Stalin monuments increasingly cropping up across north, south Ossetia
The memory of Josef Stalin is equally respected both in South and North Ossetia.
Supporters of the generalissimo in both Vladikavkaz and Tskhinval are proud of his allegedly Ossetian roots, erect busts and monuments to commemorate him, and try not to remember the Stalinist repressions. But many don’t appreciate such worship of Stalin at all. Another heated discussion around the name of the Soviet leader has been caused by plans to erect another monument to Stalin in a South Ossetian village.
Stalin was again at the centre of attention again following news that the chief coach of the Russian national team in free-style wrestling Dzambolat Tedeev — an influential figure in South Ossetia — allegedly intended to erect a monument to the ‘father of nations’ in his home village.
There are is a lot of construction work going on in the village of Tsorbis of Znaurski district, South Ossetia — its central part is being renovated, with a plan to create Stalin Square in the area, which, according to the intention of the authors, will be adorned with a 3-meter-tall sculpture of the Soviet leader.
The media quoted the words of local Georgi Tedeev who is overseeing the construction. He says that the construction is funded by Dzambolat Tedeev.
This information was practically confirmed by the author of the sculpture Ibrahim Hayev too, who told the publication Caucasus.Realities that “initially I was making the monument for myself, so to say. But Dzambolat Tedeev decided to buy it from me”.
However Dzambolat Tedeev in conversation with JAMnews denied his relation to the erection of the monument, calling the news misinforming.
“There has never been any talk about me financing a Stalin monument. This is not true. I’m not erecting any Stalin monuments. I only took a photo next to the sculpture in the workshop”, said Dzambolat Tedeev to JAMnews.
Stalin on social media
Opinions of Ossetian Facebook users are divided. Some have supported the initiative to erect another Stalin monument in South Ossetia, others have criticised this idea.
“The ‘vozhd’s’ policy was directed at the full assimilation of Ossetians, he talked about it himself… We also know the statistics of the monstrous repressions in Ossetia in the 30s, when the best sons of Ossetia were shot, while the number of repressions in Ossetia were much higher than among neighbor Caucasus people, and it was Georgian mensheviks wearing NKVD uniform that Stalin employed for repressions in the entire Ossetia”, wrote user Alan Alanty.
User Sveta Kokoity writes: “Ossetians, it’s high time Stalin be left alone, even if he is an Ossetian, he’s done nothing good for Ossetians and his monuments in Ossetia are unrequited.”
Georgi Lr: “All Stalin’s monuments in Ossetia should be given away to Georgia or thrown in the dump, all streets that unfortunately still bear his name in Ossetia should be renamed after our Ossetian heroes!”
Nadezhda Cheldieva: “People appreciate Stalin not for his attitude towards Ossetians but as an exceptional government leader that has no equals in history!”
Streets, monuments, and ‘stalinism of the mind’
Meanwhile, the cult of Stalin is still strong in Ossetia. During the Soviet years, the capital of the South Ossetian autonomous republic was called Stalinir for a while. In 1961 it was renamed into Tskhinval but Stalin’s cult wasn’t disbanded.
Old monuments to the leader have been kept in districts of the republic, while new ones appeared already after the breakdown of the Soviet Union. Only the monument in the central square of Tskhinval was dismantled, however one of the main streets in the city still carries the name of the Soviet generalissimo.
The memory of Stalin lives on in Vladikavkaz as well — you can find his bust in the Alley of Glory. In one densely populated district of Vladikavkaz, a new bust of Stalin will be opened to commemorate residents of the Ossetian suburb who went to the front in the WWII.
You can really see a lot of images and monuments of Stalin in North Ossetia — the famous bust of the “father of nations” in the Upper Fiagdon, erected back in the 1950s, or his portrait on the rock in the Tseisk gorge.
One sculpture dedicated to the 126th anniversary of Stalin’s birthday stood in the administrative center of North Ossetia. A 5-meter-tall statue of the “father of nations” was erected on the initiative of the North Ossetian communists of the town of Digora on the eve of the 1917 events, as in the first half of the 20th century Digora was the revolutionary center of Ossetia.
Well-known Ossetian blogger Alan Tskhurbati writes in his post in Caucasian Knot to comment on the sensational news of erecting a Stalin monument in South Ossetia:
“I’ve never been to the South Ossetian village of Tsorbis… Tried looking for a photo of the square on the internet, to understand the scale, but couldn’t find a single picture… However this morning I went on private business to districts of North Ossetia: Alagir, Ardon, Elkhotovo, Beslan… and saw Stalin’s monuments everywhere, absolutely everywhere. And everything around is so ugly, ungroomed, ruined, while Stalin is always such a dandy, the plot around him is maintained, flowers are watered… Well, stalinism of the mind has won a complete victory.”
Fanatic love of Ossetians towards the former leader of the USSR Josef Stalin reaches far outside the North Ossetian republic. Not so long ago Ossetian community of Khabarovsk erected a Stalin monument in the Far East of Russia.