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Soviet Union-themed party posters stir controversy

By Emma Prestwich

Soviet Union-themed posters have stirred up controversy on Ryerson’s campus.

The University of Toronto Russian Students’ Association (RSA) created the posters to promote their “Back in CCCP” party on Nov. 12.

While the posters were displayed around campus, there was no indication that the event wasn’t from Ryerson.

CCCP is the Russian acronym for the USSR. Posters also featured the characteristic sickle and hammer and red star.

RSA president Danil Shezelev said he planned to throw a “retro party.” He didn’t think the theme was an issue and he didn’t mean to offend anyone by “reminding them of the darker history” of the USSR.

“We didn’t throw a Siberian exile party,” he said.

Paul Terek, president of the Ryerson Ukrainian Students’ Association, said he sent an email on behalf of the group to the RSA, encouraging the organizers to change the name and theme of the event.

He said the posters are “offensive to descendants of all post-Soviet states” and wanted to remind them of the harsh conditions and exploitation that people experienced as a result of the Soviet government’s policies.

“They were probably looking at it as, ‘The USSR is cool, it’s badass, let’s go with a USSR theme’,” Terek said. “But the fact is, it isn’t cool, for the price that has been paid.”

He doesn’t have anything against the RSA, but thinks they were misinformed about the values they were promoting.

“I understand that we’re living in the 21st century, we can’t hold grudges against what our ancestors did,” Terek said.

Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) policy dictates that a poster has to be approved before posting. Posters have to come from a student group and be related to an event on campus, said Toby Whitfield, RSU president. Posters also have to support the RSU’s mandate of respect and inclusiveness.

“If it turns out that [the poster] is not part of the mandate, then they shouldn’t be on a board”, he said.

Ryerson president Sheldon Levy suggests the organizers go through the poster approval process, but didn’t have a strong opinion on the poster’s content.

“People can like or dislike things. That’s a bit of what university is about.”

Photo: Lauren Strapagiel


  1. This is pretty sad that you guys have nothing better to write about and are so uptight about a USSR symbol.
    The hammer and sickle, I imagine, only offended a few selected individuals who decided to moan and complain about it.
    How come the half naked girl on the poster isn’t the subject of a controversy? I’m pretty sure that image offended more students than hummer and sickle.
    Judging from what’s been said in this “article”, there should be no posters around Ryerson period. Because in one way or another each and everyone of them will hold an offensive symbolism and/or imagery that will make a number of people cringe.
    “[Paul Terek] said the posters are “offensive to descendants of all post-Soviet states””. And yet dozens and dozens of people showed up to the event who weren’t offended in the slightest to enjoy themselves.
    Communism. It’s a party.

    • Kyle

      “Communism. It’s a party.”

      You can’t be serious. You are either completley ignorant or misinformed. A quick search in Google can reveal the grim history of the USSR. Please, do yourself a favour and read up on what the USSR is responsible for. You might want to look specifically at they years 1932 and 19933.

  2. Marina

    Emma Prestwich, please get busy and start writing something relevant.
    What’s soooo bad about the poster?
    U are probably really bored in Ryerson and have nothing better to do other than to write about this.
    Soviet Union is a part of our history and everyone who grew up there shares some common memories.
    Party was absolutely amazing!
    Great thanks to everyone who worked very hard to put it all together=)))))

  3. A party goer

    It’s a pity that rather than focusing on the unification and childhood memories that CCCP represents for an overwhelming majority, somebody chose to focus on a different perspective. A huge part of the attendees of the aforementioned party are not only the “descendants of the post-soviet states” they LIVED there.

    Live your life people. Don’t waste it searching for the next thing to be offended by.

    Don’t swell on history. Celebrate it. It made you who you are.

    P.S. In Soviet Russia offended becomes you 😉

    • Svitlana

      I believe you meant to say “don’t dwell” and those Ukrainians who lived in the former USSR, WILL dwell on the oppression they had to live threw. It isn’t something that is easily forgotten.

  4. Ira

    What offends the former “USSR-ers” the most is articles like this which turn everythong back on its head! The children who grew up there had nothing to do with the USSR “darker history”!!! It was an event that united poeple and took them back to their HAPPY childhood. I am offended by the author of this article who chasing after “controvercial” issues has the guts to stirs up history and politics and blame it on all the people who just lived their lives. And what does she suggests? Shoving everything under the carpet???? Good and bad??! SAD SAD perception of history people!!!

  5. AT

    Being a former UofT student and currently a journalist/documentary filmmaker, I always valued Ryerson’s press. It seemed to be quite intelligent and outspoken.

    However, obviously things turned with this article.

    Emma Prestwich obviously is not too familiar with history and it seems was watching a bit too much of “Duck and Cover” type anti-Soviet propaganda to write something this stupid.

    Not sure what her motives were in bringing up the “darker history of the USSR” into writing a generally boring article in the “Events around the city” section, but either nothing much goes on at Ryerson, or this was Emma’s attempt at serious journalism and has just failed miserably.

    As a journalist, she is not only lacking professionalism in writing, but also is not too familiar with basic journalistic principles; like choosing her stories and using common sense. Perhaps she can do something a bit more useful in her focus on UofT and cover the make and price of the socks worn by Pres. Naylor.

    She is insulting the history of the Soviet Union and its descendents by repeating libel which may or may not have taken place. And using hate comments, which is precisely what they were, to talk about the Soviet Union is very unprofessional, rude and brainless, to be more blunt.

  6. P

    Oh wow, I think I have to step in and defend the writer of this article from the commie loving douchebags. Yeah that’s right, you assholes. “Happy growing up memories” my ass, maybe your parents were in on the scheme so you had it good. My parents were not, all they remember are empty shelves, propaganda,constant fear of the police and all around miserable life. They grew up in Soviet occupied Poland and watched their friends getting killed fighting a regime that oppressed our country since 1945. Hell yeah the symbol is offensive to me just like a swastika (if not more given that communist Russia eradicated more people then Hitler ever dreamed off). Whoever wrote that the half naked girl is more offensive should honestly spend more time in a goddamn library rather then attend lame parties. Kudos to the writer for giving this some coverage and congrats to the people who actually stood up to this bullshit. Don’t be intimidated by those bullies who use the same tactics as the communist propaganda bureaucrats: If you don’t like a valid and historically accurate point of view discredit the writer or try to shut him up altogether.

    • Dan

      I am sorry, but u r an idiot.
      You are mixing politics and everyday life.
      This party has nothing to do with occupied Poland or Hitler.

      My point is: stop being “insulted” and get on with your life 😉

      P.S. If you want, you can read my first comment where I defend the writer of this article.

      • P

        politics is everyday life you douche, you expect me to forget that CCCP committed the mass murder of Polish people because you want us to move on? The symbol is VERY offensive, not because of some made up personal vendetta or irrational fear, but because it contributed to the state sponsored slaughter of MILLIONS OF PEOPLE. Get that? State sponsored GENOCIDE. How is that so hard to understand? I would invite you to come out to any Polish-Canadian social event and bring out the topic with people there. You can probably enjoy a civil conversation and enlighten yourself to the fact that your knowledge on the subject is very limited, probably close to the point of being ignorant.

  7. Dan

    I c many people got offended by this article.
    They have their reasons.

    I personally would like to thank Emma and editors for bringing this issue to our attention.

    It is quite clear to me that RSA did not want to offend anyone and that many people loved the party and were quite happy to be invited to USSR themed party.

    An interesting question:
    Is Paul Terek offended by the Beatles’ song “Back in the USSR”?

    Is he offended by Apple’s decision to offer this and many other Beatles’ songs on iTunes?

  8. Mariana Ionova

    The inclusion of this story was an editorial decision made by the Eyeopener’s News team and the writer’s journalistic integrity and intelligence should not be questioned or insulted as a result of it. Disagreeing with the story is not a reason to launch personal attacks on others.

    We reported on the story because we believe that students should be informed about what happens on their campus but we also ensured that the RSA was given a fair chance to explain the intended meaning of the poster. The story was simply reporting the controversy that the poster stirred, not evaluating the history of the USSR.

  9. Oleg

    How come “Russian-Ukranian Club’s” president name is Paul? A person with an American name simply does not have any credibility for me when discussing USSR-anything!

    This article is all about stirring up international conflicts. See what comments you are getting? I call you provocation “online terrorism.”

    • Svitlana

      are you seriously that ignorant? paul is a Ukrainian name aka Pavlo. You need to realize that a celebration of the former USSR is like celebrating the oppression of people who lived in former USSR states. If you’re fine with this why not throw a “retro party” celebrating Nazism in Germany? Evidently, this is offensive and should have never been posted.

      • V

        Where are you from??? Because I can guarantee you, I can find something wrong with you country as well. Weather its Canada, US, Ukraine, Poland or w/e country. Following your logic black people should be offended by US flag and Russians should be offended by French and German flags.

        Judging from your name spelling you are Ukrainian. Then you should know that Ukraine actually quiet openly honors people who were fighting along side with Hitler and honors Nazi flags and everything. So I guess now Jews should really be offended by all Ukrainian.

    • O

      i would like to inform u that Paul is not an American name. It was used for a long time in europe especially in religious areas. also stop bashing the president of the club. No matter who the president of the club is the larger issue is the one being addressed.

  10. Mark

    “Back in CCCP”

    If you are so eager to go back to the CCCP, why don’t you go back and build it where it belongs. Leave the other countries (formerly known as republics under Russian regime) alone and see how far you can get as Russia.

    • V

      Unfortunately there is nothing to build anymore. That’s why we throw those parties.

      And in what way are guys not left alone??

  11. Kyle

    Guy guys guys, come on. The USSR wasn’t really that bad. Sure, they killed between six and seven million people between the years 1932-1933 in Ukraine alone, not including those deported to Siberia or those lost in the books. But look at the bright side, some of the poor families were getting one litre of hard liquor and two loaves of bread a week! Now thats what I call a nice gesture, let’s all take example from them.

    • V

      That’s also the country, which stopped Hitler (you are welcome), also the first country to launch man in space and I can make this list a really long one.

      Well US used to have black slaves…also they managed to kill millions of native pepople. I have to say say even Stalin wasn’t that cruel and that should tell you something. But I am guessing you ok with US doing all of that, that’s USSR who you really hate eh?

  12. Roman

    The amount of delusion that you people have is ridiculous. I feel that if you lived in USSR and are a proud Russian no wonder you don’t know what Ukrainians had to deal with since it was never a concern, but saying the hardship that was caused and the suppression that occurred never took place and everyone was happy with communism is bullshit. Get your head out of cardboard box, just because the soviet government suppressed the facts doesn’t mean you can spew out that nonsense. Even when this year a Ukrainian Researcher was arrested because he was writing on the suppression that occurred in our currently independent Ukraine is ridiculous. Don’t give me that shit that nothing happen and everyone was happy, 10 million Ukrainians died of hunger because soviet Russia starved them by taking their food! Children had nothing to eat growing up. My grandparent had to live through that; my family knows very well how going to church could get you kicked out of work, how speaking Ukrainian was looked down upon and how we were practically living in fear because of constant treats of being deported to Siberia.

    Now I don’t have anything against Russia or the people from there, but just like the Germans agreed that the Holocaust happened you should agree that you starved millions of people during your rule just to make a profit on the western market. Making cultural event is great but sending out a political image that reminds people of suppression is poor in taste.

    PS. Paul is a European name; please learn translation since Pavel or Pavlo is the equivalent. Also I don’t see anything about it being a Russian-Ukrainian club, since they are two separate clubs.

    • V

      10 millions?? Holy molly..that’s a huge number. I mean people usually for 2-3…sometimes 4-5…but you decided to directly to 10 mln. May be you should read some history books.

      Also no1 is really denying Holodomor, people just saying it wasn’t a genocide. But since you actually wrote, that Stalin was just making profit from food (killing millions in the process), then you are agreeing that it was not a genocide. So I am not exactly sure why would you post this: post

      Speaking Ukrainian was looked down upon??? Really??? I mean, r u serious??????? May be you should talk to people who actually lived through that period. The whole idea behind communism is that everone is equal, you get kicked out of work for looking down on someone speaking Ukrainian. You shouldn’t talk about stuff you don’t know about.

  13. TKardash

    Its nit the symbol its what it represents. “A few individuals” is a huge understatement considering the millions that died. You should probably learn some history instead of holding ignorant and false views of what you perceived happened. If you attended the event, you should have taken note to see the ethnical background of those that attended.

    How can you begin to criticize that the reporter is not writing about something relevant. Genocides are taught to us in our schools and is constantly brought to the public attention. This is done for two reasons; a) so we remember those that have lost their lives to such atrocities b) as a preventative measure, so future generations learn from past mistakes. But you are right, people that grew up in the USSR do have common memories, except you fail to recognize that they are not all good ones.
    A Party Goer:
    Majority of people under the USSR were killed in acts of genocide- this isn’t a different perspective, its all part of the big picture of the ussr.

    You should pair up with Dima and study history together. I don’t think golden childhood memories consist of being torn away from your family nor do I believe it happy memories involve watching people die around you. The last thing anybody would want, especially those that survived through genocides is to have it all ‘swept under the carpet’. There is a huge line between raising awareness and throwing a party to celebrate it.

    A journalist’s work does not become senseless or unintelligent because you do not agree with it. As a journalist / documentary filmmaker Im surprised you have not learned that lesson yet.

    You’re the idiot. Politics is in everyday life.

    There is no Russian- Ukrainian Club. But I had a nice laugh reading that a person’s name depends on their credibility. So Oleg, whoever you are, and where ever you may be, please give yourself a nice pat on the shoulder for me. Hmmm…. Oleg.. with that name I assume you can only speak in behalf of Russian politics and not Canadian. According to you, a person’s name only ties them to the country the can speak on behalf of. Interesting theory you got there.

    If it is alright to throw this type of themed party, then students should be able to throw a party on campus celebrating Hitler’s rule in Germany.

  14. Zenon

    The reason this is offensive to Ukrainians and members of other post-Soviet nationalities is that they never got recognition for the trials and tribulations they endured. There is no question that Jews suffered under the Nazi regime; that notion is universal. What perecentage of the people that are familiar with the Holocaust are also familiar with the Holodomor genocide? The fact that this discussion even EXISTS is a testament to why Ukrainians are offended – our troublesome history is still in question, and has been disputed because the Soviet Union spent 75 years destroying and skewing the history of a nation. Nazism is taboo because it was explicitly defeated and destroyed by a collective effort from the democratic countries of the world; it’s an easy stretch to say that it was “good vs. Evil,” and good prevailed. The Soviet Union dissolved mostly because of economic and political deficiencies, not because an ideologically opposed power forced it out of existence – it was politics, not ideals. As a result, The Soviet Union and its proponents were not villainized the way the Nazis were. Someone brought up the song “Back in the USSR” and asked sarcastically if that was offensive. For most, its not, and that’s the inherent problem – it SHOULD be, but when the entire world has been told for generations that the people of the Soviet Union weré doing just fine, its a very daunting task to change that perception.

    Stop trying to tell me what I’m allowed to be offended at. We live in the most democratic country in the world, and we can express our disdain for whatever actions of others we feel in a way that, given the current political situation, our relatives in Ukraine cannot. You wouldn’t tell a Jewish person to not be offended by a swastika because you’d be pegged as an anti-semite. Give your criticisms some perspective and context.

      • V

        Probably because it wasn’t a genocide. By the way, Israel was really straight about it: HOLODMOR IS NOT A GENOCIDE. And really noone except for some Ukrainian researches believes. A total of 26 countries recognized it as a genocide and all of them are so Anti-Russian they would recognize anything as long as it is going to trouble Russia.

        And yes, you have a right to be offended and we have a right not to care about it.

  15. Marta

    It’s easy to attack the writer or try to discredit the people who spoke up (with irrelevant arguments – Pavlo is very a Ukrainian name), but it’s not as easy to dispute historical facts. The Soviet Union committed an act genocide against the Ukrainian people between the years 1932-33 killing approx 7 million people in the span of one year. The Canadian government has recognized the Ukrainian Holodomor – death by famine – as an act of genocide. This is not to mention the millions of others who died in Stalin’s purges. People are free to have their parties and live their happy lives, but sometimes they don’t realize what their actions are promoting. The poster featured not only the hammer and sickle, but also a small picture of Lenin. The Ukrainian club felt it was necessary to voice our opinion and express how we felt about this issue. It is so often brushed aside so as to not create controversy.

    We by all means have nothing against the Russian club partying it up, but maybe be a little more respectful to the innocent millions who were killed under this regime. We hope the Russian club promotes Russian culture and not the interests of the Soviet Union.

    Marta Czurylowicz
    Cultural Director of the Ukranian Students’ Club at Ryerson

    • V

      Well you see, right now Historians mostly agree that it was not a genocide. At the very list, there is a debate. SO when you say words like “historical facts” you are either lying or you are just ignorant. The same goes for the number of people killed…mostly people agree that its somewhere around 4 mln, btw millions were dying in Russia as well, so its really tough to prove a genocide. In fact majority of countries agree that it was NOT a genocide.

      Canadian government also recognized Holocaust, but it doesn’t prevent Ukrainians from honoring people who were fighting along side with Hitler. You know it offends a lot of people, but you don’t seem to care.

      As I said before, if you go deep enough you can find w/e you want to find and everyone would feel offended against everything. Do you want to find something against Ukraine???

      You know, its really funny, that Polish, German, Czech, Latvian, Lithuanian clubs were actually fine with this poster. May be they were not fine, but they actually understood that it is nothing more than a poster. And trust me, they have hell of a lot more to feel offended about. What’s really annoying is that Russian-Ukrainian club felt offended by this. RSA club is probably 50% Ukrainian and everyone was doing just fine. May be you should rename your club to something like “Ryerson Anti-Russian movement”.

  16. M

    No matter how interesting a murderer is, he is still a murderer. Sorry to all those folks that had a blast in the ussr. the former soviet union was a mass murderer and i don’t see how such themes can be promoted.

    To all those attacking the author, if you think this article is a waste of time, dont read it. Go back to your sweeet sweet lives that you enherited from your ancestors who obviously did not know the meaning of the term “hardship”.

    • V

      Well USA killed millions of people…so what??? I dont see you saying anything against it.

      France killed milliions of people…I dont see you saying anything against it.

      This list, in fact, can be extremely long, w/e country you are from (dont even start me on Canada) I can find something wrong with it. So following you logic, people should just feel offended every time they see someone’s flag?

  17. Kay

    To AT:

    You are truly a disgrace to U of T and academia/journalism in general. It seems that you, not Emma Prestwich, are not too familiar with history (or maybe you just watched too much Soviet propaganda??). In fact, whether or not one is familiar with history seems irrelevant to your argument, as she is a journalist, reporting on the goings on at Ryerson. Nowhere in the article did she even try to present and interpret history.

    It is clear you need to re-read the article. It was not Emma who mentioned “the darker history of the USSR,” but rather it was the RSA president himself! And maybe this was a boring article for you (of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion), but for many others, including myself, this is an important topic in modern society. Why should the hammer and sickle be freely advertised and not encounter criticism? Are you perhaps suggesting that free speech should not be allowed, or maybe that there should be someone controlling what is and isn’t said? Hmm, funny, sounds somewhat like the USSR, or even modern day Russia. Sounds like you would fit in perfectly there, why don’t you give reporting in Russia it a try? Good luck!!

    As a journalist yourself, it seems that you, not Emma, are lacking professionalism. How is her story choice not in adherence with basic journalistic principles? Is this not a professional enough topic? Since you don’t seem to be too familiar with this topic yourself, let me enlighten you. There are in fact many university departments (both at the undergraduate and graduate levels) entirely devoted to studying Soviet (and Russian, East-European) history and its effect on modern day history. Perhaps you should write a letter to one of these universities telling them that their programs are not “professional.” (UofT would be a good start for you!)

    And finally, how is Emma insulting the history of the Soviet Union? “By repeating libel which may or may not have taken place” – once again, it seems like you need to brush up on your history, since from this statement it is obvious that you don’t know yourself “what took place.” And although it seems that you are offended by this article, let me remind you that millions around the world are offended by your cherished hammer and sickle. Just like you have the right to be offended to this article, they have the right to be offended by the hammer and sickle symbol. You say that there are hate comments in this article, yet I could not find any. Maybe you would be so kind as to point them out to me?

  18. Sonya

    The sickle and hammer is an offensive symbol. In several former Soviet states the representation of this symbol is banned and any public use is considered a criminal offence. While many individuals may have fond, innocent memories of growing up within this regime they should still be considerate to the tens of millions of individuals who have been personally affected by the cruelties imposed by the former communist government. We live in Canada, a multicultural country with descendants from all post soviet states. Go have your fun and your parties, but please try and do it without embracing the regime and symbolism that was used to starve and murder my ancestors. It’s called respect…that’s all we’re asking for.

  19. Luke

    No one would ever permit a Nazi-themed ball or a KKK-masquerade – those kinds of events would clearly disturb many people. Likewise having a Soviet/Communist-themed party is offensive to many. Whether some students don’t care or don’t get it is irrelevant. This is an offensive poster and so it should be taken down.

  20. Yuriy

    I say its all women fault, ‘cuz Eva sedused Adam, and then thousands of years later Ukraine had nothing to eat..

    see the connection?

  21. Yuriy

    for creadability i need to add wiki link:

    • Pan Vseznaiko

      For CREDIBILITY you need to learn how to spell and retract your Holova from your Sraka

  22. V

    Yuriy, your comment is absolutely disgusting, offensive, and probably one of the most ignorant sentences I have ever read. Is that some sort of sick satire you’re trying to put forward? I would also attack your spelling, but that has little do to with it.

    I don’t know why so many people can’t believe Ukrainians are offended. Could you understand why a Jewish person would be offended if the the German Students’ Club had a “Hitler Hoedown” or a “Nazi Ball”? Clearly you understand that analogy.

    To people like Yuriy, Dima, and Marina: maybe if you weren’t so wrapped up in your ignorant worlds, you’d realize that certain tragedies need to be recognized and respected.

    I don’t go to U of T or Ryerson, so I’m curious…what happened? Did the Russian Students’ Club change the name and/or poster of their event?

  23. Vladimir

    Im ashamed to be Russian. The USSR under the command of Joseph Stalin was one of the worst mass murders to date. Much worse than Hitler, numbers of his murders are comparable to WW2 or Mao, if not worse. And all this for what? The accelerated development of his country. The reason Russians celebrate his reign is because of the limited information they recieved during the time of Stalin’s rule. Much like and communist government today, all information, media and events were heavily censored to the citizens of Russia. They did not know what was going on in Ukraine, Latvia, Poland or the other 15 republics that Russia was exploiting. All the citizens saw was their country growing in strength and becoming a superpower. All the Russians that supported this party or that support the actions of Stalin need to be informed of what the strength of Russia cost other countries. The impact that Stalin had on eastern Europ is very visible today. Anyone ever been to eastern Europe? Not a very nice or developed place (with the exception of a few pockets), is it?

    • ST

      Why are you ashamed to be Russian? It wasn’t you who murdered all those people. Stalin’s actions should never be reflected among the people or the country from where he came. That just gives growth to more hate, and our intention is to abolish it. Good job however in enlightening people about your countrie’s past…a future recommendation though…don’t include sentences such as your was kind of unnecessary.

    • V

      Be ashsamed.

      I am proud to be Russian. I am proud to know that Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Korolev, Mendeleev, Popov and many others are Russians. I am proud that my country actually matters, that my country could be clearly identified on a map. I am proud of many things.

      Yes, Russia did some horrible stuff, no question about it. But then again, many counties did the same. I know all about Poland and CHezk and pretty much everything, I accept it as something that was done and now we moved on. Otherwise I can go back thousand of years and find many interesting details about every single country on this planet and trust me it wont be pretty.

      And yes very funny to blame Staling for everything.
      Why are we so poor??
      WEll that’s because of those Russians…

      Keep going man.

  24. Zend

    Lets just show restraint for those who have suffered.

  25. Nadia

    Finally, the issue is being addressed! Thank you to Paul Terek for speaking up. I am offended by this poster as well as some of these comments that people are making!

  26. ind

    This is asinine. It was a themed party and old Soviet design is appealing in its own way. The Ukrainian students’ group is trying to pick a fight where none exists.

    • M

      …and a toothbrush themed “Movember” is appealing in its own way.

      Anyone find it appealing to grow Hitler moustaches to cure prostate cancer?

    • O

      How about we go back in time and kill a large portion of ur ansestors then see how u feel about it…

  27. Oleksandr

    The bottom line is that this was theme, nothing more. I am Ukrainian student that speaks both Russian and Ukrainian, and can say that I do not find this poster to be offensive in the slightest.I would think that with the current situation in Ukraine people like Paul would have something more productive to complain about. This is university and chances are this is not the first and wont be the last thing that will offend you. Slava Ukraina , Slava Rossiya.

  28. O.B

    here is a story: soviet soldiers came and burned down a village 1500 people. many died in the fire – they put the others on a train, and took them to siberia, among these people was my grandmother and her mother, my grandmother was 6 at the time. i will not continue to describe the road to siberia because there are no words to describe the horrors they experienced on the way there. she escaped a year later with a russian family who hid her from soviet officials and eventually got her home. her mother got tuberculosis in siberia and was sent home a year later because she wsiblingsas unable to work.

    my other grandmother who is nearing her 70’s, grew up with 2 siblings and without a father. he was taken away to prison for 7 years. he was a deacon, and they owned a mill in their village-and had access to bread, so they would bake bread and take it to the prisoners-he was outed and arrested. they tortured him by whipping and putting needles between his fingernails, because he was feeding the ‘enemy’, he died 5yrs after coming home. my grandmother and her siblings didn’t have food to eat, and she told me how very often their bellies would swell of hunger. they operated a community chicken farm (kolhosp), worked 16 hour days and still had nothing to eat.

    my mother was shunned and almost fired from her position as an english teacher in mid 80’s because she baptized my brother in a ukrainian church.

    this is the history of my family during the soviet era-not romantic at all, and none of them smile, or have fond childhood memories when they look back at it. so please, have respect for my ancestors, as well as for the millions of others who have similar stories, not just in ukraine, but in all post soviet union states.

    this is the not the history that “may or may not have happened” this is the history that did happen.

    i don’t have anything against russians, but please stop romanticizing the USSR! the citizens of 15 states paid with their lives for the comforts you got to enjoy during that period!

  29. Orest

    I advise all the Russians to watch “The Putin System”. Youtube it. It will open your eyes. Learn some facts about your past and how your “blessed” Vladimir Putin is continuing KGB and Soviet policies in Russia and still raping the former communist states.

  30. WOW

    You feeble minded people that are offended by this. By your logic all black people should hate all white people because of slavery. So what that is happened a hundred years ago. Their ancestors were raped, murdered, used and demeaned.

    You need to get out of your shell. Don’t compare a USSR themed party to a KKK themed party. USSR was a unification of countries, KKK was an outlet for whitetrash.

    Why don’t you be offended by the existence of Germans while you’re at it? The fascist Germany was still called Germany ;).

    Baffles me how people can even consider being offended by this. I wonder how many of you poor folks actually lived in the USSR?

  31. Robert

    Does the Russian Students’ Association have a website of some sort, for further information on the club?

  32. student

    pathetic journalism. manufacturing news, too. what’s wrong with communism?

  33. FascismLivesInCanada

    Why don’t they just go down to Forest Hill and spray-paint some Swastikas while they’re at it, or build a mosque on Ground Zero (o, wait…)? All the commentors here defending these moronic students are so ignorant it hurts. 10 million of my countrymen were STARVED to death by Stalin’s USSR in one year, but LET’S PARTY! What do you think the world was against Russia for 45 years? A sick country, run by sick people, with a citizenry that is just as sick.

  34. Dan

    1. Be angry.
    2. Hate those who presumably offended your ancestors.
    3. Do no listen to any reasonable answer or reply.

  35. student

    what ridiculous jingo-journalism.

  36. Sofia

    Nice discussion. Especially in a view of some recent events when a group of anti-russians attacked veterans of WW2 in Lvov on the 9th of May (Victory Day) and beat them up and threw away their, beleive me, hard earned orders and medals. A way to go, hail to Ukraine!
    Hate Russia and the USSR all you can, but it still does’t change the fact that it was, is and will be one of the greatest countries in the world

  37. stadiumguy

    What is really disturbing is that our “elites” worshiped and continue to worship the good ole CCCP. Stalin’s dead are just old news or capitalist lies. Oh Sofia what is your tale on the Hitler-Stalin Pact? Please go to that great country and give its victims a proper burial.

  38. Anonymous

    It’s nothing but a poster to a dance party people. This is the wrong thing to be offended at.

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