Are Stalin’s times coming back to Russia?

General Bastrykin applauds to little Diana.

General Bastrykin applauds to little Diana.

By Slava Tsukerman

On September 1, the head of the Investigative Committee of Russia, General of Justice Alexander Bastrykin came to St. Petersburg to celebrate the beginning of the Academic Year in the St. Petersburg Academy of the Investigative Committee. The Academy was created a year ago and placed into historical 18th century building built by Peter the Great for his Defense Office on the embankment of Moika river. At the official ceremony little children were reciting rhymed speeches with promises to join the ranks of investigators.

Little kindergarten student Diana expressed in her poem the desire to serve in the future for the benefit of the Motherland. At the central part of the short poem was the statement that Diana is ready to put into prison her close relatives, including even her mother, in case it would be needed.”

The general Bastrykin reached out for the girl, kissed her hand and hugged her.
Boys slightly older than Diana promised Bastrykin that they would establish patronage over the girl, to ensure her future as a cadet of the Academy.

Then the General of Justice brought the boys into rank of honorary cadets. For many of the guys, said Bastrykin, this day will become “the starting point for a large and complex path to master the huge load of knowledge and skills needed by the employee of the Investigative Committee.”

The official ceremony of the beginning of the academic year at the Petersburg Academy of the Investigative Committee of Russia and, in particular, Diana’s performance were broadcast by “The Fifth Channel” of Russian TV, then published on YouTube, to become a hit in Russian Internet.

The poetic speech of little Diana became Russian sensation because it made Russians to recall one of the most prominent and most controversial hero of the Soviet propaganda: Pavlik Morosov.

Pavlik Morozov was a 13-year-old schoolboy who lived in a tiny Siberian village in 1920-s. He loved communism so much that when his own father broke the law, Pavlik informed on him to the authorities. The father was sentenced to 10 years in a labor camp and later executed. When Pavlik’s vengeful relatives found out about boy’s action, they stabbed him to death. For generations the story of Pavlik, the boy martyr, was taught to tens of millions of schoolchildren throughout the Soviet Union. Wikipedia says: “His story was a subject of reading, songs, plays, a symphonic poem, a full-length opera and six biographies.” (

By the government order Sergei Eisenstein shot a film about Pavlik, but authorities found the film not enough patriotic and all the copies and negative of the film were destroyed.

The embodiment of fierce Soviet patriotism, Pavlik was pronounced Pioneer-Hero No 1. Books about him were published in many languages. When communist power in Russia collapsed Pavlik Morosov had turned from the Hero #1 into Informer OO1.

Pavlik Morozov Pavlik Morozov Pavlik Morozov

Now, more than two and a half decades after communism collapsed, a hot debate is raging over Pavlik Morozov that runs right to the heart of Russia’s post-Soviet identity.

It’s understandable that many Russians were frightened when they saw on TV
a little girl, promising to put her mother into prison: it looked like Stalin’s times are coming back.

Updated: October 5, 2017 — 8:53 am © 2016