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‘Stalin Portrait’ Hanged in Russian Children’s Rights Official Office

A
photograph appeared on Facebook this Thursday revealing that
Yaroslavl’s children’s rights commissioner, Mikhail Krupin, has hanging
in his office a portrait of Joseph Stalin with a young child. The
picture was shared online by Elena Bogdanova, an aide for Alexander
Goncharov, a deputy in the regional parliament.
“I
walked into the lobby of [Krupin’s] office and was a bit shocked by the
picture hanging on the wall behind his secretary’s chair. I had to
photograph it,” Bogdanova wrote online.
Speaking
to local media, Krupin said he sees nothing strange about displaying
the Stalinist image. “In my offices, I’ve got lots of portraits of state
leaders with children — both with Lenin and with Putin. So there’s
nothing wrong about having Stalin’s portrait, too,” he said.

The
picture hanging on the wall is a sketch based on a famous photograph
from 1936, known as “Stalin and Mamlakat.” In the original photo, which
was often used in Soviet propaganda as a demonstration of “happy
childhood” in the U.S.S.R., Stalin is holding Engelsina Markizova, whose
father served as people’s commissar for agriculture of the
Buryat-Mongol Autonomous Province. 

Two
years after the photo was taken, Engelsina’s father was executed on the
false charge that he was a Japanese spy, a Trotskyite, a terrorist, and
a subversive plotting against Stalin.

After
Markizov’s death and his family’s fall from grace, Soviet officials
decided to rename the girl in the photo, rather than remove it from
circulation. As a result, her identity was deliberately misattributed to
“Mamlakat Nakhangova,” a Tajik girl who had won a state award working
as a cotton picker.

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