We’ve been to see The Death of Stalin and I could not recommend it more. A tragic story told in a lighthearted way. I am so old I remembered every one of the main protagonists, knew who they were and each had a very high recognition factor. And by some coincidence, this is just now the first item at Instapundit:
TODAY IS THE 124th ANNIVERSARY OF NIKITA KHRUSHCHEV’S BIRTH: Khrushchev was all too willing to assist with Stalin’s infamous purges and was Stalin’s enforcer in Ukraine. But at least later in life, he came to understand that Stalin was a dangerous maniac. After Stalin’s death, he emerged (hands bloodied) as the Soviet Union’s leader from 1953 to 1964 and pursued a policy of De-Stalinization.
Khrushchev’s grip on power was never as tight as Stalin’s. On the night of his ouster (engineered by Leonid Brezhnev), he is reported to have told a friend:
“I’m old and tired. Let them cope by themselves. I’ve done the main thing. Could anyone have dreamed of telling Stalin that he didn’t suit us anymore and suggesting he retire? Not even a wet spot would have remained where we had been standing. Now everything is different. The fear is gone, and we can talk as equals. That’s my contribution. I won’t put up a fight.”
Khrushchev is famous for having told a room full of Western ambassadors, “WE WILL BURY YOU!” Instead, he is buried at Novodevichy Cemetery. Brezhnev refused him a state funeral or Kremlin burial. To Brezhnev, he was just an annoying squish. Take a look at his monument at the cemetery. It’s in black and white–a fitting metaphor for the man.
Unless you know – really know – that socialist parties are filled with totalitarians trying to find their way to the levers of power, you will not know enough to keep an eye out for your political safety. Even then you can never be sure, but that is where you yourself must start.