The Cable

The Cable goes inside the foreign policy machine, from Foggy Bottom to Turtle Bay, the White House to Embassy Row.

Stalin statue in Virginia a huge bust

Eastern Europeans in embassies and communities around the capital region are upset today that Virginia’s new D-Day memorial monument, unveiled in a ceremony this past week, contains a statue of the head of notorious Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Residents of Bedford, VA, were equally appalled when they found out about the statue, but now the ...

Eastern Europeans in embassies and communities around the capital region are upset today that Virginia's new D-Day memorial monument, unveiled in a ceremony this past week, contains a statue of the head of notorious Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

Residents of Bedford, VA, were equally appalled when they found out about the statue, but now the fallout has now reached official Washington. The Cable has heard from multiple embassy officials today that they are getting calls from their local communities complaining about the statue. It's especially disconcerting to European diplomats, whose countries have spent decades scrubbing all traces of communist paraphernalia from their parks and public areas.

"I'm shocked as a European citizen and as a European diplomat," one embassy official said. "It's shocking because this person was responsible for the deaths of millions of people."

Eastern Europeans in embassies and communities around the capital region are upset today that Virginia’s new D-Day memorial monument, unveiled in a ceremony this past week, contains a statue of the head of notorious Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

Residents of Bedford, VA, were equally appalled when they found out about the statue, but now the fallout has now reached official Washington. The Cable has heard from multiple embassy officials today that they are getting calls from their local communities complaining about the statue. It’s especially disconcerting to European diplomats, whose countries have spent decades scrubbing all traces of communist paraphernalia from their parks and public areas.

"I’m shocked as a European citizen and as a European diplomat," one embassy official said. "It’s shocking because this person was responsible for the deaths of millions of people."

For what it’s worth, the plaque underneath Stalin’s likeness is hardly a tribute to the late communist ruler.

"In memory of the tens of millions who died under Stalin’s rule and in tribute to all whose valor, fidelity, and sacrifice denied him and his successors victory in the cold war," it reads.

Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.com.

Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.

A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.

Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin

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