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It’s NOT ‘rehabilitating Stalin,’ but mainstream media portrays Russia as VILLAIN to trigger alarm

19 31 56

Russia is not rehabilitating Stalin. However, Western commentators who purport to be so concerned about this unlikely prospect would do well to wonder about the wisdom of policies toward Russia that cause ordinary Russians to look back with admiration on a leader who, whatever his crimes, protected them from foreign aggressors.

The echo chamber of contemporary Western commentary on Russia has long resounded with the claim that Russia is in the process of such a rehabilitation. Such claims long pre-date President Putin’s recent National Interest article, which defended the Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact as Stalin’s reasonable response to the Western powers’ appeasement policy toward Nazi Germany.

A Times of Israel piece recently asked: “Why is the Kremlin promoting his [Stalin’s] image today, and how will this propaganda continue to affect and shape modern Russia?....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?”

According to a recent Washington Post column, Stalin “is at the core of Russian perceptions of the glorious past. The Kremlin has done nothing to halt the creeping rehabilitation of Stalin; in fact, it is happy to encourage the cliches of Soviet success wherever it can. Putin’s historical rhetoric increasingly echoes Stalin’s.”

“Vladimir Putin’s Russia Is Rehabilitating Stalin. We Must Not Let It Happen,” screamed the headline of a column in the Guardian.

A Washington Post story, under the headline “Putin’s Dangerous Campaign to Rehabilitate Stalin,” claimed “the Russian president is actively rehabilitating the Soviet dictator’s record, working to paint him as a strong leader who saved the world from fascism. The goal is to bolster Putin’s own “strongman” leadership style in the eyes of ordinary Russians.”

Meanwhile, Putin’s “defense of Stalin and the Soviet record threatens to undermine Russian efforts to ease tensions with the West,” writes Bloomberg.

On closer inspection, such stories fall well short of the lurid headlines. Take the tale of the newly constructed Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, the opening of which was timed to coincide with the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of victory in World War II. The cathedral was the subject of innumerable articles in the Western media, claiming that it “glorifies” Stalin. Photos of the interior, leaked to the press, showed a mosaic depicting the 1945 victory parade in Red Square, with a crowd of soldiers holding aloft a banner bearing a portrait of Stalin. So,........

© RT.com