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Arts and Culture

Georgia ? Stalin

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Posted on Oct 1, 2008
Quit Stalin
people.com.cn

Georgians march in downtown Gori, Stalin’s hometown, with a portrait of the Soviet leader in 2004.

With Georgia on the U.S. mainstream media’s map after its recent war with Russia, a new interest in Georgian history and politics seems to have come to life, especially concerning the cult of personality that Stalin still leads in his native land.


The New York Times:

With his signature mustache, medal-encrusted Soviet marshal’s uniform and determination to be addressed as “Comrade,” the Stalin impersonator Jamil Ziyadaliev should perhaps be out of work in Georgia, a country still reeling from a war with Russia.

Nodari Baliashvili, a Gori native, showing off a Stalin tattoo he got when he was a soldier in the Soviet Army.

But Mr. Ziyadaliev, 64, an avuncular father of two who dresses as Stalin even on days off, insists that business has seldom been better. He is a frequent hired guest at weddings, where he dances to Soviet Katyusha music from World War II.

“Looking like Stalin is like having a visa in Georgia,” said Mr. Ziyadaliev, a Muslim originally from Azerbaijan, who drove a taxi, peddled vegetables and worked as an accountant before deciding on a career as a modern incarnation of the brutal, diabolically brilliant Soviet tyrant.

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By Folktruther, October 6, 2008 at 11:00 am Link to this comment

You may be right, Floydw, that the Bushites will initiate war someplace to change the focus from economy to war, favoring McCain.  But it could be Pakistan, Iran, Taiwan or anyplace at all in the world.

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By floydw, October 6, 2008 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

Is it irrational to imagine that the McCain camp may be encouraging Georgia in its recent agitations against Russia (alleged acts of terrorism by Georgia intended to provoke Russia into escalating the conflict)? Thus changing the focus in the campaign from the economy to foreign policy? October surprise?

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By Tony Wicher, October 5, 2008 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment

By air jordans, October 4 at 9:29 pm #


More and more people are surprised to learn that Stalin was Jewish.
——————————————————————————
air jordans,

No one one here believes this. Also, no one here at Truthdig is surprised when anti-Semitic nutbags show up here spreading anti-Semitic rumors that no one but anti-Semites believe.

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By Folktruther, October 5, 2008 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

No, Stalin wasn’t Jewish, he studied for the priesthood.  But Trotsky his main rival was, so the purging of Jews, which an astonishing percentage of the members of the leadership counsels were, was part of a political purge.  Also, apparently, six of the seven oil oligarchs that Yeltsin established were Jews.  Something funny seems to be going on there, but I don’t know exactly what.

What you say about the military situation, Jackpine,  under Stalin, is quite true.  You seem to know a lot about the Russian revolution.  But the industrialization prior to the war was carried out, with enormous sacrifice, under Stalin, however brutally and clumsily.  And he was courageous, willing to die at Stalingrad to inspire the troops.

Don’t misunderstand.  I’m not a fan of Stalin.  But the social system that produced him was different than the one that produced Hitler.  Calling them both Totalitarian deliberately strives to obliterate the differences.

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By jackpine savage, October 4, 2008 at 8:39 pm Link to this comment

Tony,

A lot of Russians are still proud of Stalin…a lot of the same Russians who hate Georgians are even proud of Stalin. Jew or Gentile, the man exhibits a psychological hold from beyond the grave.

Folktruther,

I would say that the Soviets defeated Hitler in spite of Stalin. He really didn’t have a mind for military strategy…at least not beyond “attack”. He lost millions of soldiers because he didn’t believe in retreat. His bungling in the opening hours, days, and weeks of Barbarossa nearly cost him the war. And his previous purging of the general staff left the Red Army in a perilous position from the outset. Finally, his need for absolute loyalty and nary a word of disagreement kept many officers from being able to speak their minds on situations.

The story goes that Ivan shouted “for Stalin” when attacking, and he did. He sort of had to since there were better armed NKVD troops behind him willing to kill him just as the Germans in front. What Ivan was really fighting for was Mother Russia. Stalin simply suckled the glory from her breast.

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By Tony Wicher, October 4, 2008 at 8:18 pm Link to this comment

A lot of Georgians were brought up to be proud of Stalin in the days Georgia was part of the Soviet Union. They and their children continue to be proud of the home town boy made good. 

Stalin Jewish? I never heard of this. I think it’s one of those rumors going around believed by anti-Semitic nutbags. I though he persecuted Jews and was himself an anti-Semitic nutbag with his “Jewish doctor’s plot”. But what the hell, maybe he was - let’s face it, we’re all Jews on this bus!

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By Folktruther, October 4, 2008 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment

The piece is the usual mainstream American drivel about Stalin and the Russian Revolution, which largely defined the 20th century.  Stalin hijacked it in the same way Napoleon hijacked the French revolution, but some progressive social implications were inherited despite that

The Russian revolution was framed by the invasion of 15 capitalist nations, including the US, to side with the Whites during the civil war.  they sent in three hundred thousand men, and caused enormous destruction and about 14 million dead.  Many of the Western troops revolted against their officers and supported the Bolshiveks, until withdrawn in about 1921-23.

The communests never forgot this and it guided their srategy for seige socialism.  When Lenin was shot and later died, the party was afraid that Trotsky would hijack the revolution the way Napoleon did, Trotsky being in charge of the Army.  Stalin, a minor figure previous to the revolution, won out, and flooded the party with his own type of man.

But he was constrained by the constant threat of capitalist encirclement and aggression.  In 1931 he gave a famous speech, largely blacked out in the West, which stated that the Soviet Union had to industrialize in a decade or be crushed.  Ten years later Germany invaded, which had been supported by elments of the ruling classes of the Western nations.

The Soviets defeated Hitler largely because of Stalin.  But the revolution was so deformed by his dictatorship that it never recovered.  It did however inspire the Chinese revolution which is currently industrializing the country and all of Asia, where most people of the earth live.

To consider Stalin as a counterpart evil of Hitler is absurd, because the social systems of seige socialism and fascism were completely different historically.

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By JohnT, October 4, 2008 at 6:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You guys are missing a wonderful quote. The NYT should have had it as their quote of the day.

From the story:

“Liana Imanidze, 71, whose grand home in Tbilisi has a sculpture of Stalin in the backyard and is decorated inside with a replica of his death mask perched on a pedestal, lamented that younger Georgians were ignorant about Stalin, including her own grandchildren, who she complained were more interested in Paris Hilton than in World War II.”

As Wyslawa Szymborska observed:

Where not a stone still stands
you see the Ice Cream Man
besieged by children.
  (from Reality Demands)

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By republicanSScareme, October 3, 2008 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Many people are surprised to learn that Stalin was Jewish.

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By jackpine savage, October 1, 2008 at 10:13 pm Link to this comment

And? Stalin is still quite popular in Russia, even though most families have at least one member that spent time in the gulags. Of course he’s popular in Georgia…just like some Georgians hate him as they always have.

One quibble: “Soviet Katyusha music from World War II.” Come on, New York Times “Katyusha music”? It is a song, not a genre, that predated WWII about a lover under the ripe pear and apple trees, on the steep banks of a river thinking about her man who is off fighting. It also happened to be what the soldiers called the truck mounted rocket batteries that inflicted such random damage on the Wehrmacht. The nice part about the song is that it can be sung as a melancholic love song or a more martial march.

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By 123456, October 1, 2008 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment

As the article points out, some Georgians hate the man deeply.

I seem to recall watching a tv documentary where a very old Georgian man was lying disabled in bed, and he talked of holding on the life just to see the hated Stalin dead.

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