Confronting An Ugly Past

Russians are not generally eager to discuss the dark period in which Josef Stalin ruled their nation, and who can blame them? During his rule, Stalin ordered the killing or banishment of more than 10 million of his countrymen, a human catastrophe which even today is underrecognized as one of the great governmental crimes of the 20th Century, and which Russia has never fully confronted. “Indeed, though millions of their compatriots died or were imprisoned on Stalin’s watch, many Russians don’t consider him among the 20th century’s most evil men. In a poll early this year, a clear majority of Russians said Stalin’s role in the country’s life was, on balance, positive.” Now, a new play being produced in Moscow is putting the horror of the Stalin regime on full display, and forcing modern Russia to acknowledge and deal with the dictator’s true legacy.