Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Iconic Revolutionary Lenin in Pop Culture

 Sculpture named “The hero. The leader. The god” (L to R: V. Lenin, M. Mouse, J. Christ) by Alexandre Kosolapov.
The revolutionary and writer who led the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Russian Federation and the early Soviet Union has always been a popular yet controversial figure.  He was in the news recently when an archival KGB document declassified in Russia proved that Lenin had Jewish heritage in his background.  A report in Time magazine says that the document was on exhibition in Moscow's State Historical Museum documenting that Lenin's maternal grandfather, the son of Moses Blank, was born Jewish in Zhitomir, Ukraine.

Vladimir Lenin Cola-Flavored Head Pops.
It was in a letter to Joseph Stalin in 1932 — six years after Lenin's death — that Anna Ulyanova, Lenin's older sister, wrote that their maternal grandfather "came from a poor Jewish family and was, according to his baptismal certificate, the son of Moses Blank." In the letter, Ulyanova said her brother "had always thought highly of Jews." She also urged the Soviet leader to reveal Lenin's Jewish background, concluding that "it would be wrong to hide it from the masses."

Lenin on a t-shirt.
Lenin gave a speech in which he spoke about Jews and anti-Semitism which was recorded on a gramophone record in 1919.  During the Khrushchev era all of his recorded speeches of that year were published except this one.  He said, in part, 

The tsarist police, in alliance with the landowners and the capitalists, organized pogroms against the Jews. The landowners and capitalists tried to divert the hatred of the workers and peasants who were tortured by want against the Jews. ... It is not the Jews who are the enemies of the working people. The enemies of the workers are the capitalists of all countries. Among the Jews there are working people, and they form the majority. They are our brothers, who, like us, are oppressed by capital; they are our comrades in the struggle for socialism. ... The capitalists strive to sow and foment hatred between workers of different faiths, different nations and different races. ... Rich Jews, like rich Russians, and the rich in all countries, are in alliance to oppress, crush, rob, and disunite the workers. ... Shame on those who foment hatred towards the Jews, who foment hatred towards other nations. 

Lenin advertising the Museum of Communism in Prague, Czech Republic.
Stalin, however, ordered Ulyanova to keep Lenin's Jewish roots to herself. A few years later, Stalin began to purge Jews from among the leaders of the revolution. Stalinism included a strong helping of anti-Semitism beginning in the 1930s.  Prior to his death in 1953, according to the published Time report, he was preparing to send the whole Jewish population living in the Soviet Union to concentration camps in Siberia.
The name "Lenin" has lost its power in his hometown.

A young woman cannot help but give the revolutionary a kiss. All rights reserved by morganfitzp (C).


  1. Long live Lenin death to capitalism all power to the soviets

  2. Totalitarianism 5ever!


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