Catholics challenge communists' celebration of Victory Day in Siberia


Interfax-Religiia, 6 May 2016


Members of the bureau and regional council of the Novosibirsk branch of the Yabloko party and the Catholic cathedral church of the Transfiguration of the Lord of Novosibirsk criticized the appearance on the streets of the city of banners with an image of Josef Stalin.


"Besides the fact that he (Stalin-"IF") is the culprit in large-scale repressions, as the result of which millions of soviet citizens died and were imprisoned in camps and jails, many historians blame Stalin personally for the lack of preparedness of the Soviet Union for war and for the enormous losses, especially in the early period of the war," a statement of the cathedral says, which was quoted Friday by the local edition of the newspaper Kommersant.


The statement says that ascribing to Stalin the authorship of the Great Victory "not only is historically incorrect but it is also immoral."


In their turn, representatives of Yabloko reported in a letter to Mayor Anatoly Lokot that "right now in Novosibirsk province live 20 thousand persons who in their time were repressed by the stalinist regime," the party organization says.


As was reported, the Novosibirsk regional branch of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation [KPRF] placed celebratory banners with a portrait of Stalin on Novosibirsk streets. (tr. by PDS, posted 9 May 2016)



SOVA Center for News and Analysis, 6 May 2016


Novosibirsk Catholics are protesting against street banners with an image of Stalin that appeared on the initiative of the KPRF. The believers recalled Stalin's crimes, particularly the deportation of nations, many of whom were Catholics.


On 5 May 2016 it was reported that the Catholic community of Novosibirsk spoke out against the appearance on the streets of the city of advertising billboards with the image of Stalin. The erection of 25 such panels was paid for by the Novosibirsk branch of the KPRF in preparation for Victory Day.


The Catholics recalled Stalin's crimes and also that his cult was condemned by the communists themselves in 1956: "Stalin is to blame that in the USSR many nations were subject to deportation, particularly Germans, Poles, and Lithuanians, who until recently constituted the larger share of believing Catholics in Siberia and Kazakhstan. Thus a descendant of a Catholic family of Volga Germans is the current head of the Catholic church in western Siberia, Bishop Joseph Werth."


"In light of these historical circumstances, glorification of the bloody tyrant that Stalin was and attempts at his creeping rehabilitation that have been undertaken in recent years by both communists and some structures that are close to the authorities are regarded by Catholics as an insult to the memory of their ancestors who suffered at the hands of the dictator and as a threat to civil peace in the country," the website of the Novosibirsk cathedral church of the Transfiguration of the Lord says. (tr. by PDS, posted 9 May 2016)

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