MINOT, N.D. — In his book, the “The Gulag Archipelago,” Nobel Prize-winning Russian author and historian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn recounted a chillingly absurd incident at a conference in Soviet Russia.

The event’s organizers thought it should be concluded with a standing ovation for Josef Stalin. The audience, which had been leaping to its feet throughout the event at every mention of Stalin’s name, began clapping.

And clapping. And clapping.

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