The absurd lie that Stalin plucked a live chicken to an audience to demonstrate his supposed dictatorial power has been doing the rounds on many platforms of social media lately. It has taken the form of a poorly executed meme. This sloppy piece of propaganda has been resurrected and is supposed to teach us something about the ‘lockdown’.

Of course the story is a complete fabrication, even in the words of its author, but that hasn’t stopped it being passed off as truth.

For many sites, and publications would like to propel this story into the stratosphere for all the world to see. They would use it as an example of a megalomaniac, crazed tyrant intent on showing his power of control, the extent of his evil. Therefore, we take a moment to deal with this crazed, ludicrous rumour, scraped truly from the bottom of the barrel. 

What is it that Stalin supposedly did?

The tale follows as thus:

“Stalin once ripped all the feathers off a live chicken as a lesson to his followers. He then set the chicken on the floor a short distance away. The chicken was bloodied and suffering immensely, yet, when Stalin began to toss bits of wheat toward the chicken it followed him around. He said to his followers “This is how you govern stupid people, they will follow you no matter how much pain you cause them, as long as you throw them a little worthless treat once in a while”. 

Where does this story come from?

The tale can be traced back to the pen of anti-Stalin, revisionist scribbler Chingiz Aitmatov. Aitmatov is well remembered for his literary works, as well his role in helping Mikhail Gorbachev in the passing of ‘Perestroika’. Aitmatov was known for his particular “style” of writing that combined fact with fiction and in the preface to his most famous work wrote:  

“As in previous works, here I also draw on legends and myths [Ed: unsubstantiated slander] handed down to us from former generations; together with these, for the first time in my writing career I also use fantasy to form part of the story. But, for me, neither is an end in itself, simply a method of expressing thoughts, a means of identifying and interpreting realities.”

The Truth

From such a literary “style” comes this tale of Stalin plucking a chicken alive is exactly an example of Aitmatov’s writing that blends very little fact with a heap of fiction, indeed in this case there is no fact to be found!  The tale is part of the tradition of anti-Stalin slander that was brought in under Khrushchev in the Soviet Union, as part of the ‘de-Stalinization’ [asnti-communist] process. Apart from Aitmatov’s confession to passing off fantasy as fact, this fable has no further evidence or source for being true and if we are bearing into mind that this type of tale was typical of Aitmatov, and there are no other original sources for the tale other than Aitmatov, then we discover that the tale can be categorically ruled out as false, a cheap flight of fancy paid for by the Gorbachev era press. All other sources for this tale come from bourgeois and Christian newspapers, repeating with minor variations this ludicrous garbage. All in all, the tale reeks of falsity and is found from time to time, to be found bobbing along in the sewage of the revisionists and bourgeois press. 

Conclusion 

Usually, debunking myths around Stalin can be a more serious affair. However, this tale is so laughable and so easily uncovered as a categorical lie that it merely requires a scratch and the obvious falsity is revealed. Here we have a tale from a revisionist writer adding to the canon of anti-Stalin propaganda no more, no less.