Last Thursday, President Vladimir Putin gave his opinion on Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin; namely, that Lenin, as the founder of the Soviet Union, had ideas that led to it’s very collapse.
Via USA Today:
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday slammed Vladimir Lenin, the Russian Bolshevik leader, for planting ideas that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Interfax news agency reports.
Putin’s remarks, on the 92nd anniversary of Lenin’s death, came during a meeting of the Presidential Council for Science and Education after a participant quoted a poem by Russian writer Boris Pasternak describing the revolutionary founder of the Soviet state as someone who had managed the flow of his thoughts to rule the country.
“Letting your rule be guided by thoughts is right, but only when that idea leads to the right results, not like it did with Vladimir Ilyich,” Putin responded. “In the end that idea led to the fall of the Soviet Union.”“There were many such ideas as providing regions with autonomy and others,” he said. “They planted an atomic bomb under the building that is called Russia which later exploded. We did not need a global revolution.”
Putin has in the past famously described the fall of the Soviet Union as the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century,” The Moscow Times notes.
Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov sought to soften the statement later, saying Putin’s remarks “should not be reason for outrage, it’s his personal viewpoint,”Interfax reports.
Peskov also said the comments did not signal any change over periodic calls for the removal of Lenin’s body from a mausoleum in Red Square.
After the fall of the Communist government and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, there has been occasional outcry to remove the remains and bury them, most likely in St. Petersburg.
Lenin is no longer a revered, untouchable figure in Russia — there is even a Lenin impersonator who works Red Square. But he is still admired by the small but politically outspoken Communist party, which holds 92 seats in the 450-member state Duma.
What’s perplexing about this statement is that it should imply, rather strongly, that the Soviet Union was a failure from the beginning. Surely if the first leader and founder of the USSR had ideas that led to its demise, then that means it shouldn’t have existed to begin with, correct?
In a speech in 2005, Putin spoke to the country’s parliament, stating that “Above all, we should acknowledge that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical disaster of the century. As for the Russian nation, it became a genuine drama.” This seems to contradict his remark above. As a former KGB agent, and a man who had lived in relative luxury during the Soviet era, Putin could very well look back on the Soviet Union with nostalgia.