Stalin and Facebook

The Estonian blogger at Blue, Black & White Alert tells of his meeting with Josef Stalin:

I recently received a Facebook friend request from Iosif Vissarionovič Džugašvili Stalin.

Yes, I’m aware: alter egos are proliferating on FB; it’s become a miniature version of the Internet with trolls and even viruses running amok. Everybody can have a second joke profile, it seems.

Still, who knows? Maybe it WAS Stalin. People come back. The rumour in this case was that the Iosif Stalin page was created by a bunch of Italian students. And, you may know what happened in one of Umberto Eco’s novels — a bunch of academic types fed a hodge-podge of classic conspiracy theories into a computer…and they became true.

So my first reaction was to become frightened. Besides killing 40 million in a detached, banal manner, this guy probably started the whole tradition of polonium ingestion and brutality that persists to this day in Russia. He’s the kind of guy who’s not smart enough to invent a gas chamber but will get envious when he hears someone else has done it and takes it out on everyone around him — before maybe stealing the gas chamber for his own use.

I checked Stalin’s page. Yup, born in 1953. Information on secondary school attended. A pretty avuncular looking official portrait as his profile pic, exactly what Stalin would choose. the silly moustache, the hair that has coincidentally always struck me as Reaganesque (sorry, Reagan), the trick of the eyebrows and creases making the eyes appear halfway intelligent. Not much “progress” in the FB profile sense of the word.

I checked the names of his 12 friends. The names (Strauss, Fusfus) sounded like a pack of fellow travellers and existentialist professors.

My next reaction was to get angry. A friend request from Stalin – how dare he? It had that “my-reputation-precedes-me” air of many a FB friend request and didn’t even include a personal message. Here’s this guy who slaughters hundreds of thousands of my countrymen by proxy, and now wants to be my FB friend in his afterlife — without so much as an apology or an explanation about how he found Jesus or something. Maybe we’re too connected these days; Stalin couldn’t be that obtuse or brazen as to approach an Estonian with a request, could he?

I went to the Friend notifications and saw that there was no “Decline” button. There was only an “accept” and “ignore”. It would have to do. I “ignored” him. I nearly broke my mouse ignoring him. It was like Eli Roth in Inglourious Basterds, the guy with the baseball bat. I went into a frenzy of total disregard for Stalin.

**

I had second thoughts about my slaying of Stalin. After all, I was a believer in “there is nothing to fear but fear itself” — and I don’t think highly of revenge as a concept, either.

Of course, an online “friendship” with Stalin would have been hard to explain away to most of my contacts. But everybody’s got one black sheep among their FB friends — it’s one of the first rules of Facebook. (Stalin would stretch the definition, admittedly.)

It would have given me access to post on Stalin’s wall. I could write whatever popped into my mind, things like “hey, bro, last weekend was cool, we got to do Ukrainian mixed grill again”.

I could upload Picasso’s portrait of Stalin and tag Stalin in it, just to pester Stalin.

And of course, I could expose Stalin in the ultimate way, by suggesting Hitler to Stalin as a Facebook friend. That would be the big question: a possible online reconciliation with Hitler. Smart money is that four little years (1941-1945) and another 20 million are no impediment. It doesn’t change the fact that, for Stalin, Hitler was role model and maybe even the love of his life. Stalin would accept Hitler’s invitation in a heartbeat.

I searched Facebook for Hitler. But Hitler wasn’t on Facebook! Other than a viral clip of Bruno Ganz playing Hitler as fake funny subtitles flashed. How unfair. Stalin had a fan page — obviously there long before his profile — with thousands of fans. “Other Public Figure.” But no such page for Hitler. And no profile page. Was there a FB ban on Hitler pages or something? I Googled Hitler in Facebook. No, nothing on a ban, as far as I could see.

This wasn’t fair to Stalin. Stalin could be friends with Idi Amin, Enver Hoxha and Mao, but not Hitler? Not that I cared about what was fair to Stalin, but if he wasn’t able to consummate his deadly embrace with Hitler in cyberspace, the results could be catastrophic!

I entertained the explanation that the Hitler profile page and fan page must have been relegated to some special closed section of Facebook. Stalin’s page should be there, too.

So I reported the Stalin page as miscategorized.

Then I got angry that I had merely reported the page as miscategorized. Stalin deserved worse.

So I reported him again on general principle for inciting hatred.

Just in case it was a fake page, I reported it as a fake page.

I had now reported Stalin three times to FB.

**

My friend says I did a bad thing, something that could get the Italian undergrads in trouble with Facebook. My friend says Stalin should be allowed to have a page, so people can mock him. I understand his logic. But what I did is the only way to beat him back underground. People had to wait over 70 years – way too long – for him to finally die, and it’s way too dangerous to let him start going viral like this.

Stalin isn’t the Comte de Germain or Cagliostro, folks. He’s Stalin. You don’t want Stalin living for hundreds of years in cyberspace, or bad things will eventually begin to happen. Maybe even to your personal data. Trust me on this.

So if you see Stalin on the social networks in a way that’s clearly not like Bruno Ganz in that Hitler clip (i.e. funny) or historical, report him as inappropriate. Let’s see if we can beat him down.

37 responses to “Stalin and Facebook

  1. I love Estonian humor. There should be more of that published in the Western world, too bad that not many people speak this language and not much is translated.

    Estonians have a lot to say about Russia…

  2. I agree with Max, that was really funny.
    And the funnies thing is that this Estonian guy doesn’t even realize how stupid he is.

    I often hear from the russians in Estonia that after they learned Estonian and started reading their ideas they can’t stop laughing.

    • That’s bull – again. The RuSSian butchers in Estonia are unable and unwilling to learn the Estonian language.

      The most of them are lazy, unemployed criminals – also in Estonia and everywhere else.

      • Unable or unwilling? Or both?

        Many Russians say that Estonian would be a “stupid” language, not worth learning. They complain that the Estonians insist that all citizens have to speak the national language. This would be “discrimination”.

        Strange position, especially as they are all free to leave Estonia, if they don’t like it, and go back to Russia. But they don’t. They prefer to stay there and to act as the Kremlin’s fifth column.

        • It seems that foreign languages are too difficult to learn for RuSSians and then they say it’s not worth learning like in Estonia. This doesn’t happen only in Estonia: those lazy and unemployed vodka-drinking fascists are unable to learn other languages as well; Lithuan, Latvian, Finnish, Swedish, German…

          They are indeed free to leave Europe and go back to RuSSia. But they don’t want.

          • Didn’t you notice people leave Estonia in droves. Both Russian and Estonian.
            Interesting to know why in your opinion ‘lazy’ russians are better off than Latvians and Lithuanians.

            • You’re wrong. RuSSians stay in Estonia and don’t want to go back to RuSSia but some educated and multilingual Estonians want to study or work in Europe or the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or Asia for a while and then usually return to Estonia. Many foreign companies want to invest in Estonia. It’s becoming more and more developed every year after becoming free from the USSR. They will also join the Euro-zone in the beginning of 2011.

              Hated RuSSians are free to leave Europe and go back to RuSSia but they don’t want to leave.

              • Most Estoians I know speak at least three laguages (including Russian). Most Russians I know speak only Russian.

              • [… then usually return to Estonia …]

                Good to see that loyalty to the Motherland.
                But the current migration balance is seriously negative.

                • Total population of Estonia was 1 340 415 in 2009 and is 1 340 274 in 2010. It seems that they are not “leaving Estonia in droves”. Anyway, it’s great to have educated Estonians to work and/or study abroad for some years. They seem to be very hard-working and nice people.

                  Why lazy and unemployed vodka-drinking RuSSians don’t want to leave Europe and go back to RuSSia ?

                  • CIA site reports 1,299,371 inhabitants,
                    and -3,26 migrants per 1000.
                    And also -26.5% in industrial production growth rate.

                    • Eurostat reports its 1 340 274 and is in this case more reliable. Anyway, you are wrong as always by saying: “they are leaving Estonia in droves”.

                      By the way, Estonian industrial production is growing this year and they will join the Euro-zone in the beginning of 2011.

                      PS. Your lies sound very ridiculous. Drinking vodka today ?

                  • [Why lazy and unemployed vodka-drinking RuSSians don’t want to leave Europe and go back to RuSSia ?]

                    Why should they in the first place? It’s their homeland.

                    • No, Europe is not a right place for RuSSians. SS-Putler have invited them to return to their homeland, RuSSia. It seems that nobody of them wants to leave Europe and go back to your fascist-RuSSia. Why is it so ?

                    • I can offer an answer. They don’t go back to Russia because they don’t want to serve in the Russian army. With their “grey” passports, they are free to travel to Russia, to other EU countries and they don’t need to serve neither in the Estonian nor in the Russian army. That’s something many Russians would pay a lot of money for.

              • Interesting to know what those investors are going to produce in Estonia.

    • “I often hear from the russians in Estonia that after they learned Estonian and started reading their ideas they can’t stop laughing.”

      So why do most of the Russians in Estonia refuse to learn the national language of their country? They seem to be missing a lot…

      • Firstly quite some do learn Estonian.
        Though it’s of little use to spend time on this disappearing language. Estonians with their backward tribalistic mentality aren’t going to vote for a Russian anyway.

        • Why is Estonian a “disappearing” language? Yes, there are not many native speakers compared to Russian or English, but they are determined to preserved their language.

          Do you think that all small laguages deserve to vanish?

          • [Do you think that all small laguages deserve to vanish?]

            I think so.
            I’m not even sure Russian will survive forever.

            • Yep, soon the only official language of RuSSia may be Mandarin Chinese.

              • Quite possible. The Estonians have always felt the pressure. On one hand, they know that it is an advantage to learn foreign languages, because only a few foreigners speak Estonian. On the other hand they are aware that their own mother tongue might not exist in a few decades if they don’t actively fight for the survival. The Russians (and other large nations) don’t have this experience. So Estonian might even survive when other countries switch from their native language to Mandarin.

              • [Yep, soon the only official language of RuSSia may be Mandarin Chinese.]

                Not a problem for me.
                Let xenophobic Estonians fight for their precious language. Thank God there’s no SU anymore so they won’t suck my money on it.

                • Are Estonians “xenophobic”? Most foreigners feel quite comfortable there…

                  Or maybe they just don’t like Russians? And if yes, why?

                  • [Are Estonians “xenophobic”?]
                    Of course they are.
                    Otherwise they’d allow some official status to Russian an live happily.

                    [Or maybe they just don’t like Russians? And if yes, why?]

                    Because they are xenophobic!
                    They are afraid of Russians and don’t belive they both can be Estonian patriots.

                    • Jesus, you are moron. Are you drunk ?

                    • [Otherwise they’d allow some official status to Russian an live happily…. They are afraid of Russians and don’t belive they both can be Estonian patriots.]

                      Perhaps they don’t believe that because the Russians don’t behave like “Estonian patriots”, but like former colonists who despise their former “serfs”? Many Russians seem to believe that Estonia belongs to Russia and has obtained some illegal kind of independence just temporary.

  3. I disagree with you, Ouch. You have to understand that people like that Estonian guy are extremely mad at the freedom of speech allowed in the Internet. So, he made his small first step towards establishing censorship: he snitched to Facebook on these Italian undergrads for their mockery of Stalin.

    [My friend says I did a bad thing, something that could get the Italian undergrads in trouble with Facebook. My friend says Stalin should be allowed to have a page, so people can mock him. I understand his logic. But what I did is the only way to beat him back underground.]

    See? He thinks that by snitching on these Italian undergrads, he has beaten up Stalin himself. That’s what it is all about, in their minds: to defeat Russia by snitching and by shutting down the freedom of speech in Italy and everywhere else.

  4. Max:
    [Russians seem to believe that Estonia belongs to Russia and has obtained some illegal kind of independence just temporary.]

    Would you vote for the official Russian if you didn’t think they belive that?

  5. As the author of the original post, it feels strange to drop in on a discussion speculating on my motives. Just to help out the second-guessers: yep, I may have been guilty of playing the buffoon to get across a point.

    A couple things are misstated in the discussion (I’m not going to touch the Russian vs Estonian content, which is off-topic and trollishness).

    First, I “snitched” on Stalin, not on his purported Italian animators. Those people are anonymous. No laws were broken, no one needs to investigate or find out their identity. The analogy is that while they didn’t post child porn, they did post the picture of a child pornographer in an ambiguous context. That’s objectionable.

    I believe in free speech and satirical license. But satire does not mean just making a cartoon version of the original, It’s a common mistake. It’s off-base, anyway, to say the Stalin profile page was “mockery”. There’s not enough information to determine what it was or what the intentions of the creators were. I’m actually willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. But what I saw was a fairly straightforward profile of a murderer. I thought about how his victims’ families would view this, and I didn’t see the satirical value – or, more precisely, any satirical value was outweighed for me by the possible harm. So I notified Facebook about it. I do hope others will do the same, as I think it was a valid reaction.

    So there. :)

    Thanks to the blogmasters for linking to the post,

    • Kris,

      I don’t understand what the hooplah is about. AFAIK, your story goes as follows:

      You saw some pranksters using the name “Joseph Stalin” on Facebook. You got shocked by the use of this name and “went into a frenzy”. You sent 3 indignant emails to Facebook.

      Is that it? The entire story? That’s not a very interesting story, even for those readers who are professional psychiatrists.

      Did the Facebook people ever read your email? Did you take any medicine to control your frenzy? Where’s the story here?

    • Kris, I think your messages comes across very well and your critics are beefing because they criticise anything posted in this blog.

  6. Drink more vodka Arthur. Who will create Hitler’s profile?

  7. No hoopla, Arthur. Baltic bloggers are starved for material. As I recall, I had a beer and watched Inglourious Basterds again. It wasn’t an e-mail and actually, I don’t know how FB responds to such claims. If it’s a “class action” complaint of the type I was encouraging, I guess there is a point where they can’t ignore it. I suppose I’ll post a follow-up if the movement (or my blog post) generates more publicity…

    • [Baltic bloggers are starved for material. As I recall, I had a beer and watched Inglourious Basterds again]

      Well, if this is a story about what laid-back Estonians usually do when they are bored – watch movies, drink beer, write unanswered emails to Facebook about some Italian pranksters – then no problem.

      What I don’t quite understand is what was the point of publishing it here, in this blog devoted to big time russophobia. I am waiting for somebody to once again blame the usual scapegoat/suspect here – Russians – for your drinking beer and writing emails.

      And speaking of that, next time you get bored, you may want to watch the film The Usual Suspects. :-)

  8. As mr.Stalin wasn’t condemned as a criminal by any legitimate court, anyone can freely use his images.
    It’s easy.

    I belive Kris has more important things to do than comfort ‘Stalin’s’ victims. Half of the people in Tallin has Russian as a native language. Still Russian has no official status there. And Estonian army is still busy killing Iraquis along with the big American brother.

    Just curious, why do you, Kris, think your post was considered russophobic, and why are you thankful for it? Stalin wasn’t russian, neither those Italians.

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