Billions of people around the world watched the opening ceremonies of the XXII Winter Olympics from Sochi, Russia, billed to be a tribute to the tradition of the Olympics as well as a depiction of Russian history and culture. There is no way to measure all that the artists, dancers, composers and authors have contributed to the culture of the planet’s largest territorial nation, and through them, to the world.
Further, everyone expected that the presentation would be seen as propaganda for a nation that has been in social and economic turmoil for the last three decades. After all, it is their home, their stage and their production. In this way, it did not disappoint.
One anticipated question was how they would handle the 20th century and the Marxist-Leninist regime, still in the hearts and minds of the global audience. Finally it was time. On cue, the Hammer and Sickle floated across the stadium as the English commentator, clearly reading from a script, quickly wrapped up the century as “one of modern history’s pivotal experiments.”
“Pivotal experiment” is a fair and accurate depiction, yet we must never forget that it was an experiment that failed terribly. As part of the rampant humanitarian abuses during its time of the political ideology, millions were put to death for their dissent against the atheist dictatorships. Granted, the 20th century was the bloodiest in human history worldwide, but we cannot deny that the pursuit of power by the now defunct Soviet Union was one of the darkest times in history.