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Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Power

If you've ever read 1984, or seen V for Vendetta, Soviet-style totalitarianism should look familiar (minus the slick, super-cool costumes and the balletic choreographed fight scenes). It's all abou...

Visions of the Soviet Union

In Yelchin's Soviet Union, people live in crowded communal apartments (2.1), queue up for food rations in the freezing cold (11.2), and everywhere face the steely stare of Joseph Stalin as they go...

Coming of Age

If you think growing up in America is hard right now, what with worrying about grades, dates, and Facebook/Twitter updates, well, we dare you to walk a mile in Sasha's shoes. His dad's been arreste...

Admiration

There seems to be a chronic shortage of good people for Sasha to admire or use as role models in Breaking Stalin's Nose. His two main heroes are his dad and Joseph Stalin. It takes him a long time...

Justice

Or maybe we should say "lack thereof." Midnight raids with black boots kicking doors in? Hapless prisoners being frog-marched into sinister black automobiles in the middle of the night? Forced conf...

Violence

So, you're the dictator of a large, extremely diverse country, and you want everyone to pretty much believe the same thing, act the same way, and obey you without question. What are the methods in...

Community

What do you think of when you hear the word "community"? Probably the various groups you belong to and all those things that make you feel like you're part of something bigger than yourself, right?...

Foreignness and the Other

In Yelchin's depiction of the USSR under Stalin, it's all about fitting in—or else. Anyone who does not strictly conform to the expected political purity is held suspect. That means even if you w...
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