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Russia today: How to understand it?

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The 70th anniversary of the German attack on the Soviet Union was on June 21. On that occasion I visited many Russian websites. What a surprise to find that both communists and anticommunists glorify Stalin in today's Russia.

Communists remember him as a great Marxist ideologist, as Lenin's partner, as a leader responsible for collectivization of agriculture, for rapid industrialization, and for merciless destruction of traitors, especially within the communist party and the military, in the late 1930's. Briefly, they glorify him as the leader of the Soviet proletarian dictatorship, and as a military genius responsible for the Soviet victory over fascism.

The anticommunists also claim that Stalin was responsible for the Soviet victory over fascism. But they totally ignore his communist ideology, and the brutality he used to impose obedience. Logically, the attitude toward Stalinism should divide communists and anticommunists. But in reality it seems to unite them. How can this be explained?

And this is not the only puzzle. As some of you probably remember, I wrote a memoir about life in the Soviet Union during the first year of the war. It can be seen at


Thinking about the approaching 70th anniversary of the Great Patriotic War--that is how Russians refer to their experience during WWII--I sent the above link to perhaps as many as 20 editors of Russian newspapers, giving them permission to translate and publish my memoir. Not a single one responded. How can this be explained?

Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)



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Thank you for sharing your information. Of course you would know better than me about the conditions in Russia, but from some of my readings I have gained the impression that the majority of those 30+ have become so acclimated to Soviet living that, though their situation might have improved, their memory of what was clouds their judgement.

I've seen similar incidents in China, where the younger generation is critical of Mao, but most of the older generation still venerates him (60 million dead aside).

What can you share about this?

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I think the nationalists and communists get along in their country politicall, seeeing themselves as common leftists but with different goals (internationalism vs pan-slavism).

Pan-slavism has been the goal of Russian leaders for about 400 years, consider that Stalin and the soviet union was actually the first state to accomplish this goal. A united Slavic people, protected from the predations of the Arabs, Greeks, Austrians, and Germans. If I were a nationalist, I would admire Stalin also.

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