Saturday, December 14, 2019

Clash over Origins of World War II Will Last Until Russia Ceases to be the Political and Ideological Successor of USSR, Yerofeyev Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 12 – The European Parliament drew parallels between Nazi and Soviet totalitarianisms and condemned the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact as opening the way to war in Europe, an action that prompted Vladimir Putin to denounce this action as one based on “a lie,” Viktor Yerofeyev says.

            But “this war of conceptions,” the Russian writer says, “will continue for a long time to come and be conducted very aggressively – until Russia “ceases to be the political and historical-ideological legal successor of the Soviet Union” (виктор-ерофеев-путин-против-европарламента-ссср-против-россии/a-51647159).

            The decision of “young Russia having freed itself from Soviet totalitarianism” to “take on itself the sins of the USSR,” Yerofeyev continues, was and remains “a truly stupid” one. It not only puts Russia “in a difficult position” but “excludes it from the civilized world.”  It meant and means that “it is necessary in fact to recognize the correctness of Stalin on basic issues.”

            But the Russian writer continues, “Stalin is evil not only for the European Parliament but for Mandelshtam, Akhmatova, Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn and Shalamov, for all of the great Russian intelligentsia.” 

            Does it not mean “to recognize the successes of Stalin in domestic policy? Industrialization was carried out in bestial conditions (how else?), this was a regime of lies, hatred, and terror in relation both to class enemies, the most productive part of society and to the population as a whole which also became victim of general fear and repression.

            Does it not mean “to recognize the correctness of collectivization and the Great Terror of the end of the 1930s?”  All this is “unthinkable” unless one accepts “the insane and senseless communist ideology” as well.

            “However,” Fedoseyev says, “it is possible not to admit all of this but to minimize it as now in Russia is being born a positive image of the Soviet Union and Stalin himself.”  As far as foreign policy is concerned, “to support Stalin’s line means in essence to dream about the rebirth of the Soviet empire and frighten the neighbors, including them in its sphere of influence without asking their opinion of that.”

            After all, “who asked the opinion of the neighbors when the Molotov-Ribbentrop, that is the Stalin-Hitler pact was signed? Then everything was decided from a position of strength and the small independent countries of the Baltic turned out to be in a hopeless position.”

            As Yerofeyev says, “World War II began not on June 22, 1941 but on September 1, 1939, a week after the signing of the treaty between Hitlerite Germany and the Stalinist Soviet Union. And very quickly Stalin seized a significant part of Poland, the Baltic countries, Finland, Bessarabia, Northern Bukovina … The weakness of the neighbor and the joy of the collector of lands in the spirit of Ivan Kalita. They are pleased up to now.”

            As far as comparing these totalitarian regimes is concerned, the Russian writer says, that is “a complicated task. They are different in their basic idea. In the ideology of communist initially was noted a small note of social justice which attracted the left-wing intelligentsia of the West.”

            Hitler in contrast, Yerofeyev continues, “has been declared an unqualified enemy of humanity.”  Consequently, for the foreseeable future, “the USSR will be viewed as more decent than ‘the Third Reich.’” And besides the difference in ideology, the two are different as far as their status is concerned.

            “Nazi Germany was defeated by the Soviet Union and the Western allies and this helped Western Europe to free itself. The real horror of Stalinist was felt only by the countries of ‘the people’s democracies.’ As a result, the Soviet Union up to now remains a kind of myth for Western Europe and hell for the continent’s Eastern half.”

            Yerofeyev concludes; “the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II which will be marked in May is a major date. When Russia becomes democratic,” it will be able to face the horrors of the communist past. “but it will never forget the victory: this was of course, an achievement of the people.”

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