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20 Dec, 2019 14:44

Stalinator will be back: Soviet dictator posing as iconic Schwarzenegger character winks at climate-saving plant

Stalinator will be back: Soviet dictator posing as iconic Schwarzenegger character winks at climate-saving plant

A leather-clad, shades-wearing Stalin promises ‘I’ll be back’ from a large billboard in a small Russian town. It’s not clear if the image is meant to terrorize the locals or inspire those who actually wish for a new dictatorship.

The billboard was spotted on a photo published by the website of Balakhna, a small city on the Volga River just northwest of Nizhny Novgorod. Rather than showcasing a local dispute about the role Stalin played in history, the report was actually about a new plant that opened near the city to treat industrial exhaust and make the area more eco-friendly.

The Terminator-style image of Stalin goes with a note announcing the 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany, which will be celebrated in Russia next year. Instead of the shotgun used by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character, this ‘Stalinator’ holds a Kalashnikov rifle – an anachronism for the day the Nazis finally surrendered – but hey, the franchise is about time travel!

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Stalin is a divisive figure in modern Russia. Some idealize his rule and believe that if he were in power, he would root out all corruption and instill iron-clad order with his brutal methods.

The nostalgia is partially fueled by the rapid industrialization that happened under Stalin. Balakhna in particular saw a period of rapid development due to the construction of a large power plant in the 1920s, which required a lot of peat, but since the 1980s, the city has been in decline.

Others say the country has not done enough to acknowledge Stalin’s numerous crimes and demand nothing short of full formal condemnation.

Stalin’s role as Soviet commander-in-chief during the war with the Nazis further complicates things, as his fans and haters argue endlessly whether he was the architect of the victory or caused even more death and suffering with his leadership.

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It was not immediately clear if whoever put up the meme on the billboard belongs to either camp, or simply has a peculiar sense of humor. Other photos in the report show some Soviet imagery. They also feature a big bitcoin figure in what appears to be a cryptocurrency mining facility and a large quote from US President Theodore Roosevelt on a wall, saying: “It is not what we have that will make us a great nation; it is the way in which we use it.”

The meme itself is several years old and is one of many Stalin-Terminator crossover images.

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