It's probably a safe bet that plenty of Russians did a double-take yesterday when Vladimir Putin said the country needed another "leap forward" in industry and defense. It's an unmistakable echo of Stalin's "great leap forward," though Putin didn't mention the dictator by name, reports the Guardian. "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," he said, complaining that "many of our enterprises are technologically stuck in the previous century."
Putin made no mention of the 6 million deaths blamed on Stalin's polices, but a top defense aide thought it would be a hoot to post online an old letter from Stalin to a gun factory that reads, "I give you two or three days to launch mass production of machine gun cartridges … If production does not start on time, the government will take over control of the plant and shoot all the rascals there." The defense official added a note of his own that "such methods of improving discipline also exist." He later explained it was a joke, but said those responsible for industry failures must be held accountable.