Sidebar to History?

“The quixotic legal struggle to clear Leonid Khrushchev’s name may seem a minot footnote, a historical irony that pits the heirs of one supreme leader against the power of another. But it represents precisely the kind of self-criticism that Russia has spent the better part of the past decade running away from. This process, which began under Gorbachev and petered out under Yeltsin before being aggressively opposed under Putin, is a precondition for any liberalisation. At its heart, at the core of the much-needed Russian conversation about Russia – Stalin, the meaning of the Gulag, the purges, the centuries-old tension pitting Westerniser against Slavophile — is Nikita Khrushchev. It was Khrushchev who embodied the Soviet dream, the rise of the peasant-worker to the highest echelons of the Soviet superstructure, and, at the same time, it was Khrushchev who gave voice to the contradictions, the inequities and iniquities of the system, who symbolizes the double consciousness of contemporary Russia.”

See The Trial of Leonid K in The National.

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