Did Stalin give special treatment for his home country?

Did Stalin give special treatment for his home country?

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Did Stalin during his reign gave any special interest or priviliges to Georgia and the Georgian people?

I can think of two things:

  • There was a high number of people from the Caucasus area in his administration. I'm not sure it one would call it a privilege to come to Stalin's attention, but it was certainly special treatment.
  • Stalin and those friends had palaces in the Caucasus. Those would have brought money into the local economy.

From what I read in his biography, if anything he did the opposite. He hated his father, hated the church. During his rule a lot of purges hit the Caucasus, including the complete removal of population groups to Siberia and replacing them with Russian natives.

He rarely even went back there, only a few times to visit his ailing mother (whom he adored) after installing her in what amounted to a palatial home for her.

Georgians weren't given special treatment just because Stalin was Georgian. The Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic was an ordinary Soviet republic among other Soviet republics.

LGBT history in Russia

The history of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) in Russia and its historical antecedents (the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire) has largely been influenced by the political leanings of its rulers. Medieval Catholic-Protestant Europe had the largest influence on Russian attitude towards homosexuality. Russian LGBT history was influenced by the ambivalent attitude of the Russian Orthodox religiosity regarding sexuality.

Homosexuality has been documented in Russia for centuries. The earliest documented bans on homosexuality date to the early-mid 17th century. Grigory Kotoshikhin recorded during the reign of Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich, who began the process of the Europeanization and modernization of Russia, [1] [ better source needed ] that male homosexuals were put to death and also states that female homosexuals are also put to death by burning. [2] Government attempts at preventing homosexual practices began in the 18th century, with Tsar Peter the Great banning homosexual relations in the armed forces in 1716 as a part of his attempt to modernise the country. [3] In 1832, further laws were enacted criminalising certain sexual acts between two males, [3] but an LGBT subculture developed in Russia during that century.

In 1917, the Russian Revolution saw the overthrow of the Tsarist government and the subsequent foundation of the Russian SFSR, the world's first socialist state, followed by the founding of the Soviet Union after the end of the civil war in 1922. The Bolsheviks rewrote the constitution and "produced two Criminal Codes – in 1922 and 1926 – and an article prohibiting gay sex was left off both." [4] The new Communist Party government eradicated the old laws regarding sexual relations, effectively legalising homosexual and transgender activity within Russia, although it remained illegal in other former territories of the Russian Empire. Yet gay people were still persecuted and sacked from their jobs for being 'homosexuals'. [4]

In 1933, the Soviet government under the leadership of Joseph Stalin recriminalised homosexual activity with punishments of up to five years' hard labour. [3] A 1934 article in the new Criminal Code outlawed 'homosexuality'. [4] Following Stalin's death, there was a liberalisation of attitudes toward sexual issues in the Soviet Union, but homosexual acts remained illegal.

Stalin was born Ioseb (Joseph) Besarionis dze Jughashvili. But, like other Russian revolutionaries, including Vladimir Lenin, he later adopted the alias by which he is now best known.

Following the October Revolution of 1917, the three men became part of an informal group leading the new Bolshevik government. This group was completed by Yakov Sverdlov, though he died little more than a year later. When the government moved from Petrograd (formerly Saint Petersburg) to Moscow in March 1918 due to the ongoing world war, it based itself in the Kremlin. And it was there that all four men lived.

130 Joseph Stalin Quotes That Reflect His Thoughts On Freedom, Power, War And More

Joseph Stalin was a Soviet revolutionary and political leader. He governed the Soviet Union as its dictator. He was drawn to the ideals of Vladimir Lenin and became a member of the Bolshevik Party. Soon he made a place for himself with his organizational capability and played an eminent role during the ‘October Revolution’. Later, when Bolsheviks soared to power, he succeeded in rising through the ranks and became party’s ‘General Secretary’. He first used his post to consolidate his position and then to eliminate all his rivals to become the supreme leader of the country, continuing to rule Russia with an iron hand till his death at the age of seventy-four. We have compiled some popular thoughts and quotes by Joseph Stalin. Read through the quotes and sayings by Joseph Stalin that will give you a glimpse of his politically sane mind.

A single death is a tragedy a million deaths is a statistic.

It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.

The people who cast the votes don't decide an election, the people who count the votes do.

Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.

When we hang the capitalists they will sell us the rope we use.

Mankind is divided into rich and poor, into property owners and exploited and to abstract oneself from this fundamental division and from the antagonism between poor and rich means abstracting oneself from fundamental facts.

Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.

Everybody has a right to be stupid, but some people abuse the privilege.

I trust no one, not even myself.

Gratitude is a sickness suffered by dogs.

Everyone imposes his own system as far as his army can reach.

Gaiety is the most outstanding feature of the Soviet Union.

The Pope? How many divisions has he got?

The writer is the engineer of the human soul.

Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the vote decide everything.

Print is the sharpest and the strongest weapon of our party.

If any foreign minister begins to defend to the death a 'peace conference', you can be sure his government has already placed its orders for new battleships and airplanes.

A sincere diplomat is like dry water or wooden iron.

If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves.

By May, 1st, 1937, there should not be one single church left within the borders of Soviet Russia, and the idea of God will have been banished from the Soviet Union as a remnant of the Middle Ages, which has been used for the purpose of oppressing the working classes.

It is difficult for me to imagine what “personal liberty” is enjoyed by an unemployed hungry person. True freedom can only be where there is no exploitation and oppression of one person by another where there is not unemployment, and where a person is not living in fear of losing his job, his home and his bread. Only in such a society personal and any other freedom can exist for real and not on paper.

It's not the people who vote that count. It's the people who count the votes.

Great Britain provided time the United States provided money and Soviet Russia provided blood.

Divide the world into regional groups as a transitional stage to world government. Populations will more readily abandon their national loyalty to a vague regional loyalty than they will for a world authority. Later the regions can be brought together all the way into a single world dictatorship.

In speaking of the capitalists who strive only for profit, only to get rich, I do not want to say that these are the most worthless people capable of doing nothing else. Many of them undoubtedly possess great organising talent, which I would not dream of denying. We Soviet people learn a lot from the capitalists. But if you mean people who are prepared to reconstruct the world, of course you will not be able to find them in the ranks of those who faithfully serve the cause of profit. ..The capitalist is riveted in profit and nothing can tear him away from it.

To choose one's victims, to prepare one's plan minutely, to slake an implacable vengeance, and then to go to bed . There is nothing sweeter in the world.

Real liberty exists only there where exploitation has been annihilated, where no oppression of some peoples by others exists, where there is no unemployment and pauperism, where a person does not tremble because tomorrow he may lose his job, home and bread.

The production of souls is more important than the production of tanks. And therefore I raise my glass to you, writers, the engineers of the human soul.

'Roosevelt and Stalin' details the surprisingly warm relationship of an unlikely duo

How FDR and Stalin forged a bond that helped to shape history.

A history book that’s mostly about a couple of meetings shouldn’t be a page-turner, especially when you have a pretty good idea about what’s going to happen. But Roosevelt and Stalin: Portrait of a Partnership manages to be more exciting than a million calls to order. And no wonder: When this odd couple meets, the future of the world is on the line.

On one side of the equation is President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a consummate charmer who’s as full of manipulative bonhomie as ever when he twice meets with the Soviet leader. For his part, a short and stocky Joseph Stalin grins and bursts into a delighted laugh when he first walks up to FDR.
Stalin grins and laughs? Stalin? This is just one of many surprising moments in “Roosevelt and Stalin,” which intricately tracks the World War II negotiations between three powerful men over the future of the planet.

Stalin in person turns out to be much more complicated than the common depiction of him as a ruthless monster. Armed with Clinton-style charm – yes, you read that right – Stalin is suspicious and paranoid too. But he has plenty of reasons to be both. So does the third big shot whose name doesn’t even make it into the title of this book: Winston Churchill, the British prime minister and odd man out who can’t break through the cozy FDR-Stalin twosome.

Author Susan Butler is the perfect historian to explore the connections between the two men since she’s author of “My Dear Mr. Stalin: The Complete Correspondence of FDR and Joseph V. Stalin.” The 2006 compilation was well-received by reviewers who managed to get past the startling title (“My Dear Mr. Stalin”!), but the letters take a back seat to eyewitness accounts in “Roosevelt and Stalin.”

The pair of Big Three conferences – in 1943 in Tehran and in 1945 in Yalta – focus more on the future than the present, even though World War II isn’t over yet. Each man has a different goal: FDR wants to see the creation of a United Nations to enforce the post-war peace, while a Churchill hopes to preserve the British empire, and Stalin has his eye on eliminating the German threat. Roosevelt is the only one in the catbird seat, however, and Stalin has plenty of reasons to make him happy while Churchill sulks.

Inheritance, fairness, and the billionaire class

For one thing, Roosevelt pushed for the US to recognize the Soviet Union well before Pearl Harbor, despite the pesky matter of communists despising capitalists and vice versa. And he supported US help for Russia when “most Americans still thought of Europe’s problems as being as far away as the moon.”

Butler isn’t a master storyteller, but she has a firm grasp on dozens of other details from FDR’s infamous non-stop talking to Stalin’s honey-colored eyes and fireplug body. (An American says he’s “the coach’s perfect dream of a tackle” with huge hands “as hard as his mind.”) The two men bond by making fun of an annoyed Churchill, and Stalin even teases FDR by acting offended to learn he’s called “Uncle Joe” behind the scenes.

Butler also captures near-disasters, like when a miffed British general declares in a toast that his country has suffered more than Russia, and she expertly deciphers the many moments of manipulation. In a discussion of Poland and his own re-election hopes in 1944, for example, FDR somehow convinces Stalin that Polish voters in the US are much more powerful than they are.

Roosevelt, who’s energetic, pragmatic and “devious” even as his health declines, comes across as the most effective and visionary of the trio. He usually gets what he wants and needs, and the story of how he does it turns this book into a master class in the arts of negotiation and diplomacy.

But FDR has a huge blind spot. Up until the very end, “Roosevelt and Stalin” virtually never mentions a man who forever annoyed the Russians by declaring in 1941 that “if we see that Germany is winning, we ought to help Russia, and if Russia is winning, we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible.”

This man’s name is Harry Truman. When Roosevelt dies in 1945, just weeks after the Yalta conference, the vice president knows virtually nothing about the wartime talks and has never even spent a second inside the White House’s Map Room brain center.

Truman would learn about the nuclear bomb, which spawned an intense debate in the Roosevelt Administration about whether to mention it to the Soviets, America’s supposed allies. In fact, they’d already figured out something was up.

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Despite this fault line over trust with FDR, the Soviets would later mourn a safer world they believed Roosevelt would have created if he’d lived. To them, he was a dear friend who passed away too soon.

But FDR still accomplished plenty. The unlikely cooperation between the capitalist and the communist, the product of human warmth and trust, created the flawed but essential United Nations. As Churchill sulked, Roosevelt and Stalin grinned and charmed and arm-twisted their way to victory and the world beyond the war. We all live in their legacy.

Early years

Stalin was of Georgian—not Russian—origin, and persistent rumours claim that he was Ossetian on the paternal side. He was the son of a poor cobbler in the provincial Georgian town of Gori in the Caucasus, then an imperial Russian colony. The drunken father savagely beat his son. Speaking only Georgian at home, Joseph learned Russian—which he always spoke with a guttural Georgian accent—while attending the church school at Gori (1888–94). He then moved to the Tiflis Theological Seminary, where he secretly read Karl Marx, the chief theoretician of international Communism, and other forbidden texts, being expelled in 1899 for revolutionary activity, according to the “legend”—or leaving because of ill health, according to his doting mother. The mother, a devout washerwoman, had dreamed of her son becoming a priest, but Joseph Dzhugashvili was more ruffianly than clerical in appearance and outlook. He was short, stocky, black-haired, fierce-eyed, with one arm longer than the other, his swarthy face scarred by smallpox contracted in infancy. Physically strong and endowed with prodigious willpower, he early learned to disguise his true feelings and to bide his time in accordance with the Caucasian blood-feud tradition, he was implacable in plotting long-term revenge against those who offended him.

In December 1899, Dzhugashvili became, briefly, a clerk in the Tiflis Observatory, the only paid employment that he is recorded as having taken outside politics there is no record of his ever having done manual labour. In 1900 he joined the political underground, fomenting labour demonstrations and strikes in the main industrial centres of the Caucasus, but his excessive zeal in pushing duped workers into bloody clashes with the police antagonized his fellow conspirators. After the Social Democrats (Marxist revolutionaries) of the Russian Empire had split into their two competing wings—Menshevik and Bolshevik—in 1903, Dzhugashvili joined the second, more militant, of these factions and became a disciple of its leader, Lenin. Between April 1902 and March 1913, Dzhugashvili was seven times arrested for revolutionary activity, undergoing repeated imprisonment and exile. The mildness of the sentences and the ease with which the young conspirator effected his frequent escapes lend colour to the unproved speculation that Dzhugashvili was for a time an agent provocateur in the pay of the imperial political police.

Clouds (2020)

The Clouds true story reveals that Zach had osteosarcoma, the most common type of bone cancer. Like other cancers, its deadliness depends on whether it's a high-grade or low-grade tumor, how responsive it is to chemotherapy, and whether the disease has spread. Osteosarcoma most commonly affects males under the age of 25, and as with Zach, it often begins at the end of long bones. Zach's developed in his hip. -SarcomaHelp.org

When was the real Zach Sobiech diagnosed with bone cancer?

Is the Disney+ Clouds movie based on the memoir?

Yes. The movie is based on the book Clouds: A Memoir written by Laura Sobiech, Zach's mom, who is portrayed by Neve Campbell. She began writing the book three weeks after Zach passed away, completing it 12 weeks later. Laura had started a blog several years earlier after Zach was diagnosed, which she mainly used to keep family and friends updated on Zach's battle with osteosarcoma. When she learned Zach's condition was terminal, the blog turned into a place to log precious memories that she could keep close after he was gone. She would later use the blog as the basis for the memoir. Laura decided to write the book after a friend's agent, who had been following her blog, asked her if she would want to turn it into a book.

Had Zach and Sammy been best friends since childhood?

Yes. Sammy Brown, who is portrayed by Sabrina Carpenter in the Disney+ Clouds movie, had been best friends with Zach since they were in diapers. As teenagers, they were in a band together called A Firm Handshake. In researching the Clouds true story, we discovered that their goodbye song to each other, "Fix Me Up," is featured in the film and can be heard in the movie trailer. Other songs they recorded can also be heard in the film, including "Sandcastles" and "Blueberries."

How did Zach Sobiech meet his girlfriend Amy?

Zach met his girlfriend Amy Adamle through his best friend and longtime music-making partner Sammy Brown. Zach and Amy got to know each other during their junior year. "We both knew we liked each other, so by the end of junior year we started dating," Amy recalled, "and that&rsquos when we found out he was terminal, so our relationship was pretty serious pretty quickly. We had to be really open with each other, and we had to talk about things that no one really has to talk about when you're 17." -ChildrensCancer.org

Did Zach miss a date with Amy because of a collapsed lung?

Yes. For one of their first dates, Amy and Zach had planned to go on a picnic together. Instead, he discovered he had a collapsed lung and needed immediate surgery. In real life, he didn't stand up Amy on the date. He couldn't remember Amy's number, so he called Sammy who then called Amy to let her know. Amy said that it was the first time his disease became real for her.

Zach Sobiech's girlfriend Amy later surprised him with a special make-up date, a picnic on the field at the Minnesota Vikings NFL stadium. The surprise make-up picnic is not included in the movie.

Did Zach and Amy temporarily break up in real life?

No. The breakup never happened in real life. It was done for dramatic effect to give Zach's character motivation and to move the story along.

Did Amy remain with Zach up until his passing?

Yes. The true story behind Clouds on Disney+ confirms that Amy Adamle (portrayed by Madison Iseman) and Zach started dating shortly after he found out his cancer was terminal. Amy talked it over with her mom, and her mom asked her, "Would you still date him if he didn't have cancer?" Amy said yes. Zach and Amy continued dating throughout their senior year of high school. Zach even took Amy to prom not long before his death in May 2013.

Both Amy and his best friend Sammy met their onscreen counterparts and visited the Clouds movie set. Amy shared some of the letters that she and Zach wrote to each other with Madison Iseman and Fin Argus, who play Amy and Zach in the movie. -ChildrensCancer.org

Were Amy and Sammy close friends in real life?

Is Zach's teacher and mentor, Mr. Weaver, based on a real person?

No. From what we can tell, Mr. Weaver (Lil Rel Howery) is a fictional character. There is no Mr. Weaver in Laura Sobiech's memoir. He seems to have been very loosely inspired by Dan Seeman, the general manager of the local radio station who was instrumental in making things happen for Zach, including getting him a studio and a group of professional musicians to help him record "Clouds."

Did Zach write his songs as a way to say goodbye?

Yes. Like in the Clouds movie, Zach had learned to play guitar when he was little and he wrote the songs as a way to say goodbye to his family and friends. This is well-known and is clearly evident in the lyrics to his hit song "Clouds."

How did Zach Sobiech's song "Clouds" manage to go viral?

The song, which he posted to YouTube, first went viral in his home state of Minnesota, mostly due to people and the media sharing his story. It then spread around the country and eventually around the world. On the day of Zach's funeral in 2013, "Clouds" hit number one on iTunes.

Is Zach's younger sister, Grace, portrayed accurately in the movie?

Yes. According to Zach's friend Mitch Kluesner, actress Summer Howell did an accurate job of portraying Zach's younger sister Grace, even down to the amount Grace rolled her eyes in real life.

Did Zach decide against a radical surgery?

Yes. Though it's not depicted in the movie, the Zach Sobiech true story confirms that he could have had his left leg amputated, including his pelvis bone, but decided against it. Zach and his family felt that his quality of life was more important. If he had gone through with the amputation, it may have removed the cancer in that region, but he wouldn't have been able to sit up for several months. By that point, the cancer had spread to his lungs. The chemotherapy had largely stopped working. Zach decided to stop chemo, opting to live the remaining days of his life to the fullest.

The movie implies Sammy loved Zach as more than a friend, going so far as to have Sammy admit her love to him after he stumbles across an entry in her diary about him. If you watch the documentary, you might have been left wondering if she indeed had feelings beyond friendship. In her book, Zach's mom Laura states that Zach was fiercely overprotective of Sammy and that the two shared a "precious and sacred" friendship. Laura talks about Sammy knowing Zach so well that she often knew what he was thinking without him saying it. Zach was also suspicious of most guys who would try to date Sammy. However, the book doesn't talk of their love for one another as going beyond friendship. It seems that the movie has embellished their relationship a bit as it attempts to foreshadow the deeper love that they might eventually realize is there for one another.

Did Zach get to drive his dream car, a Nissan GTR?

Yes. As a car enthusiast, Zach had reasoned that a Nissan GTR would be an affordable high-end sports car that might be within his reach someday. The Clouds true story confirms that his family indeed surprised him by getting him a GTR on loan to drive for a week. However, his dad didn't get the car without involving his mother. In reality, it was actually the director of the documentary (and later the Disney+ movie), Justin Baldoni, who managed to have Nissan ship the car up from Nashville for a week.

Did Zach's parents drift apart from each other as they focused on Zach?

Did they really take Zach to France?

Yes. The trip to France indeed happened in real life, but it took place in March 2012, not during Zach's senior year. The trip was also prior to Zach finding out his cancer was terminal, which he learned two months later on May 31, 2012. They spent three days in Rome first, before spending two days in the town of Lourdes, the portion of the trip depicted in the movie. It's true that they dipped into the healing waters at the baths, which was the primary purpose of the trip. In real life, a total of eleven people went on the trip, including family and friends. After Lourdes, they spent a few days in Paris.

Was Zach unable to make it through a performance at a fundraising concert?

No. The actual concert took place at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis on February 16, 2013. It was a fundraiser for the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund. His mom did ask him if it might be too much for him to perform, but his condition at that point wasn't as dire as it's portrayed to be in the movie. In the film, the concert happens several months later. Zach finished his entire set at the concert. He never stopped partway through "Clouds," prompting the crowd to jump in and finish it for him. That was done in the movie for dramatic effect. At most, his mom noticed his voice sounded a little raspy, but she reasoned it might be from talking so much before the show. Also, Zach didn't perform the song with Sammy. He performed "Clouds" with Vicci Martinez, who had been recently featured on NBC's The Voice. At the end of the concert, confetti fell from the rafters and Zach held open his arms to the crowd and mouthed, "Thank you."

Unlike the movie, the concert wasn't a combined prom event. The real Zach Sobiech attended prom several months later in early May when his condition was significantly worse. They were unsure if he'd make it and how long he could stay, but he and Amy were there for several hours and had a great time.

Did Zach Sobiech sign with BMI?

Did Zach ask Amy to prom by putting the question on a theater marquee?

No. Zach didn't kneel down in the street underneath a theater marquee with the question, "Will you go to prom with me?" displayed above him. In real life, Zach Sobiech asked his girlfriend Amy Adamle to prom while they were on air doing a radio station interview.

How did Zach's family get through their grief when they lost Zach?

Zach Sobiech's mother, Laura, says it was the family's faith in God that got them through the grief. "I was certain that I was not going to survive losing a child, but I survived it, not because of anything special about me, but by God's grace." Laura speaks about her Catholic faith in her book Clouds: A Memoir.

Zach himself credited his older sister with helping him stay close to his faith. "I want to be remembered as a kid who went down fighting, and didn't really lose," Zach said.

Was Zach's family involved in the making of the movie?

Yes. Director Justin Baldoni had previously worked with Zach and his family while working on his documentary series My Last Days, which told the stories of people who were dying. Zach's story was featured in the episode "My Last Days: Meet Zach Sobiech," which you can watch through the link.

Baldoni worked closely with Zach's family while making the Disney+ Clouds movie. They even lent him some of Zach's things for actor Fin Argus to use in the movie. Fin wears Zach's clothes and uses his crutches. Zach's handwriting was even used to create the movie's logo, in addition to many of the marketing materials. Zach's room and the Sobiech's home were meticulously recreated for the film.

Do Zach Sobiech's family and friends have cameos in the Disney+ movie?

Further explore the Zach Sobiech true story by watching his My Last Days documentary episode. Also, check out some of his music videos.

Russia’s inflatable arsenal is one of the oldest tricks in the book

Posted On January 28, 2019 18:38:53

The Russian Ministry of Defense has started deploying an old kind of military deception: inflatable weaponry.

The Russian government has a growing supply of inflatable military gear, including tanks, jets, and missile batteries, provided by hot-air balloon company RusBal, as detailed by a report by The New York Times.

A demonstration in a field near Moscow illustrated the ingenuity behind the idea.

The inflatables deploy quickly and break down just as fast. They transport relatively easily, providing targets that may not only draw the enemy’s fire but also affect their decision-making process, burdening a rival’s leadership with the task of verifying targets.

An inflatable mock-up of a T-72 tank, from the 45th Separate Engineer-Camouflage Regiment of Russia.

“If you study the major battles of history, you see that trickery wins every time,” Aleksei A. Komarov, RusBal’s director of military sales, told The Times. “Nobody ever wins honestly.”

Inflatable weaponry has a history on Europe’s battlefields. Prior to the Allied invasion of Europe in 1944, Gen. George S. Patton was placed in charge of the First US Army Group (FUSAG) — a phantom force housed in cities of empty tents and deployed in vehicles made of wood, fabric, or inflatable rubber.

After Allied forces had a foothold in France, the “Ghost Army,” as it came to be called, continued to serve a purpose, as it was responsible for more than 20 illusions that befuddled German military leadership and disguised actual Allied troop movements in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany.

Moscow’s modern-day iteration of the inflatable army fits with a distinctly Russian style of subterfuge: Maskirovka, a Russian doctrine that mixes strategic and tactical deception with the aim of distorting an enemy’s conception of reality, bogging down decision-makers at every level with misinformation and confusion.

Maskirovka is a longstanding practice of Russian planners. During the Cold War, maps created for the Russian public were filled with tiny inaccuracies that would make them useless should they fall into the hands of rival military planners. The cartographer who came up with the ruse was given the State Prize by Josef Stalin.

A more recent version of maskirovka was displayed in Ukraine in 2014, when masked or otherwise disguised soldiers showed up in Crimea, and later by other soldiers purportedly “vacationing” in eastern Ukraine.

According to The Times, Russian military leaders were dubious about the inflatable hardware at first, but they appear to have been won over.

“There are no gentlemen’s agreements in war,” Maria Oparina, the director of RusBal and daughter of the founder, told The Times.

“There’s no chivalry anymore. Nobody wears a red uniform. Nobody stands up to get shot at. It’s either you or me, and whoever has the best trick wins.”


Joseph Stalin on America

Claim: Joseph Stalin described America as a healthy body with three fold resistance.

Example: [Collected via e-mail, November 2011]

“America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within.”

Origins: One of the forms of political expression that frequently arrives in our inbox for verification is the “evil plan” warning, items which present the notion that some malevolent entity (ranging from Communists to Satan himself) not only expressed an intent to destroy our society from within, but outlined a specific plan for doing so. The specifics of these plans (no matter how long ago they may supposedly have been formulated) generally relate to current events, and the political purpose of circulating them is to make readers aware that trends which threaten the health of
our society are currently in place (i.e., “This is EXACTLY what is happening now!”), and to warn them that we must be vigilant about holding our course and stopping or reversing the encroachment of these socially unhealthful trends. This form has been expressed in such widely circulated items

as Paul Harvey’s “If I Were the Devil” essay, an (apocryphal) quotation by Karl Marx about the perils of consumer debt, and an (also apocryphal) warning from Abraham Lincoln about the accumulation of vast wealth in the hands of a few.

The putative quotation from Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin referenced above is another item of this genre, one which presents the concept that Communist enemies of the U.S. viewed patriotism, morality, and spirituality as America’s greatest assets and cannily plotted that the U.S. could be made to collapse from within if these values were sufficiently undermined (and which, of course, serves as an admonition to American readers to be attentive in maintaining these values). Whatever level of truth one might find in this sentiment, however, it’s highly unlikely that Stalin ever spoke these words.

Proving a negative is often an uncertain proposition, but our reasons for believing this quotation to be of dubious origin are:

    We have found no presentation of this quotation that references a verifiable source for it. Nearly all reproductions of this quotation simply offer it as an undated, unsourced statement attributed to Stalin.

Did Stalin give special treatment for his home country? - History

Inside his underground bunker Hitler lived in a world of fantasy as his "Thousand Year Reich" crumbled above him. In his final hours the Fuehrer married his long-time mistress and then joined her in suicide. The Third Reich was dead.

Dorothea von Schwanenfluegel was a twenty-nine-year-old wife and mother living in Berlin. She and her young daughter along with friends and neighbors huddled within their apartment building as the end neared. The city was already in ruins from Allied air raids, food was scarce, the situation desperate - the only hope that the Allies would arrive before the Russians. We join Dorothea's account as the Russians begin the final push to victory:

The radio announced that Hitler had come out of his safe bomb-proof bunker to talk with the fourteen to sixteen year old boys who had 'volunteered' for the 'honor' to be accepted into the SS and to die for their Fuhrer in the defense of Berlin. What a cruel lie! These boys did not volunteer, but had no choice, because boys who were found hiding were hanged as traitors by the SS as a warning that, 'he who was not brave enough to fight had to die.' When trees were not available, people were strung up on lamp posts. They were hanging everywhere, military and civilian, men and women, ordinary citizens who had been executed by a small group of fanatics. It appeared that the Nazis did not want the people to survive because a lost war, by their rationale, was obviously the fault of all of us. We had not sacrificed enough and therefore, we had forfeited our right to live, as only the government was without guilt. The Volkssturm was called up again, and this time, all boys age thirteen and up, had to report as our army was reduced now to little more than children filling the ranks as soldiers."

Encounter with a Young Soldier

"In honor of Hitler's birthday, we received an eight-day ration allowance, plus one tiny can of vegetables, a few ounces of sugar and a half-ounce of real coffee. No one could afford to miss rations of this type and we stood in long lines at the

Hitler's last public appearance
the Fuehrer inspects boy-soldiers
defending Berlin April 20, 1945
grocery store patiently waiting to receive them. While standing there, we noticed a sad looking young boy across the street standing behind some bushes in a self-dug shallow trench. I went over to him and found a mere child in a uniform many sizes too large for him, with an anti-tank grenade lying beside him. Tears were running down his face, and he was obviously very frightened of everyone. I very softly asked him what he was doing there. He lost his distrust and told me that he had been ordered to lie in wait here, and when a Soviet tank approached he was to run under it and explode the grenade. I asked how that would work, but he didn't know. In fact, this frail child didn't even look capable of carrying such a grenade. It looked to me like a useless suicide assignment because the Soviets would shoot him on sight before he ever reached the tank.

By now, he was sobbing and muttering something, probably calling for his mother in despair, and there was nothing that I could do to help him. He was a picture of distress, created by our inhuman government. If I encouraged him to run away, he would be caught and hung by the SS, and if I gave him refuge in my home, everyone in the house would be shot by the SS. So, all we could do was to give him something to eat and drink from our rations. When I looked for him early next morning he was gone and so was the grenade. Hopefully, his mother found him and would keep him in hiding during these last days of a lost war."

"The Soviets battled the German soldiers and drafted civilians street by street until we could hear explosions and rifle fire right in our immediate vicinity. As the noise got closer, we could even hear the horrible guttural screaming of the Soviet soldiers which sounded to us like enraged animals. Shots shattered our windows and shells exploded in our garden, and suddenly the Soviets were on our street. Shaken by the battle around us and numb with fear, we watched from behind the small cellar windows facing the street as the tanks and an endless convoy of troops rolled by.

It was a terrifying sight as they sat high upon their tanks with their rifles cocked, aiming at houses as they passed. The screaming, gun-wielding women were the worst. Half of the troops had only rags and tatters around their feet while others wore SS boots that had been looted from a conquered SS barrack in Lichterfelde. Several fleeing people had told us earlier that they kept watching different boots pass by their cellar windows. At night, the Germans in our army boots recaptured the street that the

A Soviet soldier raises the
Hammer & Sickle atop the Reichstag
Soviets in the SS boots had taken during the day. The boots and the voices told them who was who. Now we saw them with our own eyes, and they belonged to the wild cohorts of the advancing Soviet troops.

Facing reality was ten times worse than just hearing about it. Throughout the night, we huddled together in mortal fear, not knowing what the morning might bring. Nevertheless, we noiselessly did sneak upstairs to double check that our heavy wooden window shutters were still intact and that all outside doors were barricaded. But as I peaked out, what did I see! The porter couple in the apartment house next to ours was standing in their front yard waving to the Soviets. So our suspicion that they were Communists had been right all along, but they must have been out of their minds to openly proclaim their brotherhood like that.

As could be expected, that night a horde of Soviet soldiers returned and stormed into their apartment house. Then we heard what sounded like a terrible orgy with women screaming for help, many shrieking at the same time. The racket gave me goosebumps. Some of the Soviets trampled through our garden and banged their rifle butts on our doors in an attempt to break in. Thank goodness our sturdy wooden doors withstood their efforts. Gripped in fear, we sat in stunned silence, hoping to give the impression that this was a vacant house, but hopelessly delivered into the clutches of the long-feared Red Army. Our nerves were in shreds."

"The next morning, we women proceeded to make ourselves look as unattractive as possible to the Soviets by smearing our faces with coal dust and covering our heads with old rags, our make-up for the Ivan. We huddled together in the central part of the basement, shaking with fear, while some peeked through the low basement windows to see what was happening on the Soviet-controlled street. We felt paralyzed by the sight of these husky Mongolians, looking wild and frightening. At the ruin across the street from us the first Soviet orders were posted, including a curfew. Suddenly there was a shattering noise outside. Horrified, we watched the Soviets demolish the corner grocery store and throw its contents, shelving and furniture out into the street. Urgently needed bags of flour, sugar and rice were split open and spilled their contents on the bare pavement, while Soviet soldiers stood guard with their rifles so that no one would dare to pick up any of the urgently needed food. This was just unbelievable. At night, a few desperate people tried to salvage some of the spilled food from the gutter. Hunger now became a major concern because our ration cards were worthless with no hope of any supplies.

Shortly thereafter, there was another commotion outside, even worse than before, and we rushed to our lookout to see that the Soviets had broken into the bank and were looting it. They came out yelling gleefully with their hands full of German bank notes and jewelry from safe deposit boxes that had been pried open. Thank God we had withdrawn money already and had it at home."

Field Marshall Keitel signs the surender terms
at Russian headquarters, Berlin May 9, 1945
"The next day, General Wilding, the commander of the German troops in Berlin, finally surrendered the entire city to the Soviet army. There was no radio or newspaper, so vans with loudspeakers drove through the streets ordering us to cease all resistance. Suddenly, the shooting and bombing stopped and the unreal silence meant that one ordeal was over for us and another was about to begin. Our nightmare had become a reality. The entire three hundred square miles of what was left of Berlin were now completely under control of the Red Army. The last days of savage house to house fighting and street battles had been a human slaughter, with no prisoners being taken on either side. These final days were hell. Our last remaining and exhausted troops, primarily children and old men, stumbled into imprisonment. We were a city in ruins almost no house remained intact."

Lawson, Dorothea von Schwanenfluegel, Laughter Wasn't Rationed (1999) Ryan, Cornelius, The Last Battle (1966).

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