Mar 072009

We finished Serye volki tonight. There were no big surprises in the final 30 minutes. The main surprises (to me) had come closer to the midpoint of the film.


Back to the role of Mikhail Andreyevich Suslov in all of this. The film made him sound like a reluctant participant in the coup. But Wikipedia says he led the coup. I confess that took an immediate dislike to him based on the Wikipedia information about his career. But how to reconcile those two very different views of his role?

There is very little information about this film on the web in English — nothing to help me understand the agendas of those who made it. Anna M. Lawton writes about it in Imaging Russia 2000, but she tells about the movie as a movie, and not as history. (I’ve just now put in a request to get that book from our university library, anyway.)

Sergei Khrushchev, son of Nikita Sergeyevich, was one of the authors of the script. Was it his idea to portray Suslov this way? Does he agree with that portrayal now? I’ve decided it’s now time to read some of his books, too, starting with “Nikita Khrushchev : and the creation of a superpower” (2000). Maybe I’ll get some insights from that.

There is an aspect of this film that I very much distrust — somewhat reminiscent to me of some of the conspiracy mongering in the U.S. about John F Kennedy’s assassination. It’s the idea that Brezhnev and those who threw Khruschev out had foreign bank accounts and were lining their own pockets. I can easily believe that personal slights and jockeying for position played a role in the coup; I find it much harder to believe that foreign bank accounts were a factor. The really dangerous, cruel tyrants of the world are not the greedy, selfish people, but the ones who put aside personal greed for the sake of power to enact their utopian ideologies. If all we had to worry about was corrupt people who were lining their own pockets at the expense of others, the world would be a far less dangerous place. In other words, I fear the Suslovs of this world (as described in Wikipedia) more than the Brezhnevs (as portrayed in that film). But whether the historical Suslov and historical Brezhnev were actually like the characters portrayed in the film is to me an open question. I suppose there is also the question of the degree to which the historical Khruschev was like the character played in the film, but that part seems more plausible to me.


  • As I know, Sergei Khrushchev has finally deleted his name from the credits, because he didn’t like his farther was portrayed in the movie.

  • Reticulator

    Very interesting, Alexander. Do you know what he didn’t like about the way his father was portrayed?

  • Sorry for a mistake,
    I clarify my thought:

    One day I saw some TV programme (I don’t remember what the programme was), where Sergei Khrushchev said that he deleted own name from the credits of this movie, because his farher couldn’t use the profanity words (sort of “facking…” etc – in Russian, of course), i.e. “materschina”. In the film, Nikita Khrushchev does it.
    Plus he didn’t like a very grotesque image of Nikita Khrushchev portrayed by Rolan Bykov, in whole.