84% of Russian Students Want a Public Debate About the Red Terror
They want to know what happened and what that means for today's Russia
Recently, a fascinating trend in Russian society has emerged: a peaking, nation-wide interest in history, especially post-Revolution history and, even more so, the (in)famous Stalin years.
This year, on the centennial of the Russian Revolution of 1917, Russians are finally ready to grapple with the countless ghosts of the victims of Soviet purges and repressions: the Christians, the liberals, the peasants, the nobility, the foreigners, and so many other random “counterrevolutionaries.”
This is the first large organized social attempt to address the brutal historical reality. Russians are discussing, debating, organizing exhibitions, building memorials and walls of tears for the victims. RGRU, the official Russian government publication of historical documents has created an official page called "reconciliation" for materials and news related to the memorialization and discussion of the Revolution and the Red Terror.
The site reports the following statistics:
“84% of Russian students stated that the Stalin’s “Great Purge,” a political repression from 1936 to 1938, during which about six million people were killed in camps and shot, it is a necessary topic of discussion and study for youth, reports rgru. 34% stated that the had relatives who were repressed, 29% couldn’t answer. 71% of respondents believed, that Russia needs to develop a culture of memory, specifically to build memorials for those who were repressed during the Great Purge.
What’s fascinating is that Russia’s teenagers-the members of society one would think least likely to be interested- are most willing and eager to open the Pandora’s box of the bloody 20th century.
Their parents and grandparents were much more careful, often not even hiding their own stories from their children in paranoid fear. But the careful secrecy of the Soviet Union era is finally combusting.
Teenagers demand to know their own history: the good, the bad, the ugly.
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