War Museum In Belarus Honors Tanks And Stalin – But Doesn’t Tell The Full Story

Stalin Park in Belarus. <a href=https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24586586>Photo Credit</a>
Stalin Park in Belarus. Photo Credit

At the Belarus’s Stalin Line museum outside Minsk, visitors can see reenactments of Second World War battles, fire weapons from the Soviet era next to a wreath-decked monument to Josef Stalin and pose for photographs.

The open-air complex 30 km (19 miles) from Minsk was constructed to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the end of the conflict and highlights some of the defenses built to guard the Soviet Union’s Western flank – concrete bunkers and gun emplacements nicknamed Stalin’s Line.

Over 20 million Soviet soldiers and citizens were killed during the war. The museum is dedicated to those who died on the Western front.

Vera, a regular visitor, and mother of two says she often visits the museum and always with her sons. They like to see the battles and then clamber around on real military equipment and hold weapons. It’s the best way to remember the history of their country, says Vera.

Other visitors expressed unease that the museum appeared to honor Stalin for defeating Nazi Germany without mention of his oppressive policies which led to the death of millions of people during the forced collectivization of farms and bloody purges, REUTERS reported.

“He’s represented only one way here –nothing is said about his, let’s say, foremost part in the mass repressions at the later part of the 1930s,” said visitor computer programmer Andrei.

Stalin led the Soviet Union from the 1920s to his death in 1953.  He is adored among some in what was the Soviet Union for his decisive role during the war.  But it must also be remembered that tens of millions of people – the exact number is unknown – died as a result of his policies.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE