Stalin: The Red God

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3-Year Streaming
Stalin: The Red God (62:00)
Item# 10074

When atheistic Joseph Stalin assumed power, he put to use his training as a Russian Orthodox priest to redirect his people’s devotional fervor and to cast himself as a secular god. Using eyewitness accounts, reenactments of key events in Stalin’s life, and examples of Soviet film, art, music, and architecture, this provocative program demonstrates how Stalin ennobled communism and elevated it to the level of a state religion. Neo-Stalinists, nostalgic for their godlike leader, provide insights into how a terrifying dictatorship can ignite a devotion both deep and disturbing. (62 minutes)

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Segments in this Video - (18)

1. Stalin's Resurrection (02:17)
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Poverty in the former Soviet Union is fueling a resurrection of the Stalin years. Has his bloody reign been forgotten? Stalin's grandson visits the largest collection of Stalin portraits in Georgia.

2. Is Communism a Religion? (04:04)

Historian Courtois says there are parallels between communism and religion, like rituals and ideas of salvation and paradise. Georgians still see Stalin as their hero, father, savior and protector.

3. Stalin's Early Years (03:03)

Stalin was raised by his religious mother, who wished him to become a Russian Orthodox priest. He studied at a strict seminary, a hotbed of communism and nationalism.

4. The Power of Electricity (04:07)

After expulsion from the seminary, Stalin retreats to Tiblissi. There, he works for the underground communist party. He gains power by bringing electricity to the people.

5. Lenin's Death (02:47)

When Lenin dies, his mausoleum forms the foundation stone for the cult of communism. The secret police embalm him, strengthening the Orthodox belief that saints don't decompose.

6. Stalin Assumes Power (05:15)

Stalin reinforces the ambiguity between church and state. He sets his sights on technology and harnessing natural forces. The people foresee a bright future, but are not well off.

7. Starvation and the Moscow Metro (02:43)

Under Stalin's collectivization, the Ukraine becomes a famine zone. The Moscow underground railroad gives the illusion of a better world while people starve.

8. Stalin the Living God (04:08)

Stalin was considered godlike in his absolute power to decide other's fates. His image was carefully controlled. When he ordered death, people saw it as an act of nature. He was both god and devil.

9. Purging the Masses in Russia (02:24)

Middle class and religious women are portrayed as class enemies. They are sent to camps, or gulags, to be "purged" of the wrong class by hard labor. Thousands die in the gulags.

10. Stalin's Rule by Fear (03:48)

Stalin rules by fear. People are arrested for negative comments against the state.

11. Stalin's Pact With Hitler (02:48)

Stalin signs a non-aggression pact with Hitler. In 1941, the Germans attack. Russia unites against the Germans.

12. Russia's Victory Over Germany (03:34)

Stalin releases the churches to represent the U.S.S.R. as a holy land to America's bible belt. Films glorify Russia's victory over Germany with images of Stalin arriving in Berlin.

13. Stalin's Myth vs. Family Matters (03:23)

Stalin remains a part of childhood mythology, a part of their culture. His own grandson says he was too busy with affairs of state to develop feelings for his relatives.

14. Khrushchev Denounces Stalin (03:16)

Stalin died in Moscow in 1953. Like Lenin, he was embalmed as a communist saint. Moscow crushes both pro and anti-Stalinists. Khrushchev denounces Stalin as a tyrant.

15. Digging Up the Communist Past (03:02)

Years after the KGB topples Stalin's statues, followers dig them up. Civil wars in Georgia pave the way for nostalgia. School children don't believe Stalin was bad.

16. Georgians Worship Stalin (02:09)

Some Georgians still believe Stalin was equal to Christ. They hope someone like him will rise up as their savior.

17. Will Russian Communism Rise Again? (03:43)

In 1998, when communist dissidents gather to discuss communism's enormous death toll, they are called heretics and fascists by an angry crowd. Some believe communism will rise again in Russia.

18. Stalin Lives On (03:01)

The current downturn in the Russian economy has turned many against Yeltsin and democracy. Stalin lives on because communism failed to create new human beings that can live without a god.

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