Giovanni Tiso’s fondness for “Grandpa” Stalin

A reader emails about Giovanni Tiso’s affectionate tweet about Josef Stalin.

Thought you might be interested in this – something I saw a couple of weeks back on Twitter, but was waiting for a friend of mine to get back to me about before I fired it your way.

Basically, twitter’s self-appointed adjudicator of self-righteousness, Giovani Tiso, made a joke about referring to Stalin as “grandpa” in a thread about photos of politicians when they were younger.

I thought it was a little off colour joke to make given Stalin’s brutality, but to check I wasn’t being hypersensitive, I flicked it on to a friend of mine on Twitter whose family is Russian to see what he made of it and asked if he could jot down his reaction. I thought his reply hit the nail on the head:

“Its bloody disgusting to joke affectionately about Stalin being grandpa. Would Mr Tiso be happy if anyone else making a similar joke about Hitler, Pol Pot or some other genocidal maniac from the 20th century? He’d be the first to kick up a big stink about how inappropriate it was. ??

My family fled the Soviet Union during Stalin’s purges of the 30s, abandoning everything, their friends, family, worldly-possessions, because they were terrified of what would happen to them as former farm owners. Most of their family who stayed behind were either murdered by the NKVD or sent off to Siberia, only a handful managed to survive the remaining years of Stalin’s reign.

I remember growing up that my dedushka would nearly break down if we tried to ask him about what life was like in Russia before he and babushka left. He’d point out the millions of people who’d died as a result of Stalin’s purges, power games, agriculture reforms and ethnic cleansing, that’s before he pointed out the two brothers and one sister he’d lost in the years following their decision to flee.

People in the west seem to forget that Stalin was every bit as ideologically nasty as Hitler, intentionally murdering millions of people for reasons just a batty as those Hitler advanced. Yet for some reason, he’s not seen as reprehensibly evil as Hitler.

Mr Tiso isn’t stupid, he should be fully aware that Stalin was every bit as vile, as vicious, as genocidal as Hitler was. For a man who has made a name for himself on calling out people for inappropriate remarks and behaviour, like rightfully calling out Willie Jackson and John Tamihere over their comments on the Roastbusters scandal, or how he’s recently got upset over the Sunday Star Times hiring of Judith Collins, Mr Tiso has shown an incredible amount of hypocrisy that is hugely disrespectful to the victims of Stalin – of which my family is but one small group.

The sad thing is, Mr Tiso probably doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong and that he was just making an innocent joke. The problem is, it’s not so innocent when you’ve lost family members to the subject of that joke, as have millions of others.”

Giovanni Tiso doesn’t believe in freedom of speech, he actually is a Stalinist who wants any dissenting or contrarian views bullied into silence.