Monday, July 20, 2009

Fanatic Devotion to “Stalin=Putin” in Russia

As nationalism is growing in Russia, people crave for a strong leader. As shown in the video below, Al Jazeera reported the result of a recent poll on the greatest leaders in Russian history on December 13, 2008. According to the poll, No. 1 was Alexander Nevsky, Grand Prince of Novgorod and Vladimir in the 13th century. Nevsky was venerated as a saint of the Russian Orthodox Church because he defeated Roman Catholic invaders from Sweden and the German Order. The second was Peter the Great. The third, comes a controversial leader, Josef Stalin.

What makes Stalin so popular? A woman on the street of Moscow smiles gently, and replies in the interview that despite criticism to his brutalism, Russia needed Stalin to defeat Nazi and transform the nation into a superpower. Yet, critics, such as Masha Lipman, Editor of Pro et Contra journal of the Carnegie Moscow Center, argue that people miss that Stalin was a butcher and sent millions of people into labor camps.

Such devotion to Stalin is coincided with enthusiasm to current strongman in Russia, Vladimir Putin. In the following video of Aljazeera broadcasted on November 30, 2007, a military cadet applauses Putin as a Stalin in her own era. Putin renamed Volgograd into Stalingrad.

A British distributor of news and documentaries, called Journeyman Pictures, sheds lights on Stalin debates in current political context in Russia. Russian human rights activist Grigory Shvedov points out Putin and his Kremlin comrades make use of Stalin nostalgia to govern the narod. See this video by Journeyman Pictures on November 7, 2007.

In political anomies in Russia where money and capitalism dominates the society, the elderly and the young are increasingly getting infatuated with the legend of Josef Stalin.

Quite interestingly, Stalin replaced the Socialist Internationale of the Lenin era with new Soviet national anthem, and Putin restored it when he inaugurated the presidency from Boris Yeltsin. This song was originally composed to encourage Soviet soldiers fighting against Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War. Compared with the Internationale, it sounds too Russian, and is not a cosmopolitan labor union song of Workers of the world, unite. Whether Socialist Russia or Capitalist Russia, no other anthem is so nationalist as to repeat motherland, motherland, and motherland. I posted an article on Russian anthem in the past, and watch the video of the Internationale below. Listening both, you will understand how different they are.

Dictators capture the heart of narod as shown in the following videos. The Red Army Choir sings in the Stalin version lyrics in both Stalin and Putin videos (Commonly known Soviet anthem is the Brezhnev version lyrics, sung from 1977 to the collapse of the Union). Seeing "Stalin, a Great Leader!" video, I feel as if I were praying to St. Josef Stalin at the Russian Orthodox Church. I hope they will be of much help for you to understand “Putin=Stalin”.

Also, see pictures below. Yes, with only moustache and hair, Putin is completely Stalin!