The gathering on this afternoon seems like child's play, but it is serious. But he does send over a photo via WhatsApp, unsolicited. It shows him as a six-year-old with his hands on his hips, his head thrown back and a Stalin moustache sticking to his upper lip. Who took the picture?
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His parents are no longer together and Laptev lives with her. He invites me on a walk through the Garden for the Victims of the Russian Civil War, located behind a concert hall. Laptev refuses to pass along his mother's telephone number, but calls her on his own phone and hands it over. How do you see Ruslan's future, I ask. He doesn't listen to me.
He doesn't know what life was like back then. Laptev's mother proposes a meeting to talk about Stalin, about the picture of her son with the Stalin moustache, about Denisyuk and about her son. But Laptev grabs the phone: "Mom, that's enough. We're in a hurry. Laptev and Denisyuk managed to collect more than half a million rubles for their Stalin monument, according to Denisyuk, the equivalent of almost 8, euros. He also wants to commission two plaques. He drives to the stonecutter at the cemetery and Laptev skips school to see the bust.
At the sculptor's studio, located in a disused factory in the city's north, Laptev pushes his way through a turnstile, climbs up a flight of stairs and crosses a dark corridor. The Vozhd is wearing his Generalissimus uniform, his right eyebrow raised slightly. The bust is sitting on a stool near the window so Laptev can look into Stalin's eyes. He steps up to the statue, carefully lays a hand on the shoulder, traces the wrinkles on his face with a finger and gently wipes dust from his nose.
Then, almost as an expert might, he knocks gently on the breast -- with Stalin emitting a dull, hollow noise. The bust, after all, is made of synthetic material, painted to look like bronze. There wasn't enough money for more than that. Laptev sighs. The mayor of Novosibirsk was initially reluctant to allow the Stalin statue a prominent place in the city. During Stalin's reign, several labor camps were established in the region and the children and grandchildren of the victims are still alive. Ultimately, the mayor decided to put the bust on display at party headquarters on Bolshevik Road, just outside the city center.
The parking lot is monitored by video cameras. Denisyuk and Laptev agreed, even though the latter found the mayor's caution to be cowardly. Just before the monument is to be dedicated, the mayor sets up a meeting with the Initiative Group Stalin Monument at party headquarters to discuss final details, though he sends a deputy rather than attending himself. Laptev arrives from school, where he had gotten into a fight, his officer's bag is torn.
Denisyuk is smoking a cigarette outside the door as an excavator tears down the rotten fence and topples trees to make way for the monument. The removal of the fence, though, has revealed a dilapidated shed. Denisyuk asks what the plan is for the shed. You won't be able to see it, the mayor's deputy assures, explaining that a brick wall is to be built and new trees will be planted.
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On the slight rise where the trees are to be planted sit two men in rubber boots, drinking alcohol from plastic bottles and swaying slightly. As dusk approaches, Denisyuk, Laptev and the retiree in the Puma cap walk to the subway. When May 9 finally arrives, the day on which all of Russia celebrates the victory over Hitler with parades, fireworks and tears, the Stalin monument is dedicated in Novosibirsk. The dumpster is gone, and fir trees have been planted on both sides of the Stalin bust.
Songs from the Stalin era are playing: "Let's drink to the Fatherland! Let's drink to Stalin!
Biography: Joseph Stalin
Denisyuk shakes hands, Stalin receives roses and carnations as Mozart's "Requiem" plays from the speakers. A reception follows, with Denisyuk eating and drinking with Communist Party officials. A fireworks display lights up the sky above Novosibirsk as darkness falls -- white, red and yellow bursts in the heavens.
Two days later, Denisyuk can be found enjoying a bottle of port wine with his breakfast before driving to party headquarters and taking photos of the Stalin bust from a number of different angles while smoking a cigarette. He asks me to take a photo of him together with Stalin. A few weeks later, Ruslan Laptev also posts a photo of himself with the statue. He is wearing a T-shirt with two crossed rifles, the head of a bear, an ammunition belt and the message: "The harder the hunt, the sweeter the prize.
It has been almost three months since the dedication of the statue and Denisyuk is satisfied. Stalin is back and finally has a place in his city. But his fight continues. He has called another meeting of the Initiative Group Stalin Monument for the first weekend in August and the agenda is extensive. He wants the statue to be recognized as a cultural monument, he wants to install lights to illuminate the bust at night and he wants steps to be built. More than anything, though, Denisyuk wants to once again begin collecting money with Laptev's help.
For a new monument. Made of bronze. The death of one man: that is a catastrophe. One hundred thousand deaths: that is a statistic! Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill them all, and you are a god. According to Wiesenthal, Eichmann had been asked by another member of the Reich Main Security Office during WWII what they should answer would they be questioned after the war about the millions of dead Jews they were responsible for, to which Eichmann according to his own testimony had replied with the quote.
You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs. In fact, the Bolsheviki are more indifferent because they are animated by fanatical conviction. Death solves all problems — no man, no problem. This actually comes from the novel Children of the Arbat by Anatoly Rybakov. We will hang the capitalists with the rope that they sell us.
Hitler vs. Stalin: Who Was Worse?
It has also been believed that Lenin may have expressed that the profit motive cannot be undone in that "If we were to hang the last capitalist, another would suddenly appear to sell us the rope". Experts on the Soviet Union reject the rope quote as spurious. However, it is established that Lenin did remark on the same underlying theme even if not in reference to rope , namely, that capitalists in their addiction to high profits could not help themselves from selling things to a socialist state, even if it was against their own long-term interests by strengthening an enemy; Edvard Radzinsky covers it in his discussion of Lenin's comments on the "deaf-mutes" in Radzinsky's biography of Stalin.
Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas? By the s he had dictatorial control over the new Soviet Union. At the same time, Stalin dedicated himself to creating a cult of personality. This including attaching his name to many cities, buildings, and monuments.
Stalin was keenly focused on the expansion of Soviet ideals around the world. He envisioned a Soviet Union that had the military capability to expand far beyond Russia. As such, he was eager to pursue any possible military development that could give the USSR an edge over other world powers.
Through these channels, Stalin became aware of the beginnings of a bomb program in Britain by , with knowledge of the upcoming American program soon to follow. After receiving notices from Soviet spies and Soviet physicists who were cognizant of the direction of their field, Stalin began taking steps to creating a Soviet nuclear program. Despite this, he was still skeptical of much of the intelligence he was receiving that directed him to that conclusion, particularly that which would lead him to pricey investments in nuclear physics.