Soviet Symbol

Moscow, 1926.  Josef Stalin sits behind a large oak desk waiting for the arrival of Ilya Ivanovich, Russia’s top animal breeding specialist who has just returned from two years in Guinea Conakry where he has been conducting experiments. The room is oak-panelled and there is a large painting of a group of men behind Stalin’s desk. There are numerous gaps among the montage. To the left of him is a flag with the Hammer and Sickle on it.

 Standing next to him is Lavrenti Beria, Head of the KGB, a small man with large eyes and tiny hands. He is Stalin’s right-hand man and responsible for all the purges and the Great Terror. He is to Stalin’s right and is holding a pile of papers-death warrants. He passes them in turn to Stalin who signs them without thinking. Stalin stops, looks at one and puts his pen down. He picks it up in both hands and stares at it. He turns and looks at Beria who looks at him impassively and nods. Stalin turns away, picks up the pen and signs it.

 There is a knock on the main door stage left. It opens and a soldier enters. He walks towards the desk, stops and salutes.

 

SOLDIER:

Comrade Ivanovich has arrived, Comrade Stalin.

Stalin raises his head and nods. The soldier turns, exits stage left and returns with a General and a small, bearded man in a white coat. The bearded man is frail and stoops as he approaches Stalin. He is carrying a small, metal box.

 

STALIN:

Welcome back, Comrade Ivanovich. The Soviet Union has missed you. It has been a long time.

Ivanovich stops in front of Stalin and bows his head.

 

IVANOVICH:

I am pleased to return, Comrade Stalin. It has been a long time. A long, long time.

 

STALIN:

I trust that your experiments were successful, Comrade Ivanovich.

 

BERIA:

Yes, Comrade. The Soviet people are anxious to hear your results.

 

IVANOVICH:

I can assure you, Comrade Stalin, that you will not be disappointed.

 

STALIN:

Go on, Comrade. Explain.

 

IVANOVICH:

The objective of the research, Comrade Stalin was to see if it was possible to fuse the DNA of a human with that of an ape and thereby create a super-human. A man with the enormous physical strength of a gorilla combined with the intellect of Homo Sapiens.

 

STALIN:

I know all that, Comrade. What I need to know and the Red Army needs to know was whether it was successful. As you are aware, Comrade, this a fledgling state, abhorred by Europe, which is determined to crush it. Our army is tired, our people are starving and we need a new breed of man who can survive the rigours of the transition to Communism. This will be the way we will release the proletariat from its chains and develop a new world order. A world free of boundaries, nationalism, class. One World. One Order.

 

IVANOVICH:

I have not disappointed you, Comrade Stalin. As you know, the ape is different to the human in one way. Whilst humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, the ape has 24 pairs. It is believed, Comrade Stalin, that in the process of evolution, by natural selection, the human made the transition from ape and the 24 pairs of chromosomes became 23 by the fusing of the second and third pairs. Our experiments have been designed to recreate that process allowing the enormous physical strength left behind in the ape form to be cross fertilised with that of the human, thereby creating the super-human.

 

STALIN: Excited.

Go on, Comrade, Go on.

 

IVANOVICH:

We initially started with animals, Comrade Stalin. Mice, then rats, then larger species like wild cats. Then we moved on to apes.

 

STALIN:

Tell me more, Comrade.

 

BERIA:

Yes, Comrade Ivanovich. We are anxious to learn of your findings.

 

IVANOVICH:

Our initial experiments showed positive signs and we had some considerable success in fusing the DNA of apes with those of the natives. There was a noticeable increase in their physical strength but this was not matched by any noticeable increase in their mental faculties.

 

STALIN:

And?

 

IVANOVICH:

I made the decision that there was only one way to test my results. That was to fuse the DNA of someone with extremely high intellect with that of the most powerful of the apes, the silver backed gorilla, the most powerful of the species.

 

STALIN:

And this super-intelligent individual, Comrade, who would that be?

 

IVANOVICH:

Why myself, Comrade Stalin. I would not risk it with anyone else.

 

STALIN:

You are a very brave man, Comrade. The whole of the Soviet Union is indebted to you. Go on.

 

IVANOVICH:            Opening the box and pulling out the phial.

This is it, Comrade Stalin. This is the final elixir. This will transform our society. One small injection into a fertile young woman and a new breed of man will be born. I

 

BERIA:

I presume that you have kept all the results of your research secret and secure.

 

IVANOVICH:

Rest assured Comrade Beria. It is totally secure. I have destroyed all the evidence. This is the only fluid left. All the data is in here.

 

Ivanovich points to his head.  Stalin stands up and approaches him.

 

STALIN:

We will need to take good care of you then. Let me see. Give it to me, Comrade.

 

Ivanovic holds the phial out in the fingers of his hand.

 

IVANOVICH:

To the Soviet Union. To the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. To Comrade Stalin. To the new World Order.

 

STALIN: Leaning forward and smiling.

Please! Please! Let me see.

 

Ivanovich leans forward, staggers, and holds his chest. He groans and falls backwards and drops the phial.

 

Beria dives forwards and holds out his hands, trying to catch it. He does so but inadvertently breaks the glass, which shatters.The glass pierces his skin and the fluid runs over his hands and into his veins.

 

BERIA: Picking himself up.

I am sorry, Comrade Stalin. I am so sorry.

 

Ivanovich’s body twitches uncontrollably then suddenly freezes. His head flops to one side with his eyes wide open.

 Stalin leans forward, feels Ivanovich’s neck, then turns towards Beria.

 

STALIN:  Staring at him intently.

So am I, Comrade Beria!

So am I!

© Graham Walker 2012

Photo courtesy of Flickr user bigglesmith

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