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A Visit to Stalin's Birthplace

时间:2005-05-30 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:wuqisheep   字体: [ ]

Jan 31,2003


The small town of Gori would most likely be an unremarkable outpost along Georgia's east-west highway, if it were not for Josef Stalin. Gori is where the Soviet1 dictator was born and where he returned to die 50 years ago this March. Born Joseph Dzhugashvili, he later changed his name to Stalin, which means steel in Russian. In the late 1930s, years before his death, a museum was built to honor the so-called "Man of Steel." After the collapse2 of Communism, there was talk of tearing the museum down. The museum is still open and the people of Gori are still proud of their native son.

It is not unusual for the first toast of an evening's drinking in Gori to be to Stalin, a man many here consider a hometown hero.

This young man hails Stalin as a great person who lived here and made Georgia famous.

Nick, who is 19, does not mind that Stalin left Georgia as a young man and went to Moscow. He says a lot of people in Gori believe he would never have become known if he had stayed in Georgia. Sure, he might have been somewhat important, Nick says, but certainly not the Joseph Stalin the whole world now knows.

For many Georgians, Stalin is a native son they would prefer to forget, but that is not so in Gori, where he is still revered3, as is immediately apparent in a visit to the city's Stalin museum.

Room after room is filled with Stalin's personal effects and 1)memorabilia, including his early report cards, his ashtray4 and pipes, and his first wooden desk. There are also scores of photographs detailing his rise from the lower levels of the Bolshevik Party in the early 1900s to party leader after Lenin's death in 1924. A tour guide explains that, from an early age, Stalin was attracted to Communism. "Since the age of 15, Stalin began to take part in revolutionary movement under the influence of a Russian Marxist who lived in Georgia then," explains the guide. "At the age of 18, he became a member of the party. You can see photos of the most active members of Tiflis [Tbilisi] Social Democratic Organization, young Stalin among them."

Perhaps the most chilling of the exhibits on hand is the ornate white 2)rotunda5 where visitors can see Stalin's bronze death mask. The mask was made in 1953, six days after he died at the age of 73.

Adjacent to the museum is the tiny one-room house where Stalin was born. Courtesy of Stalin's mother, the house even has the original furniture. Also outside sits the bright green private rail car Stalin used to travel to Potsdam, Germany in 1945 for the conference at which Soviet, British and American leaders agreed on the division of Germany.

Apart from the memorabilia, the museum is educational in other ways. The tour illustrates6 the present-day problems Georgia faces, like shortages of heating and electricity.

Despite a coat check, the handful of tourists moving about the museum all chose to keep their warm, outdoor clothing on. And it was impossible to miss the frosty breath coming from the tour guide as she recited tales of Joseph Stalin's life and times. Lighting7 in the upper part of the museum was intermittent8 to non-existent and, at times, the tour guide brushed past exhibits languishing9 in total darkness.

But in many ways, what is most interesting about the museum is what it fails to address. There is no mention of the millions killed in Stalin's purges10 in the 1930s, of the millions killed in the Gulag, of the millions of Ukrainians who died in what has been called the Great Hunger, Stalin's policy of forced 3)collectivization of agriculture.

The omissions11 are what struck Frans Werner, a German visitor to the museum. "I think it's a good idea to have such a museum but it's a little bit too glorifying12 to Stalin himself," he said. "If they would balance it a little bit better, then I think they are doing it in the right way."

We raised the criticism with Stalin's great grandson, Jacob Jugashvili, who was born in Gori but now lives in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. He doesn't make a vigorous defense13 of the museum, but says that the 60 or 70-year-old pensioners14 who have dedicated15 their lives to the upkeep of the museum would find it hard to include information damaging to Stalin's memory.

Jacob did say, however, that Stalin's legacy16 has overshadowed his life. But as bad as it may be now, he says it is not as bad it was in the final years of Communism, when information began appearing about Stalin's 4)atrocities. "Reading the papers, and especially the papers that used to be in the mid17 80s when 5)Perestroika actually started and the Gorbachev era began, that was much harder because the newspaper used to say Dzhugashvili is a murderer," he said.

Jacob says he is still learning things about his great grandfather and his legacy every day. Now in his thirties, he says he feels he has reached a certain level of acceptance at this stage in his life. He says he also feels hope for future generations of Jugashvili. "The future generation will not experience that heavy pressure as I did, or my father did," said Mr. Jugashvili. "My father had it from the Khrushchev period. Then I had pressure on me when I was at school. But I think my kids won't have that much pressure because Stalin will become more and more an idealistic figure. You know, history cleans up."

Whether or not history portrays18 Stalin more favorably remains19 to be seen. But nearly 50 years after his death, the Man of Steel is still a sensitive subject in Georgia.

Lisa McAdams, VOA news, Gori, Georgia



1)    memorabilia [7memErE5biliE]n. 大事记

2)    rotunda [rEu5tQndE]n. 圆形建筑, 圆形大厅

3)    collectivization of agriculture  农业集体化

4)    atrocity[E5trCsiti]n. 残暴, 暴行, 凶恶

5)    Perestroika n.(苏联) 改革


1 Soviet Sw9wR     
  • Zhukov was a marshal of the former Soviet Union.朱可夫是前苏联的一位元帅。
  • Germany began to attack the Soviet Union in 1941.德国在1941年开始进攻苏联。
2 collapse aWvyE     
  • The country's economy is on the verge of collapse.国家的经济已到了崩溃的边缘。
  • The engineer made a complete diagnosis of the bridge's collapse.工程师对桥的倒塌做了一次彻底的调查分析。
3 revered 1d4a411490949024694bf40d95a0d35f     
v.崇敬,尊崇,敬畏( revere的过去式和过去分词 )
  • A number of institutions revered and respected in earlier times have become Aunt Sally for the present generation. 一些早年受到尊崇的惯例,现在已经成了这代人嘲弄的对象了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The Chinese revered corn as a gift from heaven. 中国人将谷物奉为上天的恩赐。 来自辞典例句
4 ashtray 6eoyI     
  • He knocked out his pipe in the big glass ashtray.他在大玻璃烟灰缸里磕净烟斗。
  • She threw the cigarette butt into the ashtray.她把烟头扔进烟灰缸。
5 rotunda rX6xH     
  • The Capitol at Washington has a large rotunda.华盛顿的国会大厦有一圆形大厅。
  • The rotunda was almost deserted today,dotted with just a few tourists.圆形大厅今天几乎没有多少人,只零星散布着几个游客。
6 illustrates a03402300df9f3e3716d9eb11aae5782     
给…加插图( illustrate的第三人称单数 ); 说明; 表明; (用示例、图画等)说明
  • This historical novel illustrates the breaking up of feudal society in microcosm. 这部历史小说是走向崩溃的封建社会的缩影。
  • Alfred Adler, a famous doctor, had an experience which illustrates this. 阿尔弗莱德 - 阿德勒是一位著名的医生,他有过可以说明这点的经历。 来自中级百科部分
7 lighting CpszPL     
  • The gas lamp gradually lost ground to electric lighting.煤气灯逐渐为电灯所代替。
  • The lighting in that restaurant is soft and romantic.那个餐馆照明柔和而且浪漫。
8 intermittent ebCzV     
  • Did you hear the intermittent sound outside?你听见外面时断时续的声音了吗?
  • In the daytime intermittent rains freshened all the earth.白天里,时断时续地下着雨,使整个大地都生气勃勃了。
9 languishing vpCz2c     
a. 衰弱下去的
  • He is languishing for home. 他苦思家乡。
  • How long will she go on languishing for her red-haired boy? 为想见到她的红头发的儿子,她还将为此烦恼多久呢?
10 purges 8473af04e66433ec93381f0362f6b552     
清除异己( purge的名词复数 ); 整肃(行动); 清洗; 泻药
  • Mandelshtam perished in the purges of the 1930s, Akhmatova remained silent. 曼杰利什坦姆在30年代的清洗中死去,阿赫玛托娃也销声匿迹。
  • He purges his subconscious and meditates only on God. 他净化他的潜意识且只思念上帝。
11 omissions 1022349b4bcb447934fb49084c887af2     
n.省略( omission的名词复数 );删节;遗漏;略去或漏掉的事(或人)
  • In spite of careful checking, there are still omissions. 饶这么细心核对,还是有遗漏。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • It has many omissions; even so, it is quite a useful reference book. 那本书有许多遗漏之处,即使如此,尚不失为一本有用的参考书。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
12 glorifying 1f84c1020d395ee8281fcd2ddf031934     
赞美( glorify的现在分词 ); 颂扬; 美化; 使光荣
  • I had no intention of either glorifying or belittling Christianity, merely the desire to understand it. 我并没有赞扬基督教或蔑视它的立意,我所想的只是了解它。
  • You are glorifying a rather mediocre building. 你正在美化一栋普普通通的建筑。
13 defense AxbxB     
  • The accused has the right to defense.被告人有权获得辩护。
  • The war has impacted the area with military and defense workers.战争使那个地区挤满了军队和防御工程人员。
14 pensioners 688c361eca60974e5ceff4190b75ee1c     
n.领取退休、养老金或抚恤金的人( pensioner的名词复数 )
  • He intends to redistribute income from the middle class to poorer paid employees and pensioners. 他意图把中产阶级到低薪雇员和退休人员的收入做重新分配。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • I am myself one of the pensioners upon the fund left by our noble benefactor. 我自己就是一个我们的高贵的施主遗留基金的养老金领取者。 来自辞典例句
15 dedicated duHzy2     
  • He dedicated his life to the cause of education.他献身于教育事业。
  • His whole energies are dedicated to improve the design.他的全部精力都放在改进这项设计上了。
16 legacy 59YzD     
  • They are the most precious cultural legacy our forefathers left.它们是我们祖先留下来的最宝贵的文化遗产。
  • He thinks the legacy is a gift from the Gods.他认为这笔遗产是天赐之物。
17 mid doTzSB     
  • Our mid-term exam is pending.我们就要期中考试了。
  • He switched over to teaching in mid-career.他在而立之年转入教学工作。
18 portrays e91d23abfcd9e0ee71757456ac840010     
v.画像( portray的第三人称单数 );描述;描绘;描画
  • The museum collection vividly portrays the heritage of 200 years of canals. 博物馆的藏品让运河200 年的历史再现眼前。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The film portrays Gandhi as a kind of superman. 这部电影把甘地描绘成一个超人。 来自《简明英汉词典》
19 remains 1kMzTy     
  • He ate the remains of food hungrily.他狼吞虎咽地吃剩余的食物。
  • The remains of the meal were fed to the dog.残羹剩饭喂狗了。
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