In the debate Suppressed by the Saviour Nanci Adler (NIOD), Nikita Petrov (Memorial Moskou), Sana Valiulina (author) and Hester den Boer (journalist and photographer) will discuss Stalin’ heritage in Russia today. Jessica Gorter (documentary maker) will show film fragments from her award winning documentary De Rode Ziel. The evening is moderated by Xandra Schutte, chief editor of De Groene Amsterdammer.

During the thirty year rule of Stalin (1924-1953) millions of innocent victims were imprisoned in the forced labour camps of the Gulag, exiled or executed. Yet in Putin’s Russia, Stalin is revered as a strong leader and accdoring to recent polls he is now the most popular historic figure in Russia.

Why do people continue to revere a leader who has made millions of victims? Why does Stalins popularity continue to grow, and what parallels can be drawn between Russia’s past and the current climate of oppression?

The debate takes place within the framework of the project Suppressed by the Saviour by Hester den Boer. The project consists of the exhibition in Melkweg Expo and a series of online visual stories, produced by Paradox, and the nonfiction book Onderdrukt door de verlosser. Een zoektocht naar Stalin’s erfenis in het Rusland van nu, published by Atlas Contact.



Jessica Gorter is the director of the documentary film De Rode Ziel (2017), in which Russian people speak openly about their traumas, rooted in a violent history. Her previous film, 900 dagen, was awarded Best Dutch Documentary at IDFA 2011.

Prof. dr. Nanci Adler is the Director of Research at NOID and Professor Remembrance, History and Transitional Justice at the UvA. She is the author of a.o. Keeping Faith with the Party: Communist Believers Return from the Gulag (2012) and The Gulag Survivor: Beyond the Soviet System (2002)

Nikita Petrov is a Russian historian affiliated with Memorial, a human rights organisation based in Moscow dedicated to investigating the Stalinist past. Petrov is specialised in the secret service under the Soviet Union.

Sana Valiulina was born in Estland and is the author of Didar en Faroek, based on her parent’s history during Stalin’s reign of terror. The novel was nominated for the Libris Literatuurprijs. Her second novel Honderd jaar gezelligheid was published in 2010, followed by Kinderen van Brezjnev (2014).

Hester den Boer is an independent photographer and journalist and the author of the project Suppressed by the Saviour. Since 2009 she regularly travelled to Russia, often staying for longer periods in remote places in Siberia. This enabled her to produce in-depth stories on Russian society which were published in a.o. De Groene Amsterdammer. In 2015 Den Boer was shortlisted for the European Press Prize.

The evening is moderator by Xandra Schutte, editor in chief of De Groene Amsterdammer. In 2016 she received the Gouden Ganzeveer for her great significance for the written and printed word in the Dutch Language.

Debate i.c.w. De Groene Amsterdammer

16 Jan 2019, 20.00

Melkweg Cinema

Seats are limited, make sure you get your ticket in time
Melkweg Cinema
Lijnbaansgracht 234a

The debate will be conducted in English

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