Nina Khrushcheva: Shades of StalinRoundup: Media's Take
Nina Khrushcheva is Nikita Khrushchev's great-granddaughter.
Nostalgia for the Soviet past is nothing new in certain quarters of the former U.S.S.R. But the ongoing show trial in Kiev of Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine’s former prime minister, is providing a dark new twist to the theme. Ever since the U.S.S.R. collapsed, businessmen and politicians have sought to breathe new life into various Soviet practices, usually with harmless, if kitschy, results. Oligarchs decorate their Danish-modern offices with socialist-realist paintings of Stalin dressed in the white ice-cream-vendor uniforms he favored. Mothers dress their children in retro uniforms of the Young Pioneers, the communist version of the Boy Scouts. A restaurant in St. Petersburg used to run endless newsreel clips of my great-grandfather Nikita Khrushchevmaking speeches or inspecting new-model tractors.
Tymoshenko’s trial, however, marks a new low. A post-Soviet state is bringing back to life one of the bedrock innovations of Soviet repression: the political show trial. Of course, the 2003 arrest and subsequent conviction of oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky in Russia is sometimes called a show trial, but it was, like so much else in Putin’s Russia, a corrupted version of laws the country had adopted since communism’s demise (in Khodorkovsky’s case, on tax evasion), not a return to Soviet ways.
In Tymoshenko’s trial, however, many elements of Stalin’s grotesque legal charades are present: a near-hysterical prosecutor, a compliant judge, a ruler who washed his hands of the affair like Pontius Pilate. Tymoshenko may not be exactly squeaky clean—she made a fortune in the shady world of gas trading in the 1990s, for which she faced criminal charges in Russia. But then again, no one in post-Soviet politics is....
comments powered by Disqus
- 1619 Project: New York Times Magazine Publishes Special Edition Dedicated to American Slavery and Its Legacies
- National Security Archive Releases New Briefing Book on Chernobyl through the Eyes of the Soviet Politburo, KGB, and U.S. Intelligence
- Before Trump eyed Greenland: Here’s what happened last time the US bought a large chunk of the Arctic
- Illinois Governor Signs Bill Mandating Public Schools Teach LGBTQ History
- Controversial Monument to Women’s Suffrage Redesigned to Include Sojourner Truth
- Historian Elizabeth Hinton Profiled in Harvard Magazine: Color and Incarceration
- 'Clearly, he did not take part in our curriculum': Historians bash Ken Cuccinelli's revised Statue of Liberty Poem
- The Increasing Popularity of Hotel Historians
- If You Call It History, You’ve Got to Do History’: Historians Chafe at a Video That Omitted Their University’s Whites-Only Origins
- Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum gets grants to help publish Abraham Lincoln papers