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4/20/2005
RUSSIAN REVANCHISM
CATEGORY: WORLD POLITICS

How soon they forget.

Forgotten are the tens of thousands of ordinary citizens taken away never to be heard from again. Forgotten are the millions – no one will ever know how many – of peasants who perished in one of the 20th century’s most dastardly deeds; the deliberate starvation of the Kulaks:

But in November of 1928 the Central Committee decided to implement forced collectivization. It was called a move against “rural capitalism”. Grain requisitioning intensified and peasants were forced to join collective farms. Anyone opposing collectivization was labeled a kulak. The policy of “liquidation of kulaks as a class,” formulated by Stalin at the end of 1929, meant executions, and deportation to concentration camps. The policy targeted the most productive elements of Russian agriculture.

Contrary to official propaganda, peasants resisted collectivization and preferred to consume or destroy everything they had before joining. Food production dropped drastically; at least 4 million died in the resulting famine (mostly in Ukraine). But Stalin succeeded; in 1936 about 90% of Soviet agriculture was collectivized. Productivity, however, was very low. The existence of famine was denied and those who talked about it were treated as counterrevolutionary elements.

Forgotten are the numerous purges of the party, the military, the arts, and all segments of society in which more millions died either as a result of execution or their being sent to the infamous gulags. Alexander Solzhenitsyn who lived the nightmare reality of a political prisoner in Joseph Stalin’s Russia had a gruesome reason for the gulag’s existence:

“Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence. Any man who has once proclaimed violence as his method is inevitably forced to take the lie as his principle.”

Now it appears that some in Russia seek to rehabilitate Stalin’s image by erecting statues in his honor. By doing so, they will dishonor the millions who fought his tyranny and paid the ultimate price for their courage:

To the dismay of many, proposals to erect new monuments to the tyrant for what apologists see as his “outstanding” war leadership have won support from figures close to President Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin.

A shiny effigy of the Communist dictator in a prominent position might even put uppity foreign powers in their place, said one senior politician.

“They never miss a chance in the West to rewrite history and diminish our country’s role in the victory over fascism, so that’s even more reason not to forget Stalin now,” said Lyubov Slizka, a parliamentary vice-speaker

The only history being rewritten in the West has consisted of writing Stalin’s part in starting World War II in the first place out of those same history books. It’s a story best told by William L. Schirer in his masterpiece “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.”

Stalin was to say later that by dealing with Hitler, he bought the western allies time to rearm. This is the same excuse Chamberlain gave for his shameful surrender at Munich, since debunked many times over. Stalin’s real reason for the Nazi-Soviet Pact was his agreement with Hitler to basically divide Europe between them. In the secret protocols of the treaty found after the war, the Russians agreed to give Hitler a free hand in the west while Stalin gobbled up Finland and the Baltic states. As a bonus, the two dictators would partition Poland (for the third time in 400 years) with Hitler getting the eastern portion where most of the people lived. Stalin got what he thought was a 1000 mile buffer between himself and Hitler which turned out to be an illusion.

What made this deal especially odious was that Stalin had been assuring both France and Great Britain that he would support them if they felt it necessary to go to war over a German invasion of Poland. Stalin gave a private assurance along these lines to the British Ambassador to Russia on August 26, 1939.

The Nazi-Soviet Pact was signed on August 30. Hitler invaded Poland on September 1.

To erect a statue to a man whose actions cynically led to the deaths of 20 million of his own countrymen is madness. But that seems to be what’s affecting Russia these days as she marches steadily toward an authoritarian government:

Officials in Moscow have insisted that no statues of the dictator will appear in the Russian capital. But his name resurfaced last year when a Kremlin memorial plaque to “Volgograd” was replaced with one to “Stalingrad”.

That city was renamed Volgograd in 1961. Since then, veterans’ associations and the Communist Party have lobbied to have the name change revoked, citing the importance of its victory over Hitler’s armies in 1943.

But, while preferring to stay above the debate, Mr Putin has spoken against the move, saying: “I’m sure that it would give rise to suspicions that we are returning to Stalinist times.”

Putin wants to continue his stealthy assault on freedom without the political baggage of Stalin hanging around his neck. When the time comes, he may try to rehabilitate “Uncle Joe” himself as a way of stoking the fires of nationalism. Such a move would no doubt open old wounds:

The resurgence of Stalin, no matter what the context, threatens to open fresh rifts in a society still traumatised by the horrors of his rule, critics argue.

“Imagine the reaction to Hitler monuments in Germany – that’s how we regard this,” said Boris Belenkin of Memorial, a human rights group originally founded to remember Stalin’s victims. “This individual has no moral or historical right to any monuments.”

There’s no doubt that for many Russians, the image of Stalin would bring back some sense of the glory years, when the Soviet military was feared throughout Europe – so much so that the United States abandoned 150 years of isolation to permanently station troops on the continent to counter Soviet expansion.

The question is, what other memories would that image bring back? And will the Russians finally come to terms with their part in starting the largest, most destructive conflict in human history?

It would seem not to be the case if the Russian people, egged on by unscrupulous politicians, wish to rehabilitate the image of one of the great mass murderers in human history.

By: Rick Moran at 5:43 pm
5 Responses to “RUSSIAN REVANCHISM”
  1. 1
    Cao Said:
    8:18 pm 

    Excellent piece, Superhawk. I want to see more people blogging on this kind of thing when I know American and European Marxists are breathing down our necks and working with organizations like the ACLU to change the founding documents and our American landscape forever!

  2. 2
    Raven Said:
    8:18 am 

    Hey Superhawk…very good post. What you wrote here should be our kids’ history books.

  3. 3
    Watcher of Weasels Trackbacked With:
    2:50 am 

    Submitted for Your Approval
    First off…  any spambots reading this should immediately go here, here, here,  and here.  Die spambots, die!  And now…  here are all the links submitted by members of the Watcher’s Council for this week’s vote. Council li…

  4. 4
    Dave Schuler Said:
    9:00 am 

    Indeed. Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

  5. 5
    Watcher of Weasels Trackbacked With:
    2:21 am 

    The Council Has Spoken!
    First off…  any spambots reading this should immediately go here, here, here,  and here.  Die spambots, die!  And now…  the winning entries in the Watcher’s Council vote for this week are Silence of the Sheep by Gates of V…

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