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The Communist Russia Segment in the Opening Ceremony.


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The NBC Commentator noted that the communist Russia era history segment was the "touchiest" portion of the opening ceremony. It probably would be too complicated and political for the director to have gone into too much depth into the Stalin era and Soviet Breakup. It begs a question. If Berlin hosts a future summer games, how would opening ceremony producers do a segment that would touch on WWII, Hitler and the Nazi's as well as Soviet bloc division of Germany and eventual reunification. Could be even more trickier.

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The NBC Commentator noted that the communist Russia era history segment was the "touchiest" portion of the opening ceremony. It probably would be too complicated and political for the director to have gone into too much depth into the Stalin era and Soviet Breakup. It begs a question. If Berlin hosts a future summer games, how would opening ceremony producers do a segment that would touch on WWII, Hitler and the Nazi's as well as Soviet bloc division of Germany and eventual reunification. Could be even more trickier.

Oh please, MSP. Do you have nothing else to discuss? Why would Berlin do a retrospect of "Nazism"? If anything, it was already skipped in Munich.

Russia would've been stupid and disingenuous to skip their whole Soviet chapter. Communism came about because of the total failure of the monarchic, aristocratic system. And if the communist era resulted in excesses as well, that is how the chips fall in history for the most part. I think they did a great theatrical presentation of the communist era in which the dream, anyway, was to give a more utopian life to the serfs and workers who couldn't get anywhere under Romanov rule.

Remember too that the Nazi party started and rose to power in Munich and Bavaria. It's just that when they got installed in power in later 1933; then they of course, assumed the reins of power in the capital, Berlin. It was an accidental confluence -- not the city of Berlin giving rise to that misguided movement. And the World Cup of 2006 didn't touch on it either, so MOOT question!!

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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Berlin would never portray a Nazi segment. The closest thing to that would be the mentioning of past Olympic hosts and pausing at the WW2 bit, where they have a moments silence for the tragedy of the Holocaust.

In fact, I could easily see a segment where they acknowledge their past crimes against the Jewish people, with a segment with regards to the Holocaust (just done tastefully of course, or just do that moment's of silence bit). Maybe during the peace segment?

A Berlin Opening Ceremony would however, recognize the importance of East Germany and would have a segment dedicated to them, culminating with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Baron is correct and the fact that Nazi symbols and such are banned in Germany would make such a representation awkward anyways.

So when Berlin does end up hosting the Games again, they will steer well clear from any specific Nazi representations.

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Berlin would never portray a Nazi segment. The closest thing to that would be the mentioning of past Olympic hosts and pausing at the WW2 bit, where they have a moments silence for the tragedy of the Holocaust.

Just like the moment of silence bit in the London 2012 opening ceremony.

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Doubt there would be ANY Nazi representation, though I think there should be (I believe every nation should embrace their history, good or bad). As for East Germany/ Wester Germany I would love for there to be a symbolic Berlin wall that falls to show unification.

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Berlin as a city already has so many monuments to the Jews and the Holocaust. It wouldn't surprise me if they did have a segment on that in a hypothetical future ceremony, but there's really no need for them to do so. Why does a ceremony have to be a chronological history book of the host nation anyway? Not every host has or will go down that route.

Edited by Rob.
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Berlin as a city already has so many monuments to the Jews and the Holocaust. It wouldn't surprise me if they did have a segment on that in a hypothetical future ceremony, but there's really no need for them to do so. Why does a ceremony have to be a chronological history book of the host nation anyway? Not every host has or will go down that route.

I do agree. Opening ceremonies usually pick any theme, whether its their history, their culture or their natural environment. I don't think the Germans would go on that kind of topic during the ceremonies. Turin didn't displayed any fascist segment.

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Exactly, Rob. I think that Berlin would rather take the "storytelling" approach of Vancouver, with a journey through the country, its landscape, its people and its culture. Of course they could have some nods to the history as well (just like Vancouver acknowledged the First Nations) and I think it's a bit unavoidable in a historic stadium like Berlin's Olympic Stadium. Maybe they take the opportunity to remember the dead of both World Wars and of Holocaust. But I doubt that Nazism would play a major role. But: London and Sochi now showed how to deal with tricky historical subjects - and both did it in a very tasteful way, I think. Those could be role models for future ceremonies to come, if those ceremonies take a historical approach and take place in countries with tricky histories.

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To my mind the Opening ceremony was performed very well and

was visually spectatular, of course a large part of the ceremony was
dedicated to a Surreal look back at Russian history which began with
a psychedelic panorama of cupolas and swirling samovars, before we
saw Russia's modernising tsar, Peter the Great, emerge from the sea.

From there we had a brief ballet interlude with War and Peace, before
being thrown into the Soviet period.

There followed what might be the most alluring representation of the
Soviet state ever, as shiny vintage limousines sped through the stadium,
art-deco tinged skyscrapers burst from the ground and happy workers
toiled in unison, while the sharp, abstract angles of 1920s constructivism
gave way to a vast hammer and sickle, which converged on the centre
of the arena from opposite ends.

As for the post communist era in Russia, there was a distinct void left
at the end of the Closing ceremony for that period. Perhaps the present
era in Russia can best be described as 'To be continued '

Anyway here's a far better look back at the Blood, Sweat and Tears of
the Soviet Union on video - to the music Time


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The fact is that any nation has dark aspects to its history. Mexico City certainly did not highlight the Spanish destruction of Aztec culture and the deaths of ten million Native Americans. Neither did the Atlanta games touch on the issue of slavery. Nor did LA offer a segment on the plight of Native Americans in the USA. Montreal did not put a spotlight on the separatist movement taking on steam in Quebec in 1976. I don't think nations have to do such things. The games, when correctly presented, are designed to bring people together and most of them have done just that. It's cool when nations celebrate themselves to the world as Canada did in 1988 and 2010 and as Russia is doing right now. It only gets out of hand and becomes obscene when the games are turned into a jingoistic expression of superiority as happened in 1936. Russia is not doing that. What I see is a sea of proud Russians celebrating their culture, their history, their first true Olympic games* and their athletes.

*I don't count Moscow in 1980 as a true Olympic event because, rightly or wrongly, have of the world did not participate. I don't know what happened in Moscow that year but those games certainly did not link peoples together and only added to global tensions.

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*I don't count Moscow in 1980 as a true Olympic event because, rightly or wrongly, have of the world did not participate. I don't know what happened in Moscow that year but those games certainly did not link peoples together and only added to global tensions.

That makes no sense. By that standards, Montreal, LA and Seul, which all had boycotts they didn't provoked, weren't true Olympic Games as well.

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That makes no sense. By that standards, Montreal, LA and Seul, which all had boycotts they didn't provoked, weren't true Olympic Games as well.

I think what he means is that the most major teams stayed away from Moscow, plus it was really a 'fake' boycott because many teams still participated only without their gov't flags. So it was like a 'ghost' boycott. And technically, only 80 delegations came to Moscow.

Montreal happened after the Games started; and the departure of the African bloc really did not impact the quality of the competition. LA's was about the same -- USSR, East Germany and Cuba did NOT come, but Romania, Yugoslavia and China showed up. Seoul -- what boycott? 2 looney countries were pouting. That's NOT a boycott.

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I think the Communist Era Segment (including the modernist art beginning and 50s and 60s section) is one of the great Opening Ceremony Acts in history ( up with Green and Pleasant Land/ Pandemonium 2012, Awakening and Tin Symphony 2000, Clyspedra 2004, Great Inventions 2008).

It dealt with a difficult, but very important Era in the nations history, that is still in many peoples experience and hearts.

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Agree with this - the 20th century parts of the Sochi were excellent - and even more impressive given the sensitivity of the era, there were a lot of ways in which that section could have been badly mishandled.

Do remember the Moscow games as being a great event - not having USA and W Germany there (and not having the Soviets & the E Germans in 1984) didn't matter a huge amount once it all got going.

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Yes that is right. All countries have dark episodes in their history. Its about celebrating what is good about your country and bringing people together.

Classic...on a smaller scale, New Zealand did touch on it's bloody past in the opening ceremony of the 1990 CWGs, but was done in a tasteful song and dance routine, melding the country into a united people in the end. All about positive presentation.

Atlanta 1996 didn't show the fact that it's the home of the Ku Klux Klan did they?

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I think the Communist Era Segment (including the modernist art beginning and 50s and 60s section) is one of the great Opening Ceremony Acts in history ( up with Green and Pleasant Land/ Pandemonium 2012, Awakening and Tin Symphony 2000, Clyspedra 2004, Great Inventions 2008).

It dealt with a difficult, but very important Era in the nations history, that is still in many peoples experience and hearts.

Hey - Don't forget the Brit's looked back on their past as well - who will forget the Industrial Revolution section

of the London Olympics opening ceremony.

Indusrial Revolution part of London 2012

Of course many Brit's like the former DJ Pete Waterman would love to return to the Age of Steam, Lol.

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Hey - Don't forget the Brit's looked back on their past as well - who will forget the Industrial Revolution section

of the London Olympics opening ceremony.

Indusrial Revolution part of London 2012

Of course many Brit's like the former DJ Pete Waterman would love to return to the Age of Steam, Lol.

Yes- that was Pandemonium (as noted).. another very balanced and sympathetic look at a complex piece of history. Industrialisation brought wealth, but as was brilliantly shown, it also ripped apart your 'green and pleasant land', led to the mechanised disaster of WW1, pollution and social dislocation.

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I don't think Germany would do a history lesson type of opening ceremony anyway. It would probably be some dance moves to techno euro pop, a bunch of guys in lederhosen, and some funky modern artists tagging the stadium floor with spray paint.

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The fact is that any nation has dark aspects to its history. Mexico City certainly did not highlight the Spanish destruction of Aztec culture and the deaths of ten million Native Americans. Neither did the Atlanta games touch on the issue of slavery. Nor did LA offer a segment on the plight of Native Americans in the USA. Montreal did not put a spotlight on the separatist movement taking on steam in Quebec in 1976. I don't think nations have to do such things. The games, when correctly presented, are designed to bring people together and most of them have done just that. It's cool when nations celebrate themselves to the world as Canada did in 1988 and 2010 and as Russia is doing right now. It only gets out of hand and becomes obscene when the games are turned into a jingoistic expression of superiority as happened in 1936. Russia is not doing that. What I see is a sea of proud Russians celebrating their culture, their history, their first true Olympic games* and their athletes.

*I don't count Moscow in 1980 as a true Olympic event because, rightly or wrongly, have of the world did not participate. I don't know what happened in Moscow that year but those games certainly did not link peoples together and only added to global tensions.

The opening ceremonies of the Games of Mexico and Montreal didn't focus on anything except the athletes and protocol segments. A few dances, yes, but prior to boycotted* Moscow 1980 (the Games you don't 'count', which happened to attract more athletes and countries than in all the Games that preceded the Rome Olympics some 20 years earlier), there was little more to the Olympic opener than a march of athletes, a few speeches, and the Olympic flag and flame.

*It was Jimmy Carter who spoiled the Moscow Games.

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I don't think Germany would do a history lesson type of opening ceremony anyway. It would probably be some dance moves to techno euro pop, a bunch of guys in lederhosen, and some funky modern artists tagging the stadium floor with spray paint.

Well, I sure hope and also think that it would be much classier and more creative and surprising than that, but I agree that Germany would rather choose the storytelling approach than a history lesson. Or maybe it would choose a story with only a splash of history. In Berlin, for example, it would probably be indispensable to make some sort of reference at least to the German reunification.

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