Stalin: the Greatest Russian in History?

Stalin: Greatest Russian in History?

Hirsute or not hirsute...

Hirsute or not hirsute...

NPR and I have this telepathic thing going on, they just don’t know it.

I say this because Morning Edition ran this story on Stalin on the day that I officially began working on My Good Name Is Stalin as an FIR.

It felt like a timely bit of validation for my project, one that also made for good ‘GBH water cooler conversation. I even thought of the coincidence as a little auspicious. Stalin’s myriad atrocities however…not so auspicious.

Russians have the chance to pick the greatest Russian in history during a 13-part TV series that began airing there this month. Internet voting has already generated controversy by temporarily putting Soviet dictator Josef Stalin at the top of the list. [link]


A recent survey indicates that a majority of Russians today support Stalin’s policies. The NPR report includes a man-on-the-street interview with (a guy whose name sounded something like) Igor Stepanov, who states that:

“Whether the consensus decides that Stalin was good or bad for Russia will have to be seen. But it wouldn’t be right to ignore his role in history.”

* * *

On a less somber note, my friend Farhana kindly alerted me to this piece, also courtesy of NPR.

Prof. Steve Jones, head of the biology department at University College London, took a look at portraits of Russian leaders since 1917 and noticed a very curious pattern. Male pattern baldness, to be more precise.

With that, a song was born. Hit it :

Lenin was bald

But Stalin was hairy

Khrushchev was bald

But Brezhnev was hairy

Andropov bald

Chernenko hairy

Gorbachev bald

Yeltsin hairy

Putin is bald

Medyedev was hairy

They switch back and forth

The pattern is scaaaaryyyyyy…

 (Hey, hey, hey, hey) [link]


The ten men who have lead post-Tsarist Russia may have excelled at quelling freedom of speech, but efforts at suppressing the powers of the Y chromosome have proved a little, uh…hairy. 




3 Responses to Stalin: the Greatest Russian in History?

  1. LOL, your song has much amused and entertained me!

  2. Charles W. says:

    I have often heard of a fable that Stalin allegidly told. It goes something like this: peasnt walking down street and picks up trinket. A genie pops out and say he may have one wish. The peasant says his neighbor has 20 pigs andeue has 10. The Jeanie says aha u want 30 pigs. And the peasant says no just kill 10 of my neighbors pigs. Does anyone know if this is accurate? Thanks. Charles W.

  3. In some respects, logical analysis of Stalin’s achievements is impossible though, given the emotive issues surrounding his morally repugnant policies that massacred directly/indirectly around 35,000 Russians.
    Perhaps some Russians are voting Stalin as the Greatest Russian in History because they see how far Russia came under his rule. When Stalin came to power he said that Russia had only 10 years to catch up with advanced nations or they would be crushed. Perhaps a shrewd forecast, given that it was Stalin’s modernisation of the Russian economy that ultimately allowed Russia to defeat the Nazi invasion.
    Yes he was an evil dictator, but he indirectly saved Russia from the Nazis. A controversial perspective, yes, but think about it.

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