Stalin’s rule was incredibly brutal to the Russian people. “The Gulag Archipelago,” by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, describes how Stalin killed and imprisoned Russians indiscriminately (including farmers, engineers and members of various ethnic groups). Stalin’s motto was, “Death solves all problems. No man, no problem.”
Stalin’s KGB imposed a regime of terror, with people forced to inform on their own family and friends. The USSR was permeated with propaganda which George Orwell called “newspeak” in the novel, “1984.” Citizens were not allowed to listen to non-Stalinist information, much less leave the USSR for other countries.
Stalin’s evil ways are gone forever, right?
**A War the Kremlin Tried to Disguise Becomes a Hard Reality for Russians**
**Moscow posted a death toll from its attack on Ukraine for the first time, and Russians who long avoided politics are now grappling with the fact that their country is fighting a deadly conflict.**
**By Ivan Nechepurenko and Anton Troianovski, The New York Times, March 2, 2022**
**This week, lawmakers proposed a 15-year prison sentence for people who post “fakes” about the war, and rumors are swirling about soon-to-be-closed borders or martial law. The Education Ministry scheduled a video lesson to be shown in schools nationwide on Thursday that described the war against Ukraine as a “liberation mission.”...**
**Some feared that Mr. Putin could go even further, repressing dissent to an extent unseen in Russia since Soviet times. Tatiana Stanovaya, a scholar who has long studied Mr. Putin, wrote it was “more than logical” to expect that lawmakers this week would approve the imposition of martial law in order to block the open internet, ban all protests and restrict Russians from being able to leave the country.**
**Such speculation, fed by how quickly the Kremlin was moving to block access to individual news media outlets and arrest protesters, has led increasing numbers of Russians to flee the country....Echo of Moscow, Russia’s flagship liberal-leaning radio station, was taken off the air on Tuesday for the first time since the Soviet coup attempt of 1991. Leading staff members of Dozhd, Russia’s only remaining independent television channel, left the country on Wednesday after access to its website was blocked....** [end quote]
Russia calls the Ukraine invasion a “special military operation,” not a war or invasion.
Putin is walking the road to Stalin. Little by little, Russian freedoms are being curtailed. The free press is being shut down and journalists are leaving because they feel personally threatened.
It’s impossible to say how far Putin will walk this road. But he’s aggressive and merciless. Once started, it will be hard to stop.