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Book: Contesting Authority

Chapter: “…With Six Fingers and Beast’s Teeth”: Soviet and Post-Soviet Ideology and Alternative Beliefs around Stalin

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.29207


The system of the Soviet ideology created not only official narratives about sacred leaders, but also ‘patterns of silence’, when Soviet citizens could not discuss aloud Stalin’s personal features, his private life and details of his biography. Such situation pushes people to create alternative “uncensored” biographies of Stalin. In the post-Soviet time making such an “alternative biography” became an important part in the process of the reassessing the Soviet past.
This alternative biography was constructed due to the traditional folklore mechanisms and included much elements as representations of Stalin with fix fingers (a Devil’s sign), with beast’s teeth (symptom of the shape-shifter) and so on. The proposed paper reveals the elements of this “alternative biography”, how it was constructed, and for what reason it is still functioning.

Chapter Contributors

  • Alexandra Arkhipova ( - aarkhipova) 'Universitat Bremen'