Memorial day for Stalin's victims in Russia
Every year on October 30, Russia commemorates the victims of political repression. Although attempts to rehabilitate Stalin continue in the country, the day also serves to remember the crimes that took place under his leadership. Commentators stress that Stalin's guilt should be at the centre of the commemorations.
Crimes can't be relativised
The commemoration should become a mass movement like 9 May, the day on which Russia celebrates the victory in the Second World War, Echo of Moscow demands:
“The country should not just see the endless stream of people carrying pictures of the heroes of the Great Patriotic War, but also a stream of people with pictures of those who were killed in the war which Stalin and his gang led against their own people. ... We still haven't fully understood or reflected on this today. Many people actually believe that nothing bad happened back then, that it's all been blown out of proportion and that that was just 'the way things were' back then. ... Our sick society will never recover if it doesn't recognise that throughout the 30 years of the Stalin era our country was led by an executor-regime, and that these were crimes for which there is absolutely no justification.”
No doubt about Stalin's guilt
Social psychologist Sergei Solovyov calls in Izvestia for an objective assessment of guilt and innocence in this historical tragedy:
“Not all those who were repressed for political reasons were innocent. Among the condemned there were also genuine spies, bandits, criminals and traitors. But the overwhelming majority - workers, employees, farmers - did not commit the crimes for which they were punished. And the great mass of citizens of the USSR knew nothing of the dimensions of the repression. ... As far as Stalin is concerned: many would like to think that he had nothing to do with all this. But not only did he know about the true extent of the repression and the arbitrariness - he personally was in charge of the punitive system. ... Our country paid a heavy price in blood for this policy.”