Day: May 10, 2009

The History of Isolation

To coincide with the Victory Day celebrations in Moscow on May 9, Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s Minister of Emergency Situations and co-head of the supreme council of Putin’s United Russia party, gave a speech to military veterans in Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad) in which he called for a new law “to criminalize the denial of the Soviet victory in World War II”. The law would affect not only Russian citizens, but also anyone in the world who makes such a denial. It appears that under such legislation, if their leaders and/or citizens contest the rightness of Stalin’s victory, countries like Poland, the Czech Republic and the Baltic republics of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, which suffered Soviet occupation either during or after World War II will be considered rogue states, and diplomatic and economic relations with them will be severed.

According to a survey by the VTsIOM polling agency, 60 percent of Russians support such a law, and a recent Levada Centre poll revealed that 63 percent believe that the Soviet Union could have won the war alone, without the help of Britain and the United States.

At Grani.ru, Valeria Novodvorskaya has made clear her view of the matter [my tr.]: 

Hitler’s Germany, beyond any doubt, had to be smashed. For the sake of humanity, for the Germans’ sake. The Hitlers of this world must not win. But the USSR should have lost, for the Stalins of this world, too, should not be handed victories. The Allies should have won the war: Britain and the United States. And they would have done so. No one would have left Hitler in power and at liberty, no one would have forgiven the Holocaust. Only – it should have been done wthout us. The Americans and British should have brought us liberation.

Soviet power would have fallen, and the country’s agony from 1948 until 1953 would have been avoided. And there would have been no Khrushchev or Brezhnev or Afghanistan or Andropov, no Putin and no KGB. And we would not have appeared to the world like slaves. The USSR should have lost the war. The United States already had the atomic bomb, they would have finished Hitler, even if he had conquered the USSR all the way to the Urals. Leningrad should have been surrendered. Of course, it would not have been pleasant to live under the Hitlerites, but millions of Leningraders would not have died from hunger, just as the Parisians did not die, or the citizens of Lyons.

Puppeteers

At KHPG.org, Halya Coynash considers the place of the Holocaust in the 20th century history of Eastern Europe and Ukraine, and shows how the almost unimaginable forces of evil that worked together to create the atrocities engendered by Hitler and Stalin are still at work in contemporary society:

It is entirely unrealistic, I believe, to hope to convince people that there was no difference at that time between Hitler and Stalin, that it was necessary to fight both simultaneously. This is not necessarily because people don’t know about Holodomor, the Terror and the camps, but because the Nazi plague was in their country, bombing their cities, and we know that the death machine was murdering ever more people by the day. I am on principle not prepared to place different manifestations of evil on any scale of importance however I also believe at that historical moment it was first of all necessary to destroy Hitler and his evil. On the other hand, I can, and believe we all must, try to understand and respect people who in view of different, no less difficult circumstances decided to fight all those whom they saw as occupiers of their country. That is assuming, of course, that they took no part in the Holocaust, punitive actions against the civilian population or other military crimes.

Unqualified evil did not end with Nazi capitulation and was not eradicated at Nuremberg. We need to fight it together and for that we have to understand one another. Some find it convenient that there should be no such understanding and would seem to have their own reasons for perpetuating rancid lies and stereotypes. We are seeing the old, painfully familiar, puppeteers, as well, it would seem, as some new figures on the scene with no less dubious motives. Let’s not help them – in memory of the victims of unqualified evil and to ensure that there are no more.