His Majesty sometimes has me read history, for my moral improvement. From Ivan’s War: Life and Death in the Red Army, 1939-1945:
Ilya’s aunts had been involved in the revolutionary underground for decades. They were old hands by the time of Lenin’s coup of 1917. One had worked in a secret revolutionary group in Baku, the oil port on the Caspian Sea. It was there that she encountered the young man who later gave himself the name Stalin. Ilya’s own image of the future leader was shaped by a tale she liked to tell about his cruelty. One afternoon, she said, it must have been in April, sometime before 1904, she and a group of comrades were out for a walk. Their path lay by a river that had swollen after the spring thaw. A calf, newborn, still doubtful on its legs, had somehow become stranded on an island in the middle. The friends could hear its bleating above the roar of the waters, but no one dared to risk the torrent. No one, that is, except the Georgian, Koba, who ripped off his shirt and swam across. He reached the calf, hauled himself out to stand beside it, waited for all the friends to watch, and then he broke its legs.
I am reminded of the saying I once heard attributed to St. Irenaeus: Fortitude in an evil cause is no virtue.