Katia Raina

The Magic Mirror

Disappearing History

A country I was born and grew up in no longer exists. Kind of weird, if you think about it. But what’s weirder still, is the way it’s disappearing even from history.

A curious thing is happening in Russia: it looks to me at least from over here as though people are trying to forget their country’s very recent past. According to last month’s article by the Associated Press, Josef Stalin’s grandson is suing a well-known liberal Russian newspaper for “calling into question the Soviet dictator’s honor and dignity,” as the article puts it. Many historical groups, authors and journalists have long ago revealed records and evidence showing that Stalin ordered executions of thousands, no, millions of people. But now, many new voices in Russia are trying to “clear” the dictator’s name. The same AP article points out that Stalin was voted the thrid-greatest Russian man of all time in this year’s television poll.

When I read this article, I wasn’t entirely surprised. While doing research for my novel set in the collapsing USSR, I spent a lot of time browsing Russian-language chats and forums of all kinds in search of this or that piece of info. What I discovered was many views of this nature: “What was so bad about Stalin?”. ” He helped us win the war”. “People exaggerate.” This reminds me of the Holocaust deniers. It reminds me why I write historical fiction. It reminds me that some things we have no right to forget.


November 29, 2009 - Posted by | The U.S.S.R. | , , ,


  1. I am so glad that you are writing about the collapsing USSR. And so sad that I have to wait to read it!

    Comment by Joyce Hostetter | May 22, 2011 | Reply

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