Historama, August 16

Stalin’s most infamous order and USSR’s most beloved New Year’s comedy were both released on this day.

“We have no prisoners of war, only traitors of the motherland”

On this day in 1941, Joseph Stalin issued the infamous Order Number 207, which condemned those who surrendered to the Nazis.

Regardless of the circumstances, those soldiers and commanders were treated as traitors and enemies of the state. “We have no prisoners of war, only traitors of the motherland!” Stalin declared.

He needed to blame someone for the losses that the Red Army suffered in the beginning of the war.

Modern history, however, blames Stalin himself: the tyrant executed almost all of the military elite just before the Great Patriotic war broke out.

Learn more about WWII on our War Witness site

Soviet comedy of errors takes USSR by storm

On this day in 1976, the beloved Soviet movie “The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy your Bath” was seen on the big screen.

This romantic comedy is very dear to the Russian audience: for years, Soviet television broadcast this film every New Year’s Eve.

The plot is full of surprises and humor: a man from Moscow accidentally takes a flight to St. Petersburg, but he is so drunk that he does not even realize which airport he is in.

As a matter of habit, he takes a taxi to go home and here begins the irony: at that time, Soviet authorities were building thousands of identical apartment blocks all over the USSR, so the main character does not even notice he is in another city.

Everything looks just like Moscow: the street bears the same name, the same Soviet style baby carriage is parked on the ground floor, the main character’s key fits exactly the same door lock, even the interior designs of the two apartments turn out to be as alike as two peas.

Later, the main character finds out that the apartment belongs to a lovely lady from St. Petersburg…

For more, search RT’s list of Russian films worth watching

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