Igor Boțan: Stalinist elites devour each other, this being an essential quality of Stalinism

The Stalinist elites devour each other and this is an essential quality of Stalinism and one of the main lessons that society should learn, the permanent expert of IPN’s project Igor Boțan stated in a public debate hosted by IPN News Agency.

The expert reminded that Stalin killed all his partners and destroyed all his comrades in arms. “Our society has to learn a multitude of lessons from what we experienced. I don’t know if what happened in Western Europe somehow interests the Stalinists here, in the Republic of Moldova, but the main lesson for them is that one of the essential features of Stalinism is that the Stalinist elites devour each other. Stalin killed all his partners, all his comrades. He destroyed all of them. We know what happened - the so-called “Moscow processes” that in stages destroyed everyone. Trotsky was killed in Mexico by a KGB agent who later became a hero of the Soviet Union for this,” stated Igor Boțan.

He noted that de-Stalinization started at the 20th Congress, in 1956, and was a response to the fear of the Soviet elites following Stalin’s death so that if some of them took over, they didn’t behave like Stalin. “This had an extraordinary echo in the cultural life of the Soviet Union. The so-called thaw. The gradual erosion of Stalinism started then, through the agency of the Soviet intellectuals. I refer primarily to those who became famous through the so-called science-fiction novels. The Strugatski brothers were definitely at the top,” stated Igor Boțan.

He noted that the things that followed showed that the Soviet military machine is defective. “That aura of the Soviet regime as a progressive one received the first blow in 1973, when the Soviet Union and the Arab countries that surrounded Israel planned that attack against Israel in an absolutely unexpected way. Israel, a small country with several million people, surely with American armament, brought the whole Soviet construct to its knees. Afghanistan and a shameful blow to the Soviet Union, the dissolution of the Soviet Union followed. The Communist regime in Europe actually collapsed and that charm of communist faded away,” said the expert.

He noted that the main supporters of Putinism see the current regime of Putin as the fourth stage in the imperial development of Russia, the so-called durable state of Putin that is a kind of synthesis of the imperial path of Russia. Nevertheless, Putin has an almost hostile attitude to communism, to Lenin. For Putin and for society in Russia, the continuation of the imperial chain matters and the Moldovans should realize this.

As regards the nostalgia for communism persisting in some of the Moldovans, Igor Boțan said this derives from the mentality built during about 50 years, while Moldova formed part of the Soviet Union. “It is a segment of citizens with infantile thinking, I would say, who wait and live with the ideal of a state that takes care of all the aspects of life, which ensures equality between people, more or less. They naturally do not accept a society in which the people are free and take care of the own fate and need to make effort like in a free society where the citizen is free, but is in a competition,” concluded Igor Boțan.

The public debate entitled “Stalinization and de-Stalinization in European context” was the 14th installment of IPN’s project “Impact of the Past on Confidence and Peace Building Processes” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany.

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