Radio Liberty poll on Stalinist purges ends in epic trolling thread

After Radio Liberty asked Russians to recall the fate of their families in times of repression, the thread was flooded with mocking tweets about “grandparents who died childless after 20 years of executions.”

In the early hours of Monday, on the 65th anniversary of Joseph Stalin’s death, the Russian branch of Radio Liberty posted a tweet reading: “How did your family survive the times of Stalin’s repressions? Tell us in comments.” The comments started to flow in by the hundreds, and by Tuesday afternoon there were over 1,700 of them – but many were not exactly the type expected by the initiators of the scheme.

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Instead of sharing the true (or seemingly true) stories as planned by US journalists, social media users started making up openly bizarre and ridiculous anecdotes, expanding the already posted ones with more details and competing in dark humor. Some posted pictures on the subject and some recalled the sources of their inspiration – various blunders committed by Russia’s own journalists, writers and other public figures that had been carried away while attempting to describe the terrors of Stalinism.

It should be noted that very few of those who posted comments (if any) doubted the fact that millions of Soviet people were the victims of Stalin’s regime, or tried to make fun of their memory. Instead, many made it clear that they were tired of attempts to drag the events that took place almost a century ago into today’s agenda.

Here is a selection of the comments that were posted, but more were available in the original thread (in Russian).

Это было ужасно, моего дедушку расстреляло НКВД просто так , без суда и следствия, в возрасте 6-ти лет. Когда об этом расказывала так и не состоявшаяся бабушка рыдала вся маршрутка.

— Макс Шишов (@maks_shishov) March 5, 2018

“This was simply terrible, my grandfather was executed by a firing squad without any trial when he was only six. When my grandmother, who has never become one, told me about this the whole bus cried.”

Моей храмой бабке дали семь лет расстрела из ядерного оружия за то, что хромала по улице, а всех ведь строем заставляли ходить.

— Иван У. (@ur_ivan) March 5, 2018

“My lame grandmother was sentenced to seven years of executions with nuclear weapons for being lame when everyone was made to march in columns.”

Мой дед работал в НКВД палачем. Однажды, расстреливя невинных, он потратил лишний патрон. Об этом узнали Сталин и Берия и приказали ему расстрелять свою жену и всех детей и съесть трупы. Дед выполнил приказ и застрелился. Мама родилась уже после смерти Тирана круглой сиротой.

— Кроссовки Навального (@krosovki_lehi) March 5, 2018

“My granddad worked as an executioner for NKVD and once Stalin and Beria saw him sparing an extra cartridge. They made him kill his wife and children and eat their bodies. He did so and killed himself. My mother was born an orphan, already after the tyrant’s death.”

Some commentators simply wrote what they thought about the whole Radio Liberty project:

Они уже тупо вбивают кол в общество! Но увы, Сталин слишком велик для этих плюгавеньких шавок.
Рузвельт и Черчиль уважали его, хвалили, подражали….

??Русский капитан (@viceroy64) March 5, 2018

“This is a very blunt attempt to drive a wedge in our society. Stalin is too great for these worthless pooches, Roosevelt and Churchill respected him and approved of him. Even imitated him.”

The tweet and the original comments thread became unavailable later on Tuesday afternoon, but it was not clear whether it was deleted by Radio Liberty administrators or disappeared due to network overload.

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