Professional, Polite, Prepared to Kill

Stalin’s Comeback

Many observers were shocked earlier this year when, in an online poll to name Russia’s greatest man, Joseph Stalin seized an early lead among Russians. The former mass murderer would have come out on top had not the poll’s administrators cut his votes in half after blaming cyberspace shenanigans. It is difficult to say whether or not their claim was true. But even with his share halved, Stalin still managed to take twelfth place. Stalin’s strong showing is remarkable for many reasons, not least of which is his direct culpability in the deaths and torture of millions of his country’s citizens during his long reign of terror.

The poll, however, is only a symptom of a larger troubling trend. In recent years, certain quarters of Russian society have been increasingly nostalgic about the Soviet era. In no small measure, the rise of such sentiments is due to the efforts of the Putin government, which seeks to actively rehabilitate various aspects of the country’s communist past.

In November of last year, Putin posthumously bestowed Russia’s highest honorary title, Hero of the Russian Federation, on George Koval. Although few have heard his name, many in the intelligence community view him as the most important Cold War spy. Born in 1913 in Iowa to parents from Belarus, Koval infiltrated the Manhattan Project and passed crucial information to Moscow concerning the atomic bomb. In the statement announcing the award, Vladimir Putin said that Koval’s work “helped speed up considerably the time it took for the Soviet Union to develop an atomic bomb of its own.  More from FrontPageMagazine


November 4, 2008 - Posted by | Homeland Security | , , , , , ,

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