Some residents of Dagestan want to see a street renamed after Stalin; many of them are sure that Putin is in favour of the idea as well " />

Stalin returns to Dagestan

Some residents of Dagestan want to see a street renamed after Stalin; many of them are sure that Putin is in favour of the idea as well

Residents of Gori in Georgia – the town where Stalin was born – gather in a church on 5 March 2018 in order to observe the day of Stalin’s death. Photo: REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili

Based on an article by Novaya Gazeta

A local organisation named I. V. Stalin in Kaspisk (Republic of Dagestan, Russia) have requested that a local street be renamed in honour of Stalin.

The organisation’s chairman, Isa Aziev, recently stated that he would like to ‘restore historical justice’ to the street, given that its former name was Stalin Street.

“Some of the most honourable and powerful citizens of our city have supported us through their signatures. These include veterans of the Great Patriotic War [ed. World War II], the council of veterans, the council of elders, the council of MPs, and a council of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. We have not come to the administration without thinking, but rather [we have come] through the powerful support of the best people,” the chairman insisted.

“We’re for Stalin!” the room responded to his announcement at a local town meeting.

Musa Abakarov, a teacher from the military department of the pedagogical institute, says that Russian President Vladimir Putin would also want the street renamed:

“Our President Vladimir Vladimirovich is silent [on the matter]. He can’t publicly say: ‘Let’s inspire patriotism amongst the Russian people with the name of Stalin’. He can’t say this because the entire world will come out against him. Through his behaviour though, he is giving us the hint: ‘Come on, everyone, come on! Inspire patriotic feelings, rename [the street]!’.”

“This is the president’s hidden idea. It’s a big push, it’s an inspiration. As for… well, whether people were killed or not, and whom was killed, that’s a difficult question, and we won’t discuss it.”

One of the meeting’s participants admitted that, as a Soviet patriot, he named his son Yosif (for Joseph Stalin).

“During Peter [the Great’s] reign, one third of the population disappeared. There was strong repression, but he has streets named in his honour, and everything is okay,” said Omari Hasanov, another speaker.

Bunyamin Ibragimov, a former worker at a local factory, spoke of his relationship to the Russia of that time. His great-grandfather’s brother served in the Russian army, but, despite his many awards and appointments, was arrested in 1920 on a false denunciation and shot.

However, ‘that was just the atmosphere back then’:

“People wrote denunciations themselves, it wasn’t Stalin that repressed them but local people. Stalin couldn’t seize the entire Soviet Union and repress [it]. That was the situation. Class struggle,” said one veteran.

One young man named Shamil Rasulov then spoke, and came out against renaming the street. The room responded angrily, asking him: “What are you against?”

“The young [one] doesn’t know history,” one man of retirement age said condescendingly.

“I came to express my opinion and the opinion of our bloc. We will have to go and change our documents. Instead of doing our work, we will have to go and rename everything,” answered the young man. He was supported by his neighbour.

“On what street were you born?” they asked the young man.

“On Mir Street.”

“Take a seat! Our president is committed to … he’s going the way of Stalin! He is strengthening the defensive capability of the country. Have you held an automatic weapon in your hands? Have you served? I am asking you!”

The chairman of the I. V. Stalin organisation, Aziev, spoke again, and reminded those in attendance that in the Caucasus, important questions have always been solved by elders, not the youth.

“And in this case the elders must be listened to as well.”

After an hour-long discussion, the head architect of Kaspisk, Akhmed Makhov, offered to take the issue to a vote.

Twenty-eight voted ‘for’ renaming the street, while two voted ‘against’ it. Nobody abstained from the vote.

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