There was a bit of fuss about this film so I watched it (it's not easy to find though). It can't be taken seriously because it's obviously propaganda. The film's poster alone should tell you that; the statue of the worker and the peasant on top of a pile of human corpses. I've seen similar anti-Soviet documentaries before. The film includes a creepy narration, huge red titles, constant footage of corpses, and it's full of errors. If you already have a good knowledge of the Soviet regime and of the two World Wars then you won't find much that's new in The Soviet Story. This film just turns up the heat on what's been said before, and the way it does this is by showing gruesome footage backed by an effective musical score. Is it an objective film? No. Any good documentary should be. This film's intent is to just be anti-Soviet. It's because of this that The Soviet Story won't be taken seriously by viewers in the future. The best documentary about the Second World War is called The World At War (1973). The World At War does not demonize the Nazi regime but provides an objective look at it's failures, evils and even triumphs (which mostly happened in war). It shows what caused those evils. The Russians are shown in a positive way, as they should be because Hitler was broken in Russia, and the Soviet Union suffered 19 million civilian deaths. No one can argue with that. None of this information is included in The Soviet Story. One of this film's strongest points is that Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union were allies before 1941. Not true. They did have a pact, but Stalin approved it only because he wanted the USSR to stay out of the war at that time. It's well known that Stalin's purges caused the deaths of many people. Perhaps as many as 1.2 million. The Soviet Story makes a case that this spread to Soviet occupied lands. That's mostly true, but there were hardly any such murders in the Baltic states. Another thing that puzzles me is why the film is called The Soviet Story. The Soviet Union lasted until 1991, and yet what's shown in the film happened before 1950. Shouldn't it be called something like The Evils Of Stalin's Regime? There were no famines or purges after Stalin's death in the Soviet Union. What about the Cold War and the Space Race?
I read that several members of the European Parliament (all from Eastern Europe) gave this film positive reviews. And yet there are others like Tatjana Zdanoka (Latvian MEP) and historian Alexander Dyukov who said that the film has errors and that it's a propagandistic odd job, which is given out to be "a new word in history". Dyukov alleges inconsistencies in the film and questions the credibility of some of the film sequences and conclusions of some of the Russian and Western historians interviewed in the film. Latvian political scientist and cultural commentator Ivars Ijabs offers a mixed review of The Soviet Story. On one hand, it is a well-made and "effective piece of cinematic propaganda in the good sense of this word", whose message is clearly presented to the audience. On the other hand, Ijabs does not agree with a number of historical interpretations in the film, asserting that it contains errors.
Edvins Snore, the director, should really be ashamed of his film. He included scenes which weren't even about what was said. There was a scene where officers are drinking and giving a toast. The film claims this as proof of Nazi-Soviet collaboration. In fact, there were no Russians present at that meeting. Another example is a scene where Russian war dead were shown from World War I. The film instead claims that these were Ukrainian dead from the 1932 famine. I know this because this same scene was shown in the acclaimed British documentary series The Great War (1964). And these are just the scenes that I know of. There are definitely more of these. A news story about the film informed me that pictures taken at Nazi concentration camps were presented as pictures taken at Soviet labour camps in the film, and that a Latvian pro-Nazi parade was said to be a Soviet parade. A fake picture made by Nazi followers was presented as proof of Nazi-Soviet collaboration, in it Heinrich Himmler is shown touring Soviet labour camps and "learning" from the Soviets. Can a movie that has so many errors (some even intentional) be taken seriously? Of course not. And what's more disturbing is that Snore at the end uses his film to take a stab at the second president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin. How does a Russian president fit in a film about the Soviet Union? No wonder The Soviet Story wasn't released on home video. No one would buy this historically inaccurate horror flick.
I guess the question is why was The Soviet Story released? The answer is to spread anti-Soviet and anti-Russian sentiment. The Soviet Union disintegrated two decades ago, so what is the point of a film that strongly criticizes a regime that hasn't existed for a generation already? The answer is, yet again, politics. Latvia (the country where the film was made) and other former Soviet satellites are afraid of Russian domination. Even with the fall of communism the situation in those countries hasn't improved much, and in some cases deteriorated. The current government blames Russia, even though Russia isn't involved in those countries' internal affairs. The Soviet Story is a badly made film, but those with anti-Russian feelings are going to eat it up. I don't recommend it because The Soviet Story is in parts untrue and in all parts extreme. To say that the far right is just like the far left is a major mistake. Those looking for trustworthy information should find something else (preferrably a history book).
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