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Presentation of the book Overcoming Stalins Legacy took place in Moscow

Press Release
October 6, 2009

Presentation of the book Overcoming Stalins Legacy published by the YABLOKO party took place in the Independent Press Centre on October 5.

Galina Mikhalyova, Executive Secretary of the Political Committee of the party, said opening the presentation, The book contains an unprecedented for this country resolution of a political party on overcoming of Stalinism, all the discussions and materials we had prepared based not only on Russian, but also on foreign, predominantly German, sources. Human rights activists also took part in the preparation of this resolution.

Galina Mikhalyova also noted that YABLOKO had already published several books on Stalinism. In 2007 YABLOKO jointly with the Memorial society published the book 1937 to commemorate a sad anniversary of the Great Terror, a CD entitled Victims of Political Terror in the USSR containing 2.5 million names of the victims of the regime was published also in 2007.

YABLOKOs leader Sergei Mitrokhin noted in his speech that these issues of Russias history of the 20th century are of principled importance. According to Mitrokhin, we have been witnessing revival of Stalinism at present: in the society, political circles and mass media. He expressed his certainty that the state ideologists, political scientists and those who try to handle public opinion have professional interests to this topic, Stalin is a mobilising figure for them.

Grigory Yavlinsky, first Chair of the party, member of YABLOKOs Political Council, who initiated the resolution on overcoming Stalins legacy said, None of political parties can exist outside historical space. The party which has no notion about the history of its country, can not assess this history, has no vision of the overall development and stages of development of the country, can not be a politically significant force, and its decisions will never be important or significant.

Yavlinsky also told that the lack of work for overcoming Stalins legacy leads to a situation when the country will be steadily drifting towards it. He said that this system has two key traits: the end justifies the means principle and confidence of the authorities that people are dust. These slogans are their practical slogans in the international affairs and domestic policies, Yavlinsky noted.

Arseniy Roginsky, Chairman of the Board of the Memorial Society spoke about fruitful cooperation between Memorial and YABLOKO. We do share YABLOKOs key slogan Authorities Under Citizens Control!, and overcoming of Stalinism is the main means of realization of this slogan, he said. Roginsky also drew parallels between the present period and the Stalins era: The institute of imitation democracy certainly represents Stalinism, and direct employment of the allegedly free press by the state is also Stalinism, Stalinism represents control over all the spheres of public life, atomization of the population and fear of joint actions here is our inheritage of the Great Terror.

If most of the citizens do not overcome all of this, Russia will not become a democratic and law-governed state, said Ludmila Alexeyeva, Chair of the Moscow Helsinki Group and Chair of the Public Council in Support of YABLOKOs Campaign to the Moscow City Duma. According to Alexeyeva, there is a direct link between stalinisation of the society and economic problems, an efficient economy is impossible without independent court, recognition and respect to private property on behalf of the state.

Head of the socio-political research department from the Levada [Sociological] Centre Boris Dubin agreed with Alexeyeva. According to Dubin, Stalinism is not a mood or a trend, its a system, and we shall live on its ruins for a long period ahead. Dubin also noted that emergence of Stalins figure always meant that the country was stagnating. The price of such stability is that 75 per cent of the population do not trust each other.

In the concluding remarks of the discussion Yuri Afanasyev, historian and founder of the Russian Humanitarian University and politician of the perestroika period, expressed his appreciation of the work done by the authors of the book and called the book another necessary step in overcoming Stalinism.

Joint work of YABLOKO, human rights activists and academics for overcoming bolshevism and Stalinism must and will go on, Galina Mikhalyova said closing the presentation.

See also:
Overcoming Stalins Legacy

Press Release

October 6, 2009