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INSIDE TRACK ON WORLD NEWS
by international syndicated columnist & broadcaster Eric Margolis
REMEMBER RUSSIAíS BRAVERY, BUT ALSO ITS CRIMESCopyright: Eric S. Margolis, 2005
May 9, 2005
President George W. Bush was certainly right to attend ceremonies in Moscow commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Soviet Unionís victory over Germany in 1945. But his rebukes to host Vladimir Putin over Russiaís brutal past needed to have been far stronger.
Many North Americans and British mistakenly believe their nations defeated National Socialist Germany. While $11 billion of US military and financial aid to the USSR was important, it was Stalinís Soviet Union, not the western democracies, that played the decisive role in defeating Adolf Hitler and his European allies.
While honoring our own heroic veterans, itís time we also recognize and pay homage to Russiaís dauntless courage, endurance, and suffering.
So itís right and overdue to honor Russiaís valiant soldiers. But itís wrong to continue to ignore the Soviet Unionís monstrous crimes or the Western alliance with the tyrant who committed them.
Nazi concentration camps Buchenwald and Auschwitz are household names. But who recalls even more murderously prolific Soviet death camps like Kolyma, Vorkuta and Magadan? Stalin told Churchill he had killed 10 million farmers in the early 1930ís, and hailed the butcher of 6 million Ukrainians, Commissar Lazar Kaganovitch, as `our Himmler.í
The best current estimate of Stalinís victims is 20 million murdered before WWII, and 10 million from 1941-1953, a total democide of 30 million. Hitlerís toll was around 12 million after 1941.
Nor did German aggression alone begin the war in Europe. German-Soviet aggression did. We forget Hitler and Stalin jointly invaded, then partitioned Poland under the notorious Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, that Moscow has never renounced. Seven million Poles died , half of them were Jews. The USSR then went on to invade Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
In 1939, Hitler, whose major crimes still lay ahead of him, was seen by many Europeans as a hero who had pulled Germany out of economic collapse, restored national dignity, and provided the main bulwark against the very real threat of communist mass murder engulfing western Europe.
Yet Britain and the US chose to become war partners with Stalin, by then historyís worst tyrant and mass killer. Churchill and particularly Roosevelt must share indirect guilt for Stalinís crimes, just as they would had they joined Hitler.
This aspect of the war remains taboo. At Yalta, the left-leaning Roosevelt, whose White House contained two influential Soviet agents of influence, and besotted by `Uncle Joeí Stalinís masculine power, delivered half of Europe to communist rule, replacing a greater tyranny for a lesser one. President Bush rightly raised the matter of Yalta while in Moscow but unfortunately had little to say about the crimes of Lenin and Stalin.
What should the Allies have done in 1939? At the time, the 20th-centuryí leading military thinker, Maj. Gen. J.F.C Fuller, urged Britain and France not to go to war over Poland, but remain neutral and await the inevitable war between Germany and the USSR that would destroy them both, then liberate Europe.
In 1939, neither Britain nor France were ready for war, and the two uneasy allies had no offensive plan in the event of a conflict. If Britain and France went to war against Germany, Fuller rightly warned, Stalin would inevitably emerge the victor and gobble up eastern Europe.
But Churchill and Roosevelt declared ideological war against Hitler, `the supreme evil.í Fuller was pilloried for his heresy.
Itís time Britain and the US face their culpability in abetting Stalin and demand modern-day Russia come clean over Stalinís crimes and prosecute Soviet officials and police who are still alive. President Bush at least took a first step by rebuking the Kremlin for its invasion of the Baltic states. President Vladimir Putin should come forth and openly denounce Stalinís crimes, as Kruschev did in secret, offer national repentance, as Germany and Japan are forced repeatedly to do, and compensate the remaining victims of Stalinís oppression.
Continuing to beat the drums about Nazi crimes while ignoring egregious communist crimes is profoundly dishonest. Too much lingering wartime propaganda still clouds our historical memory. The left keeps beating the drums about Nazi crimes in order to conceal the crimes of communism. Other groups seek to retain a monopoly on suffering.
Some other forgotten points:
To read previous columns by Mr. Margolis: Click here
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