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Freud at Den’ Pobedy Celebration in Volhynia

April 10, 2011

Sometimes when reading documents day in and day out, you find a little nugget of humor (albeit sometimes black) that really breaks up the monotony and makes your day. During last week’s work, I had such an experience.

I’ve been reviewing a number of reports by a member of the orgburo department (the brains of the communist party organization), one Davidenko. Davidenko was sent from Kyiv out to Volyn’ Oblast’ to review the party’s work in the region for most of 1945. He’s certainly not my favorite orgburo member to date, mainly because his reports are rather dry and he seems to complain a lot less than his colleagues (not helpful for research). I did happen to find this great little piece though last Wednesday.

In a lengthy report on the work of oblast’ party organization, Davidenko finished his analysis by listing some deficiencies with party work (the usual format). Among other things, he noted some issues from the first Victory Day (Den’ Pobedy) celebration in the village of Torchin, Lut’sk raion.

At first, a raikom member (county level adminstrator) presented the audience with the following slogan during his speech, “Long live the Red Army — destroyers of fascism”. Nothing wrong here, of course. Support the troops? Check. Death to fascism? Check. But unfortunately, the follow-up act, Tiatarchuk, the second secretary of the county admin, did not do such a good job. Instead of exalting the work of the local militia (known as destruction battalions) as he had planned, he blurted out the following phrase instead, “Long live the destroyers of the Soviet rear.” He meant to say something along the lines of “Long live the work of the destruction battalions in the Soviet rear.” Not good.

Apparently, the Freudian slip was not lost upon the denizens of Volhynia. Davidenko noted that the rumors of this faux pas had spread quickly around the county. I’m sure it was the quite the scuttlebutt at a few MTS stations the following week.

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