Russian PM says Stalin’s crimes deserve ‘the harshest assessment’

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Interfax – Perm, 30 October) Russian Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev thinks that Iosif Stalin and other leaders of the Soviet state of that period deserve “the harshest assessment,” because they “conducted a war against their own people”.

“For what was taking place back then, it is not only Iosif Stalin but also a host of other leaders who certainly deserve the harshest assessment. One cannot bring charges against them but this is exactly how it is,” Dmitriy Medvedev announced on Tuesday at a meeting with the activists of the regional section of the One Russia (United Russia) party.

“This must remain in the annals of our history so that it is never repeated. This is because a war against one’s own people is the most serious crime,” he added.

At the same time Medvedev, who is the leader of One Russia, called on the fellow party members to maximally objectively assess historical events and called for “not crossing out the glorious pages of history of our Fatherland in the Soviet period”.

As an example he citied the Great Patriotic war, which could and should be described from the point of view of the victory of the entire country. “This was a victory of the entire country, including its leadership, no matter what it was like and what our attitude towards it is. For me, for example, a significant proportion of people there (in the leadership) are not at all likable. However, it was their victory, after all, not only of the people, but also of the decisions that were taken then. This was not done despite of but together,” he said.

Medvedev gave a positive assessment to the setting up of a museum in Perm Territory for the victims of political repressions and complained that similar museums have not appeared in other regions despite the fact that this has been called for, he said.

“We must remember what happened. And, by the way, here, on the territory of Perm Territory these words maybe sound much more topical that in other places where people have today forgotten about what happened in the 1930s and 1940s,” Medvedev stressed. (passage omitted)

(According to a separate report by the agency, Arseniy Roginskiy, the head of Memorial, a leading non-governmental organization dealing with restoring the rights of the victims of Stalin’s repressions, has commenting on Medvedev’s statement by saying that it was “not a sensation” but still “has real significance”. “It is regrettable that Dmitriy Medvedev did not make such a precise and harsh statement during his presidency. However, the fact that the prime minister of Russia said these words is good, right and modern,” Roginskiy said.

Roginskiy said that it was necessary for Russia to give legal assessment to the crimes of Stalin’s regime.

“If the programme put forward by the presidential human rights council had been implemented, the first item would have been to give a legal assessment to the crimes of Stalin and his henchmen against their own people,” Memorial’s head said.

“At the moment this programme is stalling,” said Roginskiy, who was one of the people who drafted it. “So far no concrete steps have been taken to implement the proposals addressed to the president. This also concerns the problem of access to documents about Stalin’s terror and the creation of memorial centres and, what is more important, the social situation of the repressions’ victims,” Roginskiy said.)