The Wilson Center’s Maxim Trudolyubov suggests that it’s not hard to understand why Russians still revere Joseph Stalin, more than 60 years after his death. As he sees it, it simply takes a little imagination.
Russians are not mad. It is just that for a number of reasons (we will come to the reasons later) the meme “Stalin” signifies law and order. People do not choose Stalin the murderous dictator; they choose an imaginary leader who can put things in order. “When tensions rise, people think about the kinds of leaders they believe would be tough and live up to the situation. In more liberal times these attitudes recede,” says the sociologist Alexei Grazhdankin.