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    A historical double-standard

    A historical double-standard

    Kathleen

    City Journal‘s Claire Berlinski has written a great article about the disinterest around Pavel Stroilov’s 50,000 unpublished, untranslated, top-secret Kremlin documents dating from the close of the Cold War.
    journalists [have] initially shown interest in the documents, only to [say] later that their editors have declared the story insignificant. In advance of Gorbachev’s visit to Germany for the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Stroilov says, he offered the German press the documents depicting Gorbachev unflatteringly. There were no takers. In France, news about the documents showing Mitterrand’s and Gorbachev’s plans to turn Germany into a dependent socialist state prompted a few murmurs of curiosity, nothing more. Bukovsky’s vast collection about Soviet sponsorship of terrorism, Palestinian and otherwise, remains largely unpublished….

    No one talks much about the victims of Communism. No one erects memorials to the throngs of people murdered by the Soviet state. (In his widely ignored book, A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia, Alexander Yakovlev, the architect of perestroika under Gorbachev, puts the number at 30 to 35 million.)
    Indeed, many still subscribe to the essential tenets of Communist ideology. Politicians, academics, students, even the occasional autodidact taxi driver still stand opposed to private property. Many remain enthralled by schemes for central economic planning. Stalin, according to polls, is one of Russia’s most popular historical figures. No small number of young people in Istanbul, where I live, proudly describe themselves as Communists; I have met such people around the world, from Seattle to Calcutta.

    We rightly insisted upon total denazification; we rightly excoriate those who now attempt to revive the Nazis’ ideology. But the world exhibits a perilous failure to acknowledge the monstrous history of Communism. … Above all, they should be well-known to a public that seems to have forgotten what the Soviet Union was really about. If they contain what Stroilov and Bukovsky say—and all the evidence I’ve seen suggests that they do—this is the obligation of anyone who gives a damn about history, foreign policy, and the scores of millions dead.
    Everyone has a motivation to reduce dissonance. It’s awfully hard to stand behind gooey ideas of happy collectivism if history overwhelmingly suggests that it leads to brutality and the mass murder of millions.

    I see in my generation a lack of historical understanding that really troubles me.

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    Comments


    Kathleen, I add my kudos to the others that salute your discernment and courage in asking intelligent but politically awkward questions. Your observations here are spot on. The lightweights today who blithely support Communism have absolutely no comprehension of what it is.

    For that we can thank the NEA and our marvelous national public school system. What they've collectively done [no pun intended] to US and world history should be considered a capital crime, but instead has rewarded them with jobs for life.

    You may wish to look at this archive by Vladimir Bukovsky.

    And speaking of Robert Conquest, he wrote:

    "There once was a Marxist named Lenin,
    Who did two or three million men in.
    That's a lot to have done in,
    But where he did one in,
    That grand Marxist, Stalin, did ten in."

    Chap named H. Bruce Franklin gets invited to respectable academic conferences although he stoutly maintains that Stalin was misunderstood.

    If you want to see a film that, in the end, is extraordinarily uplifting about the human condition, and which literally encapsulates the death-throws of one of the ugliest and most repressive communist systems of the twentieth century — that of East Germany — please watch "The Lives of Others."

    I second that! "The Lives of Others" is a great movie.


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