Pasha Is Going to Need to Talk to You

 

Pasha, in the Russian WWII TV series “The Attackers,” is the political commissar attached to an aviation regiment. His duties include political education/indoctrination, ensuring that the regimental commander’s actions are in line with the regime’s desires, and taking action against any personnel who commit politically disfavored actions or express forbidden opinions.

He is quick with accusations of treason against the regiment’s members. When sabotage of one of the planes is discovered, Pasha assumes the regiment’s own mechanics did it and wants to have them immediately shot. In this instance, the regimental commander, a fatherly sort of man, is able to avoid precipitous action …”calm down, Pasha” … and get a proper investigation conducted, which shows that the mechanics had nothing to do with the sabotage. But overall, it is very dangerous for anyone, even the commander, to stand up against Pasha.

It strikes me that had Pasha been a real person, and were he to be magically transported to the US in 2021, he would have easily found a compatible career enforcing political correctness in American universities and other kinds of organizations.

The recent Smith College case, involving accusations of racism against maintenance employees and with the university acting prior to true investigation of the allegations, echoes Pasha’s behavior in the sabotage case pretty closely.  And there was evidently no one in the university administration to say ‘Calm down, Pasha,’ and make it stick.  Fortunately, these administrators didn’t have the power to have anyone shot.

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  1. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    David Foster: It strike me that had Pasha been a real person, and were he to be magically transported to the US in 2021, he would have easily found a compatible career enforcing political correctness in American universities and other kinds of organizations.

    The character Pasha is a sanitized version of real communist apparatchiks, the kind that the Soviets used to value and the U.S. does today.

    • #1
  2. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    This kind of politicization has a malign effect on the effectiveness of organizations of all types…sometimes, by driving talented people away (or just killing them.)  Russian rocket developer Boris Chertok in his memoir mentioned  Yakov Alksnis, an early commander of the Red Air Force, and apparently very good at his job…he foresaw, for example, the danger of planes being wiped out on the ground by a surprise attack. He was shot for political reasons.  Might have come in handy to have him around when the German attack actually did come.

    Chertok also mentions a friend, Oleg, who was a talented poet as well as an Army officer.  Irrespective of his military abilities, Oleg’s prospects for promotion were not viewed as favorable, because his poetry was “very unsettling to the political department.”

    And why was Oleg’s poetry looked upon with disfavor? It was not because the Red Army had any dislike of poets. Nor was it even because his poetry contained criticisms of the regime–there were no such criticisms. No, the objection was because of what the poetry didn’t contain. As another friend of Chertok’s, Mira, explained the situation:

    The political workers consider his poems to be demoralizing and decadent. Not once does he mention the Party or Stalin in them.

    We are moving toward this kind of thing at alarming speed.

     

    • #2
  3. navyjag Coolidge
    navyjag
    @navyjag

    David, have not seen that series but will check it out.  Was it as good as “Enemy at the Gates” about Stalingrad?  Of course Kruschev was the political Commisar there. 

    • #3
  4. Unsk Member
    Unsk
    @Unsk

    Our American Pashas have also already been unleashed in our own Military by order of our new acting SecDef- “rooting out Domestic Terrorists”.

    Ain’t it grand.

    • #4
  5. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    navyjag (View Comment):

    David, have not seen that series but will check it out. Was it as good as “Enemy at the Gates” about Stalingrad? Of course Kruschev was the political Commisar there.

    It’s a good series.  It’s been quite a while since I saw ‘Enemy at the Gates’, but the character development is better in this series than what I remember from the film.  Of course, it’s easier to develop characters in a multi-part series than in a 2-hour movie.

    The English subtitles are poorly translated, often ridiculously so, but you can still understand what’s going on. I’ve seen this before in Russian movies…don’t understand why someone wouldn’t invest a few thousand $ to have a proper translation done.

    • #5
  6. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    David Foster (View Comment):

    This kind of politicization has a malign effect on the effectiveness of organizations of all types…sometimes, by driving talented people away (or just killing them.) Russian rocket developer Boris Chertok in his memoir mentioned Yakov Alksnis, an early commander of the Red Air Force, and apparently very good at his job…he foresaw, for example, the danger of planes being wiped out on the ground by a surprise attack. He was shot for political reasons. Might have come in handy to have him around when the German attack actually did come.

    Chertok also mentions a friend, Oleg, who was a talented poet as well as an Army officer. Irrespective of his military abilities, Oleg’s prospects for promotion were not viewed as favorable, because his poetry was “very unsettling to the political department.”

    And why was Oleg’s poetry looked upon with disfavor? It was not because the Red Army had any dislike of poets. Nor was it even because his poetry contained criticisms of the regime–there were no such criticisms. No, the objection was because of what the poetry didn’t contain. As another friend of Chertok’s, Mira, explained the situation:

    The political workers consider his poems to be demoralizing and decadent. Not once does he mention the Party or Stalin in them.

    We are moving toward this kind of thing at alarming speed.

     

    I like to say that the difference between a Stalinist and a modern progressive is that the Stalinist had a firing squad, while the progressive has a Twitter mob.

    • #6
  7. dukenaltum Coolidge
    dukenaltum
    @dukenaltum

    The reality is even worse than this fictional account.  The Soviet Political Commissar in the Great Fatherland War would have charged the Regimental Commander and had him arrested, shipped to the GULAG, evidence fabricated, and the mechanics shot anyway.  

    • #7
  8. Sursum Ab Ordine Member
    Sursum Ab Ordine
    @Sailor1986

    Unsk (View Comment):

    Our American Pashas have also already been unleashed in our own Military by order of our new acting SecDef- “rooting out Domestic Terrorists”.

    Ain’t it grand.

    Unsk.  The military angle of this is something I’m trying to keep up with.  So many of our institutions are compromised, but corruption of the military might be the last straw.  If you have a link to the source of the quote please post it or shoot me a private message.  Thanks!

    • #8