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29.04.2010

Moscow: Stalin’s portrait only inside?

   

The First Deputy to the Mayor of Moscow, Ludmila Shvetsova, has told the newspaper Kommersant that portraits of Joseph Stalin will not appear on the streets of the capital for Victory Day.  Supposedly at the request of veterans, fearing acts of vandalism, the portraits will be presented in closed premises, for example in the museums on Poklonnaya Hill. Ms Shevtsova told the newspaper that the portraits would be placed in places “where veterans most often and actively gather. And given the unreliable weather conditions they will mostly be more comfortable inside. In addition we received appeals from veterans who were worried about acts of vandalism against the posters on the streets – there have been such threats.”

We have already reported on the scandal over these portraits, which Moscow’s Mayor Yury Luzhkov has been insisting on posting for Victory Day.  In a recent statement, Memorial wrote:

 “The Mayor’s demagogic references to some kind of “historical objectivity” are laughable.

The festive decoration of the city is not a museum exhibition in which all the figures need to be presented, including Stalin, his deputy in the State Defence Committee Beria, whom he made a Marshal, Hitler who was both a friend and enemy of Stalin and many others.

The posting of Stalin’s portraits is incompatible with respect for the People-Victor. It is precisely Stalin who bears responsibility for crimes against his own people and for the terrible price of Victory. It was Stalin’s crimes which to this day cloud Russia’s relations with neighbouring countries, near and far. It was not the people who signed a pact with Hitler in 1939, nor was the decision to execute Poles at Katyń taken by the people.

The posting of portraits of the dictator in a festive context cannot be viewed otherwise than as his glorification, as an excusing of terror.

Thousands of Muscovites on Victory Day will be forced to look at the portraits of the murder of their fathers and grandfathers. It is not difficult to understand what feelings they will have for those who so “decorate” the city with the portraits of a butcher. It goes without saying that many will not accept this glorification of a murderer.”

Kommersant reports that such posters have already appeared, together with portraits of Soviet military leaders, on the streets of Vladivostok.

New information from http://www.grani.ru/Politics/Russia/m.177574.html

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