In a move that would, if successful, strike a serious blow against historical and political debate and dialogue, Russian legislators may outlaw positive interpretations of the Stalin period of the USSR. This can only be seen as a sign of the increasing fascistization of Putin’s Russia and would follow similar legislation enacted in Ukraine.
Russian lawmakers will consider legislation that would make it illegal to justify publicly the Soviet government’s crimes under Josef Stalin. The author of the bill is Konstantin Dobrynin, the deputy chairman of the Federal Council’s committee on legislation and state infrastructure. He proposes equating any materials justifying the Stalin regime’s political repressions with illegal extremism.
“In recent years, an idealized, one-sided, historically inaccurate version of the Stalin era has become more and more widely promoted,” the legislation’s memorandum explains.
Dobrynin’s law would not apply, however, to denials that the Soviet state ever committed genocide or crimes against humanity. It would only ban justifications of crimes that have been “the object of official public condemnation” by Russia’s post-Soviet authorities.
The bill would also outlaw naming new geographical areas, territorial units, streets, and subway stations after figures who participated in Stalinist crimes. The legislation would not affect objects already named after such people, if it is the object’s first name historically.
“The Stalinist repressions were unprecedented in scope and affected all Soviet society as a whole,” Dobynin said.
Note: Since May 2014, Russia has banned the “rehabilitation of Nazism,” punishing anyone who denies the facts established by the Nuremberg trials. The law also bans disseminating false information about the activities of the Soviet Union during the Second World War. The proposed new law would thus follow the neo-liberal paradigm of equating communism and fascism.