Some people actually come to my blog to find stories on Eastern Europe, current events as they relate to history. This post is for them. It will have nothing overtly to do with faith. Except that everything in life does. Every choice, every word, every action bubbles out of our internal values and our belief system.
Citizens of Gori, Georgia – a small city infamous for being the birthplace of one of history’s cruelest killers, Josef Stalin – recently decided to restore the statue of their native son on December 21, the anniversary of his birth. The 20-foot-tall statue will loom five stories above the museum dedicated to Stalin’s legacy, rather than its previous site. It had towered above Gori’s central square since 1952, the year before Stalin’s death.
The current pro-Western president Saakashvili, who had Stalin’s likeness toppled just three years ago in the dark of night, leaves office in October. He was powerless to stop this decision. Saakashvili has been quoted as calling this act “unimaginably barbaric,” something that will put “Georgia in international isolation.”
Stalin came to power in the Soviet Union immediately after Lenin’s death in 1922, and ruled for 30 years.
Sadly, there are many names that compete when we think of the world’s most evil dictators. But I think Hitler is the first name that comes to most of our minds.
While the numbers vary widely, many experts claim that Stalin was responsible for 20 million murders – much more than Hitler. Stalin purposely orchestrated the Holodomor famine in 1930s Ukraine, starving 5 million to death. The other 15 million lost their lives due to the gulags, secret police, executions, etc.
Many older former-Communists are nostalgic for the old days. Maybe they weren’t free, but if they worked the system, they were secure and they didn’t have to make decisions.
Still, why would anyone choose to bring the memory of a killer back home?