Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Man or Monster?

Listening to NPR on the way to work this morning, Morning Edition ran a piece on the 90th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution's seizure of power in Russia - "a revolution that ushered in a totalitarian dictatorship that killed and imprisoned tens of millions of people."

A very poignant comparison was made between 90 year-old Lev Mishchenko who lived during the terrible Communistic regime years after World War II, and a 34 year-old, Syleia Daripova.

A quote from Mr. Mishchenko:

"Stalin was a maniac," he says. "People say he led us to victory against the Germans. In fact, he drove the Soviet Union into the ground. The war was won only because of the heroism of those who fought in it."

And a quote from Ms. Daripova who believes Stalin was a "great man":

"Not every person can accumulate power in his hands like that," Daripova says. People say he murdered half of Russia … but, still, he was a unique personality. There are very few like him in history."

What, other than a very successful brain-washing could persuade a Russian to believe Stalin was anything less than monstrous?

You can read more about Lev Mishchenko's experiences here.

Very disturbing that the disillusioned Syleia Daripova will most likely never know Mr. Mishchenko's story - that is if she's lucky enough to escape experiencing a similar fate firsthand.


Peter said...

Stalin's reputation today benefits from the fact that he was Hitler's contemporary. If asked to name the worst, most brutal dictator of the mid-20th century, very few people will choose Stalin.

DarkoV said...

Though the body count is nowhere close, how many "brain-washed" Syleia Daripovas in the US of A will be believing the latest "truths" spoken by the Bush-Cheney Vietnam War dodging now war-mongering duo on their attempts to have us invade Iran?

I'm afraid, there will be quite a few willing believers.

bill said...

A person doesn't have to be brain-washed to believe Stalin or Hitler is "great." They could just share the same evil set of values.