Eesti Elu
Stalinization, de-Stalinization, what’s it to be? (X) (2)
Ajalugu 27 Sep 2013 EL (Estonian Life)Eesti Elu
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Stalinization, de-Stalinization, what’s it to be? (X)

Laas Leivat

Putin’s and Stalin’s reigns have been often compared. Stalin has been generally depicted in the West as one of the most despotic leaders in the world. At the same time he is also associated with crafty political skills, especially in ridding himself of his close colleagues whom he suspected of being his most dangerous political rivals.

However while wily politically, he only used primitive methods in maintaining power. To elicit confessions from innocent defendants at show trials he used the most elemental torture techniques. Physical and psychological coercion were the solutions to all of his problems. He is attributed with the aphorism that said. “to eliminate the problem it is necessary to eliminate the individual who creates it”.

Although less harsh than Stalin, Putin’s regime is said to be just as autocratic as Stalin’s. It has consistently eliminated any feasible political competition, built a fawning timidity amongst parliamentarians, demanded obedience from judicial authorities, controlled large media outlets, encouraged xenophobic nationalism in propaganda, and rigged elections.

While Putin’s respect for Stalin is widely recognized, he has outright denied in public forums that there is any element of Stalin’s approach in his government. While the widely-read neo-conservative journal “The National Interest” is known not to be pro-Putin, it has some serious reservations about labeling the Russian’s president’s regime as Stalinist as seen by its contributor Dimitri A. Simes.

He states that “Ever since Vladimir Putin was sworn in for the third term as President of Russia, numerous academics, journalists and politicians have been pressuring the U.S. government to view modern day Russia as the second incarnation of the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin. It’s a dangerous trend that should be resisted”.

“The National Interest” points out that Stalin is responsible for having some sixty million people killed. But there’s no evidence that Putin has done anything similar nor has been accused of it. Stalin forbade any political opposition, with opponents being executed or sent to slave labour camps. Putin allows numerous opposition groupings and publications to exist, albeit not without intimidation. Owners of bookstores with sections dedicated to anti-government literature fear no reprisals. The government owned TV channel ‘Rossiya 1’ has often allowed outspoken opponents of Putin to voice their uncensored opinions on popular discussion panels. [It must be stated that the Russian State television adheres to a strictly pro-government stance and Putin uses quasi-judicial and administrative mechanisms to hinder any political opposition to develop into feasible political alternatives. Ed.]

(Loe edasi Eesti Elu 27. sept. paberlehest)
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