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10.09.2009 | Halya Coynash

Moscow Metro Ode to a Brutal Dictator

   

Moscow Metro Ode to a Brutal Dictator

In late August a stone was unveiled at the Kurskaya Circle Line Metro Station in Moscow. It carries the words: “Stalin brought us up – to be true to the people. He inspired us to labour and to heroism!”. The words are from Sergei Mikhalkov’s version of the national anthem, and were removed after Stalin was denounced back in 1956.  They have been reinstated, and if anybody should think that this is merely aimed at adding historical authenticity, I would politely recommend considering how they would react if similar words appear in the Berlin metro glorifying Hitler.  For many of us, whose relatives were murdered by Stalin’s regime, glorification of the dictator is deeply offensive. It also reflects a profoundly disturbing development in the country.

The persistent attempts by Russia’s leaders to accuse neighbouring countries of “rehabilitating Nazism”, to shout about an alleged denial of the Soviet role in defeating Hitler, as well as the creation of a History Commission to fight “falsification of history”, are not only a defensive response to anniversaries of Stalin’s initial pact with Hitler. The tendency to whitewash Stalin, present him as an “effective manager” and avoid or try to somehow minimize the millions of victims of the Terror, Holodomor, collectivization, deportations and the labour camps has been gathering momentum for a few years. It reached school textbooks in 2007, and it is important to note that the quite extraordinary mangling of history by at least one representative of the History Commission, Natalya Narochnitskaya, is echoed in the version of history fed children in Fillipov’s guide to teachers of history.

It is not clear whether Moscow’s Mayor Yury Luzkhov was involved in this latest shameful demonstration of moral atrophy and profound disrespect for the victims of Stalinism and their families. He can, however, and must be made to understand that the ode to a murderous butcher must be removed.  

  

Hundreds of human rights defenders, writers, public figures and many concerned members of the public have signed a letter to the Mayor of Moscow, Yury Luzkhov, asking him to have the words glorifying Stalin recently placed in the vestibule of the metro station “Kurskaya Circle Line” removed.

Please add your voice of protest against glorification of a brutal dictator and grave insult to all his victims and their relatives.  

The letter is the same in both languages, and although a postal address is given, sending it my email to would be fine.

 

Sample letter:

Mayor of Moscow

Y.M. Luzkhov

125032 Moscow, ul. Tverskaya, 13

Email:  

 

Dear Yury Mikhailovich,

I fully endorse the calls made by the Memorial Society and very many human rights defenders, writers and public figures in Russia to remove the words glorifying Stalin from the Kurskaya Circle Line Metro Station in Moscow. I also consider the phrases in praise of Stalin to be a profound insult to all his victims.

I would urge you to take all necessary measures to ensure that the words are replaced by others or simply removed.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Мэру города Москвы
Ю. М. Лужкову
125032, Москва, ул. Тверская, д.13

Email:  


Уважаемый Юрий Михайлович!

Полностью поддерживаю призывы общества «Мемориал» и многих правозащитников, писателей и общественных деятелей убрать надпись, прославляющую Сталина в интерьере станции „Курская кольцевая“. Я также расцениваю строки во славу Сталина как оскорбление памяти всех жертв диктатора.

Призываю Вас предпринять всё от Вас зависящее, чтобы надпись заменили на иную или убрали.

 

С уважением,

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