Entering Gulag (a leaf from Eufrosinia Kersnovskaya's notebook)
***[T]he Kremlin is turning its attention to schools to instil a new sense of nationalism in children.
Two new manuals for teachers have been accused of glossing over the horrors of the Soviet Union and of including propaganda to promote Mr Putin’s vision of a strong state.
The [second] book describes Josef Stalin as “the most successful Soviet leader ever” and dismisses the prison labour camps and mass purges as a necessary part of his drive to make the country great. ***
Mr Putin gave [the books] his seal of approval at a conference he hosted for teachers at his presidential dacha last month. He described Stalin’s Great Purge of 1937, in which 1.5 million people were imprisoned and 700,000 killed, as terrible “but in other countries even worse things happened”. Discounting the Soviet Union’s long history of oppression, he said: “We had no other black pages, such as Nazism, for instance.”
Putin's assertion is roughly equivalent to saying, "We had to kill the country to save it." Or perhaps it amounts to the proposition that mass murder to promote fascism is bad but mass murder to promote communism (or nationalism) is o.k.
It used to be said in Hitler's defense that he built the Autobahnen.