What were the major weaknesses of Khrushchev's De-Stalinization?

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University of Oxford

School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies

Program: Mphil Russian and East European Studies

Course: History of Russia, the USSR and Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century

Lecturer: Professor Dan Healey


What were the fundamental weaknesses of Khrushchev's De-Stalinization program?



Paul Christian Sander

St. Antony's College

Woodstock Road 62



"Сквозь грозы сияло нам солнце свободы,

И Ленин великий нам путь озарил:

Нас вырастил Сталин, на верность народу,

На труд и на подвиги нас вдохновил!"

- State anthem of the USSR, 2nd strophe, 1944�


August 25th, 2009, at Kurskaya, one of Moscow's busiest subway stations: Many commuters' heads turned this afternoon to catch both the grandness of the renovation and the huge gilt slogan with the words of the Soviet anthem as it was performed under the dictator when the station opened first in 1950: "Stalin reared us - on loyalty to the people.

He inspired us to labor and feats."

Actually, the decoration had been painstakingly removed in the early 1960s along with other Stalinist propaganda after Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev denounced Stalin for his murderous purges and cult of personality (cf. Osborn 2009; News.ru 2009). For several years thereafter, the Soviet anthem was performed without lyrics, until 1977, when revised lyrics without references to Stalin were adopted. However, in 2009, the first anthem, with its words of praise to the Soviet tyrant, made their glorious return to the entrance hall of Kurskaya station (cf. Kishkovsky 2009).

Liberal historians and politicians have condemned the adornment's reappearance after almost half a century, suggesting that it mirrors a worrying Kremlin-backed trend to rehabilitate the Soviet leader for patriotic propaganda purposes. Throughout the last decade, statues of Stalin have begun to reappear, a museum devoted to him has been...