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Stalin in the Metro

Russian liberals are outraged by the recent decision to restore a Moscow’s Kurskaya Metro Station (Shown above) to its original 1950s appearance, including a quote praising Joseph Stalin: A fragment of the Stalin-era Soviet national anthem, it reads: “Stalin reared us on loyalty to the people. He inspired us to labour and heroism.” It will ...

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Russian liberals are outraged by the recent decision to restore a Moscow's Kurskaya Metro Station (Shown above) to its original 1950s appearance, including a quote praising Joseph Stalin:

A fragment of the Stalin-era Soviet national anthem, it reads: "Stalin reared us on loyalty to the people. He inspired us to labour and heroism."

Russian liberals are outraged by the recent decision to restore a Moscow’s Kurskaya Metro Station (Shown above) to its original 1950s appearance, including a quote praising Joseph Stalin:

A fragment of the Stalin-era Soviet national anthem, it reads: “Stalin reared us on loyalty to the people. He inspired us to labour and heroism.”

It will be seen by millions of Muscovites. The metro, which is state-owned, estimates 7-9 million people use it every day, making it the busiest underground transport system in the world.

Giant sword-shaped commemorative plaques dedicated to the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War in the same station have also been altered with the name of the modern-day Russian city of Volgograd changed back to its wartime name of Stalingrad.

“For the Motherland! For Stalin!,” reads another newly restored slogan.

“This is the fruit of creeping re-Stalinization,” said Arseny Roginsky, Chairman of human rights group Memorial. “They (the authorities) want to use his name as a symbol of a powerful authoritarian state which the whole world is afraid of.”

A lot of the original Soviet artwork is still up in Moscow’s stations, especially the larger ones on the city’s ring line. Ideology aside, these stations are absolutely gorgeous and are one relic of this very dark period that Russians can justifiably be proud of. It would be a shame for them to be completely redone.

On the other hand, it certainly seems like it wouldn’t that hard to maintain the stations’ original aesthetics while eliminating mass murder-glorifying rhetoric that went out of style during the Krushchev era.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

Tag: Russia

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