Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Man of Steel
Unfortunately I am not talking about Clark Kent's Superman activities today but another "Man of Steel" who caused the death of nearly (estimated) 20 million people in the former Soviet Union -- Joseph Stalin - who changed his original family name from "Jughashvili" to "Stalin" which means "steel" as a way to promote an image as a man of steel.
This past week marked the 50th anniversary of the "Secret Speech" given by Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, in February 1956 to denounce the cult of personality surrounding the mass murderer known as Stalin which our history courses/professors tend to overlook given their focus on the equally evil Adolf Hitler of Germany. Now I have not "quantified" this oversight via a scientific survey of history departments in American universities but the old joke regarding the nickname of the "History Channel" -- "The HITLER Channel" -- is reflective of the historical focus on Hitler at the expense of reminding the world how completely evil, inhuman Joseph Stalin was as he dragged the former Soviet Union from being a feudal economy into a nuclear superpower (which was fortunately a house of straw destroyed by a foreign policy led by President Ronald Reagan that sought to end this "Evil Empire" -- for more on this subject please check my posting here, "Peaches").
I raise this concern since modern day Russia -- the successor to the former Soviet Union for anyone that has been living in a cave for the last two decades ;) -- has current history students such as Andrei Ivanov who is quoted praising Stalin's leadership by saying, "To change a weak country into the world's greatest power, we had to collectivize. We were able to produce tractor factories and to win the war."
Let me offer a few suggestions to Comrade Ivanov, educators, and the media:
1.) Ivanov should travel to more countries and spend his extra money on books and DVDs about the former Soviet Union but published in the "free world" so he gets a better idea of Stalin's history.
2.) One of the numerous free market think tanks/pressure groups such as http://www.heritage.org, should publish the "Secret Speech" as a book for distribution to history departments and media outlets.
3.) A university should create a course solely focused on Joseph Stalin -- that is 3 academic credits that would surely help make the world more free.
May Stalin's victims rest in peace,