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Russian scientists warn against the statements of the head of security on the purges of Stalin

Ⓒ Pool/AFP/Archivos – Yuri Kochetkov – | Alexander Bortnikov (right), before a meeting of security and intelligence officers with President Vladimir Putin, on December 19 in Moscow

A group of Russian scientists expressed concern this Saturday about the recent statements by the head of the Russian security services (FSB), Alexander Bortnikov, about the massive purges of Stalin in the 1930s, which they consider as an attempt to justify the first of this kind for decades.

In an open letter published on the website of the newspaper Kommersant, more than 30 members of the Academy of Sciences fear that the “revision” of the role of the secret police of Stalin is intentional and urge public opinion to join their protests .

In an interview with the Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper this week, Alexander Bortnikov stated that the archives highlighted that a “significant part” of the criminal cases of that time “had an objective” criminal aspect.

Without wishing to “whiten anyone,” the head of the FSB denounced the “links between the conspirators of the coup d’état and foreign security agencies.”

This interview took place on the occasion of the Centenary of the Czech, the first secret police created to eliminate any opposition to the Soviet regime.

The FSB replaced, after the fall of the USSR, the KGB, the Soviet secret services, in which Russian President Vladimir Putin worked as an agent.

Historians believe that nearly one million people died in the atrocious Stalinist purges of the 1930s, out of a total of some 20 million victims during the 30 years in which Stalin was in power, disappeared in 1953.

“It seems that, for the first time since the 20th Congress of the (Soviet) Communist Party in 1956, one of the top officials justifies the massive purges of the 30s and 40s, which were followed by erroneous sentences, torture and executions of hundreds of thousands. of innocent compatriots “, the scientists highlight in their open letter.

These academics also expressed concern about the fact that Alexander Bortnikov failed to mention the arrest and execution of millions of Soviet citizens under Stalin, including scientists and senior army officers.

“The objectives of Bortnikov in his extensive interview do not seem clear to us: what is it about, a council for the new president, the expression of a nostalgia for times gone by or a propaganda for a new doctrine?” the text continues.

Vladimir Putin announced his candidacy for the presidential elections of March 2018 for a fourth term.

“Whatever it is, we strongly protest against a revision of the inhuman and directed perception against the people who had the purges and we appeal to all sensible people – who do not want to see their children relive the horrors of the 1930s – to join our proposal “, add the signatories.

Physicist Sergei Stishov, 80, who is behind the initiative, said the scientists were not expecting a response from the head of the FSB. “As a person who was born in 1937, I just want to issue a warning: ‘Stay vigilant,'” he told Kommersant.

An expert from the Russian security services, Andrei Soldatov, described Bortnikov’s interview as “very dangerous”.

“In these last two or three years, (Vladimir) Putin deliberately made the FSB an instrument of selective repression,” he told AFP, denouncing the implication of the security services in “almost all” important criminal cases.

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