Religion & Beliefs

Kind Papa Stalin?

Were you aware of this? There's a hot new TV show– in Russia– about the life of Josef Stalin. It's called Stalin Live! Jazz hands!!!! For real, yo. The show's structural device is an elderly Stalin, in the last weeks … Read More

By / March 30, 2007

Were you aware of this?

There's a hot new TV show– in Russia– about the life of Josef Stalin. It's called Stalin Live!

Jazz hands!!!!

For real, yo.

The show's structural device is an elderly Stalin, in the last weeks of his life, recalling episodes in his younger days, most presenting him in a favorable light. For Stalin admirers, of whom there are many in Russia, the series is an entertaining and educational look at the man who turned the Soviet Union into a superpower. To critics, it is a dangerous distortion of history that threatens to misinform a younger generation about a leader responsible for the deaths of millions of people, and reinforce a trend toward greater authoritarianism in politics.

And evidently a huge number of Russians basically agree with actor David Giorgobiani, who had this to say:

Many more years have to pass before we can make an unbiased judgment on that great man," he said. "One hundred years from now, no one will pay attention to the fact that so many people perished and the costs were so terribly high. But everyone will remember that such a great country was saved.

Umm… okay.As a Jewish woman, and someone who grew up in a red diaper, in years when Russian Jews were still trying to get out of the USSR in floods, I've thought a lot about the relationship between Stalinist Communism and anti-Semitism. I learned as a kid about the Hitler-Stalin Pact, and about Stalin's treatment of the Trotskyites. Not to mention all the purges, starting with that of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee. There is no question but that Stalin was an anti-Semite, a violent tormenter of Jews.

So how do I feel about this TV show?

It horrifies me. And I don't understand why we haven't heard much about it!!! Why isn’t the Jewish press freaking out???If a widely-distributed German TV show were being made about the military and economic successes of Hitler, leaving out his bloodlust and total lack of respect for human life… you can bet your sweet asses we'd be screaming our heads off. Why aren't we screaming our heads off?

And what does this all say about the new Russia and Judaism?