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prehensive program to ideologically reeducate society. Putin's spin doctors did not deny
that Stalin's regime had conducted mass arrests and executions but tried to minimize these
events while emphasizing as far as possible the merits of Stalin as a military commander
and statesman who modernized the country and turned it into one of the world's super-
powers.” (In 2013, Putin's government threatened to close the Levada Center, saying the
polling firm was violating the law by not registering as a “foreign agent.”)
Today there seems to be less fear than in Stalin's time, but still fear. The safety net is
gone—people certainly struggle more for jobs. Corruption is rampant. There's no system
of justice. A democratic experiment in the 1990s was seen as a disaster. And democracy
seems like a risk—a big change. So many people have told me they've had enough chaos
in their lives already—so they crave stability. And so what's left? Stalin?
Well, Stalin without the repressions, Taisiya emphasizes. She truly believes that's pos-
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