November 11, 2011
If Facebook can serve as an indication of the popularity of historical figures, then former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin has some catching up to do.
Stalin’s presence is not a beyond-the-grave experience, but an example of a Facebook “Community Page.”
Introduced in April 2010, “Community Pages are a new type of Facebook Page dedicated to a topic or experience that is owned collectively by the community connected to it,” the company’s Alex Li reported in Facebook’s blog. “Just like official Pages for businesses, organizations and public figures, Community Pages let you connect with others who share similar interests and experiences.”
The pages often provide basic information about the topic gleaned from Wikipedia, and also show posts from Facebook members interested in the topic.
Vyacheslav Molotov, the Soviet foreign minister who signed the pact with Nazi Germany to split control of Europe—giving the Baltic states to the U.S.S.R.—had only 54 “likes.” His German counterpart, Joachim von Ribbentrop, scored higher with 83.
Andrey Vyshinsky, who spearheaded the effort that led to Latvia’s illegal incorporation in the Soviet Union in 1940, had 81 “likes.”
Later Soviet leaders and their Facebook “likes” include:
- Nikita Khrushchev, who took over as first secretary of the Communist Party after Stalin’s death and ran the U.S.S.R. from 1953-1964, with 752.
- Khrushchev’s successor Leonid Brezhnev, in power from 1964-1982, with 274.
- Yuri Andropov, who followed Brezhnev from 1982-1984, with just 75.
- Andropov’s successor Konstantin Chernenko, in power from 1984-1985, with 123.
- Andrei Gromyko, head of state from 1985-1988, with just 18.
- Mikhail Gorbachev, who rule from 1988 until the breakup of the U.S.S.R. in 1991, with 3,715.
Socialist philosopher Karl Marx, whose ideas helped inspire the Russian Revolution, is immensely popular compared to the others: He had 83,790 “likes.”
Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000-2012 he was editor of the website.