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Reaction to book shows Stalinism alive and well

WE HAD thought that the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990 meant the end of Stalinism. We had believed that its repugnant political culture, which dictated that whoever disagreed with the official mythology of the Communist Party was eliminated, was buried under the ruins of Derzhinsky’s statue in the square in front of the KGB building.

Yet Stalinism appears to have been resurrected and is alive and well. As a way of thinking, it has survived the collapse of the Soviet Union. Only the members of the nomenclature have changed. This sad reality was brought home following the recent announcement from the Embassy of the Russian Federation in regard to the publication of Makarios Drousiotis’ latest book.

Drousiotis has written a series of books. In his latest, The Invasion and the Big Powers, he used a large volume of official documents that he gathered after years of research in state and other archives to question the role of the Soviet Union in the Turkish invasion and its aftermath. To what degree he succeeded in this endeavour will be judged by the reader, who could also read other books to form an opinion.

Personally, I admire Drousiotis for his courage and toil, which, if nothing else, provides some very useful material for future research. But I admire him for another reason. In one of his first books, influenced by the prevailing thinking of that time, he had adopted the theory that the 1974 coup and invasion had been a US plot. Later, through his research, he established that this version of events was not correct. And he had the guts, in his latest book, to admit that he had been wrong.

It is the right of anyone who disagrees with an author’s conclusions on past events to challenge and question anything he likes. But for an embassy to attack a writer, using insulting language, because it did not approve of his observations is beyond audacious and laughable.

As for the idiotic question at the end of the embassy’s announcement – whether it was a coincidence that Drousiotis was employed as an advisor of President Anastasiades – it betrays an arrogance that supposedly ended with the demise of colonialism. This was nothing more than a repugnant demonstration of a Stalinist mentality.

But there is worse. Stalinism has not survived only in Russia, its country of origin. It is also prevalent in Cyprus. All our political parties, with the exception of DISY, fully endorsed the attack by the Russian embassy, slamming the writer and his sinful book, while shedding tears because Cyprus-Russia relations were supposedly threatened. I am now waiting for them to call for the burning of Drousiotis’ book in order to appease the Russian ambassador.

Giorgos Lillikas went as far as to urge Anastasiades to “take a position restoring the historical truth”. This is the thinking of politicians in our absurd state. Historical truth is not the result of the research and study of events. It is imposed by the president, the political party and the system. And whoever disagrees with them must be crushed.

This is the level not just of Lillikas but of all the representatives of Cypriot Stalinism. We should not forget that the people now leading our parties are the political heirs of Archbishop Makarios, Spyros Kyprianou, Ezekias Papaioannou and Vassos Lyssarides. Stalinism may have been born in Russia, but it also reigned in Cyprus for many years.

We had thought it died when the above gentlemen left the political scene, but we were wrong. Now we can see that it has survived in the minds of their political heirs.

Cyprus Mail
By Loucas Charalambous