Kim Jong-un Quietly Moves To Displace His Father’s Legacy

Kim Jong-un Quietly Moves To Displace His Father's Legacy

( – During World War II, the Soviet Union fought against the Japanese on the Korean Peninsula, and one of the units that did so was the 88th Separate Rifle Brigade. One of its officers was named Kim Il-Sung, who became the first ruler of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK/North). When he died in 1994, his son Kim Jong-il succeeded him in that position which he held until his death in 2011 when his son and current dictator Kim Jong-un took over. Media reports indicate Jong-un may be stepping up his efforts to diminish his father’s legacy through what is being printed in the state-controlled news outlet Rodong Sinmun.

I Am Not My Father

Much of Kim Jong-il’s early years are uncertain, as reports of his birth range from 1941 through 1943, with some indicating that it took place in the DPRK, while others say it was in Vyatskoye, Soviet Union (Russia). There is a memorial to Kim Il-sung’s military unit there, which could be the source for some listing that location as his birthplace.

While Kim Jong-il’s official rise to the country’s leadership is dated as 1994, there are indications he was being groomed to step into the role long before that. For example, one message from the German Democratic Republic’s (GDR/East) ambassador to the DPRK back to Berlin, dated November 12, 1974, says the officials across the nation were made to swear loyalty to him “in case something grave might happen to Kim Il-sung.”

Collectively, the three Kims adopted personas that portrayed them as being divinely ordained to lead North Korea with titles that indicated “eternal” president and/or general secretary of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea. Fyodor Tertitskiy is a senior research fellow at Kookmin University in Seoul, South Korea, and is considered an expert on his northern neighbor. He provided an overview of a new series profiling historical figures in the Rodong Sinmun.

In his article in NK News, Tertitskiy points out that Kim Jong-un prefers to keep tight control of the state media, and he believes the list of people who have had profiles printed, as well as who is omitted, “appears to be another manifestation of the current leader’s cautious efforts to undermine his father’s legacy.”

In 2021, the Russian state-run news agency Tass interviewed Professor Andrei Lankov (a director of the NK News), who told them the current dictator’s 2020 decision to take on the title Eternal General Secretary dealt “a severe blow to his own father” who the people of North Korea believed held that title forever.

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