2016-08-22 15:35:00

Russian Jewish community waiting for explanation of Vasilyeva's attitude to Stalin era

Moscow, August 22, Interfax - The Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FJCR) has urged the new education minister Olga Vasilyeva to clarify her attitude to the era of terror under Stalin.

"I hope for a clarification of the matter. I believe it is very important for the new minister to explain her attitude and not leave room for ambiguity because this is vital not only for education in Russia but for the future of the country in general," head of the FJCR PR department Boruch Gorin told Interfax-Religion on Monday.

He said that in the course of the public debate on Vasilyeva's appointment quotations have cropped up "which being torn out of context don't add optimism about the new education minister."

"If talk of the efficiency of the Stalin period and the exaggeration of the ideas of the atmosphere of terror that existed then are in question, this talk is very familiar to me because this is the style of talk of deniers of the Holocaust - that allegedly in reality someone sometimes engaged in the Holocaust but it was not so often, not so much and not too bad. And try to prove the opposite to them. The deniers of Holocaust usually claim that there are no thousands of witnesses who remember not so much the numbers and figures, but what happened is the atmosphere of terror and persecution of a group of people," Gorin said.

"Therefore any attempts to show greater understanding for the Stalin era as it often happens - the time was like that, etc - scare me greatly because I believe that the Stalin era was deadly for Russia. A whole class of people was destroyed. Free thought and post-revolutionary enthusiasm were destroyed and replaced by fear of terror," Gorin said.

He said that if Vasilyeva truly said what was published in the media on the subject "and we have not heard refutations, then it is a bad sign."

"As far as her organizational skills, her understanding of problems of education are concerned, I cannot say anything about them. I don't know her at all. I don't know her work experience. We will see," Gorin said.