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Saint Stalin?

by Christopher A. Ferrara
Jan. 7, 2009

The “conversion” of Russia, following the 1984 Vatican ceremony that omitted any mention of Russia, has taken another sickening turn for the worse. On December 27, 2008, Richard Galpin of the BBC’s Moscow bureau, reported that “The former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin may have killed millions of his own people but this weekend he could be chosen by Russians as their greatest-ever countryman.”

Galpin relates how a nationwide poll on candidates for the “all-time hero” of Russian history, conducted by a popular Russian TV show, has been whittled down from 500 to only 12 candidates, with Stalin leading the pack. More than 3.5 million votes were cast for Stalin as the greatest Russian of all time. Stalin, in fact, “held the number one slot but was knocked down several places after the producer of the show appealed to viewers to vote for someone else.” The other poll leaders include Ivan the Terrible and Lenin.

Sergei Malinkovich, leader of the St. Petersburg Communist Party, is quoted by Galpin as claiming that “In all opinion polls he [Stalin] comes out on top as the most popular figure. Nobody else comes close. So for his service to this country we can forgive his mistakes.” Stalin made about 25 million “mistakes,” according to most conservative estimates of the number of people he murdered directly or indirectly. What does it tell us about the spiritual state of the Russian people that they would revere this butcher?

Even more insane is the proposal that Stalin be declared a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church. Galpin notes that during his interview of Malinkovich the latter “held a small neatly framed icon of Stalin’s face.” And in November “an Orthodox priest also displayed an icon of Stalin in his church near St Petersburg. Although he was eventually forced to remove it, he vowed he would not be silenced and went on to describe Stalin as his ‘father.’”

All of this reflects what Galpin describes as “a much broader campaign to rehabilitate Stalin” that “seems to be coming from the highest levels of government.” Part of the campaign is a “new manual for history teachers in the country’s schools, which says Stalin acted ‘entirely rationally.’” The editor of the manual, historian Alexander Danilov, told Galpin that “I believe it was the idea of former President, now Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin. It fits completely with the political course we have had for the last eight years, which is dedicated to the unity of society.”

Galpin identifies the source of this “unity” as “Putinism” — a “strident form of nationalism” according to which “Russians are to be proud of their history, not ashamed, and so those investigating and cataloguing the atrocities of the past are no longer welcome.” One of these unwelcome investigators is St. Petersburg human rights activist Irina Flige of the organization Memorial, whose office was recently raided by the police. As she told Galpin: “The official line now is that Stalin and the Soviet regime were successful in creating a great country. And if the terror of Stalin is justified, then the government today can do what it wants to achieve its aims.”

These developments have led British historian Orlando Figes, who worked with Memorial in researching a book on Stalin’s crimes, to remark that “What we have now [in Russia] effectively is the KGB in power.” We also have, as reported by the Novosti news agency, a crash program to provide Russia with “a new-generation RS-24 multiple-warhead missile system [that] will enter service with Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) in 2009,” which is to be “deployed both in silos and on mobile platforms and together with the Topol-M single-warhead ICBM…”

But we needn’t worry, for has not the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Bertone, assured us that Russia was consecrated 24 years ago in a ceremony that failed to mention Russia? Has he not declared (in his Introduction to the Vatican booklet on the Third Secret published in 2000) that “any further discussion or request” regarding the Consecration of Russia “is without basis”? Should Catholics allow mere evidence to cause them to doubt the word of such an important Vatican Cardinal?

It is precisely because we are Catholics that we must reject, with utmost urgency, the Cardinal’s manifestly false assertions. We must stand with Saint Thomas and insist contra factum non est argumentum: against a fact there is no argument. And the fact is that Russia is descending ever further into evil, and that the world is on the brink of catastrophe because an eminently fallible Cardinal and those who collaborate with him are wrong — apocalyptically wrong — about the Message of Fatima.