Gorbachev Warns of History Whitewash





Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev warned Wednesday against whitewashing the crimes of dictator Josef Stalin, stressing that Russia cannot move forward without facing the truth about its bloody past.

In words that appeared aimed at President Vladimir Putin, Gorbachev also emphasized the need to pursue democracy.

His remarks, less guarded than usual, came amid growing concern among Russia's marginalized liberals that Putin's government is recasting Stalin's legacy to justify its own increasingly tight control.

The Stalin era is being portrayed as a "golden age," said Gorbachev, whose 1980s "glasnost" campaign as the last Soviet president prompted stunning revelations about Stalin's murderous policies.

"We must remember those who suffered, because it is a lesson for all of us — a lesson that many have not learned," Gorbachev said at a discussion marking the 70th anniversary of the bloodiest year of Stalin's Great Terror.

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