Stalin is Dead

While surfing the internet for old Soviet photos, I came across a blog called Iconic Photos. It’s a brilliant photography blog that discusses iconic photos both old and new. Below is a photo of Stalin’s funeral as well as an excerpt from Iconic Photos‘ post on it:

“On March 1st, 1953, the morning after an all-night dinner in his country estate outside Moscow centre, Joseph Stalin failed to rise at his usual time. He was discovered lying on the floor of his room only at about 10 p.m. in the evening. The Deputy Prime Minister Lavrentiy Beria was summoned, but neither he nor the politburo called the doctors until the next day. (A few months earlier, aging and paranoid Marshal Stalin fabricated a “Doctors Plot” to assassinate top Soviet leaders). With his drunken son Vasili storming around the room, and the members of the Politburo haplessly wringing their hands, Stalin died on 5th March, and his body was transported back to the city to lay in state at the Hall of Columns, the grand ballroom of the House of Trade Unions, where Lenin had lain in state too…”

To continue reading about Stalin’s death and other iconic photos of Stalin click here.

Also, to get an in-depth explanation of the Kremlin’s most recent internet faux pas, check out Iconic Photo’s post on the now infamous Alexey Navalny/Boris Berezovsky photo:

U of M on the Cold Front

Under the Cultural Exchange Agreement between the U.S. and the USSR, many artists were able to travel to the USSR and perform. The idea behind the program is that the exchange of cultural elements would create a middle ground on which our two societies at odds could interact. I love the idea of using art/dance/music to foster relations between countries and is part of the reason I want to work in foreign relations one day.

And so to my delight, yesterday I received an e-mail from UofM commemorating the Symphony Band’s 1961 Tour of Russia. Cool! Link below…

Cold War Memories

The Farcical Nature of Russian Politics: Putin Rides a Motorcycle Edition

There is no denying that Russian politics, especially on the national stage, are mainly a farce. Putin and Medvedev in the months leading up to an election, tour Russia demonstrating their virility through the political equivalents of arm wrestling. Last week, Russia watched as Putin went scuba diving for buried treasure in southern Russia, while Medvedev unveiled a new battle flag for the Eastern Military’s 11th Paratroops Brigade. Yesterday, Putin pulled ahead in this year’s Russian Leader Machismo Contest when he hopped on his Harley and led the Night Wolves Motorcycle Club around Novorossiysk. Can you imagine Obama kicking off his re-election campaign by leading a pack of Hell’s Angels to the Iowa straw poll…?

Barack on a Bike

Sometimes I wonder what I would do if we had these types of virile displays from Obama. Maybe I would use them to say “Hey, look you naysayers, Obama will squash your opposition not through reason and logic but through sheer strength” as the video of Putin leading the pack of motorcyles seems to suggest. What examples of Obama we do have, however, when juxtaposed with displays by Putin and Medvedev, make him appear like some sort of hybrid Mr. Miyagibaby whisperer (the latter video being one of my all-time favorites of Obama).

Now if only that fly was Gaddafi and that baby was Congress then maybe he would start seeing approval ratings similar to Medvedev’s…

Note: The Danger Room is one of my favorite blogs on foreign affairs and usually one of the first sites I go to each morning. I highly advise you to add it to your bookmarks and make it part of your daily routine too!