Russian Novelist Erofeyev: Stalin Is ‘Embedded In Our Genes’

Erofeyev: Stalin has embedded himself in our genes. He tries again and again to rise from the dead. Please don’t forget that the best were killed after the October Revolution in 1917: the best aristocrats, the best of the bourgeoisie, the best officers, the best farmers — even the best workers. We, including myself, are merely the best remnants of the inferior leftovers. A nation with these genes is susceptible to Stalin. Stalin has also left his mark on my genes.

. . . . . Putin is probably more liberal than 80 percent of the Russian population. The majority here in the country favors a tougher stance on foreigners — and the majority wants to reinstate the death penalty. Indeed, it will take a strong political will to push through democracy. In the 19th century, Alexander Pushkin said that the only European in Russia was the government. That still holds true today. Unfortunately.

SPIEGEL: It’s not Putin, but rather the people that are the problem?

Erofeyev: If the West unanimously sees Putin as a dictator or semi-dictator, when he’s really more liberal than 80 percent of the Russians, then we’re in big trouble. On the other hand, there are also signs of a rise in Western values here in Russia. People have an increasingly better understanding of Western books and films, many have protested against electoral fraud and they want more of a say.