
He said there are various history textbooks currently in use, including some that give a frank assessment of Stalin's rule, but "everything depends on how teachers interpret them."
"They are getting new signals these days: Stalin is now being excused and elevated, and they will not go against the official line," said Sokolov, who co-authored a book about various ways to interpret the past.
Political arrests on dubious charges were common throughout Stalin's rule, resulting in the execution of hundreds of thousands of Russians. Millions more became inmates of the gulag, the system of thousands of slave labor camps.
Large-scale arrests of Communist Party members began in 1934 and seemed to reach a crescendo in 1936-37, when a series of show trials was held in Moscow featuring dramatic courtroom confessions.
Russia has never sought to bring to justice KGB officials implicated in human rights abuses committed during the Communist era. Putin, a proud alumnus of the KGB, headed the FSB in the late 1990s.
“President Vladimir Putin said last month that although the 1937 purge was one of the most notorious episodes of the Stalin era, no one should try to make Russia feel guilty about it because “in other countries even worse things happened.””
I didn’t know Pooty Pute was a history teacher.
Maybe Putin should just take the Kerry approach: It didn’t happen.
They weren’t his fellow Russians any more than the rest of the barnyard animals had anything in common with the “superior” pigs in Animal Farm.
Putin: Vietnam worse than Stalin purges - "We have not used nuclear weapons against a civilian population, ...We have not sprayed thousands of kilometers with chemicals, dropped on a small country seven times more bombs than in all the Great Patriotic War."
How could anyone say anything bad about Uncle Joe? Our greatest president ever said thought he was a good man, so that’s good enough for me!
"At least he never put female panties on a person's head like we did at Abu Gharib."
Quotation from an unknown freeper.
He's right. As well as the USSR, there were democides in Cuba, greater Nazi Germany, Kampuchea/Cambodia, newly-conquered South Vietnam and of course China. What was the common thread between all these countries? Answer: Socialism. There were democides by the Turks as well, but Islam is a piker compared with the real killer of the 20th Century.
Hey it was for the common good!
Another thing you would never read about in the New York Times.
They say it like it's a bad thing!
Hitler admired Stalin’s mass murder of communists, saying, “Stalin has killed more communists than I ever could.”
BTW, Stalin wasn’t Russian, he was Georgian.
‘trying to soften public perception of Stalin’s rule’
Talk about putting lipstick on a pig!
So I guess Stalin was at war with his own people.
Basically that is what Putin is saying when he compares acts the US committed while at war against a hostile foe to Stalins atrocities against his own people.
Stalin must have been at war with the Soviet State of the Ukraine when he forcibly removed the grain harvest of the Ukraine which caused the slow painful mass starvation of uncounted millions of Ukrainians.
So Putin suggests that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is somehow on the same level as the purges and mass murders of the Stalin era?
Unbelievable. Putin wants to have a pissing contest among countries regarding who committed worse atrocities????
But they sure as hell raped a lot of German Frauleins on their march to Berlin.
They remember in Russia, but it’s down the memory hole on U.S. campuses.
If Stalin got the bomb first Germany would have been glass.
Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, razed to the ground - 150.000 dead - 300.000 refugees.
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