Russian President says “Nothing can be valued above human life”
Understanding the Russian mind is something that has confused learned men for centuries.
For many who have watched Russian politics and society over the past few years may have been alarmed at the rehabilitation of Soviet leader Stalin by politicians and state run TV and newspapers.
Metro stations with his words on the walls have been built in Moscow and schoolbooks have been written praising his administration of the state while playing down the terrible cost to human life and the creation of a society in fear of the knock on the door.
Shostakovitch, one of the world most talented and respected composers modern Russia has provided was said to have always had a packed suitcase near his bed, just in case. It’s perhaps hard to imagine a society so keen to arrest and lock away some of its most educated people but during the 1930’s documentation shows millions of people were either relocated, arrested, interned in labour camps and in many cases killed. To overlook such a terrible cost in the desire to advance a society and ideal shows little regard to human life. To popularise a regime which caused a terrible famine through it’s actions, the removal of whole ethnic groups and the destruction of the accepted use of terror as state policy for so many years shows a pick-n-mix approach to historical fact.
The recent statements by the Russian government to create a commission to prevent the falsification of history seemed almost too soviet for many. A state sponsored version of history is never a good idea. If a document comes to life contradicting the state version it would cause a problem that has to be stopped before the evidence is used to promote an alternative version. History is a living and constantly changing assessment of the past, it should never be fossilised by a government in the interest of orthodox beliefs. There must always be a reassessment and re-evaluation of the past based on the evidence which arrives.
So the recent speech by President Medvedev seemed to contradict much of which recent actions have promoted and a welcome statement that “Nothing can be valued above human life”. It is perhaps something all of us in Europe should remember.
Whatever the colour pigment of our skin, whatever the religious belief, whatever the origin of the individual and whatever the political view, all life should be valued.