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Archive for February 12th, 2022

Russia’s New Cathedral of Russian Armed Forces Removed Josef Stalin’s Mosaic

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on February 12, 2022

አዲሱ የሩሲያ ጦር ኃይሎች ካቴድራል የጆሴፍ ስታሊን ሞዛይክን አስወገደ። በሌላ በኩል ግን የስታሊን ርዝራዦች ታሪክን ከልሰው በመጻፍ ጨፍጫፊውን ስታሊንን በድጋሚ በማምለክ ላይ እና የቀድሞዋ ሶቪየት ኅብረት ሐውልቶችን ከማፍረስ ርቀው ለስታሊን አዲስ ሐውልቶችን በተለያዩ ከተሞች በማቆም ላይ ናቸው።

በቀጣዩ ግሩም ጽሁፍ አትኩሮቴን የሳቡት፤ ‘ታሪክ ከላሾች’ ለአምልኮ ስታሊን የሚሰጧቸውን ሰበባ ሰበቦች የያዙት ቃላት ናቸው፤ ጽሁፉ እንዲህ ይላል፦

Stalin is portrayed as a strong and just leader who often intervened on behalf of the “common people” and even saved them from injustice. In one such post (link in Russian) the author describes how Stalin stepped in to help the starving peasants.

“ስታሊን ብዙ ጊዜ “ተራውን ሕዝብ” ወክሎ ጣልቃ የገባ እና ከግፍ ያዳነው እንደ ጠንካራ እና ፍትሃዊ መሪ ሆኖ ነው የሚቀርበው። በእንደዚህ ዓይነት ልጥፍ (በሩሲያኛ አገናኝ) ታሪክ ከላሹ ደራሲ ስታሊን የተራቡትን ገበሬዎች ለመርዳት እንዴት እንደገባ ይገልፃል።”

ቴዲ ‘ርዕዮት’ ከሕወሓት አባሉ ከ አቶ ቢንያም ተወልድ ጋር ባደረገው ቃለ ምልልስ ላይ አቶ ተወልደ፤ “ሕወሓት ለተራበው ገበሬ ምግብ ስለሚያደርስ በተራው ሕዝብ ዘንድ ተወዳጅ ነው።” የሚለው ዓረፍተ ነገር ከዚህ ከስታሊናውያን ታሪክ ከላሾች ቅስቀሳ ጋር ነው ያያዝኩት። (ቪዲዮው ላይ ከ 58:40 ደቂቃ ላይ ይሰማል) በ ‘TDF’ ፈንታ ‘ሕወሓት’ ማለቱን እናስምርበት።

ታዲያ ወዲያው እራሴን የጠየቅኩት፤ ሕወሓት ከፋሺስቱ ኦሮሞ አገዛዝ ጋር ረሃብን እንደ መሳሪያ/ ጦር መሳሪያ እየተጠቀመበት ነውን?” የሚለውን ጥያቄ ነው። ታዲያ ሕወሓቶች አሁን የምግብ እርዳታውን ለምርጫ ወይም ለሬፈረንደም ይገለገሉበት ይሆን? ከፍተኛ ችግር እና ሰቆቃ ላይ ስላለ አማራጭ ያጣውን ሕዝብ ትግራይ እንድትገነጠል ድምጽህን ስጥ፣ ይህን የሉሲፈርን/ቻይናን ባንዲራ አውለብልብ፣ ከዓብያተ ክርስቲያናቱ እና ገዳማቱ ላይ ጽዮናዊውን የኢትዮጳያ አረንጓዴ ቢጫ ቀይ ቀለማት የምትቀይሯቸው ከሆነ ብቻ ነው ምግብና መድኃኒት የምንሰጣችሁወዘተበማለት ስታሊናዊ/አልባኒያዊ ሕልማቸውን በሥራ ላይ ያውሉት ይሆንን?

🔥 “ችግር – ምላሽ – መፍትሔ / “Problem – Reaction – Solution”🔥

ችግሩን (ጦርነት + ረሃብ + በሽታ) ፈጥረውብናል፤ ለዓመት ያህል በባንዲራ እያጀቡ ህሉንም ነገር አስተዋውቀዋል፤ አሁን ምላሽ እየሰጡ ነው፤ መፍትሔው፤ “የክርስቶስ ተቃዋሚውን ተቀበሉ፤ ሃይማኖቱን፣ ባሕሉን፣ ቋንቋውን፣ ኤኮኖሚውን፣ ምግቡን፣ ክትባቱን ወዘተ

💭እስላማዊቷን የኦሮሚያ ኤሚራት ለመመስረት የትግራይ ሕዝብ መስዋዕት እንዲከፍል እየተደረገ ነውን?

ግራኝ አህመድና ዶ/ር ደብረ ጽዮን ደሙን ለዋቄዮአላህሉሲፈር እያስገበሩት ነውን?

ላለፉት መቶ ሠላሳ ዓመታት እነዚህ መናፍቃን እና የኦሮሙማው ዘንዶ ተልዕኮ ተዋሕዶ ክርስቲያን ሰሜኑን በደረጃ አዳክሞ ማጥፋት እንደሆነ ዛሬ ብዙዎች እየገባቸው መጥቷል የሚል እምነት አለኝ። በተለይ በኤርትራ ተጋሩዎች ላይ የፈጸሙትን ዓይነት ኢትዮጵያን የመንጠቂያ ዘይቤ በትግራይ ተጋሩዎች ላይ በተለይ ባለፉት አሥር ወራት በመጠቀም ላይ ናቸው። የአህዛብ መናፍቃኑ ዋና ሉሲፈራዊ የጥቃት ዓላማ፤ ተጋሩ ኢትዮጵያውያን በሂደት ከኢትዮጵያዊነታቸው፣ ከሰንደቃቸው እና ከግዕዝ ቋንቋቸው እንዲነጠሉ ማድረግ፤ ይህ ከተሳካላቸው ተዋሕዶ ሃይማኖታቸውን በጨረር፣ በኬሚካል፣ በተበከሉ የእርዳታ ምግቦችና በሜዲያ ቅስቀሳዎች በቀላሉ እንዲተው ማድረግ ይቻላል የሚል እምነት አላቸው። በኤርትራም ላለፉት ሰላሳ ዓመታት የታየው ይህ ነው(ከምኒልክ ዲያብሎሳዊ ወንድማማቾችን የመከፋፈል ሤራ እስከ ኃይለ ሥላሴ የእንግሊዝ ተዋጊ አውሮፕላኖች ቦምብ ድብደባ እና ረሃብ እስከ ትግራይ እንዲሁም የአሜሪካ ቃኛው ጣቢያ በኤርትራ፣ የመንገስቱ ኃይለ ማርያም እና ግራኝ አብዮት አህመድ ሤራ ድረስ)። በዛሬዋ ኤርትራ ከመቶ ሰላሳ ዓመታት በፊት የተከሉትን ችግኝ ዛሬ ጎንደር አካባቢ በሰፈሩ መናፍቃን ኦሮማራዎች አማካኝነት ወደ ትግራይ በማስገባት ላይ ናቸው። ጣልያኖች እኮ ያኔ፤ “አንገዛም ባሉት ሀበሾች ዘንድ ለሺህ ዓመት የሚቆይ መርዛማ ችግኝ ተክለናል” ብለው ነበር። ይህን ነው ዛሬ እያየነው ያለነው!

👉 ከዚህም በመነሳት ከዋቄዮአላህሉሲፈር የአህዛብ ባዕድ አምልኮ ጋር በቀጥታ የተያያዙትና ለዚህም ተጠያቂ የሆኑት አራቱ ትውልዶች እነዚህ ናቸው፦

፬ኛ. የሻዕቢያ/ህወሓት/የኢሕአዴግ/ኦነግ/ብልጽግና/ኢዜማ/አብን ትውልድ

፫ኛ. የደርግ መንግስቱ ኃይለ ማርያም ትውልድ

፪ኛ. የቀዳማዊ ኃይለ ሥላሴ ትውልድ

፩ኛ. የአፄ ምኒልክ/አቴቴ ጣይቱ ትውልድ

ናቸው።

/ 90% በሆነ እርግጠኛነት፤ በእነ ዶ/ር ደብረጽዮን የሚመራውና ዋቄዮአላህሉሲፈርን ለማንገስ በመሥራት ላይ ያለው የሕወሓት አንጃ (የምንሊክ አራተኛ ትውልድ) ይህን የዘር ማጥፋት ጦርነት ከግራኝ ኦሮሞዎች ጋር ሆኖ ጀምሮታል። ይህ ከመቶ ሃምሳ ዓመት በፊት ልክ አፄ ምንሊክ እንደነገሱ የረቀቀና ከ ሃምሳ ዓመታት በፊት ዛሬ በምናየው መልክ በሥራ ላይ መዋል የጀመረ ዕቅድ ነው።

👉 ቅደም ተከተሉ በከፊል፤

ሕወሓት አዲስ አበባን እንዲቆጣጠር ተደርጎ ፬ኛው የምንሊክ አገዛዝ በኢህአዴግ ሥር ተቋቋመ

ሕወሓቶች ከሃያ ሰባት ዓመታት በኋላ ሥልጣኑን ለኦሮሞዎች እንዲያስረክቡ ፈረሙ። የባድሜ እና የዛሬው ጽዮናውያንን የማጥፊያና ማዳከሚያ ጦርነት ዕቅድም የተጠነሰሰው በዚህ ወቅት ነበር። ተፈራርመዋል። ዛሬ ለእነ አቡነ መርቆርዮስ፣ ዮሐንስ ቧ ያለው፣ ዳንኤል ክብረት፣ እስክንድር ነጋ፣ ሄርሜላ አረጋዊ እና ሌሎችም እባቡ ግራኝ አብዮት አህመድ አሊ ሰነዱን አሳይቷቸው ይሆን? ይመስለኛል!

ብዙም ሳይቆይ ኦነግ ለስልት ሲባል ከአገዛዙ ለቅቆ እንዲወጣና ወደ ኤርትራ እንዲሄድ ተደረገ (ልብ እንበል፤ ሁሉም ወደ ኬኒያ ሶማሊያ ወይንም ሱዳን ሳይሆን ወደ ጽዮናውያኑ ኤርትራውያን ነው የተላኩት፤ ኦነግ፣ ግንቦት9፣ ፋኖ ወዘተ ጽዮናውያን የኢትዮጵያ ባለቤቶች ስለሆኑ)

ከስህተታቸው የተማሩት እንደ ጠቅላይ ሚንስትር መለስ ዜናዊ ያሉ የ ኢትዮጵያ አቀንቃኞችእንዲገደሉ ተደረገ

ደቡባዊው ኃይለ ማርያም ደሳለኝ ተመረጠ፤ ጊዜው ሲደርስ ሕወሓት ስልጣኑን ሙሉ በሙሉ ለኦሮሞዎች አስረክቦ ወደ መቐለ እንዲመለስ በእነ ፕሬዚደንት ዶናልድ ትራምፕ (አምባሳደር ያማሞቶ) ታዘዘ። የቀድሞው የናይጄሪያ ፕሬዚደንት ኦሉሴጎን ኦባሳንጆ በኢትዮጵያ የሰፋፊ የእርሻ መሬት ተሰጣቸው። ዳንጎቴ የተባለውም ሙስሊም የናይጄሪያ ባለሃብት በኢትዮጵያ ፋብሪካዎችን እንዲከፍት ተደረገ።

ግራኝ አብዮት አህመድ አሊ በሰዶማውያኑ ጠቅላይ ሚንስትር እንዲሆን ተደረገ። ግራኝ አብዮት አህመድ አሊ እና ዶ/ር ደብረ ጽዮን በአክሱምና በናዝሬት ተገናኙ፤ እነ አባዱላ ገመዳ ወደ መቐለ ሄዱ፤ በማግስቱ እነ ጄነራል ሰዓረ፣ ጄነራል አሳምነው፣ ዶ/ር አምባቸውና ሌሎችም የጦርነት ተቀናቃኞች ተገደሉ።

ሙቀታቸውን ለመለካት እንደ አቶ ስዩም መስፍን በተለያዩ ሜዲያዎች እየወጡ ቃለ መጠይቅ እንዲሰጡ ተደረጉ። እነ ዶ/ር ደብረ ጽዮን እና አቶ ጌታቸው ረዳ ለቃለ መጠይቅ በሜዲያዎች የቀርቡበት ጊዜ ይኖራልን? ንግግሮችን አሰምተዋል እንጂ ከጋዜጠኞች ጋር ቃለ ምልልስ ሲያደርጉ አላየሁም። ልክ ዛሬ ግራኝ በጭራሽ ቃለ ምልልስ እንድያደርግ በሲ.አይ.ኤ ሞግዚቶቹ እንደተመከረው።

ጦርነቱ ሊጀምር ወራት ሲቀሩት የትግራይን ሕዝብ ሙቀት ለመለካት፤ የግዕዝ ቋንቋ በትምሕርት ቤት በመደበኛነት እንዲሰጥ ታዘዘ፣ ፈንቅል የተባለ እንቅስቃሴ ተጀመረ፣ ምርጫ ተካሄደ።

በአክሱም ጽዮን ላይ ጦርነቱ ተጀመረ፤ ለጦርነቱ የተዘጋጁት የኤሚራቶች ድሮኖች አሰብ እንደሚገኙ ሁሉም ያውቁ ነበር። እንኳንስ እነርሱ እኛም እናውቅ ነበር።

በጦርነቱ መኻል ልክ እንደ ጠቅላይ ሚንስትር መለስ ዜናዊ፤ “ትግራይ ለመገንጠል ብትገደድ እንኳን የኢትዮጵያን ስም እንዲሁም ሰንደቋን ይዛ ነው የምትገነጠለው ብለው ያምኑ የነበሩት ጽዮናውያን ተጋሩዎች እነ አቶ ስዩም መስፍን፣ አቦይ ፀሐዬ፣ ሕወሓትን በመቃወም የሚታወቁትና “ፈንቅል” በመባል የሚታወቀውን የተቃውሞ እንቅስቃሴ በሊቀመንበርነት ሲመሩ የነበሩት አቶ የማነ ንጉሥ፣ የትግራይ ቴሌቪዥን ጋዜጠኛ ዳዊት ከበደና ጓደኛው እንዲሁም ሌሎች ተገደሉ። የትግራይን እናቶች ሲደፍሩና በተዋጊ በራሪዎች ሲጨፈጭፉ የነበሩ ኦሮሞ ወታደሮች በ”ምርኮኛ” መልክ መቀሌ እንዲገቡ ተደረጉ፣ ፓይለቶቹ ወደ ደብረ ዘይት ተላኩ።

ከወራት በፊት የፋሺስቱ ኦሮሞ አገዛዝ ሰአራዊት ከትግራይ እንዲወጣ ተደረገ/ተገደደ።

አሁን ሁሉም አካላት ቀጣዩንና ዛሬ የምናየውን ልክ ሆሎዶሞር ረሃብበዩክሬን ሕዝቦች ላይ ዬሲፍ ስታሌን የፈጸመውን ዓይነት የረሃብ ዕልቂት (ከሶስት ሚሊየን እስከ አስራ አራት ሚሊየን ዩክራናውያን አልቀዋል። ኡ! !) ለመድገም በትግራይም የኛዎቹ የስታሊን ርዝራዦች ሕዝቡን በረሃብ ለመጨረሽ ጥይትአልባ ጦርነቱን ጀመሩ። በነገራችን ላይ፤ ዮሴፍ ስታሊን ሩሲያዊ ሳይሆን ጆርጃዊ (ካውካስ) ነው፤ ልክ የቱርኩ ፕሬዚደንት ኤርዶጋን የቱርክ ሳይሆን የጆርጂያ ዝርያ እንዳለው። ኦርቶዶክስ ክርስቲያን በሆነችው ጆርጂያ ያለው ቅጥረኛ መንግስት ዛሬ ፀረሩሲያ፣ ፀረአርሜኒያ አቋም ያለውን ከም ዕራባውያኑ ኤዶማውያንና ከምስራቃውያኑ እስማኤላውያን ጎን የቆመ ነው። ልክ እንደ እኛዎቹ አማራዎች።

ከዘንዶው የናይጄሪያ የዮሩባ ነገድ የተገኙትንና የቀጣዩ የኖቤል ሰላም ተሸላሚ ሊያደርጓቸው የሚያስቡትን የሰማኒያ አራት ዓመት አዛውንቱን ኦባሳንጆን ወደ መቐለ እየላኩ የረሃቡን ጊዜ እያረሳሱ በማራዘም ላይ ናቸው።

💭 ታዲያ አሁን እነ ዶ/ር ደብረ ጺዮን የትግራይን ሕዝብ በረሃብ በመቅጣት ላለሙለት ሬፈረንደምና ለሉሲፈር/ቻይና ባንዲራቸው ድጋፍ ይሰጣቸው በማዘጋጀት ላይ ናቸውን? በነገራችን ላይ ዶ/ር ደብረ ጽዮን ኦሉሴጎን ኦባሳንጆን የመሰለ ገጽታ በመያዝ ላይ ናቸው። ሰይጣናዊ ደም የመስጠት ሥነ ስርዓት (Satanic Blood Transfusion) ለማድረግ ይሆን ወደ መቐለ አዘውትረው የሚጓዙት? በዚህ እድሜያቸው እንዴት ብዙ ጊዜ ለመብረር ቻሉ?

😔😔😔 ዋይ! ዋይ! ዋይ! 😢😢😢

💭 Far From Toppling Statues, Former Soviet Union Puts Up New Monuments To Stalin

Many Russian Christian leaders were signatories to a letter to the Bishop of Moscow protesting Stalin’s inclusion in the cathedral mural due to his crimes,

After Cathedral of Russian Armed Forces almost unveiled a mural of late dictator on June 22, Moscow-born former MK Ksenia Svetlova explores a troubling new trend of Stalin worship

The radiant golden domes of the newly constructed Main Cathedral of the Russian Armed Forces loom high over Moscow’s Patriot Park.

Also known as the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, the cathedral was originally scheduled for completion in time for a Victory Day parade on May 9. It was to have been a big celebration, in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Russia’s triumph over Nazi Germany in World War II.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the parade and the cathedral’s inauguration were delayed until June 22 — a day of memory and sorrow marking the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union and the launch of the Great Patriotic War.

But even prior to its official dedication, the massive structure honoring both Christ’s resurrection and Russia’s routing of the Nazis in the Great Patriotic War (Russian link) had turned into a source of controversy.

By April’s end, photos of the cathedral’s interior were leaked to the press. Its mosaics featured not only saints and ancient Russian war heroes, but also some familiar faces from the 20th and 21st centuries. Along with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, one can easily spot Joseph Stalin, the brutal Soviet leader who killed millions of his own citizens during a sadistic era of repression.

Stalin, a would-be priest who once studied in religious seminary in Tiflis (now Tbilisi, Georgia), was a determined enemy of the church and religion in general.

In 1931, Stalin ordered demolished the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, a majestic Moscow fixture whose construction took 40 years and was initiated by Tsar Alexander I. It was turned into a swimming pool in 1958 by Nikita Khrushchev, and finally rebuilt between 1995 and 2000 following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

In 1932, Stalin launched a ruthless campaign for the eradication of religion. In 1937, the Great Purge, orchestrated by Stalin and executed by his loyalists, took the lives of millions of Russian, Ukrainian, Jewish, Tatar, Latvian, and Estonian men, women, and children, along with many others, including clergy.

Many Russian Christian leaders were signatories to a letter to the Bishop of Moscow protesting Stalin’s inclusion in the cathedral mural due to his crimes, but for some time the decision was defended by both the Russian Orthodox Church and the military.

By mid-May the images of both Putin and Stalin had disappeared from the mosaics. Some segments of the Russian public approved of the move, while many others expressed outrage. At the same time, the capitals of two pro-Russian entities — the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and South Ossetia — changed the names of their respective capitals, Donetsk and Tskhinvali, to Stalino and Stalinir.

Despite Stalin being one of the darkest figures in Russian history, according to a 2018 poll, half of Russian youth up to age 24 had never heard of the atrocities committed under his regime. So why is he currently trending among millions of Russians?

And equally troubling: Why is the Kremlin promoting his image today, and how will this propaganda continue to affect and shape modern Russia?

Brutal tyrant or ‘effective manager’?

During the years of the perestroika from 1985 to 1991, when I was growing up in Moscow, it seemed that not a day went by without the release of a new memoir, interview or book about the repression, hunger, torture, and extermination of human beings under Stalin.

It felt like everyone had read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyin’s “The Gulag Archipelago” and the painful memoirs of Lev Razgon. Suddenly, things hardly whispered about for decades sprang to life. It became safe to speak about relatives who disappeared during the horrible purges of 1937, when people were arrested in the dead of night so as to avoid witnesses. After interrogations, torture, and speedy trials, some were executed, while others were sent to gulags — notorious forced labor camps in the Urals, Siberia, and other remote areas.

As the flow of this information increased, statues of Lenin and Stalin were toppled and broken, and people began to talk, reopening old wounds and reaching for forbidden memories.

This is how I learned about the fate of my own grandfather Constantin, my father’s father, who was arrested in 1937 and executed in 1938, as well as the “Doctors’ Plot” of 1951 to 1953. The latter was a vicious, anti-Semitic campaign in which thousands of Jewish doctors — including my grandmother Victoria — were accused of plotting to poison Stalin. They lost their jobs and were preparing to be sent to Siberia, until a few weeks after Stalin’s death the new Soviet leadership declared the plot a fabrication.

My family’s story is shared by thousands, even millions, of other Soviet families. It is not unique — and this is what makes it even more terrifying.

Three decades after the perestroika, everything has changed. That era’s heroes are now seen as naive intellectuals or opportunists who destroyed what was left of the Soviet empire, while Stalin’s legacy regains its old popularity.

According to a 2019 poll conducted by Russia’s nonprofit Levada center, a record 70 percent of Russians approved of Stalin’s role in Soviet and Russian history. In 2016, that number stood at 54%.

“By 2010 we already felt the influence of pro-Stalinists on our society, and we sort of understood what was going on,” said Irina Sherbakova, a Russian historian, author, and founding member of human rights organization Memorial, which has been following the rise of Stalinism in Russia for years.

“One of the participants in some discussions that we held was a girl whose grandfather was once forcefully exiled by Stalin from Lithuania to Siberia,” Sherbakova said. “She mentioned that in her opinion, Stalin was an ‘effective manager.’ This was at a time when Putin used to speak a lot about the need for a strong state with an effective manager — and Stalin quickly became a symbol of such a state, a leader whose authority was unlimited.”

There has been talk of strong figures since the time of Russian president Boris Yeltsin, Sherbakova said, but even Peter the Great or Ivan the Terrible didn’t resonate like Stalin. This is because Stalin is able to represent strong anti-Western and anti-liberal sentiments without alienating older people who, frustrated by economic decline and corruption, still support a left wing Leninist ideology, she said.

“Even the church adopted Stalin as a ‘powerful state’ symbol, hence the decision to include him in the cathedral, and the icons that bear his image as if he were a saint,” Sherbakova said.

Each year on October 29, the official day commemorating the victims of Soviet repression, members of Sherbakova’s Memorial organization gather near Lyubyanka — the imposing building in Moscow that once served as KGB headquarters — and read names of the victims out loud.

“We need to gather permits from 12 different offices, and each year it becomes more and more difficult, but we come back there and read the names of those who were starved, tortured, incarcerated, and murdered,” said Sherbakova.

The poignant ceremony draws a growing crowd each year. At the same time, more and more flowers appear every day by Stalin’s grave near the Kremlin walls.

A different spin

“I have a theory about this kind of Stalinism – when people wear t-shirts with Stalin’s image and say that under his rule we were a great empire,” Olga Bychkova, an influential Russian journalist and host on the Echo of Moscow radio station, told The Times of Israel.

“I believe that it’s not necessarily real fascination with Stalinism, but rather a dissatisfaction with today’s reality,” Bychkova said.

“My family had no warm feelings for Stalin,” Bychkova said. “My grandfather Matvei Glikshtein was a military doctor. He was recruited and sent to war in 1939 during the war with Finland, participated in the liberation of Bucharest and Budapest, and returned home only in May, 1945. His whole family was murdered by the Nazis in the city of Rostov in 1942.”

Bychkova said that during the Doctors’ Plot in 1952, all of her family’s friends were fired from their jobs and some were arrested. Despite her grandfather’s medals and wartime bravery, he was also fired and never regained his former status.

Bychkova’s great-uncle was arrested in 1937 for telling a joke about Stalin. The family still doesn’t know what the joke was, she said. He was only released from the camps in 1953, after Stalin’s death. It was there at the camps that he met his wife, who was sent to the gulags at age 17.

“There are not enough words to describe what they did to her there,” Bychkova said.

What they don’t know still hurts them

The 2018 poll by the VCIOM public opinion research center that found that nearly half of young Russians had never heard of Stalin’s purges, can partly explain the late despot’s growing approval rate.

Some had never met a relative who lived through that terrible time; many never learned about the repression, intentional starvation of peasants, persecution of prisoners of war who were arrested for “being spies” when they returned home after the end of WWII, horrific anti-Semitic campaigns, and the regime of fear that ruled the country for so long.

By 2010 many Russian universities were using a textbook that excused the Soviet repression as a “necessary measure” and included a false quote attributed to Winston Churchill: “Stalin received Russia with a plow and left it armed with a nuclear weapon.”

After a public outcry this book was removed from the curriculum, but many others depicting Stalin as an “effective manager” with some anger issues remained.

“My daughter went to school in the 2000s and her textbooks claimed that the victory in WWII was achieved only due to Stalin’s talent and stamina. The kids who read those textbooks are now 25 or 30 today, and if no one told them better, that’s the knowledge they have,” said Bychkova.

Sherbakova agreed. “There is a problem with how they teach history. If the narrative is ‘reforms that coincided with repressions,’ there is a problem,” she said.

If textbooks used in schools and universities imply that the atrocities perpetrated by Stalin paled in comparison to such achievements as creating “the most beautiful metro in the world,” and victory in the Great Patriotic War, how will young Russians be able to learn about their country’s dark past, especially in an age of fake news and alternative facts?

Facts are still under wraps and even the official numbers of gulag prisoners and people who were summarily executed are unavailable.

Some historians believe that 5.5 million Soviet citizens went through the conveyor belt of speedy trials, gulags, and executions; others claim that if one were to include all those forcibly deported and exiled, starved to death, interned in psychiatric hospitals, and maimed, that number would be closer to a stunning 100 million people.

In Facebook groups such as “Reading Stalin,” however, there are no trace of these numbers. In thousands of posts, Stalin is portrayed as a strong and just leader who often intervened on behalf of the “common people” and even saved them from injustice.

In one such post (link in Russian) the author describes how Stalin stepped in to help the starving peasants after receiving a complaint from renowned writer Mikhail Sholokhov.

This is historical revisionism mixed with longing for a mythical, strong-but-just brother-leader who wasn’t corrupt like the current leadership. A simple web search will lead the reader to the horrific details described by Sholokhov — babies who died from the cold, people blamed for hiding flour and forced to die of hunger, and the brutal policies spearheaded by Stalin that led to all this suffering.

Perhaps it was exactly this sort of curiosity that drove Russian YouTube star Yuri Dud to explore the connection between Stalin, repression, and gulags. In his powerful 2019 documentary, “Kolyma: The Birthplace of Our Fear,” Dud says: “I wanted to understand — where does the older generation’s fear come from? Why are they convinced that acts of courage, no matter how small, are bound to be punished?”

The documentary was viewed by millions on YouTube and was soon at the center of a vivid discussion on Russia’s past.

Steps to bridge knowledge gap

Dud’s generation might know little, but they want to know more, said Sergei Bondarenko, a historian at Memorial who researches the circumstances of arrests and executions during the Stalinist repression of the 1930s.

“What we witness today is an attempt to normalize this past and to make a label out of Stalin. Dud’s generation, very young people, naturally protest against authority — any authority. If this symbol is fed to them, they want to know why and what he’s all about. That’s why this documentary was born,” said Bondarenko.

Another recent series, “Zuleikha Opens Her Eyes,” aired on the state-run Channel 1, tells the story of uprooted Tatar woman who was exiled to Siberia. It also puts Stalin’s brutality on display and has added more fuel to an already heated discussion.

Normalized brutality?

In the 30 years since I left Russia, many things have changed. Old, forgotten symbols were resurrected from the ashes of once-powerful forces. Today I wonder: Will Stalin, the brutal dictator who built a sophisticated machine of death, torture, and forced labor to promote his nationalist agenda, be normalized and accepted by the Russian people and establishment?

Sherbakova doesn’t believe so. “[The authorities] cannot go on like this for long. They cannot offer real ideology, because in order to mobilize people one needs power and faith, and we have none today. They also cannot recreate Stalin’s system of repression — again, due to lack of massive support and faith. I believe that the surge of Stalin’s appeal is past us already,” she said.

Perhaps. While working on this feature, I asked my Facebook friends to send me their personal accounts from Stalin’s time. Within an hour I received hundreds of stories that included chilling details about arrests and gulags, fearing for loved ones, and broken lives and families.

For the sake of all of Stalin’s victims and their families, for the sake of my own grandfather — who will forever remain a 40-year-old and whose grave is unknown — I do hope that Sherbakova is right. I fervently hope that nostalgia for the “glorious past” and the narrative of an “efficient manager” will not be able to silence the truth.

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