CNN.com’s latest angle on the Sochi Olympics is what could have been a fascinating story about Joseph Stalin and his summer home. Instead what we have is an unbelievably sloppy piece of “journalism.”
Built in that city in 1937, twenty years after the October revolution, the murderous dictator’s dacha is now a tourist attraction in Sochi. For the uninformed, though, CNN presents “Uncle Joe” as a “notorious dictator,” but also a loving family man who did remarkably good things for social justice:
“No doubt that when our leader began to visit Sochi, the city benefited from great development,” [tour guide Anna] Hovantseva says.
“Earlier our city was the resort for the nobility, for only rich people. There had been tourists’ villas long before Stalin came here.
“But when Stalin began to visit Sochi, he began to develop it as a resort town for all people. Thanks to him, a lot of sanatoriums and hydropathic establishments (and) a road to Matsesta were built. All in all, he did really much for the development of Sochi.”
CNN tells us the reclusive “Uncle Joe” — a man of simple pleasures — needed the dacha to replenish himself after a tough day of “ruling over 200 million people”:
Nestled in the coniferous, cypress-tree forest of the Matsesta mineral springs area and perched in the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains, it was seen as the ideal refuge to replenish the man whose day job was ruling over 200 million people. …
“Generally, he liked to be all alone. He loved his wife Svetlana and his children. He had no friends. He read and thought a lot. He enjoyed hunting. He also loved farming. He grew lemons (for medicinal drinks). So he was an unsociable man, I think.”
Stalin might have loved his wife (CNN, the tour guide, or both are incorrect: the wife was named Nadya – Sveltlana was the daughter) but he also serially cheated on her, even with her friends. Nadya shot herself dead in 1932 after a dinner party where he humiliated her in front of another woman.
And Stalin didn’t love all his children. He couldn’t stand his eldest son from his first marriage or the reprobate son he had with Nadya. Stalin was devoted to his daughter Svetlana … until she betrayed him by falling in love. Stalin had his daughter’s first love arrested and banished for ten years to an industrial town near the Arctic Circle where he was likely a slave to The State.
Hitler built the autobahn and Stalin developed Sochi into a “resort town for all people.” But in order to complete his oh-so lofty socialist goals, such as resort towns for “all people,” Stalin starved, murdered, and personally called for the executions of millions of “all people,” and not just the upper class intellectuals, industrialists, and wealthy landowners. Millions of peasants were starved to death; their grain stolen to feed the cities and industrialize the “Motherland.”
The day Stalin died in 1953 was the same day millions of Jews were scheduled to be shipped Nazi-style out of their homelands and into the Soviet death camps known as Gulags.
CNN points out that the portraits of Stalin found everywhere in the dacha were only hung after his death. “[S]uch was his dislike of them,” CNN adds.
Actually, no. In fact, the complete opposite is true. Stalin commissioned untold numbers of portraits and statues of himself and peppered them throughout the country he terrorized for 25 years. Stalin’s likeness was everywhere: streets, homes, businesses, streetcars…. This was how he built a death cult to himself and became Russia’s god after destroying thousands of Christian churches and synagogues.
The biggest factual error in this report is that Stalin didn’t socialize. All his life, Stalin socialized and took his toadies home after work for dinner, movies, and drinks. Stalin used this “honor” to terrorize the ideologically-pure sociopaths who made up his inner circle. You were either forced to attend (until around 4 a.m.) or frozen out — which generally meant you could expect to be shot.
While married to Nadya, the Stalin’s Kremlin apartment was a regular compound for friends and children. It was only later after the Purge and the Terror that Stalin traded in his friends for sycophants. This is what happens when you personally have all but a few friends (and their wives and children) murdered. But only after they were forced to star in show trials and publicly confess to crimes they had not committed (though these gangsters were guilty of almost everything else).
Stalin might have grown lemons and watched Chaplin movies at his Sochi dacha, but mostly he used it as a place to plan crimes against humanity in the last century rivaled only by Hitler. Can you imagine CNN writing something like this about Hitler? It’s different with Stalin, though, because he was ideologically-correct — you know, not all bad.
One thing Stalin always counted on to spread The Revolution was the “blind kittens” in the left-wing Western media sympathetic to his cause and easily flattered and fooled into covering him favorably.
Some things never change.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC