Joe, meet Pavlik

Joe Lieberman on the need for vigilance:

[Lieberman] urged Americans to be especially vigilant in reporting any leads to authorities in the coming days.

“This is a classic ‘If you see something, say something’ moment,” he said. “If you see suspicious behavior, call the police immediately — and that includes if you see suspicious behavior by someone who is a friend or family member.”

Mr. Lieberman, I think you might have enjoyed meeting Pavlik Morozov.

Pavel Trofimovich Morozov (Russian: Па́вел Трофи́мович Моро́зов; November 14, 1918 – September 3, 1932), better known by the diminutive Pavlik, was a Soviet youth glorified by Soviet propaganda as a martyr. His story, dated to 1932, is that of a 13-year old boy who denounced his father to the authorities and was in turn killed by his family. It was a Soviet morality tale: opposing the state was selfish and reactionary, and loyalty to the state was a higher virtue than family love. His story was a subject of compulsory reading, songs, plays, a symphonic poem, a full-length opera and six biographies. The cult had a huge impact on the moral norms of generations of children. There is very little original evidence related to the story, much of it hearsay provided by second-hand witnesses. According to modern research, the story (denunciation, trial) is most likely false, although Pavlik was a real child who was killed. Morozov’s story was the basis of Bezhin Meadow, an unreleased film from 1937 that was directed by Sergei Eisenstein.

Author: Izabella Laba

Mathematics professor at UBC. My opinions are, obviously, my own.

6 thoughts on “Joe, meet Pavlik”

  1. But… what do you do if you see suspicious behavior from the police? 😦

  2. Вася на полу лежит,
    Весь от крови розовый
    Это папа с ним играет
    В Павлика Морозова

  3. Precisely… Lieberman’s ramblings are on the same intellectual level and they do not even have amusement value. When I saw Joe’s comments, I immediately recalled that poem, which was quite popular in Soviet kindergartens…

  4. Yeah. By the time I was a kid, the mythological Pavlik Morozov was less a propaganda icon than a standing joke, at least around my part of town. It was the first thing that came to mind when I saw Lieberman’s comments.

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