Why dictators start with culture

A Heapin' Plate of Conservative Politics & Religion

By Deal Hudson

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) – In her 2012 study of the Soviet takeover of eight European countries after WWII, Anne Applebaum underscores how diligently the agents of Stalin, the Red Army, set out to transform the culture of every occupied nation (Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-56).

Applebaum notes that after the initial Soviet takeover there was a short “liberal” period during which each nation’s cultural institutions were allowed to operate without interference.  But that laxity was allowed on the Soviet assumption that the citizenry would begin joining the Communist Party in droves. When they did not join in any significant numbers, the Soviets started to take over, or regulate, education, museums, music, publishing, cinema, civic associations, trade associations, businesses, property, religious groups, youth clubs, the military, and, most of all, the radio stations, which were the dominant form of mass media in…

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