The Corner

Impromptus

Stalin at the Ballet

A man carries a portrait of Josef Stalin in Minsk, 2014 (Vasily Fedosenko / Reuters)

In Impromptus today, I spend some time on abortion — particularly the word “baby.” Is there a more incendiary word in the whole debate? I also take up a number of other subjects, including patriotism and North Korea.

One item is kind of funny — whether “ha ha” or “strange,” I don’t know. Maybe some combination.

The Venezuelan dictatorship and the democratic opposition are conducting talks in Oslo. … You know the first name of a leading member of the democratic side? Stalin. His name is Stalin González.

And you know what the Ecuadoran president’s name is? Lenín. Lenín Moreno.

Ay, caramba.

Here in the Corner, I wanted to take note of an obituary — a fascinating obituary — published in the New York Times. The subject is Andrei Kramarevsky, a leading ballet teacher in New York. He did not start out in New York, of course.

When Kramarevsky was a dancer at the Bolshoi,

Stalin would sometimes come to the Moscow theater, shielded in a special box.

“The public never knew that he was there,” Mr. Kramarevsky recalled. “He came, watched for a while and disappeared.”

He recounted a time when a colleague was summoned by the authorities after a performance of the 1932 ballet “Flames of Paris,” about the French Revolution, that included a scene of revolutionary cannon fire.

“He asked: ‘Why? What did I do? What am I guilty of?’” Mr. Kramarevsky said. “They said, ‘You aimed the cannon at Comrade Stalin.’ He got five years.”

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Hillary Ruins the Plan

Editor’s note: Andrew C. McCarthy’s new book is Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency. This is the first in a series of excerpts.  There really was a collusion plot. It really did target our election system. It absolutely sought to usurp our capacity for ... Read More
World

The End of Hong Kong as We Know It

The protests in Hong Kong have been going on for more than four months now, and no matter how the current crisis concludes in the coming days or weeks, it will mark the end of Hong Kong as we know it. The protests started in response to an extradition bill that was proposed by the city’s Beijing-backed ... Read More
Elections

A Brief History of Election Meddling

Editor’s note: Andrew C. McCarthy’s new book is Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency. This is the second in a series of excerpts. ‘The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.” Thus spoke President Barack Obama just a couple of weeks before ... Read More
Religion

Another Pop-Culture Christian Loses His Faith

It’s happened again. For the second time in three weeks, a prominent (at least in Evangelical circles) Christian has renounced his faith. In July, it was Josh Harris, a pastor and author of the mega-best-selling purity-culture book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. This month, it’s Hillsong United songwriter and ... Read More
Culture

Max Boot’s Dishonesty

Before yesterday, my primary criticism of the Washington Post’s Max Boot was political in nature. As I wrote in a recent book review, I found it regrettable that Boot’s opposition to the president had not prevented him from “succumbing reactively to Trump’s cult of personality, or from making Trump the ... Read More