Categories Children's books

Tintin in the land of Soviets

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Tintin, Pleasant Reads

Image Credit : Wikipedia

Tintin in Russia is the first comic book in the Tintin Series, written by the Belgian author, Georges Remi, famously known as Herge. The story was created, keeping an anti-communist agenda in mind and targeting Joseph Stalin’s government. The story ran in the Belgian Newspaper – Le Petit Vingtieme. 

Let us now review the story itself.

Tintin is young and intrepid reporter for  Le Petit Vingtième, a Belgian Newspaper. He is sent along with his dog, Snowy to Russia on an assignment.  On the way to  Moscow, an agent of the OGPU (Soviet secret police) sabotages the train  by planting a bomb in it. The Berlin police blame Tintin for the bombing. Tintin escapes to the Soviet Border  using his wits.(The possible train route can be found here)

Close on Tintin’s heels,the OGPU agent finds Tintin and brings him before the local Commissar’s office, instructing the Commissar to make the reporter disappear and make it look like an accident.

Escaping again, Tintin finds how the Soviets fool the people who believe in communism  – by burning bundles of straw and clanging metal in order to trick visiting English Marxists into believing that industries in the Soviet Union are active, when very much the opposite is true.

Tintin witnesses a local election, where the Bolsheviks threaten the voters to ensure their own victory. A loitering Tintin is recognized. The Bolsheviks try to arrest him, but he dresses as a ghost to scare them away.

Tintin  then attempts to escape out  of the Soviet Union, but the Bolsheviks pursue and arrest him, then threaten him that they will torture him.

Escaping his captors, Tintin finally reaches Moscow, remarking that the Bolsheviks have turned it into “a stinking slum”

Tintin, Russia

Tintin remarking that Moscow has been tuned into a “stinking slum”

Image Credit : en.tintin.com

Tintin and Snowy observe a government official handing out bread to homeless Marxists but not giving it to  their rivals.  Snowy steals a loaf and gives it to a starving boy out of compassion.

Spying on a secret Bolshevik meeting, Tintin learns that all the Soviet foodgrains are   being exported abroad for to further the communicst agenda, at the expense of their own people starving. They also decide that they will rob the Kulaks [affluent russian farmers] at gunpoint for their agricultural produce. 

Tintin manages to penetrate through  the Soviet army and warns some of the kulaks to hide their grain, but the army catches him and sentences him to death by firing squad [ A brutal method in which the convicted person is shot to death]

tintin, firing squad

Image Credit : en.tintin.com

Tintin puts blanks in the soldier’s rifles, fakes his death and is able to make his way into the snowy wilderness of Russia, where he discovers an underground Bolshevik hideaway in a haunted house. [The odds!]

A Bolshevik then captures him and informs him that Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin have gathered together. With Snowy’s help, Tintin escapes, flies a plane into the night. The plane crashes, but Tintin Macgyvers [ Read here to know what is Macgyver] a new propeller and is able to continue the flight to Berlin.

The OGPU agents appear and lock Tintin in a dungeon, but he escapes with the aid of Snowy, who has dressed himself in a tiger costume. [Unbelievable, but it seemed that Snowy was able to communicate with Tintin. As the years went by, this was minimized and Snowy was made more Dog!]

The last OGPU agent attempts to kidnap Tintin, but this attempt is foiled, leaving the agent threatening, “We’ll blow up all the capitals of Europe with dynamite!”

Tintin returns to Brussels amidst a huge popular reception.

The Comic book got a lot of negative reviews , mostly for the poor drawing and the bizarre plot. Herge was criticized since he portrayed Soviet Union with a propaganda and no firm storyline. However, this comic book has still achieved fame and greatness – maybe it was in the, ” It is so bad, that it is good” category.

 

Anyway, getting to the business end of this review, this book is definitely recommended for readers – young and old, alike just to get introduced to the Tintin book series. The reviewer can claim with surety – that you will definitely get hooked to the series.

Illustration : 3/5

Writing : 2.9/5

Story : 3/5

Still, a must read – since it has the collector’s value. So, go ahead and buy this one for you or if you want to gift this to some one.

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About the author

Aniket is a Business Consultant by profession - however his love of books led him to this website, where he posts book reviews and also gets together with new Indian Authors. He can be reached on aniketsitm@gmail.com.

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