Stalin: Greatest Russian in History?
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.”
* * *
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
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.