Translated/Summarized by Vanya Bellinger
Mikhail Zapolev, a well-know member of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, has proposed the erection of a bust of Carl von Clausewitz in Hamburg sponsored by Russia, according to Politsib.ru. The news site quoted the Governor of Altai, Alexander Karlin, who received the request for funding in the beginning of April. Zapolev, a notorious member of the Russian Communist Party, represents the West Siberian region as well in the lower house of the Federal Assembly.
Although Clausewitz had little to no connection with Hamburg, the city is home of the Bundeswehr’s General Staff College and this prompted Zapolev’s suggestion to erect the bust there.
The article in Politsib.ru does not provide information about what prompted Zapolev’s interest in Clausewitz’s legacy. A comment under suggests, however, that the idea is not too far fetched since with a special memorandum the Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged governmental institutions to support initiatives popularizing the Russian victory over Napoleon. Clausewitz, too, served in the Russian army between 1812-13.
The article points out that Stalin found On War rather outdated. In 1947, he wrote for instance in the journal “Bolshevik” that Clausewitz was “a representative of the manufacturing period of war”. “But now we have the industrialized period of war. Without a doubt, the industrial period needs new war ideologists. It’s absurd to look for a lesson in Clausewitz,” argued Stalin. Since the deputy Zapolev likes to quote Iosif Vissarionovich, the article ironically asks whether the modern communist suddenly has turned away from his mentor.
Despite Stalin’s opinion, the deep and protracted interest of the Boshevik in Clausewitz’s work is a well-documented. Lenin for example extensively studied On War during his exile in Switzerland and later took the book on his trip back to Russia in 1917.
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