Communism and the Cult of the Individual
The Soviet cult of Stalin was one of the most remarkable phenomena of twentieth-century politics. In its scale and extravagance there are obvious resemblances to the fascist state cults of Hitler and Mussolini. Nevertheless, the communist cult community was an international one, which did not only venerate the tyrant at its head, but the leaders, tribunes and martyrs who symbolised resistance to oppression in other parts of the world. This short documentary film seeks to do justice to the troubling complexity of this phenomenon. Using contemporary archive footage and interviews with historians Balázs Apor, Norman LaPorte and Marietta Stankova, it concludes with the words of the communists’ own anthem the Internationale: ‘no saviour from on high delivers, our own right hand the chains must shiver’. As presenter Kevin Morgan argues, it was this ideal of a grassroots movement for political change that could never finally be reconciled with the cult of the individual.
The film may be accessed here