Check out this video for a taste of life in the USSR during the cold war. FYI the chorus to the song you will hear is “I really want to go to the Soviet Union, again and again”.
This video produced by the Communist Party in Russia is a great example of how people in Russia recall the Soviet Union. Especially the younger generation who didn’t experience life under the Soviet regime. “Today, many Russians show symptoms of collective amnesia about the past, and a majority of young Russians believe Joseph Stalin (1929–1953) did more good than bad.” (Quoted from “The Washington Quarterly” • 29:1 pp. 83–96. Authors Mendelson and Gerber) Recently there has been a movement to restore the memory of Stalin. Last year in a vote conducted by a major news agency in Russia, Stalin was voted the third most popular personality in Russia.
“British historian Orlando Figes claimed this week (week of March 6th, 2009) his Russian publishers have scrapped his book “The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia” due to “political pressure” amid Kremlin-led efforts to promote Stalin.” (www.AmericanFreePress.net) “I suspect (as do my friends in Russia) that the real reason is political. The history in my book is inconvenient to the current regime in Russia,” he said in a statement on his website. “The Kremlin has been actively campaigning for the rehabilitation of Stalin. It wants Russians to take pride in Soviet history and not to be burdened with a paralysing sense of guilt about the repressions of the Stalin period.” (www.OrlandoFiges.com)
Having said that, I now quote President Dmitry Medvedev himself from a speech he gave on October 30th, 2009, which is “Remembrance Day of Victims of Political Repression”.
“It is impossible to imagine now the scale of terror which affected all the peoples of our country and peaked in the years 1937-1938. The Volga river of people’s grief, as Alexander Solzhenitsyn called it, the endless stream of repressed at that period.
For twenty years before the World War II entire strata and classes of our society were eliminated. The Cossacks were virtually liquidated. The peasantry was expropriated (or ‘dekulakised’) and weakened. Intellectuals, workers and the military were subject to political persecution. Representatives of absolutely all religious faiths were subject to harassment.
October 30 is a Remembrance Day for millions of crippled destinies. For people who were shot without trial and without investigation, people who were sent to labour camps and exile, deprived of civil rights for having the ‘wrong’ occupation or ‘improper social origin’. The label of ‘enemies of the people’ and ‘accomplices’ was then pasted on whole families.
Let’s just think about it: millions of people died as a result of terror and false accusations – millions. They were deprived of all rights, even the right to a decent human burial; for years their names were simply erased from history.
But even today you can still hear voices claiming that those innumerable victims were justified for some higher national purpose.
I believe that no national progress, successes or ambitions can develop at the price of human misery and loss.
Nothing can take precedence over the value of human life.
And there is no excuse for repression.
We pay a great deal of attention to the fight against the revisionist falsification of our history. Yet somehow I often feel that we are merely talking about the falsification of the events of the Great Patriotic War. (Great Patriotic War is what Russians call WWII)
But it is equally important not to sanction, under the guise of restoring historical justice, any justification of those who destroyed our people. (I.e. Stalin, Alex’s insertion)
It is true that Stalin’s crimes cannot diminish the heroic deeds of the people who triumphed in the Great Patriotic War, who made our country a mighty industrial power, and who raised our industry, science and culture to top global standards.
The ability to accept one’s past for what it is, is the mark of mature civic culture.”
It is equally important to study the past and to speak out against indifference and the desire to forget its tragic aspects. (http://eng.kremlin.ru/speeches/2009/10/30/1218_type207221_222423.shtml) You may find President Medvedev’s full speech in English at this website.