Speaking at St. Vladimir's Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, 4th District U.S. Representative Jim Himes commiserated with Ukraine, still struggling under the boot of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
"The senator [U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal] and I are thrilled to be able to take a moment this morning at this very momentous and frightening time for the Ukraine to be here to express our solidarity and support for the people of the Ukraine and our unwavering support for the principle that people not just in the United States but around the world will always have the right to determine the way in which they are governed," Himes said.
Mr. Himes may not know it but placing the article “the” in front of Ukraine is a throwback to the Soviet era when Ukraine (no article) was a part of the Soviet Union: As such, it was referred to – most often by Soviet oppressors, but also by historically inattentive reporters and commentators in the United States and Europe -- as THE Ukraine.
Prior to his Stamford visit, Mr. Blumenthal had appeared before two other Ukrainian groups in New Haven and Willimantic. Mr. Blumenthal’s remarks in Stamford were general and inoffensive: "This morning and every morning, politicians may be seeking power, but the people want peace and the right to determine their own future. That has been the aspiration and dream of so many who have come to this country."
Mr. Blumenthal did not mention Mr. Putin, Russia or the Stalin induced Soviet famine in Ukraine in 1933-34.
Before Stalin’s withering hand touched Ukraine, the nation – It IS a nation – had been known since Roman times as “the breadbasket of Europe.”
Stalin wanted to bring Ukraine within the Soviet orbit, and he seized upon famine as a means of doing so. More than five million Ukrainians died in the famine caused and sustained by Stalin, whose communist storm troopers shot all the intellectuals in the country, gathered up and exported the seed grain used to plant future crops and entered small villages to destroy ovens used to produce meals. In starving villages, Ukrainians desperately fighting off famine stripped the trees of leaves and boiled them as soup. Stalin destroyed all the small farms in Ukraine and sent the kulaks, small farmers and landowners, to the Gulag later disclosed by Alexander Solzhenitsyn in his book “The Gulag Archipelago.”
The most influential reporter in the United States during the famine was Walter Duranty, whose reports on Stalin’s “Five Year Plan” earned Mr. Duranty and the New York Times a Pulitzer Prize that, even today, hangs on the Times’ wall of Pulitzers.
Mr. Duranty was, said British author Malcolm Muggeridge, the most accomlished pathological liar he had met in all his years in journalism. While Ukraine was starving, Mr. Duranty was writing in the influential Times that there was no famine in Ukraine, only spot-shortages of food. It was Mr. Muggeridge and Welsh journalist Gareth Jones who courageously defied Stalin and released news of the famine to the West. Both Mr. Muggeridge and Mr. Jones boarded trains traveling through the countryside and witnessed the famine at first hand. Mr. Muggeridge thwarted Soviet press censorship by smuggling his stories out to The Manchester Guardian, a British newspaper, in diplomatic pouches. Mr. Jones, later murdered by communists bandits while reporting from China, also managed to penetrate the wall of silence and obfuscation best represented by Mr. Duranty’s Pulitzer. Several years ago, Ukrainians attempted to shame the Times into removing Mr. Duranty’s Pulitzer from what should have become for the paper a wall of shame.
In June 2005, Mr. Jones's niece, Dr. Siriol Colley, and her son Nigel Colley wrote a letter to the Pulitzer committee that was reviewing its previous decision and which had committed itself to a serious review of the Duranty award.
"The Pulitzer Prize should be revoked from Walter Duranty," Jones' relatives wrote, "not just for his falsification of Stalin's ruthless execution of the Five Year Plan of Collectivization, but also for his complete disregard for journalistic integrity. Through abusing his position of authority as the New York Times' reporter in the Soviet Union, he villainously and publicly denigrated the truthful articles of my uncle, and ashamedly did so, whilst being fully aware of the ongoing famine."
None of these efforts bore fruit, largely because neither the Pulitzer committee nor the publisher of the Times was capable of feeling the cleansing effects of shame. Mr. Duranty’s Pulitzer remains a bloody blot on the escutcheons of both the Pulitzer Prize Committee and the New York Times.
The weapon Mr. Putin may use most effectively against the grandchildren of Stalin’s victims is oil piped across Ukraine to Europe, which may be shut down at his whimsy. The foreign policy of Mr. Obama’s White House is feckless because Mr. Obama seems either incapable or unwilling to distinguish properly between foreign friends and enemies, the single most important determinant of any foreign policy worth the name. It does not appear from the remarks make recently by Mr. Himes and Mr. Blumenthal that either congressman has a solid understanding of the history of Russia and Ukraine, and neither Europe nor Ukraine nor any of the Baltic States nor Poland should rest comfortably in post-Cold War sanguinary expectations. The Soviet re-Union may very well begin with the humiliation of Ukraine, but it will not end there.