Monday, August 31, 2009
Cuba: socialism and media. There are a crtitic in the press of Cuba?
The last years of Brezhnev's rule were marked by a growing personality cult. He was well known for his love of medals (he received a total of 114), so in December 1976, for his 70th birthday, he was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union. The award, the highest order of the Soviet Union, is normally given for heroic feats in service to the Soviet state and society. Brezhnev received the award, which comes with the order of Lenin and the Gold Star, three more times in celebration of his birthdays. Brezhnev also received the Order of Victory, the highest Soviet military award, in 1978, becoming the only recipient receiving the order after the end of World War II. Brezhnev's controversial award was, however, revoked posthumously in 1989 for not meeting the requirements for the award.
This slew of military awards was justified by his participation in the comparatively little-known WWII episode, when a group of Soviet marines beat off a series of German attempts to destroy the Soviets' beachhead, nicknamed Malaya Zemlya, on the Black Sea coast near Novorossiysk. By the early 1980s, Brezhnev's book on the subject, followed by his other books, one on the Virgin Lands Campaign and another on the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine's industries, were translated into scores of languages (including such an unlikely choice as Yiddish) and became (at least on paper) compulsory study material in every Soviet school. It is now believed that the books were written by some of his "court writers". At the urging of Brezhnev - or to flatter the elder leader - the Malaya Zemlya episode was tremendously hyped up: a movie was filmed, featuring a song by Aleksandra Pakhmutova.
Although all the officers knew of the Russian Red Army in Cuba in the 70's, and made comments on the fact that Brezhnev lived tucked away in the rear during the Great Patriotic War by a relative of senior Party members. This was exacerbated by the exhibition of a film in Cuba that exaggerates their participation in the war.