“I frequently said and wrote in Mein Kampf: “The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people.” I explained that as long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation. It is truly heartwarming to see how well this lesson has been learned by the American government. In the name of children, incursions into the private lives of American citizens have been made that we Nazis would have gazed at with open-mouthed admiration. Does it matter that our bodies failed as long as our spirit still triumphs?
“Adolf Hitler.” From a satirical parody published by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, in a fictitious “letter” by Adolf Hitler from the afterlife.
Anyone who knows even a little about Soviet history must’ve heard of Pavlik Morozov. He is widely infamous as the boy who betrayed his father to the Soviet authorities, and was made into a propagandistic model for all Soviet children, meant to inculcate loyalty to the state and vigilance against its “enemies.” The goal was to instill in children the idea that they were soldiers of the World Revolution, acting for the bright future of all humankind, which was far more important than any family ties or their “uneducated” parents.
The stage for
the story was set in 1930-
In 1980’s, a Soviet dissident writer and historian, Yury Druzhnikov, conducted the most extensive research of the Pavlik Morozov’s story and published a documentary biography of the “boy hero.”
The essence of the story is best summarized, as follows:
<<In his sensational
exposé, Informer 001 or the
Myth of Pavlik Morozov, a product of
research carried out clandestinely in the Soviet Union between 1980 and 1984,
he demolished the long-standing, “official” Soviet version of the young,
thirteen-year old “pioneer” (who never was) and communist martyr – designated,
In 1932, Pavlik
a 13-year-old peasant boy, was murdered together with his 9-year-old younger
brother… allegedly by his family, allegedly in revenge for having denounced his
father as an “enemy of the People.” The tale was that his father was a kulak
who had hoarded grain for his own family’s consumption, instead of giving it to
the state. We will never find out “who dunnit,” as pertinent evidence was
destroyed by the NKVD GPU investigators. Pavlik’s murder resulted in a show
trial near his native village, Gerasimovka, in the little town of
Pavlik was lauded as a Soviet hero, among others, by Maksim Gorky (prominent Soviet writer) at the Soviet Writers' Congress in 1934 – and adopted by the “Young Pioneers” (young communists, 7 through 14 years of age) as their patron saint.
In reality – it was a typical case
of parental alienation. The British researcher Catriona Kelly
in her 2005 book Comrade Pavlik: The Rise
and Fall of a Soviet Boy Hero (Granta Books,
Dr. Kelly notes that children-denouncers
are frequently admired in Western democracies, as well (pp. 9-10), such as in
alleged cases of sex crimes, child
pornography and child abuse, of which
some are as crudely fabricated as the Morozov’s case that she studied.
It should be noted that in the West’s recent history, many such “denunciations from within,” as in cases of the so-called “repressed memories” of a repeated traumatic abuse, the alleged Satanic cults sexually abusing children en mass, turned out to be false stratagems generated by quack psychotherapists with healthy appetites for money and zealous prosecutors with healthy appetites for advancement of their political careers. The reader should be reminded of the child care “sex abuse” hysteria trials that rolled in waves across the US and all of the English-speaking world in late 1970’s, early 1980’s, in a rather Stalinist fashion, that left hundreds of accused languishing for years in prison, before their children grew up enough to state on the record that they had been duped by the eager prosecutors into falsely accusing their parents and teachers.
provides some interesting “Western” angles and conducts invaluable research,
which can be gleaned from her
researched and published his book in 1980’s, some 17 years before Dr.
Kelly. It was first
disseminated in the
By the 1980’s the cult of Pavlik Morozov was already largely despised by the Soviet intellectuals. Many saw it as a piece of nocuous propaganda, which at best aggrandized a snitch, at worst – sanctified a traitor to his hungry family, who became their unwitting murderer. The creators of the Morozov cult were viewed as literary “ass kissers,” who sold their talents for perks associated with aggrandizing Stalin and his ideas.
As a result of Professor Druzhnikov’s investigation, a story emerged that was very different from the official propagandist versions:
· The 11-year-old Pavel (12- or 13-year-old, depending on whose account you want to believe,) had denounced his father as having anti-Soviet ideas. Pavlik was “encouraged” to betray his father by his mother in her attempt to threaten and scare Trofim, his father, into coming back, after his father had left the family for another woman.
· Pavlik was murdered, but not by his relatives. Druzhnilov concluded that his death was the result of an opportunistic operation by the low level NKVD operatives to demonstrate the extent of the “anti-Soviet activities by the reactionary forces.” Although Dr. Kelly depicted a different scenario of Pavlik’s death – at the hands of other boys during a squabble over a gun -- both agree that his family had nothing to do with his murder.
Druzhnikov implied that FSB gave Dr. Kelly access to the Morozov file because they saw her as instrumental in trying to clear their name of murdering Pavlik and his brother.
· Pavlik’s home burned to the ground after the trial and execution of his family; although the villagers saw it as arson, there was no investigation of the fire.
· The graves of Pavlik and his brother were mysteriously and secretly moved overnight.
There were numerous “Pavliks,” photographic images show different boys, numerous reports of his death
occurring in different areas of the vast
By the later years of Soviet power (1960’s – 80’s,) despite the official propaganda, Pavlik Morozov was not universally regarded as a boy hero, often regarded instead – with contempt, pity and indifference. His life became a symbol of snitching on his family and destroying it to please the State, which Soviet citizens came to secretly despise, and which ultimately collapsed under the weight of its lies and its contempt for its citizens’ lives and family values. The term “Pavlik Morozov” became synonymous with another political colloquialism, “stukach” (Russian: стукач,) or a paid informer for the state’s secret police.
Thus, there was a recent (2011) headline in a Ukrainian newspaper, the article describing a growing number of “citizens’ reports” to the Ukrainian tax police by neighbors against neighbors and businesspeople against their competitors. It was titled, “Pavlik Morozov Lives On…” conveying a very apparent contempt for the “noble” motives used in such reports.
The masses, however, remained quite thoroughly brainwashed, as a testimony to the effectiveness of the propagandist methods of mass-mind-programming. Writes Russian journalist V. P. Kononenko in “the Truth about Pavlik Morozov: A Chronicle of a Journalist's Investigation of a Court Case:”
After my article about Pavlik Morozov was published in the journal Chelovek i zakon (1989, no. 1) [ “The Individual and the Law,”] almost 2,000 letters came in to the editors addressed to me, the author. And in each one of them, with rare exceptions, the readers defended the murdered Pioneer and stood up for his generation. Their hearts were filled with resentment, wrath, and pain. But there was another reaction as well—not from readers but from certain members of the brotherhood of the pen [journalists and writers.] And their attacks resounded with such rage that it became frightening. (Russian Social Science Review, Volume 31, Number 6 / November-December 1990, Pages: 65 – 88)
The above is a living testimony to the unfortunate result of the 70 years of Soviet power. An era of intellectual intolerance, of belief systems built on propagandistic indoctrination. A regime that systemically executed its intellectual opponents, i.e. those who dared to deviate in the slightest from the official “party line,” even if only in their thoughts. Officially, according to the propagandist version of Pavlik’s story, some months after denouncing his father, Pavlik was killed – allegedly by the family of his grandfather – in retaliation for “telling on his father.” It was a Soviet morality tale: opposing the state was selfish and reactionary; loyalty to the state was the virtue of a higher nature, far more important than family love. As Professor Druzhnikov demonstrated in his book, the myth of the murder of the “young Pioneer” by his father’s family was shamelessly and crudely fabricated.
<<Books, films, and canvases praised Morozov’s courage. In many cities, his statues still stand in bronze, granite, or plaster, holding high the red banner. Schools were named after him, where in special Pavlik Morozov Halls children were ceremoniously accepted into the Young Pioneers. Statuettes of the young hero were awarded to the winners of sports competitions. Ships, libraries, city streets, collective farms, and national parks were named after Pavlik Morozov. His official title is Hero-Pioneer of the Soviet Union Number 001.>> (Druzhnikov.)
These propagandist concoctions were the subject of compulsory study in all schools. They were glorified in songs, plays, a symphonic poem, a full-length opera, six “official” biographies, hundreds of bronze and marble statues, oil paintings, and a 1936 propaganda film “Bezhin Meadow” (Russian: Бежин Луг,) by the famous Soviet propagandist film-maker, actor and director Sergei Eisenstein. However, The film, ready by 1937, was not released to the public – Pavlik Morozov’s story had become undesirable in the face of Stalin’s upcoming campaigns:
1. A push to strengthen the family to combat the growing crime spawned by fatherlessness, and
2. A new wave of Stalin’s purges – now, in 1937, against the very Red Army commanders who had previously brought death and destruction upon the peasantry during the collectivization of 1929-32.
◄ All rights reserved ● Copyright © 2011, Eric Ross, Ph.D. ►
memoriam” for Yuri Druzhnikov, professor at the
 Pavlik Morozov (Russian: Павлик Моро́зов; the diminutive Pavlik is for Paul (or Pavel) [Russian: Павел] was a Soviet youth glorified by the Soviet propaganda as a martyr for the Soviet government. He had his father and whole family shot by the NKVD troops as members of the “hornets nest” of “kulaks” – peasants who did not show enough enthusiasm for giving up their every possession to the “collective farm” communes during Stalin’s forced collectivization.
 Catriona Kelly, Professor of Russian and Co-Director of European Humanities Research Centre, University of Oxford; specializing in the Russian cultural and social history from the late 18th century; the history of childhood, and Russian national identity in the late Soviet and post-Soviet eras.