Why do the Russians venerate Stalin?
According to a recent survey by the Levada Center, an independent Russian research institute, 38 percent of Russians see Joseph Stalin as the most outstanding person in history. President Putin is close behind, while poet Alexander Pushkin ranks third. The state propaganda is bearing fruits, commentators observe.
Putin rehabilitated the dictator
The idealisation of the dictator is a deliberate policy in Russia, Viktor Denisenko, researcher at Warsaw's East-Center, explains in Lietuvos žinios:
“The moment Putin came to power, the semi-official rehabilitation of the dictator began. ... Stalin's image is directly linked to the modern Russian propaganda narrative of victory [in WWII]. In Russia this is the cornerstone of all interpretations of the events that shook the 20th century. The Kremlin has exploited this to the max, particularly since the bombastic Victory Day celebrations in 2006. The victory over Nazi Germany is depicted as Russia's greatest achievement. Moscow supports this narrative and links it with other stories. The 'fight against fascism' also features regularly in the rhetoric used by the Kremlin today.”
Brainwashed by television
For the public broadcaster LSM the Russian media have much to do with the fact that the ghosts of the past are strangely glorified today:
“The rehabilitation of the bloody Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in Russia is logical, even if it surprises us. ... How can you love someone who has countless crimes and millions of murdered countrymen on his conscience? ... This phenomenon really is hard to understand. ... Unfortunately, however, the media - and above all television, Russia's key propaganda weapon - play a major role in this brainwashing. Nevertheless such results couldn't be achieved if a certain basic mentality didn't exist from the start.”