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The current time is: 10/20/2017 11:57:52 AM
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George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5302

Stalin #1
Posted on: 8/22/2017 6:46:07 AM
This report is a little ominous. Stalin's name is experiencing a resurgence in popularity in Russia.

There are Stalin dolls, Stalin impersonators, Stalin tees and people who wish to concentrate on his victory in WW2 and other accomplishments like making Russia a superpower.

They ignore the fact that he was a mass murderer.

In a poll, Stalin was voted #1 in the list of greatest Russians ever.

I wonder how the poll breaks down by age group. The elderly who remember the Stalin era are dying off.

I suspect that Putin would encourage this development.

It would be interesting to read a high school curriculum document from Russia to see how Stalin is described to the students.


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Phil andrade
London, UK
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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
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Posts: 2476

Re: Stalin #1
Posted on: 8/22/2017 9:00:07 AM
George,

Is this a uniquely Russian thing ; or is there a widespread hunger for the emergence of the " Strong Man " throughout ?

Phillipines, Venezuela, Turkey, North Korea, Hungary, and, I daresay, the USA, exhibit this syndrome right now.

Even Emmanuel Macron seems to be trying to strut his stuff.

As for Putin, we have the perfect exemplar.

Russians have adhered to the cult of the ruthless leader since Ivan the Terrible: and Peter the Great also comes to mind.

Uncle Joe enjoys the singular accolade of winning the war. Small wonder that he's revered more in a world where social media bestow so much choice on the " distracted multitude " : it's almost as if people, bewildered by the infinite franchise presented to them at the click of a mouse , seek refuge in the image of an authoritarian figure who can fill the void left by their own deficiencies and indecision.

A kind of equal and opposite array of power prevails : the more freedom to survey and choose, the greater the hunger for a tyrant.

Editing : there is a very pugilistic brand of Russian nationalism abroad at the moment. In the recent World Cup Football ( soccer ) series, there was much commentary about the machismo of the Russian supporters : heavily tattooed , body building and aggressive, the Russian media were delighted at the way these fellas pitched into their puny English counterparts, who, they said, were more suited to Gay Pride marches !



Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5302

Re: Stalin #1
Posted on: 8/22/2017 9:40:35 AM
Hello Phil,

Yes I have noted that rise of the strong man in leadership roles. Mr. Trump gave a speech last night that was short on details but emphasized that the US military is going to kill terrorists.

But I do recall reading that the national curriculum in Russia was changing and that students were learning about the excesses of Stalin's USSR.

Among the required reading would be Alexander Solzhenitsyn's, "The Gulag Archipelago."

Where Yeltsin was clear on his repudiation of the USSR and Stalin, Putin has waffled.

He had to be convinced that reading "The Gulag Archipelago" was a good thing and initially he only wanted it examined in Russian literature classes and not as a basis for discussion in history classes.

Note that the kids won't be reading the whole book, just excerpts so I suspect that that period of history will be massaged so as not to harm the positive aspects of Stalin's leadership.

Educators say that there is nothing nefarious about reading only excerpts and that Solzhenitsyn's book is rather lengthy for school kids. As well, the book is available all over Russia. It is not banned.

So the kids have learned that Stalin brought industrialization to the USSR on a grand scale and of course that he won WW2.

That is the emphasis in the authorized history texts.

One author said that the Russian government wants to restore pride in nationhood and would rather emphasize the positive rather than the negative.

Cheers,

George

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2476

Re: Stalin #1
Posted on: 8/22/2017 10:10:30 AM
George,

Any mileage in equating this pro Stalin fervour with the regions and racial background of the folks displaying it ?

Stalin was from a certain strain : his Georgian and Osetian provenance might bestow a special flavour to the cult : maybe Russians from , say, the Baltic regions don't feel so enthusiastic as those of a more " Tartar like " persuasion.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2476

Re: Stalin #1
Posted on: 8/22/2017 10:20:10 AM
On reflection, I 'm tempted to draw analogies with the " Lost Causers " we've been discussing regarding Charlottesville !

I must be careful here, it's too touchy.

But I remember, a few years ago, seeing a Russian movie produced to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad. It was a drama, with fictitious characters, but the nationalist polemic was every bit as strident as anything I've seen on screen in modern times. Indeed, not even Griffith's Birth of a Nation sent a more unsubtle message. I was astonished.

The downfall of the Soviet Union was a traumatic blow to the pride of countless millions of Russian patriots. Small wonder that they seek to cast their history to suit their current needs.

Rather a vile tyrant who bestows military and geo political might than an insipid and thoroughly discredited flirtation with democracy.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5302

Re: Stalin #1
Posted on: 8/22/2017 10:31:23 AM

Quote:
George,

Any mileage in equating this pro Stalin fervour with the regions and racial background of the folks displaying it ?

Stalin was from a certain strain : his Georgian and Osetian provenance might bestow a special flavour to the cult : maybe Russians from , say, the Baltic regions don't feel so enthusiastic as those of a more " Tartar like " persuasion.

Regards, Phil
--Phil andrade


Phil, you had best expand on that thought. It is intriguing and I suspect that there are regional differences in how the USSR and Stalin were perceived.

But any of my comments would be speculative so I defer to you.

cheers,

George

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3307

Re: Stalin #1
Posted on: 8/22/2017 10:44:56 AM
 All I know is all is that talk about Stalin gave Trotsky a piercing headache.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2476

Re: Stalin #1
Posted on: 8/22/2017 11:50:30 AM

Quote:

Quote:
George,

Any mileage in equating this pro Stalin fervour with the regions and racial background of the folks displaying it ?

Stalin was from a certain strain : his Georgian and Osetian provenance might bestow a special flavour to the cult : maybe Russians from , say, the Baltic regions don't feel so enthusiastic as those of a more " Tartar like " persuasion.

Regards, Phil
--Phil andrade


Phil, you had best expand on that thought. It is intriguing and I suspect that there are regional differences in how the USSR and Stalin were perceived.

But any of my comments would be speculative so I defer to you.

cheers,

George

--George


Now I feel exposed as a fraud ! I know precious little about these things. I pitch them in as the thoughts occur.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

jahenders
Colorado Springs, CO, USA
top 60
E-3 Private First Class
Posts: 37

Re: Stalin #1
Posted on: 8/22/2017 4:53:17 PM
.. and left the Ukrainians with a 'hunger in their bellies'

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Moderator


Posts: 1309

Re: Stalin #1
Posted on: 8/22/2017 8:05:33 PM
Some interesting points, Phil and George. I'm writing from what might be defined as a state of ignorance.

Is it possible we are looking at two (or more) questions that may have different answers? And are we forgetting that we are approaching (and in fact are in the middle of) a centenary which had as much or more to do with shaping the last 100 years than many other events which receive much more attention?

Russian expansionism goes back to the mid-19th century, of course. At it's most aggressive it's focus was in Asia, including the rather lengthy foray into North America. But it was not nation-building; it was empire-building. The last generations of tsars were, significantly, "tsars of all the Russias".

I think it could be argued that Stalin is the "father" of Russia as we know it – a huge, monolithic nation spanning across the top of Asia and Europe. I don't think either Lenin or Trotsky saw the need to consolidate and nation-build in the way Stalin did. And I might suggest that it is in that light that the current revival of Stalin might best be seen.

That didn't make Stalin a "good" leader. It still doesn't. Whatever emotions we may have about the history of the 20th century, there are very few who accept the various planned starvations and migrations and political cleansings and demands for orthodoxy that were executed during Stalin's years of consolidation. But there were only 20 years between the Lenin-Stalin conflict over Georgia and the need for Stalin to use Eastern troops to counter-attack to save Moscow. Politically, that seems to me an incredible feat, even if I'm romanticizing a bit.

Phil, you say:
Quote:
... I remember, a few years ago, seeing a Russian movie produced to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad. It was a drama, with fictitious characters, but the nationalist polemic was every bit as strident as anything I've seen on screen in modern times. Indeed, not even Griffith's Birth of a Nation sent a more unsubtle message. I was astonished.


I haven't seen the movie you speak of, and I haven't seen Birth of a Nation since the mid-70s, so I don't know how inaccurate or misdirected or propagandistic the film might have been. I have seen [Battle of Britain and {i]The Longest Day and (oh my God!) The Great Escape. I don't think I'd put down any of these as accurate, or "fair", or unbiased. In the case of The Great Escape, I don't think I could even identify the war during which the escape took place. Movies are, after all, movies. I watched In Which we Serve numerous times, but nothing convinced me that was a true representation of England.

What is the relationship between peons and leaders, after all? Was WSC in the minds and hearts of British armed forces in ... say ... Singapore? Tobruk? Hong Kong? Don't think so. Yet if WSC captured the spirit and endurance of British men-at-arms, that must make him a symbol of his race/nation. In the US, though to a very different degree, FDR is seen as the "great manipulator" of WW2.Is it too much to provide a similar status to Stalin?

A few years ago, Canada voted on who was "Canadian of the 20th Century". We didn't choose Lester Pearson, who played such a significant part in the Suez Crisis. We didn't choose Pierre Trudeau, the most charismatic leader Canada had during the century. No, we chose a reedy-voiced Baptist minister who was drawn into politics because of suffering. Did we do that because that is how we as Canadians want to be seen? Are meekness and decency Canadian traits, or are they only what we hope to be seen as having?

Stalin remains a bogeyman for many in the West. Deservedly. But he did a great deal to establish and maintain the soviet state that Russia became. He's not the symbol I'd want. But he may be the best symbol Russia can muster right now.

Cheers
Brian G
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2771

Re: Stalin #1
Posted on: 8/30/2017 9:52:11 PM
Good point Brian!
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

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