Josef Stalin: sixty years on

On March 1, 1953 the powerful leader of the Soviet Empire was found paralysed on the floor of his state villa. As a result of massive brain haemorrhage he died. The USSR went into deep mourning. The Belarusian Soviet Socialistic Republic also grieved at the late “father of the nation”.

A guard of honor was formed in front of the memorial to Stalin in Central Square in Minsk. On March 9 the Belarusian state delegation left for Stalin’s funeral. “The avenue named for him was full of people which were carrying flowers and funeral wreaths bearing such inscriptions as “To Dear Father and Teacher”, “To Genial Leader and Commander”, “To Lovest and Dearest Iosif Vissarionovich,” etc.”, historian Aliaksey Karol tells what was going on in Minsk on the day.

It is difficult to estimate the real figure of victims of Stalinist purges in Belarus. According to independent experts, about 600,000 citizens of Belarus were repressed over the period of Stalin’s rule. Belarusians take the third place in the number of political prisoners in the USSR, communism researcher Anne Applebaum says.

The current regime’s loyal attitude to controversial personality of Stalin-Jugashvili is reflected in recently opened memorial complex “Stalin’s line”. There may be no monuments to the notorious leader in the Belarusian capital but they have been preserved in Svislach, Slutsk and the village of Lashany.

At the same time, the Belarusian authorities keep ignoring the problem of the national memorial in Kurapaty near Minsk where the execution of peaceful population took place in Stalin’s period. Kurapaty was formally recognized a cultural and historical object but the Belarusian government closed eyes to road construction and electing an entertainment centre in the territory of it.

The fact that Aliaksandr Lukashenka has never visited Kurapaty for 19 years of his presidency speaks for itself.


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