Letters from Uzbekistan: What Arslan Shared with Stalin

Both Josip Vissarionovich and Arslan Levantine hung reproductions of Ilya Repin’s Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan Mahmoud IV, which happened to be the favorite painting of both men.


The painting depicts the Cossacks of nearer Dnieper to a Turkish Sultan’s demand that they submit to him. They had a letter writing party to refuse as insultingly as possible, heading the letter:

‘O Sultan, Turkish devil and spawn of devil and family, asslicker of Lucifer . What devil kind of fighter are you, who but one who at best can slay a hedgehog with your naked ass? The devil excretes, and your army eats. Ne, you scrotum scruffer, you will not make subjects of real horesemen. We do not fear women. Oh, and you unholy goatfucker, Ivan says you can go fuck your mother, as he himself has.’

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