Why Russia Still Loves Josef Stalin

A recent poll found Russians have a disturbingly high reverence for the former Soviet leader.
Under Vladimir Putin, Russia has seen a ressurgance in affection for the dictator Josef Stalin who was responsible for the death of millions during World War II.

In the Soviet Union of my youth, Josef Stalin was invisible. His predecessor in the Kremlin, Vladimir Lenin, was everywhere, from the pins on our school uniforms to the statues or busts that seemed to adorn every public space. In those statues, his arm was always raised, palm outstretched, exhorting us toward the glorious socialist future. My native city had decided that Lenin superseded Peter the Apostle in world-historical import, so St. Petersburg became Leningrad. Stalin once had his own city—Stalingrad, the site of a ferocious World War II battle—but after the mustachioed despot’s myriad sins were exposed, the city reverted to Volgograd in 1961.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Newsweek

Newsweek3 min readSociety
Jill Soloway Reflects on 'Transparent' in New Memoir
In "She Wants It," Soloway tells the story of the hit Amazon show—from the beginning to its messy end.
Newsweek7 min readPolitics
How a Social Media Post in Russia Can Land You in Jail
It was just before 6 a.m. when police officers raided Daniil Markin’s apartment in Barnaul, a small Russian city some 2,000 miles from Moscow. Markin, a film student who was 18 at the time of the July 2017 raid, had no idea why police had burst into
Newsweek2 min read
How Superheroes Cope With Saving The World
“You can’t live a life of violence and not feel the violence deep in your heart and your soul.”