A couple of weeks ago, a government-sponsored bronze statue of Josef Stalin was unveiled in Moscow, not exactly a unique event. Russian history books now tell students that the actions of the former Soviet leader were rational, and in January 2016 opened a cultural center in honor of Stalin in the Tver region. The trend toward embellishing the image of the brutal dictator is alarming, and there is a danger that his crimes may be laundered by changing the narrative and reducing the story of a brutal killer to a story of a strong leader who just couldn't do all to the tune.
In keeping with the truth are the stories of the people who remember. Stanislaw Mucha's new documentary Kolyma: Road of Bones, which was shown by DOK Leipzig at the turn of the month, brings out the stories of such witnesses and is a reminder of the hidden suffering Stalin's regime inflicted on the Russian people, disorders that are not accounted for. The film takes audiences on a drive along the Kolyma Highway in the easternmost part of Russia, exploring the region and what remains of the past.
No ambiguities. This documentary asks questions about how people can deal with the memories of a regime that left scars on an entire body of society, but which is now being superficially changed for the sake of national pride. Over time, numerous stories about Stalin's gulag camps have been told, but the overwhelming scale of their legacy remains. . .
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