Saturday, December 22, 2012

Red Flowers for Stalin's Birthday

Red flowers for Stalin’s birthday

Published: 21 December, 2012, 15:37

Communists across Russia are celebrating 133 years since the birth of one of the most influential leaders of the past century, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

Several hundred communists gathered on Moscow’s central Red Square to honor the memory of Stalin and lay flowers at his grave by the Kremlin wall. Tributes were led by the leader of the Communist Party Gennady Zyuganov with people carrying portraits of their idol along with red roses.

Various events to commemorate Stalin’s birthday have also been held on Friday in other Russian cities.

“The life of Joseph Stalin is an example of unselfish service to the people, the country and the party,” proclaimed senior KPRF member Andrey Zhidkov, addressing the crowd who gathered at Stalin’s bust in the city of Tambov. “[Stalin] left us a great state – the Soviet Union. Our task is to revive our socialist fatherland,” the party’s website cites him as saying.

Stalin came to power in a “semiliterate country with a wooden plow” and turned it into a “united and powerful state possessing nuclear weapon,” stated communist Yelena Razumkina. According to the North Ossetian lawmaker, “the epoch of Lenin and Stalin will remain the unsurpassed peak of state and political development in the world.”

Ironically, the date coincides with the “Mayan apocalypse.” But Communists are consistent materialists and do not believe in superstitions.

“The end of the world is a myth. The end of capitalism is a reality.” Stalin portraits with this slogan appeared on Friday in St Petersburg’s subway. The point of the action by young communist activists was to show their negative attitude to various prejudices, reports Rosbalt agency.

Meanwhile, opponents claim that thanks to Stalin ‘doomsday’ had already happened to the former Soviet Union.

“Millions of people felt what the end of the world is like: repressions, tortures, humiliation, destruction of churches and elimination of the clergy,” stated Yaroslav Nilov a Liberal-Democratic MP.

Almost 60 years after his death, the controversial Soviet leader still divides Russian society. While many consider Stalin a bloody tyrant, supporters continue to see him in a positive light saying he managed to bring order to the state.

Joseph Stalin is often credited with successful industrialization of the Soviet Union and the defeat of the Nazi Germany. Opponents argue that the price the USSR paid for that victory – over 25 million lives – was far too high. Millions more were slaughtered by the Stalin regime in Soviet political camps as “public enemies”. In fact, Stalin is often compared with Adolph Hitler and there is no definite answer as to who was worse.

Stalin (Dzugashvili) was born in the small town of Gori in Georgia. In his home country – which used to be part of the Soviet Union – the leader is still popular among some older people, while young people are more critical about his role in history. As years pass though memories of Stalin are fading away.

Now the leader’s name is used more like a tourist brand, writes Deutsche Welle. Foreigners visiting Georgia are keen to see Stalin’s museum in Gori, established back in the 1930s.

“There’s nothing wrong about that. A negative brand is also a brand.It’s sad when Georgia is associated with Stalin only,” political analyst Zurab Marshania. “But perhaps at least in this sense Stalin did something good for the country.”

On December 21, a small group of communists gathered in Stalin’s museum in his hometown to honor “the father of nations.” They are set to demand that his monument – dismantled three years ago – is restored.

Communists and several local NGOs have already collected about 6,000 signatures in support of the idea. The Gori mayor’s office promised the 6-meter bronze statue which stood in the town’s central square will be re-erected. The exact place will be decided by the public, reports Interfax.

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