Two Things I Learned at the Stalin Museum

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Actually, there are quite a few lessons to be learned at the fascinating State Museum of J.Stalin in Gori, Georgia, not the least of which is the adulation still heaped on the former tyrant in his hometown. To quote from the official guide:

“J. Stalin created the strongest state. The development of industry, agriculture, a wonderful development of culture, science and art are connected with his name, his greatest desert in realizing Europe from fascism and winning in the Second World War.”

But two impressions have lingered.

First, the young Stalin, as evidenced by the numerous booking photos on display, was a strikingly handsome man. If there had been a Georgian movie industry for him to pursue  instead of thuggery, the course of history might have been different.

Second, if you don’t have an actual embalmed dictator, have visitors circumambulate a death mask in low light and with the silent reverence usually reserved for official mausoleums.

Incidentially, the statue pictured above in the town square of Gori no longer exists. Almost leveled by a Russian rocket during the 2008 invasion, it was removed by an embittered government in 2010.

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