Dance of the dictators

Men with notebooks standing behind leaders and taking down their precious words are, writes Dalrymple,

a constant of communist iconography. Someone like Nicolae Ceaușescu had only to step into a turnip field for him to become the greatest expert on growing turnips. Usually the leader was dressed in some kind of pseudo-proletarian costume, with or without a specially-tailored cloth cap.

Ceaușescu, Dalrymple notes,

was much influenced by Kim Il-sung. There is a wonderful film of Kim’s state visit to Rumania in 1975 in which Kim dances with Rumanian pseudo-peasants in colorful national costume. How communist dictators loved folk-dancing!

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