Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Putin, Once a Stalinist, Always a Stalinist
In 1932-33, Joseph Stalin’s withering hand touched Ukraine. In what has come to be called the Holodomor, upwards of 5 million people died of famine. Labeled genocidal by the United Nations, the Stalin produced famine, was the first time in history that famine on this scale was used as a totalitarian instrument of oppression. Two courageous reporters who defied Moscow’s ban on travel, Gareth Jones and Malcolm Muggeridge, took trains out into the countryside and reported on the famine, Muggeridge by concealing in diplomatic pouches his dispatches to a London newspaper.
The truth about the famine, as it happened, was a very slender reed. The news was overcome by stories written by Walter Duranty for the New York Times. Duranty, whom Muggeridge later would say was the greatest liar he had met in all his years in journalism, reported that there was no famine in Ukraine, later admitting that 10 million people had died in the non-existent famine. Duranty was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his reports on Stalin’s first Five Year Plan, a precipitating cause of the famine, following which villagers affected by Stalin’s collectivization of agriculture had boiled and eaten the leaves off trees in a vain attempt to stave off starvation. Stalin, never a man of half-measures, also took pains to deprive Ukraine of its intellectuals; some were shot, others were shipped to the Gulag later made famous by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
At the 12th Congress of the Communist Party of Ukraine, Pavel Postyshev, a Moscow appointed stooge, declared, “1933 was the year of the defeat of Ukrainian nationalist counter-revolution” The so-called counte-revolution represented Ukraine’s courageous resitance to communist oppression. In communist lingo, counter-revolutions are those in which small state seek to avoid being swallowed up by larger, militerized terrorist states. By 1933, the resistant Ukrainian peasantry had been physically exterminated, and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church clergy had been eliminated. Stalin, called “the breaker of nations,” had successfully promoted the famine to bring a broken Ukraine under his hobnailed boots of the Sovit Union.
The best that can be said of Vladimir Putin is that he is not Stalin.
Looking into Putin’s eyes some time ago, President George Bush saw a man of peace, someone he thought he could deal with. Referring to Bush’s amusing pillow talk, Sen. John McCain said that whenever he looked into Putin’s eyes, he saw three letters, K-G-B.
Putin’s humiliation of Georgia, a Soviet Union breakaway state that was becoming a little too democratic and self assertive both for the former KGB chief and the heirs and assigns of Stalin in Russia’s now fascist government, demonstrates that Bush was wrong and McCain was right.
After the breakup of the Soviet Union, states previously in chains began to look around for a strong wing under which they might nestle. It certainly is understandable that the progeny of those starving masses who crawled on their distended bellies into cities in Ukraine during the famine might be a little wary of such as Putin. The attack on Georgia appears to be a response to the emplacement of nuclear defense systems in formerly captive states such as Poland and Ukraine.
The only question worth discussion at this point is: What strategies may be adopted in the post- Soviet Union era that will encourage the democratization of European buffer states -- including the Baltic states, Ukraine and Poland – in the face of naked aggression from a corrupt and increasingly fascistic Russia, which is in league with terrorist sponsoring states such as Iran?
That is a question that ought to be proposed in any future “debate” between presidential candidates Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama.
Sending in US Sen. Chris Dodd, a proponent of soft diplomacy, to resolve the situation would seem, now more than ever, to fall somewhat short of the mark. Putin's reaction to the soft diplomacy of the Bush administration is a convoy of Russian tanks and missile emplacements in Georgia.