Yesterday, at the European film awards, the prize for best European Comedy 2018 was awarded to ‘the death of Stalin,’ by Armando Iannucci, a funny look on the power vacuum that was created after the death of the Russian leader back in the 1950s. It comes in a week where Stalin 2019 calendars are selling like hot cakes and schoolchildren are visiting his bunker. It would appear that in Russia anno 2018, Stalin is more popular than ever.
Produced in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, the 2019 calendar of the former Communist dictator is now being printed three batches. When it was launched in 2017, it proved so popular that the original 2,500 copies sold out in no time. In 2018 the maker printed double as much and seeing the increased demand, this year they have foreseen some 6 to 7,000.
The calendar features known paintings and pictures of the ‘dear leader’ and his most famous quotes. The producers of the work call themselves ‘bolsheviks’ and still believe in the ideals of the former Soviet Union.
The calendar creators call themselves Bolsheviks and claim they support the ideas of Bolshevism, namely the ideas of improving the quality of life for the working majority as opposed to the capitalist idea of increasing profit.
Each page of the calendar has a portrait of Stalin, one of his quotes as well as images of achievements of the Soviet period.
Meanwhile, Stalin’s WWII bunker, located in Samara, some 900 kilometers east of Moscow at the Volga river, has become a tourist attraction which thousands of Russian school children visit eagerly every year.
Doorman Anton Soluyanov, who works in the bunker which also serves as a museum, admits that ever since the Presidency of Vladimir Putin, things have slowly changed when it comes to admiration of former dictator Stalin. What was not allowed a decade ago, showing respect for the former Soviet leader, is now for many the new normal.
Mr Soluyanov: “until 1990 no one knew of the existence of this bunker, not even me. I live around here and for me as well it was a complete surprise.”
The spirit of the tyrant, who had tens of millions murdered, does not instil fear in the present generation. And why should he? After all, in Russian history books Stalin counts as "an efficient manager" who managed to defeat Hitler and save the homeland.
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