1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Stalinism to the end
praecept0r from NY, USA (mostly)
4 March 2009
WWII is the sacred subject in Russia. No other country sacrificed this
much. No other battles fought through the war come close in magnitude
to what was going on on the eastern front. As an aside, that part of
the war is totally forgotten and ignored by Hollywood or TV network
documentaries in the States. Americans have all seen Iwo Jima, 70000
marines on an atoll in the Pacific. Few know Stalingrad, some know
Kursk, then battle for Berlin, obviously. Where is the rest of the war?
Just as an example - how many people interested in WWII history heard
of a meat grinder called Rzhev where almost a million Russian soldiers
were killed in 1942-43, along with 200000+ Germans? As bizarre as it
looks in a western society, the Soviets never talked about early
defeats much, hence those are virtually forgotten everywhere.
What would one learn watching hours and hours of the mini-series
"Voyna"? Nothing, unfortunately. The six-part miniseries were made in
1990, at the time when little bits and pieces of truth about the
horrors of the Stalin's reign grew into a steady stream. "Children of
Arbat" by Rybakov and the film "Pokayanie" by Abuladze have seen the
light. To certain degree, de-stalinization of the society stepped up.
However, lives, destinies, ideologies in this country have always been
polarized, there are always two sides in the barbed wire. Well,
Stadniuk, the writer for this movie was a nationalist-communist and
true Stalinist to the end. The film's action starts in June of 1941, a
week before the war. We are immediately met with a standard communist
party phraseology about the early mistakes in the war, unpreparedness
of the Soviet Union and a great toll that repressions of 1930s had
exerted on the Soviet armed forces. Stalin is not to blame, it's
basically Beriya's fault. We are back to 1954 official explanation of
these events when these generals and officers were largely
rehabilitated by Khrushcev. Oh well, the rest is no better ideological
garbage of carefully masked half-truths and the official soviet
doctrines. There is nothing about the "unknown", or never mentioned by
propaganda events of the war, etc, etc.
How valid is this film now? Not much. For the human side of the war,
there were excellent great movies already made and stories written and
hopefully more to follow. For the greater historical scope, and cinema
educating the masses - a bit more materials surfaced by now, with lots
and lots still locked in the archives without any access to it. Most
young Russians don't care about history, others support neo-nationalist
causes and love their new fuhrers, the textbooks continue the old lies.
The prevailing ideology inside the country once again, and may be more
than ever resembles something that the grandfathers and fathers fought
in 1941-45. There are interesting books as of late, few based on
serious research. Most of the new literature is based on fantasy. A lot
needs to change in Russia, so that people could be interested in
learning the full truth and capable of facing it. One could only hope
that it will come out one day out of the locked archives. And one could
only hope that one day the populace shall realize that "negativity"
about the war, its conduct, its bloody generals, Stalin and all the
craziness on top only underscore the valor of those in the trenches.
Then we can view the heroism through the clear prism of truth and learn
something about the previous generation and for the future.
Add another review