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December 06, 2009


Richard J

Well... Not quite Uncle Joe (quite the opposite), but I was surprised to see that Admiral Kolchak has been, well, rehabilitated isn't quite the verb, but in any case, he's now thought suitable to be the romantic hero of a drama about the Civil War. Authoritarian strongmen are very much In in Russia at the mo', it appears.



I think we can file both under "it doesn't matter who you kill as long as who you kill doesn't matter".


That's very well put, ejh. Your own?


I'm afraid so.

Chris Williams

Lovely phrase, but highly untrue of Stalin, whose propensity to turn on the rest of the ruling elite (rather than his demonstrated propensity to kill several million peasants) was the charge that Kruschev brought against him in 1956. Not a 'big tent' man, Joe.

Richard J

Only after he was dead, mind, which is a fairly good definition (barring beliefs in afterlives etc.) of 'getting away with it'.


Chris, surely that shows that the phrase was true of Stalin? Khrushchev wasn't condemning him for killing peasants because they didn't matter.

Chris Williams

Er, yes. Fair point. The point that I was trying to make was to interrogate the post-CPSU clique's rehabilitation of Stalin: the man who killed more Communists (and more than a few secret policemen) than anyone else is perhaps an unsettling figure for any member of the ruling elite who's not Putin.


OTOH, it's a good reminder that Vladimir is comparatively...merciful. And the favoured method of the bullet in the back of the head is still quite popular, though outsourced in terms of targets and presumably contractors, in line with modern thinking on the executive role of business in government.

Thinking about it, you're back to the Lenin NEP era policy. Propblems within the aparatt solved more or less consensually, problems without it resolved by force. At the same time you have this system of oligarchical capitalism, which is arguably where the NEP would have led if it had followed Lenin's original notion of lasting over several decades. It's the programme of the Right Opposition.

have to say this for Uncle Joe - he wouldnt have let it happen. Hey, it's working!

Richard J

And the favoured method of the bullet in the back of the head is still quite popular,

Oh God, it took me about a fortnight to get over the ending of Katyn which spends the last 15 minutes showing the mechanics of mass executions by that method. (I suppose that's technically a spoiler, but it's not exactly a twist ending.)


I only saw a few seconds on a TV programme and that was enough. Where they're pushed out of the van and hanged before they know what's happening? Christ.


it's a good reminder that Vladimir is comparatively...merciful.

"Less Bloodthirsty Than Stalin". I like that as a selling point! Also "Less Mad Than Idi" and "A Better Dancer Than Churchill".

Tom Scudder

"A Better Dancer Than Churchill"

I think you misspelled "FDR".


It was a Producers reference, but I like your version better.

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