July 22, 2014

‘Stalin’s Ghost Still Walks’

Writing in History Today, Catherine Merridale examines "competing versions of Russia's troubled past in the light of present politics." The excerpt below from "Haunted by Stalin" discusses the decline of interest in the Soviet past, and especially the work of Memorial, the research organization dedicated to keeping the memory of Communism's victims alive. For some Russians, Merridale observes, "the steady flow of soul-searching and criticism began to smell of treachery." In her conclusion, she writes that, "Stalin’s ghost still walks, in other words, and, though it is easy to condemn the Kremlin’s new occupants for invoking it in their pursuit of power and wealth, the strategy could work only because a large proportion of Russia’s people was ready to welcome the old villain home with open arms." Memorial ... was reporting increasing harassment. The St Petersburg branch was raided in December 2008 and electronic data from its archive seized. Although the raid was later … [Read more...]