Stalin Helps Bring in the Vote

stalin_head090709.jpgThis column in the Moscow Times argues that the Stalinist renovation of the Kurskaya metro station is an elections ploy by United Russia to win the votes of the elderly.  Interestingly, the author Sergei Obukhov, a duma member from the Communist Party – so the “glory” of Stalin is not in question, just the instrumentalization of it.

The current pro-Stalin PR campaign by the authorities coincides with the campaign for the Moscow City Duma elections on Oct. 11. The United Russia party traditionally has far worse electoral results in the capital than in other regions. But for Mayor Yury Luzhkov, whom the new City Duma will ultimately decide either to reappoint or retire, a strong showing by United Russia would be his ticket to retain his post.

That is why all the attention given to the Kurskaya metro affair could very well be an intentional campaign stunt by United Russia to win additional votes from older and middle-aged voters, who tend to have a more positive attitude toward Stalin and who make up a key support base for the Communist Party.  (…)

But these kinds of underhanded campaign tactics will hardly be successful. United Russia’s attempt to co-opt the glory of Stalin — the man who turned the Soviet Union into a formidable superpower — is doomed to fail. After all, the voters can simply compare Stalin’s monumental legacy with United Russia’s poor record — namely, its economic and political failures that have only increased as the crisis takes its toll — and it will become clear that United Russia is not their fathers’ Communist Party.