Tattle Tale Turned Hero

A young boy Named Pavlik Morozov is known as a hero throughout Russia for turning his father in for his wrong doings. He had told the Soviet secret police that his father had been aiding kulaks, who at the time were seen as a people against socialism for not wanting to follow the Collectivization Plan. The result was that his father was sent to a concentration camp to never be seen again, and then months later Pavlik was found murdered in the woods, where he truly became a ‘hero’ in Russia.

Now that you are aware of Pavlik the hero, I can tell you that the story above is just a myth. That is the Pavlik that Stalin and the rest of the higher government wanted the people of Russia to know. The press built him up as the “New Soviet Man,” encouraging other children to follow his brave lead of telling on his father for the good of the state. Posters were spread throughout the country showing how great of a hero Pavlik had been, but what is interesting is that the image of the boy continued to change over time and ended up not even looking like the real boy. Stalin even had a monument of the young boy put up in his village.

A painting of Pavlik Morozov

Monument of Pavlik Morozov

There are multiple questionable actions that were discovered following the research of Yuri Druzhnikov. First off, Pavlik most likely was not telling on his father because he was a socialist and supporter of the Collectivization Plan, he was seen as unaware of politics or collectivization. There was also basically no investigation of the murder of the boys, or any real photographs or personal records on the museums about him. Another interesting act was when randomly in the middle of the night, officials came to Pavlik’s home village and moved the bodies of the boys to a new location and covered the grave with six feet of concrete and put a monument on top. This made exhumation impossible. Why would Soviet officials feel the need to do this unless they were hiding something? Clearly the government had made up almost the entire story behind Pavlik Morozov for their own political advantages in order to attempt to better control their large amount of people. Especially because of how expansive their state is, having one village know the truth won’t affect the rest of the country from believing the government’s story.

Citations

Druzhnikov, Yuri. “Informer 001: The Myth of Pavlik Morozov” ICARUS. accessed October 11, 2014. http://www.soniamelnikova.com/id9.html

Image 1: “A.A. Gorpenko: Study of Pavel Morozov” Abart: Gallery ABART. 2001.

Image 2: “Statue in Pavlik Morozov Park” Hugo S. Cunningham: Cyber-USSR. 2001. 

2 thoughts on “Tattle Tale Turned Hero

  1. Odd stories like this are definitely iconic when it comes to early Soviet history. Much like modern North Korea, the myths surrounding Soviet leaders and martyrs is something of considerable strangeness. Creating entire monuments for an individual who did questionable things alongside having a questionable identity is only something that Soviet officials would devise.

  2. I have to disagree a bit on the spread of information. While it is highly unlikely that one village would come clean and oust the story as false, it is still very possible. Even today, when whistleblowers come forward against big corporations, that business’ reputation suffers. In Russia, had anyone come forward with credible evidence that this was just a myth, it would have had a similar effect, and any mistrust or distaste of the central government was something the Russians could not afford

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