Then here's a prediction for you. If Iraq or North Korea ever become free democratic states, a large proportion of their population (20-40% for Hussein and 40-80% for Kim Jong-il) will:
- Remain convinced that Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong-il were beneficent leaders.
- Will want their statues to be preserved.
- Will want public places to be named after them.
According to this Dnevnik article (in Slovenian), about 65% of residents in the capitol, Ljubljana, would like the town to get a street named after Josip Broz Tito, the erstwhile dictator of Jugoslavia. Of those, 71% (or 46% of the total) would like the town's major artery to be renamed back to Tito Road. (The two portions of the street were renamed to Slovenian Road and Vienna Road after Slovenian independence.)
For those who fail to see the problems in this, here's what Tito did for Jugoslavia.
- At the end of WWII, ordered the execution of tens of thousands of people (including women, teenagers and children) whose main transgression was their disagreement with the political goals of communists (or in some cases, that they were German families that Nazis settled in Jugoslavia). See article where a well-informed, highly connected individual pins direct responsibility on Tito.
- For the next several decades, ran a repressive system that:
- Confiscated most land and property.
- Ran a dysfunctional, nationalized, socialist economic system where inflation was rampant, products weren't available, when they were available they were poor quality, and prosperity was retarded by decades.
- Sent political dissenters into forced labor on Barren Island (Goli Otok).
- Prevented people from leaving the country, e.g. by requiring extreme deposits that one would forfeit if one did not return.
- Until his death, used the system he established primarily as a means of perpetuating his own image. Had several palaces in the various Jugoslavian states. Traveled in his own private train. Had his own set of islands and yachts for his private use (Brioni).
- Collaborated with people like Romanian dictator Ceausescu in murky projects like the murder described in Red Horizons by Ion Mihai Pacepa (a top Romanian spy chief who defected to the United States in 1978).
I'm not sure what the answer is. But it seems as though he made people feel good. His charisma brought together six nations that proceeded to hack each other to death about 10 years after he departed. There was no economic progress, and the only way to prosper was to cheat and steal and be a Party suck-up. But it seems as though, when they look back on it, people don't mind the economic misery. In a way, the memory of a past when fewer things were available and fewer things were possible seems attractive to them. What they seem to remember is a sort of brotherhood, a nostalgia for a time where most people led equally simple lives, and faced similar basic hurdles.
When they think of Tito, the thought of the tens of thousands he had murdered to shore up his rule doesn't appear to even register in their minds. What they seem to remember instead is their youth, and how it was lived in a decades-long presence of this charismatic Tito, who fed people a narrative of national struggle and brotherhood that emphasized his heroism. They bought it all wholesale.
It seems as though, when people in Slovenia want to immortalize Tito, they're not doing it with any clue as to who or what he actually was. They do it for the pleasant memory of their gullibility and naivete as younger people.
If anyone can relate more examples of what Tito did, please share. If you can corroborate them with links to more material, so much the better. If you have additional insight to explain people's nostalgia for those times, that would be welcome, too.