S-Space College of Humanities (인문대학) Institute for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies (러시아문화권연구소) 러시아연구 (Russian Studies) 러시아연구 Volume 14 Number 1/2 (2004)
"우리 안의 스딸린": 스딸린 테러와 러시아인들의 기억 : "The Stalin in Us": Stalinist Terror and Russians' Memory
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- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 러시아연구소
- 러시아연구, Vol.14 No.2, pp. 307-336
- This paper aims to explain why Russians are generally indifferent to the issue of Stalinist teπor by examining the contemporary Soviets' perception of the repression. Regarding this, the most important thing to be considered is that most people in the late 1930s intemalized the values propagated by the Soviet authorities. This is true not only of some people who were able to move upward into administrative and hite-collar positions as a social result of the teπor or the young communists who were strongly inf1uenced by a Bolshevik utopian idea of the building of the first socialist society. The overwhelming majority of the Soviet people including the ordinary workers thought the repression just for this and that reason. In fact, the ordinary Soviet people in the late 1930s showed the positive reactions to the Stalinist terror. They not only accepted the Soviet propaganda that it was necessary to repress the so-called "enemies of the people" to defend the Soviet socialism, but also played an active role in the process, for example, denunciating their colleagues and neighbors. In addition, the Soviet people believed that the purges aimed at Soviet elites such as the Communist cadres, factory managers, leaders of collective farms, engineers and intellectuals. In their view, humble workers and peasants were much less likely to fall victim to the repression. The terror, therefore, mattered little to them.These facts are enough to make us doubt the generally accepted myth that the terror was inf1icted on a11 of the Soviet people indiscriminately and one of 10-15 Soviet people was confined in a labor camp by the beginning of the Second W orld War. The recent studies suggest that much less people were victims of the purges. In this context, naturally, there is a general absence of public interest in Stalinist terror today, even after the collapse of the Soviet socialist regime whose foundations were laid under Stalins rule. As long as the perception of contemporary Soviet people that the Stalinist repression was basically right maintains in many Russians' minds, it is hard to change their old belief all at once. Probably, it would take a much longer time for Russian people to dismiss this old thought entirely and to grasp the truth of Stalinist terror.
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