Officials from the Moscow Mayor’s Office
have stated that portraits of Stalin are to be put up in
the city for the 65th Anniversary of Victory Day. As is
usual, it is not known by whom and at what level this decision
was taken, but it is clear that the portraits will be produced
at the expense of the taxpayers, who include those who lost
their relatives through the fault of the dictator. But it
is not a question of money, and nor is it that some of those
invited to the celebrations will probably not wish to come
to a city, decorated in such a dubious manner. The appearance
of portraits of Stalin on Victory Day is an insult to the
memory of the fallen.
Soviet soldiers went to fight, not because the leader ordered
them to, and not in order to defend the Politburo and its
General Secretary in the Kremlin. They were defending the
Motherland from a foreign invasion. They were defending
a country whose communist leaders had brought to the verge
of a catastrophe.
The resistance, bravery, and exploits of those who defended
the Motherland during the war were and remain the spiritual
legacy of the people as a whole, and no one has the right
to dispose of this legacy at his own discretion. The attempt
to ascribe this legacy to Stalin is nothing other than looting
The intention to hang portraits of Stalin at the assembly
points for the divisions of the People’s Volunteer Corps
is doubly blasphemous. The history of the People’s Volunteer
Corps – of civilians, largely unarmed, thrown pitilessly
into the meat grinders outside Moscow, Kiev, Leningrad,
where almost all died – is in itself a bill of indictment
of “the great commander of all times and peoples”. Do the
apologists for Stalin in the Moscow Mayor’s office really,
seriously, think that Muscovites do not remember how their
fathers and grandfathers died?
The arches of the Kursk metro station already flaunt Stalin’s
name, thanks to the efforts of Moscow officials. Not one
of them, of course, has remembered either the fate of the
first head of the Metro, Petrikovsky, shot on Stalin’s orders,
or that of hundreds of metro employees, shot or sent to
The proposed portraits are part of the creeping rehabilitation
The schemers in the advertising committee are not prepared
to remember what Stalin in reality was wholly responsible
for – the mass terror in the army in 1937-1938, which wiped
out tens of thousands of soldiers from the non-commissioned
to marshals; the pre-war pact with Hitler, which led directly
to the tragedy of the summer-autumn of 1941; the millions
of lives with which, throughout the war, the people paid
for the crimes and mistakes of the leader.
The people won the war, despite all of Stalin’s crimes.
Victory was achieved at a monstrous price, which has still
not been fully calculated.
The principal purpose of celebrating Victory Day is to
voice our gratitude to those who actually achieved the Victory.
Alas, very few of them remain. They, and only they, should
be the centre of attention on that day.
If portraits of Stalin do indeed appear on the
streets of Moscow, we shall do all within our power to ensure
that, simultaneously, they will be accompanied by other
placards, stands, and posters which tell of the tyrant’s
crimes and of his true place in the history of the Great
War for the Fatherland. We are convinced that hundreds of
Muscovites – the children and grandchildren of the front-line
soldiers, of those to whom Victory really belongs – will
help us in this.
of Joseph Stalin have no place in the Victory Day celebrations.
Statement by the Chairman of the YABLOKO party. February