Magazine article Russian Life

What's Stalin Got to Do with It?

Magazine article Russian Life

What's Stalin Got to Do with It?

Article excerpt

ON OUR TRIP to Georgia chronicled in this issue (page 28), since we were driving through Gori, we couldn't not stop and take a look at the Stalin Museum. Given the man's impact on Russian and world history, we had to at least take the measure of the place.

But we decided not to plunk down the 15 GEL (about 8 bucks) and devote an hour or more to the tour. Partly it was our desire to not support a museum dedicated to one of history's most brutal dictators. But also, truthfully, we had no wish to cast a depressing pall over our very enjoyable trip.

Russia and Georgia are having a rough patch, what with the 2008 war, occupations, trade wars, cutoffs in diplomatic relations, etc. And yet, as far as we could tell, there is still a genial, welcoming relationship between their peoples. Georgians were as happy to talk to me in Russian as in English, and they seem to want nothing more than to live in peace with their Big Brother to the north.

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Up until about six months ago, we could say much the same thing about Russia and the US: the two governments might have been on the outs, but there was still plenty of good feeling between the peoples of the two countries.

Sadly, recent events--from hacking and the election to Syria and Europe--have changed that. Americans of all political persuasions are increasingly Russophobic. And who can blame them? Months consuming a steady diet of disturbing news, in which Russia is repeatedly the bad guy, is a pretty difficult reality to get beyond. …

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