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Q231: East Bloc support

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alvarolino
Member
#1 · Posted: 23 May 2007 16:10
Regarding San Theodoro's political background, which two evidences can we notice with relation to Soviet/East Bloc support, apart from the obvious Bordurian backing?
Emerald
Member
#2 · Posted: 23 May 2007 18:52 · Edited by: Emerald
Alcazar is supported by the International Banana Company. Does this count?

Lots of colonels in the army, but relatively few corporals? (The Broken Ear)

Increasing inequality of income and wealth as shown by the contrast between the shanty towns at the end of Picaros and the apartments that Tintin, Haddock, Calculus stay in?

Probably all wrong, but was worth a guess.
tuhatkauno
Member
#3 · Posted: 23 May 2007 19:38
Have to answer something before ULC final.

in Picaros:

Zil, 13
Kalashnikov, 39 in Alcazar's hand

in Ear:

Maxim sokolov, 38

I don't blame if you reject my answer, but i was so happy when i almost saw the good old RK 7,62 (Finnish version of Kalashnikov). "This is my rifle, this is my gun" see

http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rk_62
alvarolino
Member
#4 · Posted: 23 May 2007 21:16 · Edited by: alvarolino
Emerald
Probably all wrong, but was worth a guess.

I don't see a clear relation between your answer and the question... but don't worry... It was a valid attempt... d:0))

tuhatkauno
Maxim sokolov, 38

You're a gun expert as we can see... d:0)

Truly, when I said "apart from the obvious Bordurian backing" I meant with relation to San Theodoro under General Tapioca in Tintin and the Picaros.
However, the first part of your answer was close.

I don't see the AK rifle supply as an East Bloc support, since Alcazar and his Picaros were fighting AGAINST a regime clearly backed by a stalinist nation.
waveofplague
Member
#5 · Posted: 23 May 2007 22:07
To ruthlessly capitalize from tuhatkumquat's sweatsoaked labors and efforts, I claim the zil (the funky, weird looking eastern euro Truck) as the first part of my guess.

OK, and the second part is on p. 12 of Picaros, when they disembark the plane. See those stairs they're descending upon? That's another indication! (Not the stairs, but the symbol on them.)

I'm probably wrong. I can never remember who's who between Borduria and Syldavia.
Balthazar
Moderator
#6 · Posted: 23 May 2007 23:27 · Edited by: Balthazar
To muddy the waters further, I don't think Hergé ever explicitly defines Borduria as a Soviet/Eastern bloc country. Certainly the country's portrayal in The Calculus Affair parodies many aspects of a Stalinist state, but Hergé seems to deliberately also include details moere reminiscent of a Fascist or Nazi state - notably the red armbands with a white circle containing a black motif. I think Hergé, who publicly declared himself fed up with being accused of being both right wing and left wing from critics on each side was intentionally inventing a totalitarian state that showed how similar Fascist and Communist societies are.

In Picaros, Borduria's Fascist side seem even more overtly stressed, since the Tapioca regime they're supporting is clearly a parody of a South American right-wing dictatorship - just look at the Nazi-style helmets of the soldiers, and other uniform details. However, now that I look properly, your question did say "apart from the obvious Bordurian backing", so maybe the question of whether or not Borduria is a Soviet bloc country isn't strictly relvevant to our search for the right answers.

Maybe more relevant is the fact that I don't think your original question does actually state that you're only looking for evidence of Soviet/Eastern bloc backing of Tapioca's side only (rather than in San Theodoro's political background generally). So tuhatkauno's Kalashnikov may count as a valid part-answer to your question. From the evidence of this weaponary and from their Ché/Castro-inspired appearance, the Picaros seem quite likely to be Soviet-backed.

That said, the Picaro's stated backers, the International Banana Company, somehow sounds more like a US-owned corporation than a Soviet-owned one - again, Hergé seems to be deliberately muddling up traditional left-right boundaries to make his book small-p political, rather than politically partisan.

Anyway, I don't know anything about the Maxim Solokov part of tuhatkauno's answer, so I'm not saying you weren't right to reject his answer as a whole.

Sorry for butting in with such rambling, unstructured thoughts. I'll go and get some sleep!
alvarolino
Member
#7 · Posted: 24 May 2007 04:22 · Edited by: alvarolino
Balthazar
Certainly the country's portrayal in The Calculus Affair parodies many aspects of a Stalinist state, but Hergé seems to deliberately also include details moere reminiscent of a Fascist or Nazi state

In my opinion, Hergé deliberately applied Fascist and/or Nazi details intending to hide real East Bloc features. The plot reflects Cold War times, after all... and Hergé was a parody master.
On this matter, Michael Farr (The Complete Companion, page 193/194) states: "The political background of the adventure reflected the real politics of the time. Just as the Soviet Union gave military and economic backing to Cuba and later Nicaragua, so Borduria, still under the rule of the Stalinist Kürvi-Tasch, supports General Tapioca's regime, providing among other things its chief of security police."

Balthazar
Maybe more relevant is the fact that I don't think your original question does actually state that you're only looking for evidence of Soviet/Eastern bloc backing of Tapioca's side only (rather than in San Theodoro's political background generally). So tuhatkauno's Kalashnikov may count as a valid part-answer to your question. From the evidence of this weaponary and from their Ché/Castro-inspired appearance, the Picaros seem quite likely to be Soviet-backed.

Considering what I said previously, I'm still looking for evidence of East Bloc backing. The answer should include only things belonging to the relation between San Theodoro's official regime and its supplier.

So, inspite of the Kalashnikov's origin, it isn't a correct answer, since the Picaros' war guerrilla fought against a government based on a left-wing ideology (in fact, right or left-wing dictatorships have terrible similarities and maybe because this fact Hergé felt free to represent San Theodoro under Bordurian influence). Moreover, Kalashnikov rifles weren't exclusive communist weapons as we could see in Central American and African wars from the 70's and 80's. Even american soldiers can be seen holding AK-47s in Irak!!!!

I really appreciate the questions you raise, Balthazar... they always begin interesting debates... d:0))
tintinspartan
Member
#8 · Posted: 24 May 2007 06:41
Oh boy! What a debate!
tuhatkauno
Member
#9 · Posted: 24 May 2007 07:18 · Edited by: tuhatkauno
alvarolino

Don't worry, I'm happy with the judgement. Actually I'm not a gun expert, I just love them and love shooting. Those guns I mentioned are familiar to Finns, when in service we had rk 7,62 (Finnish Kalashnikovs). Maxim sokolov was familiar to my grandfather in WWII(he was an officer). If I have understood correctly, it is very difficult to distinguish between western and soviet version of Maxim, especially on the pages of Tintin albums. The standings differ most.

Bye

The Hairy Wind :)
Balthazar
Moderator
#10 · Posted: 24 May 2007 10:51 · Edited by: Balthazar
alvarolino
In my opinion, Hergé deliberately applied Fascist and/or Nazi details intending to hide real East Bloc features.

That's a good point. Given that he'd been accused of being a wartime Nazi collaborater, and given that Tintin's percieved right-wing/anti-soviet origins were used as evidence to support this accusation (Hergé's first boss and editor, the Abbé Wallez had a signed photo of Mussolini on his desk), Hergé may well have felt it necessary to slightly camouflage his post-war parody of a Stalinist state with some details aimed at Naziism too.

I've often wondered if Hergé's public self-criticism of Land of the Soviets in post-war years (describing it as a folly of youth) was entirely heartfelt, or something Hergé felt obliged to say to distance himself from Abbé Wallez's Fascist sympathies. Pro-communist apologists for Stalin were amazingly powerful in cultural and intellectual circles in Europe throughout much of the post-war 20th century, long after the horrendous crimes of Stalin (and of Lenin and Trotsky before him) had become obvious to anyone with any sense. Personally, I think the satirical portrayal of the Sovet Union in 1929 given in Land of the Soviets is pretty poignant and accurate, given what almost everyone now admits was going on there at the time. Sure it's a bit simplistic, but the same could be said of much of Hergé's satire at more politically acceptable targets. But I digress.

Regarding Michael Farr's assertion that Tapioca's San Theodoros is meant to be a Cuba-like state because it's supported by an Eastern bloc state, I think he's wrong. While again Hergé doesn't specify if it's right or left, I think the Tapioca regime is, in its details, mostly a parody of a right-wing junta regime in the same way that the portrayal of Borduria in The Calculus Affair is mostly a parody of an Eastern bloc regime. (I can see that this makes Borduria's support for Tapioca seem a little odd, but I think Hergé was deliberately blurring the often-percieved distinction between Communism and Naziism.)

I know that Michael Farr's book is often held up to be authorative, but personally I find he's often wide of the mark with his "facts", pronouncements and opinions. But that would be the subject of another thread...

Your point that Kalashnikov rifles weren't exclusive communist weapons is also a good one. If you're looking for more definite items from soviet bloc countries (and only in the ruling Tapioca regime), fair enough. Glad you enjoy the debate anyway! :-)

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