Russia: Lenin and Stalin

Randy Black writes: Christopher Jones’ story about the removal of the statues of past leaders of Franco Spain reminds me of Russia’s efforts to purge the statues of Stalin and in some cases, Lenin. When I moved to Omsk in 1993, I had the opportunity over a period of months to count 26 statues of Lenin in that city of 1.2 million, but none of Stalin. It was explained to me that Stalin’s were purged for obvious reasons but that Lenin was sort of still respected, as the father of modern Russia, even though he was responsible for the murder of many, but not to the degree of Stalin. One colleague even stated, We don’t hate Stalin in Omsk. He never came here.
I have three Russian women and their children at my home today and when I asked why Lenin continues to be respected and Stalin not, one replied Stalin was like Hitler, Lenin was not. She is from Novosibirsk.
I did not question further. Questioning a Russian about the crimes of their past practices is somewhat akin to them asking us about the practice of slavery or the extermination of the Native Americans, and is something most Russians are too polite to do.

RH: In Russia during the Soviet period, I mentioned Lenin, and a government woman said reverently "He was a saint".  I never heard anyone say that about Stalin.

Ronald Hilton 2005


last updated: April 16, 2005