Tag: Stalin

“The Holocaust is so popular we had to commemorate it twice,” my father quipped, as we attended a Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Day) event in Jerusalem with relatives visiting from the United States. One of them stared at my father with a look of shock and horror. (More…)

Year end lists aren’t what they used to be. Once a staple of newspaper writing, particularly alternative weeklies in the US, they’ve since faded in importance. Not only because the publications they once featured in have largely disappeared. More importantly, because popular culture no longer holds the same importance it had for young people until the War on Terror. (More…)

Most leftists have no idea what to do with Muslims. Should we be empowered as a disenfranchised minority? Should we be forced to adopt “European values”? It’s complicated, but interestingly, the early Soviet Union was remarkably intelligent about this. (More…)

People with direct experience of totalitarian regimes are understandably wary of iconography. When you’ve been exposed to stylized images of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and their ilk day after day, year after year, seeing anybody flattened into a stereotype is unsettling.  And when that celebrity treatment has explicitly political implications, the anxiety mounts. (More…)

President Lukashenko appealed to the apparatchiks. They were fearful of the literati calling for human rights reforms, and raising the divisive issue of whether or not Russian should be Belarus’ official language, an issue that rankles to this day. He also seemed to rise above the intrigues of the post-1989 legislature, with his anti-corruption agenda, though post-mortems of his first campaign show that it was light on actual investigations, but high on image management. (More…)

World War II was only yesterday. So one might surmise, during the month of April, by flyers posted in Berlin. Largely focused on May Day, a near equal number tend to be dedicated to commemorating Russia’s victory over the Nazis a little over a week later. Celebrated every 9th of May, the event marks Germany’s May 8th 1945 surrender. (More…)

The Republic of Abkhazia was once the destination of choice for thousands of Soviet holiday-makers, including Stalin. The nation’s one railway line was constructed in a regal fashion. Burnt out buildings from a vicious secessionist war in 1993 scar the landscape amidst the breathtaking beauty of rural valleys – scars of a history sometimes tactfully glossed over. (More…)

McCarthyism is over. Well, sort of; it depends on the color. We’re not so obsessed with red flags as we are with white ones, the ones curled into a keffiyeh on an Islamist’s head, wishing the wind would unfurl it into a flag of surrender. The Soviet Union’s iconic hammer and sickle no longer nails rivets or harvests potatoes. (More…)