Have you noticed that totalitarian regimes all have sharp-looking and downright intimidating S-M uniforms for their military and elite services?
Contrast these uniforms and insignias of Nazi Germany with those of America:
In December 1991, after its Eastern European satellite states broke away, the Soviet Union just
ended collapsed because the Communist Party (CPSU), no longer believing in the Marxist-Leninist myth, simply lost its will to rule. After some of its constituent “soviet republics” broke away, most notably the Baltic states and Ukraine, the remaining former soviet republics formed a new democratic Russian Federation.
Since so much of politics is about symbolism, it is not a good sign that Russia’s equivalent of our Secret Service is restoring those black leather overcoats that the NKVD Secret Police (informally known as the Death Squad) had worn in the Stalinist era.
Stalin’s secret police, named NKVD after its Russian acronym, was primarily responsible for carrying out the dictator’s repression and purges of the 1930s.
NKVD officers executed hundreds of thousands of people and ran forced labour camps – known as gulags – in the chilly north of Siberia.
Agence France Presse reports from Moscow, June 10, 2011:
Russia’s federal guard service, in charge of protecting President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, may soon sport black leather overcoats harking back to the era of Stalin’s purges. The elite service known by its Russian acronym FSO has launched a tender to purchase 60 leather trenchcoats…. Long leather trenchcoats are infamously associated with uniforms of Soviet NKVD secret police, worn by its low-ranking officers at the height of Stalin’s pre-war purges in the late 1930s.
The coats ordered by the FSO appear to be nearly identical to the NKVD coats, according to the tender documentation and images uploaded on the website zakupki.gov.ru last week. The jet-black “light leather overcoat” as the item is described is meant for “high-ranking FSO officers” and features a belt and various insignia, including the image of the Russian two-headed eagle on every button.
[…] Security analyst Andrei Soldatov expressed bewilderment at the tender but said Russians should not fear seeing lookalikes of Stalin’s death squads in the streets because modern security personnel hardly ever wear uniforms. Soldatov suggested the elite service wanted to highlight its “elite status.” “They want to distance themselves from the rest of the army, which most of them despise,” he told AFP.
Yeah, sure, if you say so. Okidokee!
“Bringing the coats back into official use would fit into a wider push by Russian authorities to reintroduce imagery associated with Stalin. In recent years, old Soviet national anthem lyrics praising Stalin were restored to a rotunda in a Moscow subway station. His portrait has also been put on public buses in St. Petersburg and the Urals city of Yekaterinburg. Rights activists have voiced concern that he is being quietly rehabilitated as memories of his reign of terror fade.”
H/t beloved fellow Anon.