Take the 2-minute tour ×
History Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for historians and history buffs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

migrated from comments http://history.stackexchange.com/a/1710/682

To what extent is Stalin still loved and/or respected by Russians (and for extra points former USSR states)

while articles like these

  1. news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7802485.stm
  2. news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7802485.stm

indicate there is a large proportion of the populace who still respect (if not actively adore) him however this article (in russian) indicates the voting was tampered with.

Are there any other studies that indicate weak or strong support for Stalin?

share|improve this question
    
Could you please try to modify this question so that it can be answered more concretely? We do not want to have questions that invite or require speculation for answers. StackExchange is about finding clear and concise answers, not opening dialogue or inviting debate. –  Steven Drennon Apr 9 '12 at 17:34
    
I just came up with a news story that relates to this: boston.com/news/world/europe/articles/2012/04/09/… –  MichaelF Apr 9 '12 at 17:40
1  
@StevenDrennon I'm struggling to make the question more concise, can you suggest any changes? –  Ben Neill Apr 11 '12 at 4:18
1  
@BenNeill - I would suggest something like this: "What sources or documentation exists to indicate Stalin's level of popularity in Russia today?" The whole point is to make sure it can be answered clearly. When you ask "why", it becomes too subjective, and we can't allow those types to remain. To a certaine extent, you have already answered the question by providing links, but others might contribute more. Each person has to come to their own conclusions, but by providing sources, we can help them do so. –  Steven Drennon Apr 11 '12 at 13:47
1  
@Anixx I think his point is it allows too much scope for speculation, at least in the context of this question. Excellent answer by the way. –  Ben Neill Apr 13 '12 at 0:24

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I think Stalin is quite popular in Russia. It would be quite surprising if Stalin was not that popular. The popularity of Stalin today may be even greater than it was in 1970s and 1980s. There are multiple reasons.

  • First of all, Stalin is credited for winning the Great Patriotic War, the most bloody war in human history and the history of Russia. Many people are aware that should the USSR fail, the majority of the population would be exterminated. I think this alone is quite sufficient.

  • The Stalin's rule was marked with the height of Russia's power and worldwide influence, including the largest and the most powerful army in the world (and in the whole history up to this day), the creation of socialist system, the founding of the United Nations.

  • Stalin is often perceived as a good diplomat that could conduct successful negotiations with even ideological enemies as opposed to the latter leaders who either conceded positions without compensation "for friendship" or openly and dangerously conflicted. In this light very often excerpts from Churchill's memoirs praising Stalin are cited as a proof that even rivals respected him.

  • The Stalin's era is marked with serious scientific and cultural achievements. The rate of economic growth in the pre-war USSR was greater than elsewhere in the world, including the modern China. This is positively contrasted with the epoch of Brezhnev's stagnation. He is credited for creating the Russian atomic bomb, aviation, the exploration of the Arctic, building Moscow metro. Russian cinematography, music and architecture also achieved heights under Stalin.

  • Stalin is often compared to the previous and later leaders. He is remembered for constantly decreasing prices after the war compared to the later Soviet periods when the prices often were rising. The quality of production under Stalin was much greater than in the later times, especially under Khrushchev when quantity was emphasized. This includes the food quality and house building. Stalin-era buildings in Moscow are currently priced much greater than those from post-Stalin epoch in retail market. Stalin-era ornate metro station design is remarkably different from purely functional deign of Khrushchev's

  • Stalin is often claimed to take necessary measures to strengthen the state internally and prevent its breakup. In this light the repressions are viewed as a positive preventive measures. This is often compared to the negative processes that surfaced after Krushchev's and Gorbachev's liberalizations that eventually led to the breakup of the USSR.

It should be noted that Stalin is often praised not only by Communists but also by various nationalists and monarchists who perceive Stalin as a kind of strong and just "Tsar". The monarchists for example, frequently believe that Stalin was in fact Orthodox Cristian and sought to protect the church. This is based on the fact of the war-time reconciliation with the church by the Stalin's government to appeal to the patriotic feelings o the population. They also sometimes praise Stalin for purging the leadership of the party of Jews who are considered unpatriotic and anti-Russian. They often oppose him to revolutionary destructors, which they allege were at power before him.

It should be also noted that the popularity of Stalin rose considerably in post-Soviet years compared to that of the late USSR along with popular anti-Americanism due to evident crude influence of the USA and the West in Russian politics that detrimented the wealth of the people and strength of the state.

===

In this video a Russian philosopher and politologist Alexander Dugin explains his point of view on the reasons of popularity of Stalin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URDsT6HXRhQ . In short his point of view is that Stalin is an image, archetype of a father of nation that is imbeeded in Russian mentality irrespective of what actually was historical Stalin and that this archetype is a constant to Russia. He claims that the people want a leader under which the elites will suffer and fear, and Stalin is exactly such leader. He also claims that the popularity of Stalin rises due to comparison with modern leaders.

===

P.S. I missed to mention two more serious reasons why Stalin may be popular today based on modern politics.

  • The first one is that the anti-Russian apartheid regimes in the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) and Ukrainian anti-Russian neo-Nazis use attacks on Stalin as a means to justify anti-Russian legislation. If you are against ban on Russian language, you are Stalinist, if you are for equal rights for Russians, you are Stalinist, if you disagree that Stalin was worse than Hitler, you are Stalinist, if you dislike the yearly SS veterans parades, you are Stalinist, if you disagree that anti-Hitler war veterans should be stripped of any pension, you are Stalinist, if you do not support territorial claims to Russia and demands for financial compensation, you are Stalinist. Russians are well aware of this and perceive that if their enemies do not like Stalin, they should do something the opposite.

  • The fact that the politicians who support many unpopular measures such enforcement of copyright laws and joining controversial international agreements such as ACTA, cooperation with NATO and support for the US foreign policy, easing the anti-corruption laws and de-crimilalization of bribery often at the same time propose anti-Stalinist measures. For example, the recent "presidential commission for de-Stalinization" that was instituted in 2011, is headed by Michail Fedotov, who at the same time the chairman of the Russian Copyright Society, analog of the US RIAA.

share|improve this answer
2  
+1. I don't agree with a lot of the reasoning, but its a great perspective to have here. –  T.E.D. Apr 9 '12 at 13:40

Pretty much everyone in Russia knows Stalin because history is a mandatory subject in school, and it is being taught from 5th grade all the way up through the 11th.

There are many reasons for him still being known in the country.

GOOD

  1. He was the commander-in-chief during the Great Patriotic War (that how Russia calls World War II, the part between June 22, 1941 and May 9, 1945). His leadership led USSR to victory over Japan and fascist Germany.

  2. His leadership led to USSR restoring what was destroyed during WWII. Also, his leadership gave USSR the economic boost such that the country transformed into an industrial economy.

  3. During his time in power USSR created the nuclear weapons, made other significant advances in sciences, laid the foundation for sending men to space.

  4. Stalin's leadership laid the foundation for the countries of the so-called "socialist camp," such as Bulgaria, Hungary, Cuba, and so on. USSR was helping those countries a lot.

  5. Probably the most important reason why Stalin is popular among the folks who lived during his time is that while he was at power, the prices for the basic products (such as bread, butter, and so on) actually decreased.

  6. He turned USSR into a "superpower," bringing other countries' respect.

  7. No corruption (no big-scale corruption).

  8. In the pre-WWII decade GNP grew multiple times. Some think that the numbers may be inflated, but nevertheless, before WWII USSR was one of the several countries in the world, which could manufacture everything.

  9. Low charges for utilities, public transpotation.

  10. Literacy of nearly 100% of population.

  11. Same rights for women as for men.

  12. Free apartments (for factory workers).

  13. Low crime rate.

NOT SO GOOD

  1. He is known for massive executions of people in USSR. Some families know him because their relatives were either executed or had to spend years in GULag .

  2. He is known for executing some of the best Soviet military commanders right before the WWII.

  3. He is known for many mysteries surrounding his time at power and his private life. There is still no 100% assurance in whether he died on his own or was poisoned (or else).

  4. All the economic achievements cost lives of people who suffered extreme conditions while getting the job done.

To sum up, Stalin's popularity is due to the fact that no actions of the current leaders are even close to compare with Stalin's measures to make the population happy.

share|improve this answer
    
I am more looking at reasons for his continued popularity within Russia rather than the reason people know about him. Is the curriculum pro-stalin for example? –  Ben Neill Apr 8 '12 at 6:03
    
I added more details and updated the question per your request (the edit in the question will be seen once peer-reviewed). –  Eugene Apr 8 '12 at 7:37
1  
I downvoted this answer because it seems to not explain why he is popular (for example it lists some negative activities of Stalin, which is irrelevant). –  Anixx Apr 9 '12 at 7:54
    
@Anixx I expanded the answer. Negative information about the leader makes him/her nonetheless popular. Remember Hitler? –  Eugene Apr 9 '12 at 9:11
1  
I think Hitler is popular with those who perceive negative information about him as somewhat positive. –  Anixx Apr 9 '12 at 10:22

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.