"He's [Stalin] strict, he judges, he kills, he shows the way forward." Likewise, President Vladimir Putin has adopted the role of Russia's father figure, and is enjoying widespread support as a result. "It's not that the Russian people want new repression," Yerofeyev told the German magazine Der Spiegel in a recent interview. "They want a good, strict father. And a strong regime."
This bamboozles me. Tyler Cowen has said:
If I could have the answers to five questions in political science/sociology, the appeal of Stalinism to intellectuals would be one of them.My emphasis.
Presumably the appeal of Stalinism to the Russian people is obvious: the country needs a father. But the image Westerners have of a Stalin idolised by his people is a mirage, so why do we believe it for Putin? I wonder if any Filter^ readers have evidence of Putin being genuinely popular, in a way that deviates from Stalin? Whenever my mother returns from Moscow she comments on the ubiquitous dissatisfaction with the President. Don't the critics vote?
The weak are either drawn to his strength, or defeated by it: for Putin as it was for Stalin.
Philipp Moskvin, a Filter^ reader from Moscow recently sent me this two-page essay describing the Stalin he knows. Phil is a mechanical engineering student, currently doing his national service. Let me quote:
March 5, 1953 Stalin has died. For the majority of the Soviet people the death of Stalin became the large shock. Thousands of people in Moscow went on streets to say goodbye to the leader. But the people who have suffered in times of Stalinism have preferred to stay at home.
I won't quote the conclusion because I don't want to spoil it; all I can say is: "here here".