Friday, April 6, 2012

Stalin Portraits Are All The Rage

Posted by on Fri, Apr 6, 2012 at 10:33 AM

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As reported on BBC, human rights groups and members of a government oversight committee have been making quite a fuss over the sale of notebooks featuring a portrait of a very stalwart, very polished, very heavily medaled former Soviet dictator, the one and only—well, sort of—Joseph Stalin.

And yet it seems there's little to be done about it.

Sales have been exceptionally "brisk," so the publisher, who created this winner as part of a 'Famous Russians' series, refuses to pull the volume from circulation.

One historian describes the portrait of Stalin as particularly "handsome" and "mustachioed," but it's pretty much the same Stalin everyone's familiar with. If anything, he looks a bit more like a bloated grandfather than an idealized dictator.

Yet it's certainly that whole 'dictator' thing that's causing furor. The same historian is concerned that so many young people are buying the notebooks.

Anyway, is it not just a little bit bullshit that "nothing" can be done about it? I mean, can't authorities really do whatever they want over there? To journalists? To industrialists? To, well, anyone?

Just saying.

The brief article closes with the following curious note:

Stalin ruled the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1953, and historians say he was responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people.

But he is also praised for his leadership during World War II, and since Vladimir Putin came to power he has attracted a much more positive portrayal in Russia.

What then does that mean, exactly, for Putin?

Is that good? Is it bad? Anyone's guess.

In unrelated though also quite interesting news, the US Coast Guard fired on a "tsunami ghost ship," i.e. a Japanese ship with no crew that had drifted about 4,500 miles following last year's tsunami. The reporter describes it as "lonely, haunted, abandoned."

So the Coast Guard sunk the fucker.

Anyway, the video tells it better.


You can follow Paul D'Agostino on Twitter @postuccio

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