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KIIS opinion polls and the “Secret Speech” anniversary

March 9, 2016

A recent KIIS opinion survey regarding the perception of Joseph Stalin as a “great leader” (or not) among the Ukrainian constituency has just been released.

This opinion poll presumably timed to coincide with the anniversary of Stalin’s death on 5th March – notwithstanding being a subtle litmus test for the extent of seepage into Ukraine from the persistent rehabilitation and legislated nostalgia to which the unfortunate Russian public are currently being bombarded.

The results are to be quite blunt, unsurprising, with the anticipated geographical, demographic, income and educational expectations being realised.

For those that do not want to click on the link and/or wade through the Cyrillic text, 23% of the Ukrainian nation believe he was a “great leader” – that figure greatly enhanced by the mostly eastern residing 50-somethings (and older) under-educated section of the population.

For the record, though not participating in the poll, the blog would stand robustly with the 70% of the nation in stating that “Stalin – a cruel, inhuman tyrant, guilty of the destruction of millions of innocent people”, and would struggle to find much wisdom in his rule either.

As for the remainder of those polled who must somehow find him far less odious, perhaps even rather cuddly, nice, and simply misunderstood (especially by westerners), a reader cannot but ponder whether the worst kept of secret Soviet oratory, Khrushchev’s “Secret Speech“, is simply willful ignorance upon their part.

Nikita

Although the speech was not officially published in full until 1989 within the USSR, it was hardly a secret.  Western intelligence services and the Communist public alike were all well aware of its contents very soon after it was delivered in 1956.  How else could the “Khrushchev thaw” occur without its pre-framing by way of the “Secret Speech”?

Indeed, the “Secret Speech” saw it’s 60th anniversary on 22/23 February this year, and perhaps considering the on-going rehabilitation and attempts at legislated nostalgia relating to Stalin currently underway in Russia, maybe the 60th anniversary of that speech should have received something of a revival – (perhaps “Lenin’s Testament” too depending upon the level of credence one gives to the Lenin Testament authenticity) – by those that would counter this Stalin rehab effort.

The “Secret Speech”, after all, is hardly a glowing reference for Stalin’s accomplishments – certainly from WWII onward.  It is a political damnation of Stalin as it was written to be (albeit there is little mention of his actions and atrocities pre-1934, so perhaps Khrushchev agreed with Stalin’s pre-1934 policies and atrocities?).

The speech also recognises and warns (repeatedly) of the “cult of personality” – and that obviously has some resonance within today’s Russia too.

Perhaps in failing to “re-up” the “Secret Speech” on its 60th anniversary, it was an opportunity missed to take a historical swipe at two Kremlin figures in one go?

Whatever the case, the KIIS opinion survey has offered no surprises – other than the entire world seems to have forgotten the 60th anniversary of the “Secret Speech”, a speech that was actually a very important event at the time.

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