Wednesday, February 07, 2007

"There were atrocious repressions, BUT..."

A report from the Middle East Times on Stalin's Black Sea resort of Sochi being turned into a classy hotel, ends on a troubling note. When materialism rules one's values, it probably becomes easier to make statements like, "Stalin was a mass murdering tyrant, BUT... he gave my dad a job!"
The massive dacha, where time seems to be fixed forever in 1937, the year of its construction, is now a hotel where visitors can stay in the one-time holy of holies of Soviet power for up to €300 ($390) a night.
One can eat in an imposing dining room adorned by the dictator's portrait, swim in his swimming pool, and even sleep in his bedroom.
Joseph Stalin came here almost every summer. From this peaceful house with shaded verandas, the mustached tyrant supervised socialism's triumphant march, as well as mass repressions and purges.
"Here he used to work, smoke, think. From there he would look out to the sea," Valentina Menalan, the villa's manager, said with enthusiasm as she walked from one room to the next.

Nothing has changed, she said - the heavy curtains and light wood still recall the 1930s, with only the furniture replaced in 1960s and 1970s when the villa became a guest house for the Communist Party's foreign visitors.
The villa was turned into a hotel after the Soviet crash in 1991.
The swimming pool on the ground floor is still functioning. "Stalin did not like swimming in the sea, so they built him this pool filled with seawater," the guide said.
The improvised museum holds several personal objects and a billiard table, as Stalin was a great fan of the game. One room has a full-size wax statue of Stalin seated at his table before a silver ink pot presented to him by late Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong.
One thing the Stalin hotel will not remind guests about, however, is the nightmarish side of a totalitarian regime that imprisoned millions of people in the Gulag.
"There were atrocious repressions, but Stalin also developed industry, space programs," said Vladimir Shishkin, deputy director of the Zelyonaya Roshcha (Green Grove) hotel complex, which includes the villa.
For many Russians, Stalin is mastermind of the victory over Nazi Germany, source of great national pride, and ruler of an empire that stretched from East Berlin to Vladivostok.
Nearly half of Russians - 47 percent - view Stalin in a positive light, with less than 30 percent thinking badly of him, a poll published last year by the FOM institute found.

He kept the trains running on time... to the gulag.

1 comment:

dag said...

A few posts below I wrote about "common sense," which I took to be an ordinary thing to discuss lightly here, though I should have known I was off-base when I did so. There are too many who have no idea of commom sense as a common comodity in the universe of intellectual exchange. Praising Stalin, even not violently condemning Stalin, is against not only mere common sense but is so evil it makes me angry and disgusted. Such positions of Gnostic idiocy and complacent Romanticism can only come from a hatred of Huamnity and an egoism surpassing all other Human folly. What should be so obvious as to be morally certain to even the lowest animal man is beyond the ken of our public intellectuals as a collective beast. How is it that men and women do not rage openly against such evil? Partly it is innate personal evil itself, I suspect, and mostly more, I think it must be laziness and ignorance and hubris. Those whose deepest thoughts and experiences are moral and intellectual flatuence should still be ashamed of themselves, even if all their private farting is lost in the wind of the general stinking noise of our intelligentsia.

Shame, shame, shame.

Well, what is shame anyway but a social construct erected on the superstructural conspiracy to dupe the falsely conscious into accepting the exploitation of the masses, which all smart people know and which only idiots like myself, Rightwing religious bigots, deny.

I say "Shame!"

I say stand up and let the rest of the world know you will not stand silent as this evil wind passes around you. Say to others "It stinks."

No buts, no buts, and no buts about it.