This is causing some consternation in Georgian newspapers. (Or at least the English-language papers.)
Russia needs a “leap forward” to rejuvenate its sprawling defense industry, President Vladimir Putin said on Friday, harkening back to the ambitious industrialization carried out by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in the run-up to World War Two.
“We should carry out the same powerful, all-embracing leap forward in modernization of the defense industry as the one carried out in the 1930s,” Putin told his Security Council, without mentioning Stalin by name.
Stalin, who ruled the Soviet empire with an iron fist for 27 years, is blamed for the death of about six million people but also is praised by many Russians for winning the war and industrializing the country.
The but in that sentence is doing some seriously heavy lifting.
In the 1930s Soviet leaders transformed a rural country devastated by civil war into an industrial superpower, using terror and executions to impose strict discipline at new plants built across the vast country.
Putin’s top defense industry official Dmitry Rogozin posted on his Facebook page a copy of a 1940 letter from Stalin to gun factory managers and accompanied it with a sarcastic warning: “Such methods of improving discipline also exist”.
Stalin’s letter to the managers said: “I give you two or three days to launch mass production of machinegun cartridges… If production does not start on time, the government will take over control of the plant and shoot all the rascals there.”
“Of course, it was a joke,” Rozogin told reporters regarding his posting but added that failures would not be tolerated.
How positively mafioso of him. “Like Stalin, should you fail to produce weapons to our satisfaction, we will take your business, kill you, kill your workers, and kill your families.”
“Ha, ha! I am just kidding!”
“But seriously. We will not tolerate failure.”