High representative of the Russian Orthodox Church: Stalin initiated genocide against the people of his own country
Metropolitan Hilarion (born Grigoriy Alfeyev), chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations, spoke about his negative attitude towards the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in an interview on the Russian talk show “Еще непознер”. Hilarion is considered one of the most influential clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church.
In an effort to respond to TV reporter Nikolai Solodnikov’s questions about the Russian Orthodox Church’s views on Stalin, Hilarion replied, “The fact that the Stalinist regime was dictatorial; the fact that people suffered mass repressions and could not feel safe. These are all obvious facts, and we must not deny them.” However, he refused to express an opinion on the occupation of the Baltic States by the Soviet Union.
Hilarion stated that: He (Stalin – ed.) was responsible for the deaths of millions of his own people. He personally signed execution decisions. Even though it is sometimes said that he was unaware and Jezhov and Beria are accused of crimes (NKVD leaders - ed.)… he knew about everything. Stalin initiated genocide against the people of his own country.
Solodnikov followed up by asking how society should treat clergy members and believers who still consider Stalin to be an outstanding leader. He stated, “Does everyone have the right…to have their own point of view or will they one day open their eyes to the crimes that Stalin committed?”
Metropolitan Hilarion replied: "There are such people (i.e., Individuals who praise Stalin – ed.). I think everyone has the right…to have their own point of view, but there are… people who don’t want to hear, for some reason, the truth about that era of time. Maybe these people idealize the Soviet past. It is hard to explain why…this is so.“
The full interview is available on YouTube.