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You're reading: ‘Nostalgia’ for Stalin among young reflects Moscow’s failure to offer a concrete alternative vision

In the course of a St. Petersburg conference last week on “Russian Self-Consciousness and the Space of Russia,” which concluded that this consciousness today is “under the power of destructive myths,” two participants addressed the increasing popularity of Stalin among Russian youth who never lived under the dictator.

Dmitry Astashkin, a professor of journalism at Novgorod State University, noted that “alongside attempts to borrow elements of foreign cultures, in contemporary Russian society there is a tendency to return to the Soviet model,” often among those and in places where few might expect it, especially in its extreme forms.

“Stalinist types and the personality of Stalin himself are viewed as the symbol of this model,” Astashkin said, in large measure because of their “radical difference from the present situation of the Russian Federation.” And this is expressed “among the most passionate part of society,” the young.

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