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31 Aug, 2021 11:44

Lumping together all of Stalin’s legacy to discredit his WWII leadership is an attempt to weaken modern Russia, FM Lavrov claims

Lumping together all of Stalin’s legacy to discredit his WWII leadership is an attempt to weaken modern Russia, FM Lavrov claims

Attempts to portray former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin as the main villain of his era are part of a larger attack on Russian history, and its contribution to ending World War II, the country’s foreign minister has claimed.

Speaking on Monday at a meeting of veterans in Volgograd, which was named Stalingrad during World War II, Sergey Lavrov suggested that some people are trying to diminish the contribution of Russia in the war effort.

He also claimed that the criticism of the despot is not only targeted at rewriting history but is also an attempt to weaken Russia politically.

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“I absolutely agree that history must not be touched,” he told the war veterans. “By the way, attacks on Stalin as the main villain, lumping together everything he did before, during, and after the war, is also part of that very attack on our past and the outcome of World War II.”

On Tuesday, the foreign minister clarified his comments, noting that he was in no way justifying or excusing the crimes of Stalinism, but wished to point out that those who equate Stalin to Nazi German leader Adolf Hitler are wrong, and his legacy must be seen as nuanced rather than simply good or evil.

According to Lavrov, those who see the two as the same are treating Russia in the same way as a country that “set out to conquer Europe.”

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“We saved this Europe from conquest, from destruction, and saved many people,” he explained. “But this line is used by those who want to restrain our country and who want to weaken us and always see us as weak.”

Stalin, born in Georgia as Joseph Jughashvili, became leader of the USSR in 1924, following the death of revolutionary Vladimir Lenin. The legacy of the former leader splits opinion inside modern Russia. For some, he is a hero for his leadership through World War II, but for another segment of society, he was a tyrant who led a repressive and murderous regime. For others, he is a mixture of the two.

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