Archpriest Dmitri Smirnov, head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for Relations with the Armed Forces, said that certain days should be set aside for volunteers to cleanse Russia of all traces of the “monster” Lenin.
I noted this on the blogs of some politically conservative American converts to Eastern Orthodoxy (see here and here). Upon reading the comments of the archpriest I can't but help think of Marx's derogatory comments about Russians and Russian political life. There is something which seems to attract Russians of various political persuasions to cartoonishly totalizing political campaigns which completely "cleanse" the nation of this or that aspect of its culture or past. It would seem to me, if I hated Lenin, I would not wish for a concentrated campaign to remove all traces of Lenin from the Russian mind as this would only increase the likelihood that another Lenin would come along down the line. But such cleansings seem to be the Russian way of things.
The notion that Russia "never had a monster like [Lenin] before" is a rich truism. Well, of course. If treating considerable numbers of human lives as politically and economically expendable makes him a monster then he is one on a list of Russian leaders who were monsters, but surely each of them monsters in their own unique way, not seen before or since. When he his fiercely hated it is nearly always a hatred based on his not having been on "my side." Gosh I hate it when the other guys win too.
In those societies which Marx called "backwards," like Russia, there was/is a high degree of social homogeneity and conformity among persons within their classes (aristocrat, merchant, serf, etc.) and the "monster" is often the unique one with regard to expressions of idiosyncrasies and nonconformity. Russians seem to have a long history of appreciating the brutally idiosyncratic tyrant. And given that Tsarist tyrants are in dialectic opposition to communist tyrants, supporters of one side will hate the tyrants of the other. [This is the time on sprockets when a "third wayer" talks about hating all tyrants - too cute - and not an option when "on the ground" in the throes of Russian history.]
But the sport of it all is bourgeois or bourgeois wanna-be American Christians gleefully parading such politically and culturally überparochial comments as those which Fr. Dmitri provides, as if Fr. Dmitri's comments were expressions of a universal truth. As if when a Russian who is likely a theocratic monarchist or something quite akin to that talks about cleansing Russia his language means anything akin to the neo-con or American libertarian meanings approximate to such terms. Good show and thanks for the laugh.
For crying out loud folks, if you find Lenin so disagreeable, you can always get your politics from Rosa Luxemburg.