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Nostalgia in contradictions

⊰ 2022-07-31 by ShaunO ⊱

This documentary is worth sourcing and watching for a variety of reasons. It's an hours worth of contradictions and lessons in history, and that's before you even consider its content.

The documentaries of my childhood were like this - although this this one was made before I was born, and certainly 15 years before I could have any living memory of seeing a documentary. It's a little slice of 1963 'cold war Americana' too, although it doesn't do the normal "we're America looking from the outside in", in fact if anything it overtly 'parrots' Soviet propaganda without any filtering whatsoever. The limited footage, which one can presume was a result of restrictive access both physically and on a time basis, is used almost psychedelically in an attempt to bring some drama and movement in service to the narrative of Russian history. And what a potted, sanitised history that is - truly shocking in its simplicity and omissions if you have a working knowledge of Russian history. It's pretty hard to believe anything other than there would have been Russian approval of its contents before its release, it really comes across as that sanitised. The American 'interview' in the first few minutes of introduction is about as cringeworthy as 'American aristocracy' as you'll ever see - it is 'very pure' of its time and place.

And then there is the content. Oh. My. God. If Stalin himself were to produce such a documentary it couldn't be more forgiving of the serial tragedy that is Russian history. But none of that - it's like a fairy tale romp where 'Ivan the terrible' and 'Stalin' are presented as no worse than the fictional 'big bad wolf'. Meanwhile socialism, communism and Leninism are brushed over like they were 'mere phases' in Russia's political history. It truly is gob smacking - it's like a cartoon, but in documentary form.

Russia was a tragedy historically under its Tsars, but that was like child's play compared to the Bolsheviks. It amazes me that the Russian revolution, bolshevism, Lenin, Troksy, and Stalin are ever given any serious consideration as 'political movements'. I have read widely on Russian history, from Russian and western sources, chronological, to literary, and biographical material. It, in my opinion, is very hard to come to any other conclusion than that Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin et. al. were no more than fanatical ideologues, 'drunk' on their own intellectual importance, who loved power for powers sake, and damn the consequences (and damned the Russian people they did, many times over..).

They were little better than religious fanatics, equally enthralled to violence as their only form of dialogue, lost in their own delusions, drawing in a small army of like-minded psychopaths, and showering their terror over the societies they purported to represent..

Russian history has little to do with politics or ideologies. It has far more to do with brutal coups, civil war, totalitarian control, and labour extraction from its populace - a 'tradition' it continues to this very day..

A fascinating time capsule of American produced and supplied Russian propaganda.. very weird indeed.

The Kremlin (TV Movie 1963) - IMDb


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