Friday, June 5, 2009

It’s worth recalling that the Soviet state, which of course controlled all formal education, taught children that their first loyalty was not to their parents but to the state itself. A major street in Moscow was actually renamed in honor of a boy named Pavel Morozov who had informed on his father; when the father was condemned as a traitor, Pavel was killed by furious relatives. The regime treated him as a martyr and model for all Soviet children. The weird tale deserves to be better known here.

According to Wikipedia: Pavel Trofimovich Morozov, better known by the diminutive Pavlik, was a Soviet youth glorified by Soviet propaganda as a martyr. His story, dated to 1932, is that of a 13-year old boy who denounced his father to the authorities and was in turn killed by his family. It was a Soviet morality tale: opposing the state was selfish and reactionary, and state was a higher virtue than family love. His story was a subject of compulsory children readings, songs, plays, a symphonic poem, a full-length opera and six biographies. The cult had a huge impact on moral norms of generations of children. (There is very little original evidence related to the story.)

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