"Tough, Heartrending and Uplifting"
What You Need To Know:
DEAR COMRADES! tells the truth about how horrible life is under a country run by a socialist government where the government makes all the decisions. As Uncle Joe Stalin said, the only way for people to go along with such insanity is to kill them. Lyuda’s journey is an incredibly powerful, dramatic revelation about the evils of socialism. MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for some explicit nudity and cruel violence, but DEAR COMRADES! is an extremely entertaining, captivating look at the failure and horrors of socialism.
DEAR COMRADES! is a Russian movie that takes place in 1962 in Novocherkassk, a small industrial town in Communist Russia, where the communist government massacres 30 to 80 rebellious workers (depending on the source), who go on strike when the government raises prices but lowers wages. With lots of jeopardy, DEAR COMRADES! steadily reveals the horrors of communism, which Marx notes is the ultimate socialism.
The movie opens on a bedroom scene where a member of the local town’s socialist committee, Lyudmila ‘Lyuda’ Syomina, is having an affair with a married man and gets up to go to work, even though the man accuses her of being a madwoman for being so committed to her job. Lyuda believes the State can do no wrong, but she gets many perks of course. The government has increased the price of milk as well as other food prices, saying deceitfully that it will result in higher living standards for the future. Lyuda says she understands increasing the price of meat but not milk. Her lover points out she gets extra rations from the Communist Party. The movie shows her going to the grocery store, where she’s taken to a back room and given all sorts of delicacies, including cigarettes.
Lyuda brings the food and other items home where she encounters her aging father, who’s addicted to cigarettes, and her teenage daughter, Svetka, who is taking a shower. Lyuda tells her Svetka needs to get a bra. Svetka is working at the local factory.
Lyuda then goes to the town committee meeting where the party chairman tells everybody they’ve got to crack down on the factories, schools and whatever else they control, because people are resisting the higher prices. The movie reveals that not only are the town’s communist party leaders raising prices, they’ve also decided to lower the wages in the factories.
The chairman gets a call that the workers have decided to go on strike because of these outrageous decisions. The regional chairman angers the strikers when he tries to talk to them, and they start throwing rocks through the window. The town’s communist leaders ask each other what they’re supposed to do. They are lost without direction from above them.
Reportedly, Nikita Krushchev, the Russian dictator, is furious about the strike, so the regional chairman is coming to take care of the situation. When he arrives, the regional chairman says there must be instigators, but the fact of the matter is, everyone in the factory, and many others, are upset about the rising prices and lower wages. The communist party decides to call in troops to seal off the city so that not even a fly can leave or enter. They blame the workers saying that they are criminals, influenced by the CIA and the Voice of America, which just presents positive news and stories about the United States.
As the workers march toward the town, the town’s communist leaders find out the young soldiers and have no ammunition. The general leading the troops says the soldiers are supposed to fight for the country against outsiders, not to fire on their own people. However, the communist leaders order the general to give the soldiers ammunition.
When Lyuda goes home, she finds out her daughter is joining the strikers. Lyuda says Stalin, the previous communist dictator, would have solved this situation, but he wouldn’t hurt his own people. At the same time, the grandfather dresses up in his old Russian uniform, which is illegal.
Crisis after crisis occurs, until the KGB-led soldiers brutally shoot many of the marchers. Lyuda is concerned because her daughter is missing. The local KGB operative, Loginov, takes an interest in her and is willing to violate orders thar seal off the town to take Lyuda to the place where they’re burying some of the bodies of the dead workers to see if Lyuda can find her daughter’s body. The town has been sealed off so that all traces of the murder of the workers can be expunged. Each person is called in to sign a statement that they never saw anything happen. In this process, they also catch a few people who were in the march, and they are immediately taken into custody.
Lyuda comes home to find her father praying in front of an icon of the Madonna with the baby Jesus. Her father tells her how Stalin had starved the people of his village in 1922 and 23. She repeats the party lie that people in the village, especially Cossaks, were killing the soldiers. He says there was only one old Cossak who complained so they cut out his tongue and dragged him around until he died.
When Lyuda goes to the graveyard, the gravedigger describes a girl like her daughter, and she is devastated. She prays for once and, weeping and drinking vodka, goes home with Loginov.
Will Lyuda continue to be believe the socialist lies? Is her daughter really dead? Will she be sent to a concentration camp? Will she recognize the truth about the evils of Socialist Russia?
Like MR. JONES and BITTER HARVEST, DEAR COMRADSES! tells the truth about how horrible life is under a country run by a socialist government where the government makes all the decisions. As Stalin said, the only way for people to go along with this is to kill them. Lyuda’s journey is an incredibly powerful, dramatic revelation about the evils of socialism. MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution is advised for some explicit nudity and cruel violence, but DEAR COMRADES! is an extremely entertaining, captivating look at the failure and horrors of socialism.