Stalin nearly named among greatest Russians
Its a strange world, and history can be re-written to suit the needs of the day...
Joseph Stalin came within a whisker of being voted the greatest Russian of all time yesterday in a marathon television contest that reached a dramatic climax after a six-month build-up.
The winner of the competition was Alexander Nevsky, a 13th-century prince who defeated German invaders and was canonised by the Russian Orthodox Church.
Grand Prince Nevsky garnered 524,575 votes, fewer than 1,000 ahead of Peter Stolypin, Tsar Nicholas II’s authoritarian Prime Minister, and 5,500 in front of Stalin.
The vote, which some commentators claimed had been rigged, went down to the wire, with presenters counting down the final seconds as viewers of the state-owned Rossiya channel voted by text message during the last programme. Among the other 11 finalists were the poet Alexander Pushkin, Vladimir Lenin and Tsar Alexander II, who abolished serfdom.
The vote comes after a concerted campaign in Russia to rehabilitate the Soviet dictator, who has been lauded in recent times on state television for his role as a victorious leader in the Second World War while school history books have softened their criticism of his repressions. A factor in Stalin falling behind other contenders could have been his Georgian roots, as anti-Georgian sentiment in Russia reached new heights this summer after the brief war in the former Soviet republic.
Before the final vote Sergei Markov, a member of parliament for the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, said a win for Stalin would be viewed by the country’s ruling class as an anti-establishment vote. “The most important issue for Russia’s ruling class, and the heads of the TV channel, is that they don’t want Stalin to win, because that would give the impression of authoritarianism,” Mr Markov said.
Vladimir Pribylovsky, a political analyst with the Panorama think-tank, went farther, questioning the result. Stalin’s narrow defeat clearly understated the real support for him in society, he claimed.
“The vote was an absolute falsification,” Mr Pribylovsky said. “Stalin, Lenin and Peter I: these are the most important figures in Russian history. Thirty to 40 per cent of Russians would support Stalin.”
Stolypin, a conservative politician who opposed liberal reforms and cracked down hard on the Bolsheviks, was assassinated by a socialist revolutionary in a Kiev theatre in 1912.
Some 50 million votes were cast on-line and by text message from all parts of the former Soviet Union, except Georgia. In the competition’s early stages in the summer, Stalin was the clear leader, but was closely followed by Nicholas II, whom the organisers admitted plugging to make the contest more interesting.
Mark Urnov, the dean of political studies at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, said the closeness of the outcome looked “really strange, yet it reflected the state of our public mind”. The vote supports two myths that Russians buy into, he said. “One is a great Tsarist Russia, and the other is a great Soviet Russia under Stalin.
“This vote is the result of eight years of brainwashing by the mass media,” Mr Urnov said. “This vote for authoritarianism would never have happened eight years ago.”
1 Alexander Nevsky 524,575
2 Peter Stolypin 523,766
3 Joseph Stalin 519,071
4 Alexander Pushkin 516,608
5 Tsar Peter the Great 448,857
6 Vladimir Lenin 424,283
Source: Times archive
No .. Never have.. Will go over to the local library at the weekend and dig it up..
I wonder how history will portray Putin in comparison to Gorbachev :O)
Britex - yeah - he wiped out all the marxists.
Did you ever read the book Archangel by Robert Harris Brit?
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Some estimates say that up to 20 million died as a result of Stalin's actions of imprisonment in Gulags,
shooting or just starvation.
If Stalin would not have started snatching small parts of Hitler's extended boundaries Hitler would not only have conqured England but also the whole of Russia.
Hitler's main aim was Russia but he had to make sure there would not be an enemy from the back...ie France or England.
He never wanted war on both east & west ends. Stalin started taking small but important oil fields on the eastern side. Hitler wanted to avoid a confrontation at all costs. But Stalins cheekiniss got the better of Hitler's patience and finally ordered a surprise attack that stunned Stalin.
Everybody knows the Winter saved the Russians.