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Stalin once gave a lengthy speech that was later released on vinyl. The entire B-side consisted of recorded applause.

I've seen this claimed in one syndicated article, but I can't seem to find other sources confirming this.

Did the USSR or maybe someone else release Stalin's speech in such a format, with one side of the disc containing only applause?

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    Hm. I suppose putting another speech on the B side migth suggest it was an inferior speech. Aug 10 at 19:25
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    @Fizz, it's not contradictory. It's also not uniquely Soviet: at least Hitler's speeches are also peppered with the [applause] remarks. An official stenogram of the speech is supposed to include them all. In case of cult leaders such as Stalin, there was a perverse situation which was applicable to real life as well as records: just who dares to stop first (or cut short) the applause to our great leader? All the time one can find remarks (in text records) like [lengthy, vigorous, enthusiastic applause turning into standing ovation]. I don't know the answer but I don't find it surprising.
    – Zeus
    Aug 11 at 0:57
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    The way "this article" & "other confirming" are phrased sounds to me a bit like 'lack of notability'. But this story/claim is found in other 'sources' (making it quite notable), albeit with an equal lack of apparent reliability/references/'proof' (in what I read; thus repetition is present, but no real confirmation other than being widespread). You may want to clear that up? Aug 11 at 8:56
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    Possibly relevant: Stalin died in 1952, and the LP record was only introduced in 1948. A 78rpm shellac record holding 5 minutes of speech and 5 minutes of applause is rather different from a microgroove LP holding 25 minutes of each. I'm not sure either would qualify as a "lengthy" speech.
    – IMSoP
    Aug 11 at 9:21

1 Answer 1

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Apart from simple repetition, there is at least one non-fiction book that mentions this anecdote:

There existed at the time a gramophone record of one of Stalin’s longer speeches. It ran to eight sides, or rather seven, because the eighth consisted entirely of applause.

— Martin Amis: "Koba the Dread. Laughter and the Twenty Million", Vinatge Books: London, 2002, p170.

Unfortunately, Martin Amis is not exactly a historian and Koba the Dread falls short on properly referencing this rather vague anecdote. However, this book is cited or quoted in quite few publications (like this diploma thesis).

A direct proof for this exact claim seems lacking.

Various sites list archives of audio recordings with Stalin's speeches, sometimes with varying for exactly the purportedly exact same speech.

Stalin's ~"Report on the draft Constitution of the USSR November 25, 1936" ("И.Сталин. Речь о проекте Конституции СССР. Доклад на Чрезвычайном VIII Всесоюзном съезде Советов 25 ноября 1936 г.", found in this rar-file) for example lasts for 1 hour and 42 minutes. It starts with ample applause, has especially towards the end some applause sown in, and ends with a full 15 minutes of frenzied ovations that then slowly fades away into singing The Internationale.

Given that recordings on a phonograph record (with 'vinyl' only becoming widespread available very late in Stalin's lifetime) can vary quite a lot:

[…] the early discs played for two minutes […]

with later phonograph/gramophone disc formats by far not approaching the perhaps 'expected' vinyl-LP-recording lengths, the assertion that '(at least) one collection for one of Stalin's speeches had one disc-side that was (at least largely) filled with applause' seems very plausible.

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    I'm guessing that rar file has a stitched up version of the same speech distributed on 21 x 10", 78 rpm discs discogs.com/release/… If it's exactly the same recording, the last 3 discs should be entirely applause (incl. the singing)!
    – Fizz
    Aug 11 at 11:51
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    @LangLangC I found an article describing the grammophone recording of that speech by a museum that owns a partially-complete piece. According to the article, it's a 21-disc album; and not only the last b-side, but also the first a-side are mostly applause. That said, the article describes the "applause segment" as 3-minutes (one side duration) long; but it also notes that neither of two articles museum owns is complete (one has 16 out of 21 discs, second - 19 of 21). Aug 11 at 12:16
  • @DanilaSmirnov of some interest; 19-disc speech by Molotov as well; also on the 1936 constitution.
    – Fizz
    Aug 12 at 1:38
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    There are also some shorter speeches of Stalin recorded, e.g. discogs.com/release/… that's only a 5-disc set from a 1937 speech. On something like that I can imagine the final applause being just one side of the last disc.
    – Fizz
    Aug 12 at 1:45

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