Couldn't they have just asked him about space? Or bears even? Maybe ask him to go into greater detail as to why he likes "new" cities like Boston (???) as opposed to "old" cities like Philadelphia? No. The Russian interviewer had to ask Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to explain his thoughts on Joseph Stalin. This should go over well.
The original interview was done by Russian language site Championat, which you can read a sketchy Google Translate version of here.
Dmitry Chesnokov, who often translates for Yahoo!'s Puck Daddy, more accurately translated the sure-to-be controversial quotes on Stalin.
All journalists try to interview you. And is there a person who you would like to talk to?
“A lot of them are not alive anymore… I would love to talk to Genghis Khan, Stalin, Einstein.”
Stalin is a very controversial figure. How do you feel about him?
“Positive. I see logic in his action. Not without going too far, of course. But he came to power in a country that had just lived through a revolution. There were so many spies, enemies, traitors there. A lot of people still had guns after the civil war. The country was in ruins, [people] needed to survive somehow. The country needed to be rebuilt, and in order to do that it needed to be held in iron hands. Then WWII began. A lot of people came back from that war with guns as well. There was devastation all around, the country had to be rebuilt, had to be able to defend itself. There were so many criminals.”
Stalin took Russia in with a wooden plow and left it with nuclear weapons.
“Yes, he knew what he was doing. He is described as a ‘bloody tyrant.’ But at the time it couldn’t be any other way. Yes, there were innocent people who were victims of repressions… But it happens. Not long ago in the US a person was released from prison, who spent 45 years there. It turned out he was innocent. Can you imagine, a person spent his entire life in jail for something he didn’t do.”
At least Einstein was a good choice, I think, right?
I'm not going to read into Bryz's desires to meet a dead tyrant too much. I suppose one could understand the desire to meet such a controversial historical figure to try and figure out why he did what he did to your native country, but to say you feel positively about him and see logic in his actions... tough to see logic in that.
To end on a lighter note, this Google Translate of "Broad Street Bullies" is just fantastic:
- Because of the street, which plays "Philadelphia," the team called "highway robbers." The club associate themselves with this nickname?
- It is in the past century. Now we do not like the "highway robbers." We can fight, but no more than other teams. Previously, it was like: there were teams that could play hockey. Against these players, "Philadelphia" is a tough game, all were beaten, and then started to score goals (smiles).