From The Day:
You have stated previously that 20 years is a short term for history, yet some changes are taking place. I am personally worried not simply by reanimation, but by a powerful promotion of one of the most terrible people of the 20th century — Joseph Stalin. As far as I know, Ela Panfilova who has dealt with human rights for many years asked to resign, stating that she cannot do anything with this. What do you think? What are the prospects of this process?
In Russia, everything is being instilled from above. In times of Gorbachev and Yeltsin some creation was adopted in theory. When Putin came, he immediately announced that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical catastrophe. But for me this was actually one of the most joyful social events for my country. The same team that is currently in power is largely based on the experience of Stalin’s time, which in its turn is rooted in the times of Ivan the Terrible.
Oprichnina [a period of mass repressions, public executions, and political terror instigated by Ivan the Terrible in the late 16th century. – Ed.]?
Absolutely. Namely Oprichniki. Now they are driving Mersedeses and use i-phones, but the mentality remains the same. Naturally, Stalin is above all a state-builder for them. All these arguments that he took Russia with wooden ploughs and he left it with a hydrogen bomb, are quite doubtful. However, Stalin and Bolshevism on the whole are thousands hydrogen bombs. As Joseph Brodsky has justly noted, an anthropological catastrophe took place in Russia in the 20th century. It seems to me that Stalin’s main crime is that he made humiliation of human dignity a standard, and practically erased the boundary between the butcher and the victim. Following Stalin’s ethic, they could easily exchange places. Now when this bullshit has risen, all these talks about the efficient manager raise uneasy feelings in me. I think the problem is in reality much deeper. The problem is that Russia has not buried the Soviet epoch, it has not entombed it.