November 01, 2009

Alexander Vasiliyevich Kolchak

born November 4, 1874

thirty years ago, the name “Admiral Kolchak” was only mentioned in classrooms, when schoolchildren learned the Bolshevik slogan, “put everything into the fight against Kolchak.” Kolchak’s name was first mentioned in textbooks when the narrative reached 1918; the admiral was successfully dispatched by a firing squad a few pages later.

Today, Kolchak has become something of a cult figure. The film Admiral (starring Konstantin Khabensky) was a box office hit throughout Russia and a television series about him is already in production. Rock singers compete to come up with ever more heart-wrenching songs about his sad fate. It is hard to argue with any of this. He did indeed suffer a truly horrible and tragic fate. It is also hard to resist Khabensky’s marvelous portrayal of Kolchak, despite a script that is riddled with falsehoods and which places its hero into utterly contrived situations. Kolchak is transformed into an icon, a martyr, an innocent victim of the Bolsheviks.

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